This week has seen the big names in gaming gather in Germany for the annual Gamescom conference. Though not as likely to contain the kind of news bombshells that are a basis of E3, it’s still a good opportunity for the mayor players to add detail to their upcoming rosters, and even throw in a few surprises. Also, once again Nintendo opted to not hold a conference but instead had their most recent games running in a booth to try and maintain the WiiU momentum.
Here’s all the main announcements:
- First off, a huge one: it seems like Microsoft have bought exclusivity for *Rise Of The Tomb Raider*, the sequel to the *Tomb Raider* reboot which was my game of the year. All sources, including [developer Crystal Dynamics](http://tombraider.tumblr.com/post/94529480860/rise-of-the-tomb-raider-update), are pointing to a true, permanent third-party exclusive rather than a timed one. More on this from me later, as you probably can imagine.
- Microsoft have seen Sony’s success with courting indies and so they’ve wheeled out the money cart for a stack of indie games that will be “first” on Xbox One. No idea how long that initial period will be. Titles in their snazzy trailer below include *Space Engineers* (which is great), *Goat Simulator* (which is equal parts fun/annoying/perplexing) and *Super Hot* (which is [AMAZING](http://awesomefriday.ca/2013/09/superhot-the-free-time-bending-fps-that-you-must-play/) and I can’t wait to get my hands on the fancy updated version). Take a look:
- There was a live demonstration of a single-player level of the upcoming *Call Of Duty Advanced Warfighter*, to which Microsoft still have the timed exclusivity of all the DLC of the next year.
- The Xbox One exclusive *Quantum Break* also had a live demo showing off its systems:
- *Forza Horizon 2* and *Sunset Overdrive* were also demoed to remind people they can spend their money on them at Christmas.
- Some new *Halo* news. The three-week-long *Halo 5 Guardians* beetah begins on December 29th, and there’ll be new things to watch on the Halo Channel. Maybe a way to watch live streams of other players’ efforts.
- And finally, Sierra Online have been resurrected and one of their new games will be *Geometry Wars 3: Generations*, made by the ex-Bizarre Creations members now at Lucid Games. It’ll be 3D, apparently, although original creator Stephen Cakebread has confirmed he’s not involved. *Geometry Wars* is one of the greatest twin-stick arcade games you can play, so I’ve got everything crossed that they don’t screw this up.
- First off, a little bragging – 10 million PS4s have been sold since launch. That’s an extremely impressive number, and unusually for new tech, they’re making money on each one. Happy shareholders, I’m sure.
- Loads of new IPs in the show. The first is from Q Games, of the PixelJunk series, and it’s called *The Tomorrow Children*. It’s a kind of Soviet-themed collaborative mining and building game where you have to rebuild mankind in the face of threats from monsters. An interesting premise and, as you can see from the trailer, an absolutely gorgeous art design:
- Games coming to PS4 – [*The Vanishing of Ethan Carter*](http://youtu.be/a9CO_B2Drhk), Mike Bithell’s *Volume*, [*Hollowpoint*](http://youtu.be/80b7iB4ICvY) from Ruffian Games.
- Dean Hall’s massive multiplayer survival game *DayZ* is coming to PS4. No mention of timeframe.
- Now a big one for me – Ninja Theory, whose PS3 exclusive *Heavenly Sword* is one of my favourite titles, is making *Hellblade*. Heavenly. Sword. Hell. Blade. Even the protagonist looks quite a bit like a darker version of HS’s Nariko, and one of the pitches for a possible *Heavenly Sword 2* would have found her battling her way out of the underworld to save her sister. Take at look at the gorgeous trailer:
- Now, another new IP, and probably one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen. It’s called *Rime*, it involves a young boy exploring a lush landscape solving puzzles, and looks like this. Try not to drool.
- *Papers, Please*, which is easily one of the most troubling games you’ll ever play, is moving onto PS4 and Vita. Definitely worth a look.
- *Destiny* still coming, still with all the exclusive content that was previously announced. *Far Cry 4* has a PS4 exclusive feature that allows you to invite a non-FC4-owning PS4 friend over for two hours of co-op action. Nice idea.
- Horror game *Until Dawn*, which initially was being made to promote PS Move on PS3, has been reimagined as a straight no-motion-controls title for PS4.
- Media Molecule’s former PS Vita exclusive *Tearaway* is moving onto PS4 with retooled controls. *Tearaway* is one of the most charming games I’ve ever played, so this is great for PS4 owners but another nail in the Vita’s coffin. Also, there were no Vita announcements today. At all. Does not bode well for the wonderful little superhandheld. Here’s the trailer for *Tearaway Unfolded*, soak in the gorgeousness:
- Housemarque – makers of *Super Stardust HD*, *Dead Nation* and *Resogun* – announced a new IP called *Alienation*. Unfortunately it’s not an adaption of the movie or spin-off TV show, but rather a rather tasty-looking sci-fi shooter in the same vein as *Dead Nation*. Here’s the trailer:
- And finally, Michel Ancel – the creator of *Rayman* and *Beyond Good & Evil* – has set up a new studio called Wild Sheep while still (apparently) working on the slow-burning *BG&E2* at Ubisoft. Their first game was announced today, called *Wild*, and it seems to be a survival sim set in a playing area the size of Europe. The twist? You can be *any* animal – human, wolf, warthog, you name it. Will be really interesting to see how all the systems weave together. Here’s the CG trailer to whet your appetite:
So, an interesting show from both players but Sony definitely showed the greater vision with a huge selection of new, exciting games. That Rise Of The Tomb Raider exclusivity is going to hurt, though.