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Gamescom 2023 Recapped
Everything You Need to Know About The Biggest Opening Night Live in Gamescom History.
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In the wake of one of the biggest Gamescom events to date, the flood of updates and announcements surrounding the event might be overwhelming to comb through the two and a half hour showcase. So, for those looking for a recap - here is some of the most major gaming news highlights starting with the Opening Night Live.
Starfield - Out Now
The event opened with a live performance by the composer for Starfield: Inon Zur, who played the audience into a live action trailer for the RPG, Bethesda Game Studios’ new space exploration IP exclusive to Microsoft (Xbox and PC) platforms.
The trailer ends and despite the disruption of a stage crashing, Matan Even copycat babbling something about GTA 6; there was a brief talk with industry veteran Todd Howard who described the start of the game and hinted at its main story, stating that players will begin as miners who come into contact with an artifact that inflicts visions upon us before being thrown into the character creation screen and subsequently going off on our own adventure as a part of a group of spacefaring explorers called constellation.
The title has been made available on game pass as of September 6th and to some controversy, critical reviews of the game have been mostly positive.
Little Nightmares 3
My personal highlight of the whole night was the announcement and gameplay presentation of Little Nightmares 3. The horror puzzle platformer renowned for its environmental and non-verbal storytelling is scheduled to release in 2024, three years after its predecessor and under new development with Supermassive Games: of Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology fame, this team will be bringing to the series for the first time the ability to playthrough it either entirely solo or in online co-op.
Mortal Kombat 1 - Out Now
Mortal Kombat Franchise co-creator Ed Boon attended the event equipped with a new thematic trailer for the series reboot Mortal Kombat 1, unveiling roster additions Empress Sindel and General Shao (formerly Shao Khan). Post event, footage of a new single player mode called invasions was released: presented as a board game, the player traverses through familiar scenery as they engage in fights against the computer often with modifiers such as ice attacks descending upon both Kombatants, high gravity zones making it impossible to jump and more. Throughout the mode you’ll be able to equip relics to help in your fight as your character of choice progressively levels-up, earning rewards such as cosmetics which should sound familiar to MK fans as this means the mode is most likely a replacement for the krypt.
If the Gamescom trailer wasn’t enough for you then here is Netherrealm’s 52 minute ‘Kombat Kast’: where they break down the playstyle and unique mechanics of the showcased trailer characters alongside the re-invented water ninja turned court mage Rain.
For the interested but busy, I’ll quickly sum the video up here for you. Through her gameplay they’ve leaned into Sindel’s role as empress by allowing her to manipulate, disable and at times completely control her opponents assist “Kameo” character or to even buff the cooldown of her own. General Shao has transitioned from his previous hammer focused playstyle to a new battle axe that he cycles in and out of wielding, completely changing his moves and putting additional pressure on his opponent depending on where he has left it, as he can raise it from afar and slam it back down again for a fullscreen ground-pound that will also hit you as an overhead if you’re too close, making thoughtless crouch blocking risky. The most radically different change we’ve seen thus far in this new MK era created by the newly appointed fire-god Liu Kang, Rain now manipulates the water at the end of his wizard staff in most of his attacks rather than physically fighting his opponents as a traditional MK-ninja, functioning now as a ranged “zoner” character with many of his keep away options being cancellable, he is supposed to be tough to punish.
Zack Snyder, director of the critically acclaimed 2009 Watchmen film and a less unanimously well received run of DC films (Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and the “Snyder cut” of Justice League), hosted an extended talk about his upcoming Netflix two-part film Rebel Moon and an announcement of a tie-in game in the beginning stages of development with Super Evil Megacorp, a mobile game developer.
Part one of the rejected Star Wars pitch, re-worked into something we can hope is more original, comes to Netflix December 22nd.
Keeping in line with the celebrity tie-ins, this is eventually followed up by the video appearance of Ice-T announcing his collaboration on Payday 3.
Apparently a long-time fan of the games, he is now working with the developers and will be heard in-game as Mac: a guide for the players on his very own heist mission.
Set to release September 21st, the developer also announced that the title will be making an engine switch from Unreal 4 to Unreal 5 post-launch.
Crimson Dessert made an impressive showing with flashy combat visuals, environmental destruction and Tears of the Kingdom-esque traversal. The Black Desert Online developers have yet to set a new release date after the first was delayed but considering what was shown in this trailer, there’s some hope for a release somewhere in 2024.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
After a disappointing launch back in December 2020 and a dramatic revitalisation of the franchise in September 2022 with the success of Netflix's Cyberpunk Edgerunners anime; Cyberpunk 2077 unveiled its free 2.0 "update" that seems to be more of a total game system overhaul that released for free simultaneously with the game's first paid expansion starring Idris Elba. Phantom Liberty: the game's expansion, once purchased should allow the player to weave in and out of it and the base game.
Tekken 8 unveiled five-character inclusions: Heihachi’s pet bear Kuma, Dragunov, Leo, Steve, Shaheen and Yoshimitsu as well as a new single player mode for unlocking cosmetics where your created avatar plays in a retro arcade setting. Tekken 8’s release date was finally revealed to be the 26th of January 2024 and the premier 3D fighting game will launch with a playable roster of 32 characters.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 showed the first 9 minutes of a tactical extraction mission; beginning underwater, our team covertly works their way into a prison and cause a riot as cover as they approach the cell that holds their objective.
The representatives talked about the new freedom of choice they’re allowing players to have on certain missions within the campaign, offering them the choice to go in guns blazing or to complete your objective while maintaining total stealth. The new Modern Warfare 3 will launch November 10th 2023.
Alan Wake 2
Alan Wake 2 breaks the mould with an interesting showcase of its dream-like live action integration, after 13 years away the horror survival experience of Alan Wake will make a return on the 27th of October. A remastered version of the first game was released in 2021 for those wanting to catch-up before the sequel arrives.
Your presence is required at the Fort Solis base. The longest night of your life begins from NOW!#FortSolis by @FallenLeafSA is available on PC and PS5.— Dear Villagers 👩🚀 FORT SOLIS IS OUT! (@DearVillagers) August 22, 2023
🪐 Buy on your favorite platform: https://t.co/XHRClxs2Z3 pic.twitter.com/mvOPlvmHOB
Fort Solis was presented as a testament to the industry’s technological growth and what it means for the capabilities of smaller studios: a ten person development team, three motion captured actors and the promise of a gripping character driven narrative, but something that probably wasn’t stressed enough in that event was that Fort Solis was released that very night and is available on PC and PS5.
As you can tell from the brief overview of the highlights from Gamescom’s opening night, the event was fulfilling and did a surprisingly good job at keeping interest throughout so, if you want to see a little more for yourself then you can find the full VOD on The Game Awards YouTube channel here:
The Future Games Show
The following night Erika Ishii and Troy Baker hosted The Future Games Show featuring a large number of lesser-known titles, many of which having released publicly available demos. Out of the short event I’ve picked out three highlights: the skateboarding rogue-like Helskate, sandbox survival Aloft and Ghibli inspired adventure exploration game Europa.
Helskate is a skateboarding combat driven rogue-like set in a magical realist afterlife where you grow your character with every run in an RPG stat boosting system. Directly inspired by the classic Tony Hawk games, this title doesn't have a release date yet but, it has at least announced an early access period.
Aloft is a flying base crafting survival exploration game, where you can just as easily soar through the sky as you can delve and battle through fungi-creature infested caves. Either way an interesting looking experience with a planned release of 2024 and a demo available on Steam right now.
In a similar vein, Europa offers some beautiful Ghibli inspired visuals in a seemingly vast map built for calm exploration as you journey to uncover the secrets of the world surrounding you. A release is planned for 2024 but, in the meantime, a demo is available now on Steam.
The Future Games Show had many more games to share, some of which may interest you so if you’re looking for more, the show can be viewed here:
For more Gaming news coverage from some of your favourite properties, stay tuned to FROW Gaming Highlights for our bi-weekly updates.