Over the past few years Gamescom has grown into a fantastic complementary event to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). In the past, E3 was the big dog in town that everyone in the gaming industry would wait for. Every May or June you knew you'd see the best and brightest show off some exciting new software titles and the occasion big hardware reveal. But after E3 there was nothing until the Fall when a mass of games released within a few weeks of one another.
Gamescom changed all of that by adding an event in Europe that takes place just a few months after E3. It was a long enough gap to allow developers to come up with new content to show off, and it gave developers another platform to display their software if they couldn't have something ready in time for E3. Microsoft used that strategy to perfection this year, but showcasing games such as Gears of War and Rare Replay at E3, holding Scalebound and Crackdown for Gamescom. It's a two-hit combo that has worked for many developers and publishers.
This year stands to be huge for Gamescom and the gaming industry as a whole. Microsoft is showing off what could be the best lineup in Xbox history, Square is finally ready to showcase Final Fantasy 15 again, and we get another look at the highly anticipated Dark Souls 3.
Here's a breakdown of the biggest news to come out of Gamescom 2015. We'll update this article throughout the week, so bookmark it now and check back often.
Crackdown 3 - At Gamescom 2015 we got our first look at in-game (pre-Alpha) footage of Crackdown 3. The biggest draw is the multiplayer would features 100 percent destructible environments thanks to the Microsoft Cloud. By connecting to the Cloud the game has access to 20 times the computational power of the Xbox One. The main campaign will support up to four player co-op play, but the environments will not be fully destructible. Meanwhile, transforming vehicles return from the first game, which should add another layer to the destruction. Multiplayer begins in Summer 2016, which probably refers to a multiplayer beta to be released before the game likely launches later that year.
Halo Wars 2 - One of the biggest surprises of Gamescom 2015 was the announcement trailer for Halo Wars 2. The original game released on the Xbox 360 back in 2009, but the series went quiet shortly after. What seemed like a one-off side game in the Halo universe now gets a sequel on Xbox One and PC in late 2016. The original game was developed Ensemble Studios, the developers of the Age of Empires series of games. Halo Wars 2 will be handled by Create Assembly, the developers behind Sega's Total War franchise. That should equate to a high quality product, and given the PC release it should hopefully rival other RTS games on the platform.
Halo World Championship - The Halo series has been a staple in the competitive scene, but that fire has cooled off in recent years. Microsoft is looking to spark the flames once more with the announcement of the Halo World Championship. Players will compete for over one million dollars in Halo 5: Guardians via tournaments held by Major League Gaming, ESL and more. Details are scarce at the moment, but a preview will take place this Friday via a special Gamescom invitational that features some of the best Halo teams in Europe (CAZ Esports, Epsilon Esports and Supremacy) on the official Halo Twitch channel.
Quantum Break - It has now been confirmed that Quantum Break will release on April 5, 2015 for the Xbox One. The new gameplay trailer from Gamescom looks absolutely epic, but one of the biggest points was the star power that will be voicing the characters in the game. Between Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones), Dominic Monaghan (John Wick) and Lance Reddick (Lord of the Rings), this is an all-star cast that will help bring the realism to the game. Focusing on the ability to slow down and manipulate time, Quantum Break looks to offer a fresh take on the third-person shooter genre.
Scalebound - The first gameplay trailer for Scalebound was finally unveiled at Microsoft's Gamescom briefing. Developed by Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengance), Scalebound seems to combine the developer's trademark fast-paced action with the unique dynamic of controlling a giant dragon while having dragon-like powers yourself. The game will offer four-player co-op online play and features a variety of enemies ranging from traditional humanoids to giant multi-headed beasts. From what we've seen, the game seems like the natural progression from Platinum Games' previous titles, adding a bit more strategy and depth to the fast-paced, hack-n-slash vibe of their previous games.
Dark Souls 3 - We got a good look at Dark Souls 3 behind closed doors at E3 this year, but this Gamescom gameplay trailer really blows the roof off the title. The biggest take away from the trailer is the clear influence of Bloodborne. You can see the fast-paced combat from Bloodborne, mixing in with the more tradition style of Dark Souls combat. It feels like the perfect blend of two complementary franchises. Dark Souls fans should also be able to spot some classic enemies returning, as well as lots of death. Yes, at this early stage the game looks just as difficult as the previous entries in the series.
Star Wars: Battlefront - The big highlight of the EA press conference at Gamescom was the new Fighter Squadron mode was on display. While space combat won't make it into Battlefront (maybe some DLC?) you can fight in the atmosphere of the planets. In the dogfight sequence we see all kinds of Imperial and Rebel craft as well as a surprise appearance by the Millennium Falcon and the Slave I (Boba Fett's ship). Han Solo can clearly be heard chatting with the other Rebel pilots and in typical Star Wars fashion, the Falcon flies through every explosion after taking down each Imperial ship. It looks great, now just put some stars in the background.
The Sims 4: Get Together - The new expansion adds a completely new world to The Sims 4. Windenburg is a European-styled city with the inhabitants focusing on their social life above all else. There isn't much information available on the new expansion, except that partying will be a big component. The announcement was accompanied by a bevy of dancers so expect some fun times to come for your Sims. The expansion is scheduled to release in November.
Everything Else - News was scarce on other EA properties. We got a better look at Rose, Colonel Corn and Citron from Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. The new Need for Speed also had a new trailer on display that showcased some of the story elements of the upcoming racer. Some gameplay for Mirror's Edge: Catalyst was shown off and it looks good, especially if you enjoyed the first game. BioWare was also on-hand to discuss the upcoming Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. It hits on October 27 and will be free for existing subscribers. There will also be a new character that can be unlocked.
Final Fantasy 15 - Unfortunately, there's not much to say about Final Fantasy 15 at Gamescom. While Square Enix stated that the upcoming RPG would be the company's focus at Gamescom, revealing the first trailer in nearly a year, the internet wasn't as happy with what Square had on display. The new trailer doesn't show any gameplay and instead focuses on Noctis (the main character) as a child, resting in his father's arms. That's literally half the trailer. In addition we learned that Regis (Noctis' father) has been redesigned, the development team is behind and airships may be limited to DLC, there's no release date yet, the prologue for the game has been changed and there's a new demo in the works for the Tokyo Game Show.
Tomb Raider - Rise of the Tomb Raider is on display at Gamescom and looks to be the most Metal Gear Solid-like experience for Lara Croft yet. Stealth is a big component of what we've seen from Rise of the Tomb Raider, but we'll surely see more before the game hits the Xbox One on November 10. In the meantime, there's already talk of the third game in the reinvented Lara Croft series, but Square Enix was quick to point out that Rise of the Tomb Raider is their focus for the time being.
World of Warcraft: Legion - The sixth expansion for the ailing MMORPG was officially unveiled at Gamescom. While numbers for World of Warcraft are at a nine-year low, Blizzard is hopeful the new expansion will bring new and returning players into the mix. Legion increases the level cap from 100 to 110, adds a new Demon Hunter class and gives players a new continent to explore. The Broken Isles continent isn't the only thing players have to look forward to as a new player vs. player (PvP) honor system will be introduced, and artifacts will allows players to customize legendary weapons such as the Doomhammer. Finally, there's a new system similar to prestige in Call of Duty that unlocks unique mounts and visual customizations for the legendary weapons.
Heroes of the Storm - Lots of news for Blizzard's free-to-play MOBA came out of Gamescom. First and foremost, we finally have a name and combat information for the Monk character that was revealed with the Eternal Conflict expansion. The Monk is known as Kharazim and offers a variety of play styles. In addition, the Warcraft hero, Rexxar, will join the fray as a Warrior class. He'll use his loyal bear Misha during combat to soak damage and annoy enemy heroes. Artanis from the realm of Starcraft will also be entering the Nexus. Little is known about the leader of the Protoss, but we'll keep you updated as more is revealed. Finally, there will be a new battleground, the Infernal Shrines. It's a three-lane, Diablo-themed battleground that offers the unique ability to summon a Punisher that attacks opposing heroes.
Hearthstone - Blizzard announced the Grand Tournament expansion shortly before Gamescom, but more details about the changes coming with the new expansion were revealed at the company's Gamescom press briefing. First and foremost, the Arena will be changing to give a random card pack as your reward instead of a Gobins vs. Gnomes card pack (which is the current reward). In addition, playing Ranked Mode will offered tiered rewards based on what rank you finish at the end of each month. For example, if you finish the month at rank 17 you'll earn a Golden Common Card and some dust in addition to the current card back reward. There's also a new Reveal mechanic that shows one card from each deck and the player with the higher card gets a bonus based on the specifications of the card with the Reveal mechanic. For instance, The Skeleton Knight card Deathrattle reveals one card from each deck, and if your card costs more mana, The Skeleton Knight returns to your hand.
Stay tuned to this article as we'll be updating it all week as news comes out of Gamescom!