PC Gamer’s Phil Savage and Mollie Taylor have been at Gamescom in Cologne this week, and so far they’ve published previews of The Callisto Protocol, Homeworld 3, and Jagged Alliance 3. They’ve seen many more games than that—I saw some fearsome-looking schedules before they left—so we’ll have to wait for them to regain consciousness to find out what they’re most excited about.
The rest of us have been watching from home: Gamescom continues through this weekend, but its biggest reveals and announcements happened closer to the start of the week, particularly during Tuesday’s livestream, which was once again hosted by the host with the most videogame shows that he hosts, Geoff Keighley.
You can watch all of Opening Night Live here (opens in new tab) if you missed it. It’s about two hours long, and FYI, the big reveal at the end is just the release date for Dead Island 2. It’s not really a moment you need to witness in context, but there were some exciting games at the show. There were other shows, too, including another edition of our publisher’s Future Games Show. After watching all of the week’s activity, here are the six games we’re most curious about. (And here’s the rest of our Gamescom 2022 coverage (opens in new tab).)
Wes Fenlon, Real Time Strategist: RTS renaissance. RTS renaissance!! A couple years ago EA partnered up with Petroglyph Games, a small studio founded by many of the former Westwood developers who made Command & Conquer, to work on a very good remastered collection of the original C&C and Red Alert. Off the back of that success Petroglyph announced a World War I RTS called The Great War: Western Front. I have to say it’s a bit brown for my taste, but I like the sound of Petroglyph dipping its toe into larger-scale strategy in a way it never did with C&C. This quote from the Steam page sounds a lot like Total War:
“As Theatre Commander, experience enthralling turn-based grand-strategy as you direct the deployment of forces, perform research and carefully consider how you disseminate your resources across the Western Front in a war won by inches. Alongside this, take up the mantle of Field Commander in dynamic real-time battles as you direct units to defeat your opponent, build trenches and perform direct assaults by sending your infantry over the top.”
Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles looks so cool
Chris Livingston, Settlement Builder-Upper: Sometimes a trailer comes along that instantly jabs a finger onto the endorphin release button in my brain. Airships? Settlements? Tall castles built on craggy cliffs? Yes to all of those. I never played aerial combat game The Falconeer, but the follow-up, Bulwark, looks fantastic. Build fortresses and cities across the tops of snowcapped mountains of an ocean planet, recruit commanders that unlock new building options, and defend against attacks from airborne enemies. My body is ready.
Pinnochio, but it’s Bloodborne
Tyler Colp, But He’s Bloodborne: I routinely forget that Lies of P exists and that it’s a soulslike game loosely (real loosely) based on Pinocchio. The trailer plays into how absurd the premise is without breaking the fourth wall and I respect that: A strangely attractive Pinocchio carves through freaky enemies and then meets his father, Geppetto, in a dark 19th century France. It’s all so unabashedly Bloodborne that I think I have to play it at this point.
Lauren Morton, But She’s Bloodborne: I guess I should admit that I have not forgotten that Lies of P exists and have been unironically looking forward to it since it was announced. So uh, I guess the only surprise to me was that no one dragged me away from putting “Pinocchiosouls” in a headline.
New Tales from the Borderlands, old Telltale staff
Jody Macgregor, New And Old Weekend/AU Editor: A sequel to Tales from the Borderlands was announced in April, though with a footnote of caution: this one’s being made in-house by Gearbox. The original was great because of how outside regular Borderlands it was, with completely different gameplay and a cast of civilians to highlight the absurdity of the looter-shooter’s setting as seen from ground level. Having the people responsible for writing Borderlands 3 trying to handle that style of comedy seemed like a potential red flag. (Though to be fair both the Borderlands 3 DLC and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands were improvements in the writing department).
However, the Gamescom trailer for New Tales from the Borderlands was accompanied by a statement from Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford (opens in new tab) explaining that its creation involved “a group of original Telltale story tellers, writers and developers who worked on the original game.” Gearbox director of production James Lopez also told IGN (opens in new tab) that the studio “partnered with key alumni from the original Tales game” to write it. So maybe it’s safe to get our hopes up after all.
New Tales from the Borderlands will be out on October 21.
This offbeat indie detective game slays
Chris Livingston, Murder Investigator: In just the short demo for indie detective game The Case of the Golden Idol I was completely ensnared. Gaze at oddball pixel art tableaus of murder scenes and click on clues to investigate. To solve a murder you’ll need to discover the names of everyone involved and determine the nature of the crime, dragging and dropping the words you collect into a scroll, so it’s part Return of the Obra Dinn and part Mad Libs. The full game will feature a dozen murders to investigate and, intruigingly, all of these murders are somehow linked. The demo is excellent and I can’t wait to keep investigating when the full game is released—though that date is still a mystery.
Finally, a game where I can be a professional orator
Tyler Wilde, Executive Orator: We got our introduction to Where Winds Meet during Opening Night Live. It’s an open world action RPG set at the end of China’s Ten Kingdoms period—after which there aren’t ten kingdoms anymore, so there’s a lot happening. You’ve got to be skeptical when a game promises things like authenticity and freedom, but with all the cinematic trailers we saw at Gamescom, it was nice to see some genuine footage of a videogame being played. The city scene particularly impressed me—look at all those NPCs standing around in their cool period clothes—and I want to know more about the non-combat jobs we can apparently get up to in Where Winds Meet.
Orator and ferryman are my top choices: Imagine ferrying NPCs around on a boat while orating at them, for hours. Now that’s what I call Modern Videogames. The publisher of Where Winds Meet is putting me in touch with its developer, a studio based in Hangzhou, China, so I should have more to say about this PC-only RPG soon.