Gamescom Opening Night Live Brings the Summer Games Fest to a Whimpering End
“Glanzlos” — that’s German for lacklustre
Every late August, gaming enthusiasts rejoice because of gamescom, the world’s largest trade fair for video games. Unfortunately, this time around, because of 2020, the convention took place online rather than being held in Cologne, Germany, as per any usual year. Despite this, however, the 2020 iteration was kick-started, just like every other gamescom in recent memory, by a live show called Opening Night Live, hosted by professional hype-man and Summer Game Fest and The Game Awards creator, Geoff Keighley. All this being said, this year’s show had the difficult task of both concluding Keighley’s Summer Game Fest in high fashion and making a strong case for this holiday season.
Just like last year, we can’t say we were exactly blown away by the show’s announcements and by the gameplay on display but, as per usual, we are here to give you a comprehensive look at everything that was shown. Enjoy the read!
Most of Opening Night Live was…well, live!
Colour us surprised at the fact that despite everything going on with the world at the moment, ONL 2020 was actually mostly live. Now of course, there were some pre-recorded segments, such as Kyle Bosman’s pre-show and various appearances by gaming commentators such as Guardian columnist Keza MacDonald and BBC Front Row arts critic Ellie Osili-Wood, but the bulk of the show was presented by Geoff Keighley on a very impressive, very sleek video set. As for the actual content, Opening Night Live was definitely a quantity-over-quality affair as it ran through no less than 38 different announcements. Most of these announcements concerned games we already knew about and, sadly, there were little to no surprises and not a single whiff of anything hardware- or service-related from either Sony or Microsoft. As per usual, though, we’ve singled out the announcements that stood out to us the most and then, in the interest of time, we’ll go through some bullet points for the rest.
We’ve got a release window for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart:
Insomniac Games gave us our first look at Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apartback at its PlayStation 5 reveal event, and the trailer the studio showed here was a fantastic second showing — both for the game, and for the PlayStation 5. Along with some of the fun gameplay and huge variety of weapons we’ve come to know and love from Ratchet & Clank over the past 18 years, the extended gameplay demo also showed off some of the fantastic things that the PlayStation 5 is going to make possible: ray-traced reflections, environments loaded with enemies, plenty of particle effects and, of course, the super-fast loading times we saw back in June.
After showing the demo, Insomniac threw in another juicy piece of news: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is set to be a “launch window” release on PS5.
Expect the Marauders to return in Doom Eternal – The Ancient Gods, Part One:
We saw a teaser earlier this month, and now we’ve got a full trailer for the first part of DOOM Eternal’s two-part expansion, The Ancient Gods. All we really know at this point is that Part One will take place after the events of the original game, and that it’ll tell the story of an “imbalance in the heavens”, but the gameplay itself should be enough to get fans interested.
Aside from releasing the expansion on October 20, id Software is set to add a whole hell of a lot to the game over the next few months: new Battle Mode maps, new playable demons and some improvements to the multiplayer experience.
Unlock super-difficult challenge stages in Crash Bandicoot 4:
Ever since its reveal back in June, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time has looked excellent and this gamescom trailer reinforced our belief that fans of the franchise and/or platformers in general are in for a treat. What’s more, we now know that Crash 4 has “Flashback Tapes” which will unlock “Flashback Levels”, which developer Toys for Bob describes as “devious puzzle rooms”. This, along with other features like the incredible-looking “N.Verted Mode” that we saw at this year’s State of Play event, makes us super excited to see what’s probably going to be the best brand-new Crash Bandicoot game since… ever.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is set to give us all the opportunity to play as Crash, Coco, Neo Cortex (!!!!) and more on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 2.
Jelly Beans become Medieval Heroes in Fall Guys Season Two:
Developer Mediatonic released a sneak peek at the second season for Fall Guys — the perfect game for this second bout of isolation. The new offerings will include new rounds, new maps, and of course, a wardrobe full of new cosmetics to dress up your Jelly Bean with.
Mediatonic also informed us that Season Two will be themed around medieval heroes and that the newly added maps will provide far more dynamic methods of qualifying — such as building your own pathway to success — than in the current season. Of course, all this content is still a work in progress and about a month off from release (according to the in-game counter), but we’re sure to enjoy it when it’s finally out.
Stay on target in Star Wars Squadrons:
Wedge! Hera! Sloane! We are super glad to see Star Wars Squadrons give some love to some auxiliary Star Wars characters in the latest story trailer that EA and Motive Studios showed off at gamescom. The trailer also showed off the game’s VR functionality which looks surprisingly feature-complete — even though the jury is still out as to whether the story will be as robust as we’d like.
Nevertheless, Star Wars Squadrons is set to be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One this October. The Force may very well be with this one.
Harness the power of the Darkness in Destiny 2: Beyond Light:
Bungie showcased a highly-edited trailer for Destiny 2’s upcoming Beyond Light expansion that fleshed out some details on the upcoming Stasis sub-classes that will see players finally wield the Darkness. The Warlock, Hunter and Titan sub-class titles are Shadebinder, Revenant and Behemoth, respectively.
Bungie is promising to release more information on each of these sub-classes slowly on a dedicated Stasis portal on its website in the lead-up to Beyond Light’s slated November 10 release on PC, PS4, Xbox one and Stadia. It’s also set for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions of Destiny 2 once they’re released.
Get reacquainted with the 40th U.S. President in Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War:
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War has been an industry open secret for a long,long time but now that the game has been (recently) officially revealed, Activision has finally set the stage for this next entry by introducing none other than former U.S. President, Ronald Reagan. What was most unnerving to us in the cinematic trailer debuted here is, however, just how uncannily similar Digital Reagan looks to the real deal.
Get ready to take orders from “uncanny valley” Reagan when Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War launches on November 13 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Uncover ancient mysteries and face secret societies in Unknown 9: Awakening:
Unknown 9: Awakening was easily the most mysterious, most intriguing reveal of the whole event, but it remains to be seen whether this new IP will materialise into something good; the CGI trailer Reflector Entertainment shared during the show did little more than showcase a young girl awakening (pun very much intended) her latent supernatural powers. Reflector didn’t offer a release window for the game, but given that it’s slated for PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X and we haven’t seen any gameplay yet, it’s surely a while away.
With that being said, if you’re keen to see what Unknown 9: Awakening is all about, it’s actually part of the Unknown 9 Storyworld: head on over to the official website to check it all out — the Unknown 9: Out of Sight scripted podcast, the Unknown 9: Genesis novel trilogy, the Unknown 9: Torment comic book series and the interactive experience known as Unknown 9: Chapters.
Get Caught in a Time-Loop with Willem Dafoe, James McAvoy and Daisy Ridley in 12 Minutes:
Indie stand-out 12 Minutes gave a star-studded cast update to an already greatly anticipated title; former Rockstar and Ubisoft artist Luis Antonio (yes, this game is being developed by just one single person!) has not only captured the attention of the games industry with his time-loop interactive thriller, but also the voice talent of Willem Dafoe, James McAvoy and Daisy Ridley.
12 Minutes, which is at least partially inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, is “coming soon” to PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X; given that the game has already been in development for the past seven years, we hope that “coming soon” means sooner rather than later.
Return to a storied franchise with Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond:
Despite opening with generic tank warfare, the gameplay trailer for Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond shows that we may finally have another contender for serious, story-rich, single player experiences for the VR Platform (looking at you, Half-Life: Alyx). That’s because the trailer quickly became a showcase of subterfuge, espionage, interesting tactics and some excellent physics-based strategy with players engaging in intense VR combat as they aid the French Resistance in World War 2. All of this seems to indicate that Respawn Entertainment is looking to make a (welcome) return to the origins of the Medal of Honor franchise… and hopefully a return to form.
Medal of Honour: Above and Beyond is set for a holiday release, exclusively on Oculus devices.
Also coming out of gamescom:
The first game of the evening, Scarlet Nexus, is a promising-looking anime action RPG (think Astral Chain but with red instead of blue) coming our way from Bandai Namco and set to release on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X this holiday season.
Quantum Error, not to be confused with 2016’s Quantum Break, is a cosmic-horror first person shooter that looks terrifying in the best ways. The game, which also happens to have a GoFundMe campaign under way is now in development for PS4 and PS5.
In the most bewildering announcement of the entire show, Ford (yes, the motor company) took to the stage to reveal TeamFordzilla, a futuristic car that, at first, we couldn’t even tell whether it was a real-life prototype or not. Since then, Top Gear (the magazine) has confirmed that the hypercar is designed with the virtual world in mind. Apparently, Ford is in “advanced discussions with a major games developer to introduce it into a popular racing game in 2021.” Of course, that leaves us to speculate as to which popular racing game that will be… time will tell.
Speaking of virtual cars, Codemasters revealed some new gameplay features and game modes (including a map creator and editor called the Playground) for Dirt 5, the newest entry in the studio’s esteemed and long-running racing game franchise. It all looks excellent and we can’t wait to race against AI or with friends when Dirt 5 launches for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Stadia this October.
BioWare gave us a behind-the-scenes look at Dragon Age 4,in which the studio showed us some concept art and revealed that the voice actors are mostly done recording their voiceovers. Does this latter fact mean that the game can’t possibly be too far away? Probably not.
Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future’s Doc Emmett Brown himself (!), made an appearance to reveal that Surgeon Simulator 2 is available right now on the Epic Games Store. I guess this announcement makes sense since he plays a doctor…? Cool game, nonetheless!
In more unexpected announcements, a live action trailer featuring a Napoleon Dynamite wannabe revealedBridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, which is meant to be a continuation of the concept behind 2017’s Bridge Constructor: Portalbut, of course, set in Robert Kirkman’s very popular universe. Bridge Constructor: Walking Dead will release later this year on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch, iOS and Android — quite literally on everything but Stadia.
Speaking of comics, the famous duo Sam and Max are heading back into the video game space — this time, in virtual reality. Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual is set to be released in the first half of 2021.
Blizzard was present to reveal that World of Warcraft Shadowlands, the latest expansion to the granddaddy of all MMOs, is set to release on October 27. Blizzard also debuted Bastion, the first episode of its animated series, Shadowlands Afterlives, which is meant to fill in the gap between the last two expansions… it also looks like it had a far smaller budget than your typical Blizzard video.
In unrelated news, just in case you haven’t lost track of all the Warhammer games that are set to release, here’s one more: Necromunda: Underhive Wars, “an action-packed tactical game”, is set for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on September 8.
Coming from two-man studio Tuxedo Labs is Teardown, a sandbox game where literally everything and anything is destructible. Our take is that this might be a better Crackdown game than Crackdown 3, but you can be the judge when Teardown launches on PC later this year.
An adorably terrifying trailer for Little Nightmares II saw the little raincoat-girl and a new haunting friend take the horror to the mainland. Tarsier Studios’ sequel to the award-winning puzzle-platformer is set to be released on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch next year.
Taking the place of what should have been WWE 2K21 is WWE Battlegrounds, a game that seems to be a spiritual successor (of sorts) to 2011’s WWE All-Stars. So far, though, the trailers do not look at all encouraging and, plus, when considering all the things that went horribly wrong with WWE 2K20, we will probably steer away from Battlegrounds when it releases on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch this September.
If you’re a fan of extremely odd IP mashups, you’ll be thrilled to know that The Sims 4 is getting a Star Wars expansion pack, entitled Star Wars: Journey to Batuu. This expansion will let your Sims visit the distant world of Batuu and explore the Black Spire Outpost — the same fictional location that features in Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars-themed area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. Have your Sims join the Resistance or the First Order when The Sims 4: Star Wars: Journey To Batuu launches September 8.
Continuing the trend of oddball announcements, Counterplay Games crashed the party just to show about… fiveseconds of gameplay from its looter-slasher Godfall. We’re still scratching our heads about this one too, but at least we won’t have to wait too long to see what the game’s all about — it’s scheduled to launch alongside the PlayStation 5 (and on PlayStation 4) some time this holiday season.
Free-to-play staple Warframe has received a large content update titled Heart of Deimos. This looks to make the game a little friendlier to newbies by adding fresh cinematics and a brand new tutorial that seeks to demystify some of the game’s most obtuse systems. There’s also more content for long time players, like a new Warframe-hungry mouth built into the walls of your spaceship.
Override 2, a “gigantic robot brawler” from Modus Studios Brazil, looks very Virtual-On-esque which means we have plenty of reasons to be excited. It’s set to launch on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Switch this December.
We finally got a new trailer for Mafia: Definitive Edition from 2K, and… it was a narrative trailer. For a game that’s been out for 18 years. We’re not too sure why 2K saw fit to release that trailer in particular, but it’s nice to see some more of the game in action before its scheduled September 25 release date.
Lemnis Gate is the next multiplayer shooter to grace gaming platforms, and it’s entirely based around manipulating 25-second time loops. Whereas this all looks promising or at the least intriguing, we still do not quite understand how this will actually play out. We hope to have a better understanding by early next year, when the game’s set to release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
We also got a decent glimpse at the excellent-looking LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, also known as the fourth release to adapt Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones into LEGO form. However, the bad news is that it seems that we will have to wait a bit longer to play through all the nine mainline films in traditional light-hearted LEGO fashion, as LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has now been pushed back to March 2021.
The second surprise launch of the show was comedy/body-horror/platformer Struggling, which kind of looks like a cross between QWOP and Carrion. The game will have players attempt to get a strange, difficult-to-control squishy mean man through some physics-based platformer levels alone or with a friend. This looks like an absolutely wild time of a game and one that will push your bond to the limit if you choose to play with a friend. Struggling is available right now on PC and Switch.
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is set to arrive on PC in October, bringing with it the same graphical and UI upgradesthat Age of Empires II got late last year. It looks like it’ll also feature a handful of new civilisations, some gameplay refreshes and new historical battles and challenges that we hope will make (arguably) the best Age of Empires game even better.
Following Man of Medan, the next entry in Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games’ Dark Pictures Anthology, Little Hope, is set to release this Halloween for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One — meaning that, at the very least, Halloweenspooks won’t be cancelled this year. Thanks, Supermassive!
Project Cars 3 has already been out for almost a week, but Slightly Mad Studios took the chance to debut a launch trailer in order to hopefully get more players to race past its finish lines.
gamescom has finally stepped up to the plate and decided to release a “video game” of its own; the result is a crazy-immersive ARG called gamescom forest. The gameplay consists of donating your real life money to get people to plant trees… and watching the actual world change around you. We’re not typically enthused about microtransactions, but this implementation looks like it’ll do a lot of good for a change.
Chorus(stylised Chorvs) is a frenetic space combat game coming our way from Deep Silver Fishlabs. We were truly impressed with what we’ve seen so far and we can’t wait to take control of ace pilot Nara and guide her and her sentient ship, Forsaken, to safety when Chorus releases on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Stadia at some point next year.
From Proletariat, Inc. comes Spellbreak, a “multiplayer, action-spellcasting game where you unleash your inner battlemage.” It’s essentially a battle royale, but at least this one is “unique” in that it’s also both cell-shaded and free-to-play. It’s slated for release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One this coming Thursday, September 3.
Turrican returns after a 30-year absence with a set of two anthologies featuring remastered versions of all the games in the franchise. Turrican Anthology Vol. 1 will include “the Amiga versions of Turrican and Turrican 2, the SNES Super Turrican and its Director’s Cut, and the Mega Drive Mega Turrican Score Attack”,and Vol. 2 will include “the Amiga’s Turrican 3, the Mega Drive’s Mega Turrican and its Director’s Cut, plus the SNES Super Turrican 2 and Super Turrican 1 Score Attack.”Both anthologies are set to release for PS4 and Switch and will be available for purchase sometime soon.
Talk about a jam-packed Opening Night Live, huh? It’s crazy to think that after all that, we still had two whole days of gamescom to watch through. Other than that, we’re set to get some digital event replacement for Tokyo Game Show this September and we’re guaranteed to get some wild Playstation and Xbox event(s) either sometime before or after TGS, especially as both Sony and Microsoft are yet to reveal the price for their respective next-gen machine.
What’s more, in the closing moments of Opening Night Live, host Geoff Keighley also announced that The Game Awards are bound to return this December. Here’s hoping that the highly-anticipated Elden Ring will sneak up on us then… or even earlier.
What did you think was the highlight of the event? Has anything caught your eye in particular? Let us know in the comments section down below, or join our community on Facebook (page, group) or Discord to chat about Opening Night Live — and the rest of the games industry — in real time!