This year’s Gamescom is fast approaching, so it’s time to power up that hypetrain. What are our expectations for Europe’s biggest gaming conference in 2016?
10-08-2016 - by Thijs Kaagman
As one of the three most important gaming conventions in the world (alongside E3 and Tokyo Game Show), Gamescom in Cologne is home to 806 companies from 45 countries, showcasing their games and products on a 193.000 square meter showfloor to over 345.000 visitors from all over the world. Needless to say, it’s one of the highlights of the summer for a lot of gamers, especially those from Europe.
With Gamescom 2016 only a week away, it’s time to look at our expectations for this year. What do we think the big publishers and developers have in store for us?
Last year, Sony opted out of having a press conference during Gamescom, focussing on Paris Games Week instead. I think this worked out just fine, as they are doing the same thing in 2016. That’s why we hardly expect anything big from our PlayStation friends.
They will still be present on the show floor though, so fans can probably get plenty of hands-on time with new titles. Nothing’s been confirmed yet, but we can’t imagine Sony is leaving Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian or Final Fantasy XV at home, as they were all playable at E3. Don’t expect to see God of War, Days Gone or (especially) Death Stranding to make an appearance though.
Sony will probably also showcase PlayStation VR, which releases in a couple of weeks. E3 saw some impressive Resident Evil and Batman VR action, but our last hands-on experience here in Europe only featured some tech demo’s.
Microsoft’s showstopper at E3 was of course Project Scorpio. But aside from a name and a promise of groundbreaking hardware, not a lot of specifics were announced. And we don’t expect any during Gamescom either.
Instead of a press conference, Microsoft is going for a more intimate experience called Xbox FanFest this year. They will still be present at the show floor, but it’s all about getting hands-on with some of their upcoming titles.
Expect Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon, ReCore, Sea of Thieves, Halo Wars 2, We Happy Few and Cuphead to make an appearance, but not much else.
Seriously though, Nintendo has pretty much confirmed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be the main focus of Gamescom 2016, just as it was during E3 this year. We might get a few trailers for new Pokémon in Sun & Moon, but I think that’s all we can really expect.
As far as the Nintendo NX goes, it’s anyone’s guess. They might keep their lips shut for weeks, or they could unveil the whole thing tomorrow. With Nintendo you never know, these days.
Ubisoft has already unveiled their Gamescom 2016 plans through a press release. For Honor, Steep, Eagle Flight and Star Trek Bridge Crew will all be playable for those visiting this year’s conference. At their stand, they will also show Ghost Recon Wildlands, Watch Dogs 2 and South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
As usual, Ubisoft has a bunch of stage activities planned as well, with Just Dance performances, give-aways and exclusive Assassin’s Creed behind-the-scenes footage on a stage. No surprises, really, but giving European gamers access to those E3-games might just be what Ubi needs.
This year for Electronic Arts is probably all about Battlefield 1. Players are really looking forward to this game, so they will take advantage of that momentum to push the hypetrain even further along before releasing it in a few months. Of course Titanfall 2 and FIFA 17 could take their moment in the spotlight as well.
And there’s those Star Wars games that were sort-of announced at E3. Could they finally have more info about those at Gamescom?
While Destiny is still relatively successful, players are begging Activision for some new content. Lucky for them, Rise of Iron is just around the corner and the company is probably revealing a lot more info at Gamescom. Of course Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is on its way as well, so expect to see a few new trailers or features unveiled.
Blizzard meanwhile, is preparing for the launch of World of Warcraft: Legion at the end of the month. There will also likely be a new Hero or map for Heroes of the Storm and we have our fingers crossed for a new Overwatch champion as well. Will we finally learn who Sombra is?
Bethesda will probably focus on some of the new games they have in development. At E3 they unveiled Prey and Quake Champions, while earlier we learned about Dishonored 2 and The Elder Scrolls: Legends. Expect to see some trailers and new features for all of those games. Personally I’m especially excited about Prey, which we haven’t seen that much from at E3.
There’s a couple more games from different developers and publishers that we expect to see at Gamescom this year. 2K will probably tell us more about WWE 2K17, Mafia 3 and Civilization VI, while Square Enix is preparing for the launch of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Do we expect any real surprises? Not really, but with a line-up like this, we’re looking forward to a great Gamescom!