Didn't see that coming
Gamescom 2014 is in full effect, with strong showings from Sony, Microsoft, and the many games on the show floor. Whether you're in Cologne, Germany to experience them live or just following along from home, it's hard to deny that--so far--this year's show has been full of unexpected announcements.
It's always nice to get some unpredictability in the gaming scene, since nobody wants to hear about the same old things during such a huge event. Whether they made us clap with delight or scowl with disgust, all ten of these Gamescom 2014 news stories took us by surprise--even though it's our job to try and see these things coming. Let's recap all the unforeseen moments that we're still trying to process...
Tomb Raider is (kind of) an Xbox exclusive
If there was one announcement that hit the gaming hornets' nest like a well-aimed rock, it's that Rise of the Tomb Raider is Xbox exclusive. It has since been confirmed that this is just a temporary arrangement, but it's still no less shocking--and just as rage-inducing for PlayStation/PC-owning Croft fans.
This one's a shocker for a variety of reasons. Tomb Raider has been a PlayStation staple since its creation, and everyone assumed Rise would be a multiplatform release until now. Even more surprising is the deal itself, since we have little information on Microsoft and Square-Enix's business deal and this seems like a risky move for both companies. Time will tell how good an idea it is. Bets, anyone?
Hayden Panettiere is in Until Dawn
Remember Hayden Panettiere? That cute girl who played the coach's daughter in Remember the Titans and the all-American cheerleader in Heroes? Well, in Until Dawn you get to play her, sneaking through a creepy mountain cottage and trying to escape a murderous psychopath's hacksaw in nothing but a towel. Wholesome family entertainment!
The Until Dawn announcement already had a hint of surprise to it, given how different it looks from the trailer shown for it at Gamescom two years ago. Changes have clearly been made since then, including bringing in Hollywood star power for mo-capping and voice-acting. Still, we weren't expecting to see the likes of Miss Panettiere. She hasn't been credited as any particular character yet, but our money's on Sam, a cute blonde girl who leaves a nice bath to find that she's alone in a giant house with a clown-faced killer. Man, I hate it when that happens.
DayZ is coming to PS4
Everything about DayZ screams PC--or murmurs it quietly but sternly, because shouting draws attention. It's an open-world survival horror game where the main objective is to stay alive as long as you can. It started out as an ArmA 2 mod and has morphed into a stand-alone indie title that is very popular on Steam. And it's coming to PS4? Er, what?
The reveal of a DayZ console release may be one of the things we expected the least out of Gamescom, since it doesn't seem like something that would even be considered. However, Sony has faith in the premise, because DayZ will be hitting PS4 sometime in the future. So far no release date has been disclosed, and for good reason: creator Dean Hall recently noted that "We didn't want to just port DayZ, but to develop the game to each platform's strengths." Hunker down, friends, we have a wait on our hands.
Metal Gear Solid 5 is coming to PC
For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. At Gamescom, the equal and opposite reaction to DayZ is Metal Gear Solid 5, which will be coming to Steam when the game releases early next year. Now, with the power of science, you can hide in all the sexy boxes you want from the comfort of your keyboard and mouse. Thanks Kojima!
While the MGS announcement hasn't been met with the same bleary-eyed confusion as DayZ's (our friends at PC Gamer, for instance, have been waiting for this day), it still definitely comes as a surprise. Kojima's ridiculous and beloved series hasn't seen a PC release since the MGS2 port in 2011, which was itself a first since the Metal Gear Solid PC release in 1998. Good lord. So this may be out of the blue, but it's a good out of the blue, like a parachuted care package. Or maybe a goat, if Snake has anything to say about it.
Kojima seemingly flew all the way to Germany just to show off boxes
Metal Gear Solid 5's bit during Sony's press conference was one of the most WTF moments in Gamescom history. Famed video game auteur Hideo Kojima took the stage for a quick presentation of the new cardboard box mechanics in MGS5, and it wasn't long before things spun into madness. Cool, you can pop out of the box top for a few quick shots in slow-mo. Huh, you can disguise the box as a soldier. Weird now there's a swimsuit model on the box to serve as a distraction, which soldiers are hornily sprinting up to. Why is Big Boss putting a PS4 box on his head? And THAT'S IT!?
This bizarre sequence of events was made all the weirder by the nonchalant tone of the voiceover. Now that we know about Silent Hills, it makes sense that Kojima was in the mix at Gamescom (and why he was pimping Pacific Rim so much last year). But at the time, showing off girly pictures glued to virtual cardboard boxes seemed like the most ludicrous reason to ever take up five minutes of stage time at a prestigious video game trade show. That is, until we realized
P.T. is Silent Hills
Trailers featuring YouTube-esque reaction footage are nothing new--The Evil Within released a trailer just like that earlier this year. For that reason, not many people took notice of P.T., an odd little title announced through vague video clips and footage of nervous-looking players. Hindsight is 20/20 though, and now we know what P.T. really is: Silent Hills, a project headed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. Holy what!
It's surprising enough (in an awesome way) that these two powerhouse creatives are throwing their hats into the Silent Hill ring. What was really shocking though was the announcement itself, because they introduced a sequel to a beloved franchise in the sneakiest way possible. It wasn't until Let's Players started posting playthroughs of the demo that anyone noticed the "Silent Hills" tagline. So basically Kojima and del Toro just trolled the entire gaming community. Bravo, guys, bravo.
Sierra is back...
If you played PC games in the '90s, Sierra Entertainment holds a special place in your heart. The many Quest series, Leisure Suit Larry, Phantasmagoria, Dr. Brain, The Incredible Machine--all these classics franchises are united under the Sierra brand. Fans of classic adventure games shed a tear when the company seemingly ceased after Activision Blizzard acquired it in 2008, and the publisher hadn't been heard from since. Then, out of nowhere, the Sierra website came back from the dead in early August, with a cryptic message: "More to be revealed at Gamescom 2014."
We didn't dare to hope, but it's true: Sierra is back in business. Activision has resurrected Sierra from limbo, complete with an updated version of its classic "distant mountain as seen through a shuttered window" logo. The new vision for Sierra involves cherry-picking indie developers to work on reboots of classic Sierra franchises or new properties entirely. But we know of two Sierra revivals so far...
...and it's making new games in the King's Quest and Geometry Wars series
King's Quest is easily one of Sierra's most beloved series. For many, it was their introduction to the engrossing worlds and whimsy of point-and-click adventures (also, GR's own Sophia Tong is a Quest fanatic). Good news, boss--King's Quest is getting a new game after 16 years of dormancy. It's being made by The Odd Gentlemen, developers of quirky puzzle platformer The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and should be out sometime in 2015.
Then, out of nowhere, Sierra also reveals Geometry Wars 3, a fully 3D sequel in the hectic, arcade-style shmup series. Sierra didn't develop the first two Geometry Wars games--that was Bizarre Creations, which Activision acquired and dissolved. Lumping Geometry Wars 3 in with the Sierra stuff might not make the most sense in the world--but it's a new Geometry Wars, so we're happy.
Tearaway is coming to PS4
Death is always shocking--and you can pretty much consider this the official death knell of the PlayStation Vita. The Vita has been on the decline for a while now, and with its strongest first-party exclusive going multiplatform, it's easy to assume that the Vita is no longer a system that Sony actually cares about supporting. But it's not all bad! In fact, this is a chance for a whole slew of Vita-less PS4 owners to play one of the most delightful handheld games in recent memory.
Tearaway: Unfolded is a new and improved version of the imaginative Vita game, rebuilt to take advantage of the DualShock 4. Developer Media Molecule isn't just porting the game wholesale, either--expect a ton of additional content and fresh mechanics in Unfolded, like controlling the wind using the touch pad or illuminating dark caves with the light bar.
The Payday developers are making a Walking Dead game
If you haven't played them, the Payday games are pretty great co-op fun, playing like a cops-and-robbers version of Left 4 Dead. So it feels like some kind of circle of life thing knowing that Payday developer Overkill is going back to zombies with a new game based on The Walking Dead. All we've got for now is a teaser, since the expected release date for this surprise announcement is sometime in 2016--but the teaser itself is utterly chilling.
Overkill's The Walking Dead revolves around the comic rather than the TV show, and directly involves series creator Robert Kirkman. According to Kirkman's bit in the teaser, this will be a zombie experience centered on co-op. Here's to hoping for lots of heart-wrenching character development and man's inhumanity to man mixed in with this undead apocalypse.
They got us good
There you have it, the ten moments at Gamescom that shocked us more than only the best jump scares. Which of these shocked you the most? Were you surprised by something completely different? Did you know all this already and are looking down your nose at us, you pretentious so-and-so? Tell us in the comments below, and let us geek out together.
Want more goodness from Gamescom 2014? Check out 13 ways Gamescom proves the Vita has a bright future and see how right our Gamescom 2014 predictions were.