February 21, 2024

10 min


Juan Jimenez

Marketing Manager

Gamescom 2023: Our Favourite Announcements

As you may already know, Gamescom is one of the largest video game conventions in Europe and the world. With more than 280,000 m2 of exhibition floor area and a record attendance of 373,000 visitors in 2019, this annual trade fair, hosted in Cologne, Germany, is always a mandatory destination for developers, specialised press, and the wider gaming community.

This year, it was also a dreamlike destination for us here at Haptic. Our director, James, was at the event for three days, from August 23 to 25, connecting with the best studios worldwide and looking at the best coverage of upcoming games and products.

Of course, this sparked some abundant conversations at our online remote halls regarding the massive amount of news that Gamescom brought upon us. So today, for a welcome change of pace, we present you with the games and announcements that made the 2023 edition a week to remember.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is coming to Xbox!

August 3, 2023, is likely to become a watershed moment in contemporary video game history, thanks to two names: Larian Studios and Baldur’s Gate 3.

After an intense six-year development cycle, three years in early access — the beta was released on October 6, 2020 — and an initial budget of 4 million euros that presumably grew up considerable during the years to come, the game was finally released to rave reviews, already being credited with the revival of the cRPG scene and being a strong contender to 2023’s Game of the Year.

However, the game launched only on PC, PlayStation, and Mac, meaning that Xbox players were likely to be starved out of this release… until now.

Last Thursday, Swen Vincke, Larian’s CEO, announced on his X account that, after a fruitful meeting with Xbox head Phil Spencer, the studio “found a solution that allows us to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox players this year still, something we’ve been working towards for quite some time.”

Things look fantastic for Xbox owners, especially if they are also RPG fans.

Zack Snyder might get his redemption story after all.

After the DC Extended Universe’s disastrous late outings and the expectant-but-rocky reception to the change of reins — with James Gunn and Peter Safran co-helming a reboot of both the franchise and DC’s film production company, now called DC Studios — the Internet has been trying to find someone to blame for the long-termed failure.

Some of it has been picking Zack Snyder as the culprit for a while now, claiming that the visionary American director’s dark, gritty vision for the franchise — his so-called ‘Snyderverse’ — didn’t match the comics’ more hopeful, playful identity.

Others, particularly after Justice League’s “Director’s Cut” was released to positive reviews and a healthy comparison to Joss Whedon’s ruinous version of the movie, have said that Snyder was frankly the right man to keep making the DCEU into a distinct, powerful version of the Gods Among Us.

No matter what side of this battle your opinion falls within, Gamescom had abundant evidence that Snyder has been busy with his newest IP, Rebel Moon. Not only did a fresh, intriguing trailer get released in the middle of the event’s Opening Night Live, but Snyder also announced that his team has been overseeing a game — developed by Super Evil Megacorp — that will hopefully bridge the gap between Rebel Moon’s two parts.

What a way to shut some haters up, Zack.

Alan Wake 2 is shaping up to be October’s most intriguing release.

Not only was Control one of 2019’s best games, but Remedy Entertainment’s masterpiece, especially in its abundant DLCs, created a ‘Remedyverse’ of sorts when the game’s story made apparent that Control and Alan Wake shared the same universe.

Wild theories of how this happened aside, people’s heads were turned for the right reasons when Alan Wake 2’s cinematic trailer dropped in the Game Awards 2021. Gamescom 2023 also contributed to building considerable hype for the game, with a thrilling, gritty game trailer focusing on the game’s titular protagonist and what appears to be a dual narrative between him and Saga Anderson, an FBI agent charged with investigating ritualistic murders taking place in Bright Falls, Washington.

Will this game’s narrative top Control’s already mysterious story and expansive worldbuilding?

Judging by the game’s trailer, we must play it to find out.

Will Starfield take the GOTY crown this year?

As if 2023 hasn’t had enough before-and-after moments, September 6 will star the return of one of gaming’s most legendary studios. Starfield — a game we are desperately trying not to call ‘Skyrim in space’ — took Gamescom 2023 by storm, starting the Opening Night Live event with an inspiring cinematic trailer that only makes the wait for the game’s release feel even longer.

Featuring a new song by Imagine Dragons, aptly named “Children of the Sky”, the live-action trailer reminded us why Starfield is one of 2023’s most awaited games while showing Microsoft and Xbox are still masters at this kind of marketing.

Sadly, Geoff Keighley seems destined to be disappointed in one way or another with his events, as the Starfield segment was unceremoniously interrupted by two visitors demanding the release date for Grand Theft Auto 6.

What a way of crashing the party.

We are looking forward to playing the game on September 6, 2023.

RPG fans are in for a ride during the remainder of the year.

As if Baldur’s Gate 3 coming to Xbox was not enough, a healthy dosage of role-playing games will swell the libraries of fans worldwide during what’s left of 2023 and 2024.

CD Projekt RED showed an impressive trailer for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, an expansion aiming to wrap up Johnny Silverhand and V’s thrilling story while bringing a near-absolute revamp of the game’s controversial gameplay. Plus, Idris Elba! More than a few teammates here at Haptic cannot wait for September 26, 2023.

Grinding Gear Games delivered a fantastic gameplay trailer for Path of Exile 2 that might bring the fight to Diablo IV next year. Although the Gamescom feature provided no official release date, the game is entering closed beta on June 7, 2024 – a more than appropriate time to see that juicy new druid class demolishing everything.

Following the footsteps of 2014’s well-received Black Desert, Pearl Abyss revealed Crimson Desert, a single-player RPG based in the same universe. A gameplay trailer showed great promise, with the latest Assassin’s Creed games and other open-world games like Red Dead Redemption 2 heavily inspiring the massive experience Crimson Desert aims to be.

For the more action-packaged oriented, Neowiz’s Lies of P exhibited an astonishing demo in the hallways of Koelnmesse. Based on Carlo Collodi’s original Pinocchio story, this Bloodborne-inspired game left us stunned – and could mean that From Software is finally getting some tough competitors at their own business.

For the grand finale, Game Science’s Black Myth: Wukong keeps blowing the socks off every gamer out there with every new trailer. A 19-minute demo of the game promises this might very well be the cinematic, blockbuster-like action RPG of 2024.

The indie scene is healthier than ever.

Europe has always been known for its incredible indie game development scene, and Gamescom 2023 was no exception. Surprisingly enough, Supermassive Games is now at the helm of Little Nightmares 3, having prior experience porting the previous games. The announcement trailer shows the Guildford-based studio has understood what makes the Little Nightmares series tick.

If you have a nostalgic itch for adventure games, Liverpool-based Fallen Leaf Studio has you covered with Fort Solis. This science fiction trip to a desolate mining facility on Mars brings some heavy-duty voice acting in the shape of Troy Baker and Roger Clark – of The Last of Us and Red Dead Redemption 2 fame – and looks atmospheric and thrilling enough to warrant a visit or two.

GSC Game World also made headlines with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl. The official sequel to the original game had a playable early demo that will ring a bell for survival action fans, showing why no one can make a game about post-apocalyptic science fiction like the Ukrainian game development scene.

Get ready to fight!

Fighting and action games were in for a real treat at Gamescom 2003. First, Mortal Kombat 1’s latest trailer – showcasing the reimagining of classic franchise baddies Sindel and General Shao – confirmed why NetherRealm Studios is at the top of their game, with their mixture of cinematic AAA stories and aggressive, on-your-toes gameplay looking better than ever.

Tekken series mastermind Katsuhiro Harada briefly took the stage at Opening Night Live to present a new trailer for Tekken 8, announcing its eagerly awaited release date of January 26, 2024. A fresh story on par with the seventh entry’s ambitious outing, an Arcade Mode inspired by Street Fighter 6’s Hub mode, and six returning fighters from the saga painted a strong standing for the first Tekken entry to appear on current-gen consoles.

On the shooter side of things, Sledgehammer Games presented a breathtaking first look into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s single-player campaign. State-of-the-art, hyper-realistic graphics, Hollywood-style gun-blazing action, and the return of big baddie Vladimir Makarov were joined by what the developers call “Open Combat Missions”, pointing at an unrestricted, non-linear way of getting missions and objectives done.

Finally, everyone’s favourite bank-stealing gang will make a massive comeback on September 21, 2023, when Payday 3 hits PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Windows. The Payday Gang looked as rebellious as ever in a live-action and a gameplay trailer that got us thrilled to relive what Starbreeze Studios has prepared for us all.

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