If you’re not currently located in the glorious realm of
castles, dragons, lederhosen and relaxed drinking attitudes that is Europe -- or even if you are -- there’s a good chance that
you’re not aware what a huge fat slab of Big Deal Gamescom is. Much younger and
far less well-known than the glamourously tanned, sparkle-toothed E3, next
week’s GC (based in Cologne, Germany) is nevertheless serious
gaming business indeed. Now becoming comparable to E3 in scale, spectacle and
industry importance, it’s categorically worth every bit of attention you can
give it this year.
Need specifics? Right. First up, everyone is there. Everyone. Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA,
Blizzard, Konami, Ubisoft, CD Projekt, Deep Silver, Warner Bros., Oculus…
That’s just a list of names pulled out after a quick scan of the
already-creaking logistical nightmare that is my current GC appointment
schedule. And it’s but a tiny surface scratch of the full array of exhibitors
attending the show this year. And what’s more, everyone is bringing new, exciting,
bona fide AAA stuff.
We’re going to get new demos of the next year’s biggest
current and next-gen games. There’s going to be a crapton of information and hands-on
time not available at E3. Given the timing of Gamescom, the show sometimes used to be guilty of providing little more than
a “Previously, at E3…” recap, regurgitating old demos for an audience of
journos who perhaps couldn’t make it over to L.A. But no more.
Over recent years, publishers have wised up. They’ve
realised that the internet means that all coverage is international coverage,
and thus they’ve started recognising the true potential of a second summer
show. Having Gamescom a couple of months after E3 allows them to deliver a
two-hit combo of hype, dropping initial announcements in L.A. and then
following up with a haymaker of additional content and revelations in Cologne.
With the end of this year being next-gen ground zero, Gamescom 2013 is going to
be more important than ever in that respect.
Seriously, that appointment schedule I was talking about a
couple of paragraphs above? Terrifying. The Excel doc it currently sits within
looks like a giant, throbbing Tetris stack of excitement and horror, a monolithic
virtual monument to an upcoming full week of running, sweating, note-taking,
game-playing, and tearfully lapsing into mini-comas each and every night. It’s
going to be great. And horrible. But mainly great.
Think of any upcoming current or next-gen game you’re
excited about, and the chances are that it’ll be there. And I already know I’ll
be seeing one or two that you don’t even know about yet, but obviously I’m not
going to tell you what they are right now. Not only that, but Microsoft, Sony
and EA are hitting Gamescom hard with round two of their next-gen press
Microsoft have got a hell of a lot of face-saving to do
after the original Xbox One fallout and subsequent festival of U-turns, so it’s
going to be a damnably important show to watch. Probably more so than the E3
conference, what with Sony winding up a second wave of retaliation, in a
continent always traditionally very loyal to the PlayStation brand. We already
know that MS will be revealing new exclusives, and don’t be at all surprised if
Sony does too. And naturally it’ll be streaming here on Radar, live as it all
And it’s not just about all the AAA stuff. Gamescom is much
more eclectic than that. Being in the more PC-ccentric Europe,
GC attracts all manner of weird and wonderful, lesser known stuff from the
kinds of developers who just don’t show up at E3. I already have a couple of
very interesting meetings booked in with a couple of very interesting stalwart
Euro-devs (again, I’m saying nothing until afterwards), and God knows who and
what else I’ll find when I’m over there.
All this, and I’m
going to be fuelled for an entire week on bratwurst and staunch German beer, so
there’s a good chance that my copy is going to get really damn abstract towards
the end of the show. Even for me. You don’t want to miss out on that. Join us
for Gamescom next week, from Tuesday the 21st of August onwards.
It’s going to be great.
You know that kid at parties who talks too much? Drink in hand, way too enthusiastic, ponderously well-educated in topics no one in their right mind should know about? Loud? Well, that kid’s occasionally us. GR Editorials is a semi-regular feature where we share our informed insights on the news at hand. Sharp, funny, and finger-on-the-pulse, it’s the information you need to know even when you don’t know you need it.