Yesterday afternoon the UK-based Gamescom conference held its Opening Night event. As host Geoff Keighley himself warned viewers, the event didn’t include any major announcements, largely limited to updates about previously revealed titles.
Still, the event did reveal some interesting new details about some of the industry’s most anticipated games, at least when it wasn’t sidetracked by lackluster attempts at comedy, including a cameo from Christopher Lloyd. The actor known for playing Doctor Emmett Brown in Back to the Future appeared to promote… Surgeon Simulator 2? I guess because he played a (different kind of) doctor in the franchise? Maybe these events should forego comedic skits going forward.
Amidst the bad writing and acting, Gamescom revealed some interesting new footage and details about games big and small coming out in 2020, 2021, and beyond. Now that we’ve covered the low points of the event, read about some of the highlights from the presentation.
Call of Duty: Cold War
The newest entry in Activision’s annual shooter, officially announced a day before Gamescom, was the first game showcased. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War largely looks like, well, another Call of Duty. It’s an alternate reality follow-up to the original Black Ops and co-stars… Ronald Reagan? Due to upheaval at Activision studios Raven and Sledgehammer, developer Treyarch had to jump in and make the game in just two years. We’ll see if that short development window shows itself in the final product when it comes out on November 13.
Dragon Age sequel early look
Keighley got fans excited when he promised new details about the next Dragon Age, but the game is so early in development, developer BioWare didn’t even have a cinematic trailer to share. The video simply included some marketing speak from one of the leads on the project, concept art, and motion capture footage.
BioWare has had a rough few years. Its last two releases were critical and commercial disappointments and reports have dug into the alleged mismanagement of the studio behind the scenes. Bioware probably felt pressure to refocus attention on a new project, but would have been better off privately licking its wounds than showing next to nothing about a game years away from release.
Star Wars Aplenty
EA shared a new single-player trailer for the previously shown Star Wars: Squadrons, the first flight-based Star Wars title since the GameCube launch title Rogue Squadrons. EA also showed off Star Wars: Journey to Batuu, a new expansion pack for Sims 4. It looks like a fun and silly way to explore the area from Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland and Disney World within the Sims world. Later in the event, Warner Bros. revealed more info about its Star Wars title, the upcoming LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
Unique Indie Titles
Some of the most interesting content was from smaller games that appear more willing to take chances and innovate than most AAA titles. Teardown, a heist game with a Minecraft art style featuring fully destructible environments, looked very enticing. Tarsier Studios shared gameplay of its spooky puzzle-platformer Little Nightmares 2. Finally, the surprise smash hit Fall Guys shared a peek at its Season 2 plans. The goofy platformer battle royale is the ultimate party game and became the most downloaded game on PlayStation Plus ever, so any new content is sure to be exciting for its millions of players.
Gameplay from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
The highlight of the event may have been actual gameplay footage from PlayStation 5 title Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. It’s an unexpected technical showcase for the next generation console. The titular characters use a new gadget seamlessly transport across realities, making full use of the SSD found in the PS5. It’s an exciting, early look at what a publisher can do with the latest video game technology and a major enticement to hop on board when the consoles arrive this fall.
You can watch the event in its entirety here, but remember to skip the skits.