With E3 in what appears to be a slow death spiral, there’s a push to make Gamescom the new tentpole summer event. Whether that will happen? I’m pretty skeptical—but it does mean a new showcase for trailers, closing out the slow summer months with a bang.
For 2019, Geoff Keighley hosted the first Gamescom Opening Night, a sort of companion show to his annual Game Awards in December. They even managed to sandwich the trailers between awkward award presentations, if you can believe it.
At E3 2019, Microsoft chose to focus on Gears 5’s multiplayer modes—and just multiplayer. It was a bit of a weird choice, but Gamescom finally gave us a Nine Inch Nails-backed look at the campaign, our first in a while.
THQ Nordic loves resurrecting old games, eh? Our first announcement of Gamescom Opening Night was Comanche, a reboot of the helicopter dogfighting series that hasn’t seen a new entry since 2001’s Comanche 4.
“Comanche is a modern team-based online multiplayer helicopter shooter set in the near future,” the game’s website says.
Need for Speed: Heat
EA swore there would be a Need for Speed in 2019, but didn’t bring one to E3. That made Gamescom the gameplay debut of Need for Speed: Heat, which looks like it will revolve around a player-controlled day/night cycle, police chases, and the usual car customization. I’m...not sold. I think Forza Horizon could use some competition, and in theory that should be Need for Speed, but the last few have been very mediocre and Heat hasn’t shown me anything to change my mind yet. Fingers crossed, though.
Kerbal Space Program 2
I’m not sure what you do with a Kerbal Space Program sequel to improve upon the original. Maybe make the interface a bit less impenetrable? I’m willing to come along though, especially if it ends up as ambitious as this debut trailer. Building forward bases on other planets, more exploration, all of that seems like it could be a very cool addition to what’s already one of the best simulations ever made.
Little Nightmares 2
Little Nightmares is probably my favorite of the Limbo clones, wrapping the same puzzle-light, run-to-the-right mechanics in a surreal world that reminded me a lot of the Ghibli film Spirited Away. I didn’t expect a sequel, but I’m happy to see one anyway.
Predator Hunting Grounds
The Friday the 13th crew lost the license about a year after releasing that game. Now they’re back with Predator: Hunting Grounds, a similar asymmetrical multiplayer game but...using the Predator license. Hopefully history doesn’t repeat itself.
Monster Hunter: World - Iceborne
Monster Hunter World technically has an expansion out next month, the chilly Iceborne, though you wouldn’t know it if you’re a PC player. Capcom’s still sticking to the staggered release cycle, so it won’t land on PC until closer to the end of the year—or maybe later. You can admire it from afar though, courtesy of this trailer.
Yager’s pseudo-space combat game Dreadnought came-and-went without much of a splash. Now it looks like they’re returning to what they do best, a.k.a. shooters. It’s being billed as “PvEvP,” a blend of competitive multiplayer with co-op quests, or...something. I didn’t really get the gist of it from this trailer, but it’s on the Epic Games Store in alpha status now.
Amplitude’s turned out some of the strongest Civilization competition of the past decade or so, with Endless Space and Endless Legend upending the 4X genre in creative ways. Now they’re taking aim directly at Civilization though, with Humankind due to chart the same beginning-of-history-to-space-and-beyond path as Sid Meier’s storied series. I’m curious to see whether Amplitude can finally out-Civilization the real Civilization 6.
I never played Everspace but it sounds like it had an interesting loop, a blend of FTL’s node-based map with actual 3D space combat. Maybe I’ll finally get around to checking out the sequel, Everspace 2, when it releases in...2021? Pretty sure that’s our first confirmed 2021 announcement.
I’m told that people in Europe really love soccer. Maybe they really like people breakdancing with soccer balls as well? That’s the implication of this Volta Football announcement, I think. The animation sure is impressive, I’ll give them that.
Disintegration is a four-person shooter from Marcus Lehto, one of the creators of Halo, and...it looks like it. A lot. I literally thought this was a Destiny trailer at first, the resemblance is that uncanny. The guy even rides a definitely-not-a-Sparrow.
Gylt is a Stadia exclusive, so it’s weird it’s showing up in the Gamescom Opening Night presentation and not, you know, two hours earlier in Google’s own Stadia presentation. I’m curious about it though, if only because it’s coming from Tequila Works, which between Rime, The Invisible Hours, and The Sexy Brutale is on a hell of a run right now.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Then it was on to the actual Destiny 2 trailer. Not much more to be said about Shadowkeep, especially in light of a trailer at Google’s presentation this morning. That’s a lot of to-do about an expansion that releases in just a few short weeks. Cross-save compatibility arrives next week though, so if you’ve been looking to jump from console to PC? You finally can.
Erica: An Interactive Thriller
A big-budget FMV game? On a stage at Gamescom? That’s certainly what it looks like. This is the first time Erica: An Interactive Thriller has appeared since Paris Games Week 2017, and it’s one of those “It’s out now!” reveals.
Port Royale 4
It’s been almost a decade since the last Port Royale, the colonial-themed city builder-slash-trade series. I’m not sure if a new iteration is as appealing in light of Anno 1800 releasing this year, but Port Royale 4 did have one of the more creative trailers in today’s presentation, centering on a barrel of rum as it’s loaded onto a ship, then dropped into the ocean, and finally turned into materials for a fledgling colony. Pretty neat concept.
Iron Harvest is an upcoming real-time strategy game set in an alt-history 1920s, with mechs. That’s about all you need to know, I think. It’s like Company of Heroes, but weirder. I particularly like the faux-vintage footage at the beginning of this trailer, which really sets the stage.
Death Stranding is due out in November. In a scant few months we’ll know what the hell Death Stranding actually is. But for now? Another impenetrable footage dump, with creepy baby handprints, invisible babies, babies-as-equipment, all sorts of babies. Strap in for 20 minutes of nonsense, or just watch the hype reel Geoff Keighley made for Hideo Kojima. It’s somehow even wilder than Death Stranding.