E3 and Comic-Con are in the past, but that doesn't mean that the bonanza of summer gaming events is over just yet. Starting August 12, Cologne, Germany will once more host Gamescom, which is just about the biggest gaming event in Europe. Big news comes out of it every year, including game reveals and hardware announcements that are felt worldwide, and you can expect that to continue in 2014.
What exactly will be announced? Well, we have some idea which games will be playable there, but for Gamescom's biggest potential news, I had to break out the crystal ball. And yes, it's the same one used in GamesRadar's E3 predictions, but these will be even more accurate. I guarantee it (in a non-legally binding way). Here's just the start of what we'll see in Deutschland...
The Xbox One will get a price cut
Sure, we've already had a decent cut thanks to the removal of Kinect, but just as GR's Andy Hartup supposes, it just needs another $50/30 off the price tag to really push it ahead in the current console war. Sure, Microsoft is losing big money, but if it wants to win, bp;d moves like these need to happen.
...or at the very least, a new bundle
If MS can't cut the price, then the publisher could just offset the price with a pile of potential pack-ins. Strong rumors persist that the US will see a $399 Xbox One bundle with Madden included, along with one for Sunset Overdrive, but why stop there? Get one for Halo: Master Chief Collection, FIFA, Forza, hell, even Peggle 2. The system needs all the help it can get.
Sony will then one-up that with a price cut of its own
Much like at E3, Sony's Gamescom press conference follows Microsoft's, so the company can respond to any moves MS makes. If the Xbox One gets cheaper, expect the same for the PS4.
A PS4/Vita combo pack will become a reality
Pre-E3 there was compelling proof of the PS4 and Vita being sold as a package, but the bundle never materialized. However, the PS4+Vita set leaked from Amazon France, so perhaps Sony's European team is merely waiting for Gamescom. If that's the case, how much will it cost? And will it also be available in North America?
Sony will confirm the Vita still exists
E3 2014 had a modest sampling of Vita games on offer, so my optimistic belief is that Sony is merely waiting to give the handheld more space during Gamescom. Historically Sony has used the European event to give Vita a bigger spotlight, so the portable will hopefully host some new games there. Otherwise, the device seems to be cemented in its role as a high-quality PS4 accessory.
One (or more) Vita exclusives will be announced
The Vita needs more than lip service--it needs GAMES. And Gamesom will finally give it some fresh blood. Mostly Sony will show off the many intriguing indies coming to the portable, but the publisher should also have a few surprises handy. Like a bunch of new, Vita-exclusive titles planned for the next couple of years. Gamescom 2012 hosted the reveal of Tearaway, so hopefully we can see a reveal of similar scale in 2014.
Ubisoft will announce exclusive deals with both Sony and Microsoft
Gamescom is a showcase for European publishers like Ubisoft, but you can expect the French game maker to not play favorites. Like at E3, both Sony and Microsoft will talk up scoring exclusive DLC for Ubi games, perhaps with Sony getting some unique Assassin's Creed content, and Microsoft offering early beta access to Rainbow Six: Siege.
Nintendo will basically be a non-entity
Nintendo doesn't have much to do at Gamescom, and has skipped the event entirely in the past. The company will be present, but don't expect much more than its E3 2014 demos. Hardcore Smash Bros. folks should be pleased to know that there will be a tournament held in Cologne, but Nintendo fans have little other reason to get hyped for Gamescom.
Microsoft will talk up new commitment to indies
Thanks to a dearth of original games on new-gen systems, indie games are making a real difference on Xbox One and PS4. But Microsoft needs to display an even greater devotion to indie games to fill the gaming void this fall, so expect to see some talk of the ID@Xbox initiative, along with a handful of indie devs taking the stage during the press conference.
...but Sony will give even more exposure to indies
The PS4 has been home to many indie gems, and you can bet you'll see at least as many of them at this year's Gamescom as you did in 2014. Look for titles like The Witness, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Volume, and more to be displayed during the presser.
There will be more new-gen ports revealed
The list of new games for 2014 is getting smaller and smaller thanks to delays, so I anticipate the empty release calendar will be filled with even more remakes of 360/PS3 games. There are rumors of Sleeping Dogs getting a new-gen port, so remakes of Gears of War or Beyond: Two Souls can't be far behind, right?
There will be a new game from Media Molecule
Sumo Games is the developer behind LittleBigPlanet 3, so you have to wonder what Media Molecule is working on at the moment. And it's a UK-based team, so Gamescom might be more attractive to them than E3 just by being relatively local. Could the team's project be something for PS4? A console version of Tearaway? A whole new franchise? Who knows, but I'm willing to bet the game will be very whimsical.
...and Guerrilla Games
The Killzone dev worked hard to get out Shadow Fall in time for the PS4's launch, and it has been openly working on a new series ever since. Guerrilla went on record to say that the game wasn't ready to premiere at E3, but the two month break might just be enough time for the Netherlands-based developer to get some sort of teaser ready for Sony's press conference.
You won't see The Last Guardian, so stop asking
Seriously, we all need to give up on this game. Alright, yes, Sony executives definitely said the game isn't cancelled, but you really shouldn't get your hopes up for this one. You'll be as heartbroken as you were the previous five years. And even if The Last Guardian were anywhere near playable, Sony would almost certainly wait to unveil the Japanese-developed game during September's Tokyo Game Show.
There's a slightly better chance you'll see Fallout 4
Now Fallout 4 is game you can be sure you'll eventually play, the question being, "How soon?" There are so many convincing leaks out there, that the game feels close by. Perhaps Bethesda just skipped E3 2014 so it could grab more international attention at Gamescom.
Sony will have more funny tech issues
PlayStation executive Shuhei Yoshida may have found the camera work during Gamescom to be "Atrocious," but I found it fun in a quaint way. Silly mix ups like the oddly zooming camera and game loading delays humanized Sony a bit, so I anticipate a similarly endearing repeat this year.
PS4 indie standout Rime will make a return
Rime made a big splash at Gamescom last year, but we've yet to see any more of the game in the 12 months since. Expect to see the game reappear at Sony's press event, this time with an even more stirring and beautiful trailer.
Sony Bend's PS4 game will premiere
Speaking of missing Sony studios, Sony Bend hasn't done all that much in the last few years, even though the former Syphon Filter team has said they're working on something for PS4. I'm hoping for a stunning Syphon Filter reboot, but I'd be pleased even if the game is a PS4 port of Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
No Man's Sky will be the talk of the show
No Man's Sky was a show stealer at E3, garnering more buzz than many larger productions at the show, something that will likely repeat itself at Gamescom. Once the Gamescom attendees get to see (and maybe even play) the huge-in-scope space adventure, they'll fall for it just like everyone else that witnessed it firsthand at E3 2014.
David Cage will showcase next-gen emotions in a tech demo
David Cage, of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls fame, will show up at Sony's press conference, and he'll be ready to show off another of his emotion-filled short films. You've never seen a digital actor truly frown until you see it on the PS4, and Cage will hopefully end his presentation with something concrete about his planned title, along with info on the previously mentioned PS4 port of Beyond.
We'll get some more info on Project Morpheus
Virtual reality is threatening to become more than just a fad, and Sony wants to be part of the new VR console wars. Expect some fresh, unique Morpheus demos to introduce the headgear to Europe, along with some more concrete details on price and release date.
Microsoft will talk up a lot of exclusive DLC
The Xbox One doesn't have a lot of exclusive games in its immediate future, but you can anticipate Microsoft to keep investing in exclusive DLC. Most games shown during E3 had some sort of Xbox-only DLC attached, like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and you can bet you'll hear about more partnerships during Microsoft's Gamescom press conference.
Lara Croft will make an appearance somewhere
Ms. Croft has some renewed vigor after her series rebooted in 2013, so look for her to keep the party going at Gamescom. The downloadable Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris will definitely be there, and I'd say there's an outside chance of seeing a new trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider given Lara's hungry fanbase.
Sony will give us another look at new-gen Grand Theft Auto 5
Rockstar chose to premiere its PS4/Xbox One version of GTA 5 at Sony's E3 press conference, so if Gamescom has some new footage of the game, expect Sony to host it there as well. Perhaps there's even a GTA 5 bundle for the PS4 on the horizon. The PS3/GTA bundles did well in the past.
EA will follow-up on some of its E3 teases
EA teased a bunch of new titles at E3, but had little concrete to show. Now that EA has had a few weeks, perhaps games like Mirror's Edge 2, Mass Effect 4, and whatever Criterion is doing will get some real gameplay trailers at Gamescom. I believe you'll at least get some new (if brief) updates on all of them during the show.
BioWare's new game will impress/creep you out
BioWare may not have the next Mass Effect ready, but it's going to debut something at Gamescom, and it sure looks creepy. This will be the developers first new franchise in some time, so it really needs to come out of the gate swinging, and these teasers have certainly been promising.
There will be way too many people at Gamescom
E3 2014 hosted close to 50,000 people, which may sound big, but is nothing compared to Gamescom's normal attendance. 2013's EU show had 340,000 come thanks to the show being open to the public, so expect the place to be stuffed with gamers once more this year. I hope none of my friends in the media suffer from agoraphobia.
So those are my totally accurate predictions for Gamescom, but I won't know how right I am until the show starts August 12. Will I be 100 percent correct? Or just 99 percent? Stay tuned to find out!
As you wait for Gamescom to start, check out our why Gamescom 2014 will make your life better next week and why Microsoft should go big at Gamescom 2014.