This is Where My Gamescom Opening Night Recap Should Be

First I have to let you in on a little secret. I write most of my blog posts the night before I post them. I’m not a morning person at all so the idea of getting up and writing a blog post is just…horrid. So really I’m writing this Wednesday night. This is how the sausage is made!

Second, work was a hot mess of headaches on Wednesday. I was super busy troubleshooting and meeting all day. When I was done I was irritable and tired.

OK with that out of the way… Geoff Keighley’s Gamescom Opening Night was yesterday and I watched it, but you might have to as well if you want to know all that went down. It aired at 2 PM local time so I couldn’t watch it live. But y’know, how “live” was it anyway? Watching it after it streamed was good because I could fast forward through bits I didn’t care about (new Super Monkey Ball game, yet another Lego game).

I was taking notes at the start, then I opened a beer and put down my pencil. Honestly I didn’t miss too much because I felt like the show was really front-loaded in terms of announcements. They claim there were 40 games there, plus half a dozen or so during the pre-show. I didn’t count. I did, however, almost nod off a time or two.

I can’t honestly say if the show was bad or if I was just so angry at my work day that any sense of objectivity went out the window.

Here’re the few things that did catch my eye.

The show opened with a trailer for the new Saints Row game, called, as best I can figure, Saints Row. I’ve never really connected with Saints Row games because they all seem super dude-bro in tone, but this time out it seems like the devs have realized that the gaming audience is diverse and we don’t all like to play as human fist-bumps. (The image at the top of this post is your crew this time out.) The trailer was CGI, but at the very end of this segment is a few seconds of gameplay, which looks just as over-the-top as we expect from a Saint’s Row, but the vibe seems very different to me. In a good way.

The other new game that caught my attention was a new Marvel game, Midnight Suns. No gameplay (again) but it’s being done by Firaxis and they’re calling it a tactics RPG. Given the studio, I’m hoping for and expecting Xcom: Marvel Superhero edition. I remember seeing Wolverine, Dr. Strange and Ghost Rider in the trailer. We’re supposed to see actual gameplay on Sept. 1st. Here’s the CGI trailer though it doesn’t even HINT at what the gameplay will be like.

We got some release dates. Halo Infinite is coming December 8th, and Horizon Forbidden West is coming Feb. 18, 2022. Also Horizon Forbidden Dawn got a 60 FPS patch on PS5 so might be time for a replay.

The “creator of Lara Croft” has a game coming out called Dream Cycle that goes into Early Access on Steam on September 7th.

Jett: The Far Shore intrigues me even if I can’t quite figure out what is going on. At least we see some game play, and it’s coming October 7th so not long to wait.

And…that’s about all I have. Oh, they mentioned the next big update for Valheim is called Hearth & Home and then backed it up with an animated trailer that told us nothing. It’s coming September 16th though so we can try it then.

The last spot, the final big reveal slot, was devoted to the Director’s Edition of Death Stranding which seemed like a weird choice because while it has added some stuff and now will look better on PS5, it still is just a refinement of an existing game. Keighley loves Kojima though, so in a way this made the show feel like a Keighley production. Back to Death Stranding Director’s Cut: I’m not completely convinced the additions will make it better. Seems like more combat now, and gadgets like thrusters so you can just jump down a cliff. Hmph.

Again, maybe it’s because I’m tired and in a lousy mood, but I wasn’t too impressed with the show, quite honestly. But I’m not trustworthy! Don’t listen to me. Watch the whole thing for yourself!

Xbox at Gamescom 2021

Gamescom 2021 starts today but Microsoft got a jump on the show by having their event yesterday. I watched it and thought it was pretty good, though not at that “you gotta watch this!” level of hype-ometer-busting excitement.

If you missed the show and don’t need some sorry old man recapping it for you, here is the full presentation:

Too busy to devote an hour+ to watching? Great, that’s my cue!

OK Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. If you tuned in for game announcements, you had to be disappointed. The only non-indie (?) title they showed that I’d not heard of was Stray Blade, a 3rd person action-rpg featuring melee combat in a fantasy world. It’s coming in 2022. Here’s the presentation, snipped from the above video.

Stray Blade looks in my wheelhouse with lots of exploration and the kind of combat I enjoy but it’s early days. I’ll keep an eye on it though. Oh, the image at the top of this post is from Stray Blade, courtesy of Microsoft.

The other new game announced was Into The Pit, an indie rogue-like. I’m kind of over rogue-likes right now so I almost forgot about it, but here’s the trailer for that one.

Everything else that was showed was stuff we knew was coming (though some titles, like The Gunk, we haven’t heard much about). The show started with Dying Light 2 (out this December) and ended with Forza Horizon 5 (out in November). Both are looking great so far. Halo Infinite was nowhere to be seen, which seemed odd.

Some news items that caught my interest:

Xcloud, Microsoft’s game streaming service, is coming to Xbox consoles this holiday for Game Pass Ultimate members. This seems like a no-brainer and I wonder why it has taken so long, but now Xbox One owners will be able to play Xbox Series X|S games on their console (at 1080P) via Xcloud. Also, given the limited drive space on the Series X|S I can certainly envision uninstalling some games and just playing them via Xcloud inorder to save space, or ‘sampling’ GamePass titles via Xcloud before deciding to download them. What I’m really curious about is whether I can hook up a mouse and keyboard to my Series X and play PC Xcloud titles on the console.

And speaking of PC games on console, Crusader King 3 is coming to console. What?! They are calling it an “adaptation” rather than a port, so it’ll be interesting to see how much they have to simplify things to make the game playable with a controller. I mean I assume that’s the challenge. I’ve never gotten very far in CK3 on PC because it makes my brain hurt.

Really, that’s all the big news. A bunch of Humble Games are coming to Game Pass, and MS Flight Simulator, Wastelands 3, Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 all have expansions coming soon. (I don’t mean to sound dismissive about these expansions. Learning about them had me hankering to play both Wasteland 3 and State of Decay 2.) There was a segment on Age of Empires IV (out this fall for PC) and Psychonauts 2 (out today!).

As for me personally, I’m excited for Forza Horizon 5 and Dying Light 2, but I was excited for them anyway. And I haven’t played an Age of Empires game in forever so I’ll give Age IV a go, I’m sure.

There’s another event today, “Opening Night at Gamescom” or something like that. Its being hosted by Geoff Keighley of The Game Awards fame, so it’s not sponsored by any one company. Hopefully we’ll see some new games revealed at that event.