E3 dominates the gaming world every June, but August is the month for THE largest video game conference in Europe: gamescom. This year, gamers from around the world gathered in Cologne from 22 - 26 August to watch the newest games at the approx. 200 gaming stations. Visitors had the chance to get a first glimpse of upcoming releases, talk to developers, and bear live witness to this conference of gaming giants. Here are our highlights of this event.
Nostalgia is in the air
One of the biggest surprises was the revelation of Age of Empires IV. The game series was declared dead after original developer Ensemble Studios closed nine years ago. Relic Entertainment is now developing the sequel, and has already unveiled a few of the playable civilisations in a short trailer. Square-Enix also brought some nostalgia to the conference with a complete remake of the classic role-playing saga, Secret of Mana. The developer wants to modernise the game. Nevertheless, it was suggested that a few changes to gameplay are also in the works. Some modern RPGs are still heavily inspired by Mana, which is why it will be interesting to see how the game reinvents itself.
Return of the racing game era
gamescom also provided plenty of excitement for racing fans, as some long-running racing series return with new releases, and there are even more announcements coming for this genre. Need for Speed starts a light reboot with its new spin-off: Payback. In an open-world environment, players live the story of Tyler Morgan as he takes revenge on the House cartel. PlayStation 4 players can make the streets unsafe in Gran Turismo Sport. Developer Polyphony Digital is trying to take the game in a new direction, by organising digital tournaments and focusing on a multiplayer experience with the FIA automobile federation. Fans of off-roading will be able to prove their driving skills on the dirtiest roads and racetracks in the world with the brand new game Gravel .
Adequate new shooters
Of course, plenty of new shooters were also represented at gamescom. Call of Duty showed off its latest instalment in the series. Visitors could try out a beta version of WWII before its November release. Ubisoft also introduced Far Cry 5 , for which gamers could play segments of the E3 trailer themselves. Another highlight was a deeper insight into the Wolfenstein sequel: The New Colossus. B. J. Blazkowicz has to fight his way against Nazis through the boulevards of New Orleans, Roswell, and the swamps of the United States. Visitors also had access to more information about Destiny 2. Two extensions with additional co-op missions, more story, and sufficient gamer gear were announced.
Of course it would not be gamescom without some brand new announcements. A very interesting game has been developed by THQ Nordic under the title Biomutant. It combines elements from Just Cause, Mad Max, and Nintendo's Starfox Adventures. What makes it truly unique is its use of upgrades. Depending on the decisions you make during the game, the entire gameplay can change. It is therefore up to the player to decide whether the protagonist prefers assembling wings for flying or mechanical legs for close combat. Frontier Development also presented their new theme park game Jurassic World: Evolution. Now everyone can build their own prehistoric park, breed dinosaurs, and throw everything into chaos at the same time. Anyone who has spent their whole life dreaming of their very own T-Rex enclosure can finally turn it into a digital reality.
Development of upcoming releases
Of course, developers also take the opportunity to show off their upcoming releases. Middle-earth: Shadow of War included the revised 'Nemesis System' and also Talion's new abilities. Ubisoft presented a bit more of the new Assassin's Creed: Origins game which they had announced at E3. Visitors to gamescom were able to slip into the shoes of Bayek, exploring Egypt and its many secrets. Metal Gear Survive also made an appearance at gamescom. It's the first Metal Gear game without Hideo Kojima's influence, making some people a tad nervous about how the zombie survival game will fare. Even the younger gamers had a chance to try out something special. They could try Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, where they fight as Rocket Raccoon or Hulk during different Marvel Universe eras.
And so much more
Of course there were even more games to see. The sequel to Ni No Kuni, Revenant Kingdom, was trialled for the first time. There were also a few trailers for the new fighters for the action-packed Dragonball Fighter Z. Nintendo released some playable demos for Super Mario Odyssey, Pokémon Tekken DX and Fire Emblem Warriors. This gamescom was once again a true paradise for all gamers and we are very excited about what will be shown next year.