I’m at the airport waiting for my flight to Gamescom, and since it’s going to be a very long wait, I’m going to take advantage of this rare downtime to put my thoughts together on what I expect from Sony and Microsoft at the show, and more precisely from the PS4 and Xbox One. It’s their maiden year, so they’re doubtlessly going to be the queens of this fancy German ball.
Just remember that the contents of this article are the fruit of personal opinion, speculation, rumors and simple logic.They don’t come from any kind of insider knowledge, so take them all with a grain of salt.
Let’s start with Sony.
Gamescom has become more and more relevant over the years for the house of PlayStation. That’s not just because it’s the largest consumer event in the whole world, but also because Europe, and Germany in particular, are painted with a striking blue hue in the map of console affiliations. We could easily say that Sony is the home team in Cologne.
Sony Computer Entertainment has a rich array of studios in Europe, so we can probably expect their games to be under the spotlight, especially considering that many of them skipped E3.
Evolution Studios’ Driveclub is definitely going to take front and center stage, possibly with a new gameplay trailer and maybe even a multiplayer demonstration showing the clubs feature. Of course we can expect flashy graphics and possibly another glimpse of the game’s weather. I wouldn’t be surprised to get to see cars that haven’t been shown before as well.
Incidentally, Driveclub might not be the only racing game we’ll get to see. Gran Turismo 7 might make a surprise appearance, even if I’d expect it to roar its engines at the Toko Game Show instead.
Supermassive Games is definitely going to deliver Until Dawn, re-enginered for PS4 (and possibly for Project Morpheus). It’s hard to predict what kind of changes have been made to the game since Gamescom 2012, but if Morpheus is involved I wouldn’t expect a significant graphical improvement since VR is much more demanding hardware-wise.
We’re most probably going to finally catch a glimpse on Guerrilla Games’ rumored open world RPG — a title that has been held in reserve long enough to possibly make quite an impression. After all Guerrilla Games are the masters of graphics on PlayStation platforms, so we can expect all the visual glitz that the Killzone series got us used to.
Media Molecule skipped E3 as well, and it’s most likely that tomorrow they’re finally going to unveil their new IP. At the PS4’s unveiling last year they showed something deeply involved with PlayStation Move, but I’m not sure that’s what we’re going to see this time around. Unfortunately very little is known about it all, but there’s no doubt that it’s going to be something very quirky and creative.
Another title that is probably going to be featured prominently in Sony’s PS4 line-up is Bloodborne. The game is going to be playable on the show floor, so we can definitely expect a gameplay debut at the conference. I have very few doubts about its chances to be one of the high points of Sony’s line-up.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we got to see some gameplay of inFAMOUS: First Light, especially considering the fact that it’s going to be released very soon and we haven’t seen much yet.
The Order: 1886 will probably participate in the celebrations as well, possibly showing a new gameplay-focused segment (likely in a new location) to offset the story-focused segments we’ve seen so far.
Uncharted 4: a Thief’s End might appear as well, even if it’s possibly too early to see actual gameplay. Naughty Dog could even surprise us with an Uncharted Remastered Collection instead, in order to pave the way to the new title.
Then there are the wildcards; Sony Santa Monica and Sony Bend are still holding their unannounced PS4 titles under wraps, and the house of PlayStation might finally decide to unwrap one of them (I personally doubt they’ll both come out at the same time, but that’s just me).
While my heart hopes to see a completely new IP from the folks at Santa Monica Studio, logic tells me it’ll be a new God of War. Sony Knows that it needs to keep the momentum of the PS4 going, and not using one of its most prized IP to that end would be nearly suicidal.
Finally there’s PlayStation’s “Holy Grail”: The Last Guardian. While some probably still think it’s canceled, I’m pretty sure it’s still coming, re-engineered as a PS4 exclusive. If Sony had really canceled it, they would have said it a while ago in the least painful way possible, instead of just dragging the agony on.
I’m not sure it’s going to debut at Gamescom. It’s very likely that Sony will wait until Tokyo Game Show to unleash the Trico, but you never know.
While it’s not a Sony title, it’s right about time to hear something about Deep Down. Capcom promised news in August (even if they were talking about the Japanese beta, it’s not unlikely that there’s something coming for the West as well) and there won’t be many bigger chances to announce a western localization any time soon.
Now it’s time for some Microsoft goodness.
The house of Xbox is preparing for an away match at Gamescom, but it’s doing it in style. For the first time they’re livestreaming their conference, which means that they have all the barrels loaded and ready to fire. I definitely expect Microsoft to do whatever it can to leave a lasting impression, especially considering the Xbox One’s position in the market.
Like Sony, Microsoft works with a few teams located in Europe, and they’ll likely be featured prominently in the press briefing.
Lionhead has Fable Legends in the pipeline, and there have been rumors about one more game being worked on. I’m not sure if we’re going to see the latter (assuming it really exists), but I definitely expect to see the former.
We don’t know what kind of progress Rare had on its next game, so it’s hard to gauge whether they’re ready to show something or not. If they are, it’s probably going to be a small teaser.
Forza Horizon 2 is almost surely going to come roaring on stage with a new gameplay trailer. Microsoft has been promoting the game heavily, and this is just the right chance to push it more. According to tweets from the game’s Creative Director, we might hear something about the soundtrack as well.
A few career opportunity ads seem to indicate that Turn 10 is already working on the next chapter of the Forza Motorport series, so the appearance of a teaser for Forza Motorsport 6 is possible, even if the game would be probably slated for Fall 2015.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is going to appear almost for sure. So far we have seen a lot of the remastered version of Halo 2, and we might get to catch a glimpse on one or more of the other chapters this time around.
As for Halo 5: Guardians, we can hope on the first glimpse on gameplay, even if I wouldn’t bet anything significant on it. We’re not too far from its release after all, and I doubt Microsoft wants to wait until the next E3 to show it off.
We learned recently that at least parts of Scalebound are playable internally, and Crackdown has made progress in its development. If I had to choose between the two, the latter would be my candidate, with Scalebound kept in reserve for Tokyo Game Show.
Crackdown‘s demo might be used to showcase the cloud. Phil Spencer has been promising a new practical demonstration of its power for quite a while, and this might be the right chance.
Sunset Overdrive is very likely to appear as well, possibly with a new demo, considering that so far we’ve pretty much seen always the same areas. The white Xbox One bundle might be shown as well.
An interesting question is whether we’re going to get a glimpse on the upcoming Gears of War. I wouldn’t bet much on it, but the possibility exists. So far Microsoft has been very mysterious about it, so if they’re ready to show something, it’s probably going to be a teaser.
I don’t doubt that Microsoft is going to bring one or two unannounced games to throw into the mix. Unfortunately I don’t have the slightest idea of what they could be, because while Sony leaks like an old barge, Microsoft runs a very tight ship information-wise, so basically nothing significant has leaked to give us clues.
While it’s not a first party game, I expect a possible announcement of an Xbox One version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The game’s producer Naoki Yoshida revealed around E3 that Square Enix is talking to Microsoft to persuade them to relent on the possibility of cross-platform servers, and Microsoft probably knows it needs a good MMORPG on the Xbox One (and at least for the moment I’m sorry to say that The Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t qualify).
The idea of Xbox One players fighting side by side with PS4 owners might boggle some minds, but a precedent with Final Fantasy XI exists.
That said, this kind of announcement (if it’s ever going to happen) might be pushed to Tokyo Game Show, given the obvious Japan-friendly nature of the game.
That’s all my Crystal ball tells me, and I might definitely be wrong about some or all you read so far (all of it is very unlikely, but you never know).
We have to wait only a few hours longer in order to know. One thing is for sure: I seriously doubt this Gamescom is going to be anywhere close to boring, on both sides of the battlefield.