Our thinking:When Gamescom kicks off, IO Interactive's Kane & Lynch 2 will be all-but released. With Hitman 5 surely some way along now (the last time we talked to anyone at IO about it, they clammed up immediately upon our mention ofthe game) and little left to do by way of promoting K&L2, we wouldn't be surprised to see a chunk of Square-Enix's time devoted to revealing this one. It's an outside bet, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a CG trailer at least. In fact we'd be overjoyed.
Our thinking:Again, this has been rumoured for way too long to not exist. There was 'inside source' talk of Sony's sequel to the excellent Warhawk appearing at GDC in March, but that didn't happen. In the absence of an E3 reveal, the obvious back-up plan would be Gamescom. And did you know that there's another GDC running in Cologne in parallel with the show? It's happening.
Our thinking:Microsoft hasn't traditionally made a big deal out of Gamescom, usually turning up with a token presence just because Sony and Nintendo are there. This year though, we are promised a proper press conference and some big reveals. And lord knows, after the miserable, Kinect-focused E3 press conference, we seriously need some real Xbox games. Our chief bet for a showing is the trailered but utterly unexplained exclusive Codename: Kingdoms, from Crysis developer Crytek. Multiply E3's lack of embellishment by the current gamer backlash at MS' casual line-up, and then factor in Crytek's origin as a German company, and you've almost got a dead cert.
Subscription fees for Call of Duty: Black Ops
Our thinking: This is another rumour that won't go away. And as much as Activision has denied a full-on paid multiplayer model for Call of Duty, it is notorious for being at the vanguard of finding new ways to devalue and counter-act the pre-owned games market. Industry trade site MCV isof the opinionthat a paid multiplayer model is on the way for the next Call of Duty, and due for imminent announcement.
If it happens, we imagine it being something along the lines of PlayStation Plus, or what EA has been doing with Battlefield: Bad Company 2's DLC, ie. an optional payment in exchange for 'free' maps and advance access to modes. The idea will be to keep people playing online instead of trading the game in, as well as bring in extra revenue to combat lost sales.
A new Epic game
Our thinking: We've been told that Gamescom will see an announcement from Gears of War and Unreal Tournament developer Epic Games. And we've been told that the announcement will of the same size as Bullet Storm, the game Epic is producing with Painkiller dev People Can Fly. So that means another new game announcement.
Unreal Tournament 4 is possible, but unlikely given that its eventual appearance will probably tie into the release of the next Unreal engine. And that's years away. So another new IP then? Probably so. And maybe another Xbox 360 exclusive. It could even be the next game by Shadow Complex developer Chair Entertainment, which Epic now owns.
A new Rare game
Our thinking: We know that Rare has been working on backroom stuff for a long while now, masterminding the Xbox Avatars and doodling around with Kinect for the last couple of years. But its last major release was Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts in 2008, and we can't see Kinect Sports having taken up all of its time since then. So we're expecting one of Microsoft's Gamescom announcements to be a game from Rare.
Right now, we're swinging towards Viva Pinata 3, which would be an ideal fit for Kinect, but wouldalso bridge the casual/hardcore gap very nicely indeed. Regardless of any preconceptions you may have, VP is one hell of a fierce game when you plumb its depths, so here's hoping. In the meantime, check outCarolyn's wishlistfor a prospective VP sequel.
And if Killer Instinct 3 doesn't turn up this year, we're going to give up asking for it.
More Arkham City details
Our thinking: The first real details on the sequel to Rocksteady's marvellous Batman simulator haveonly just appeared, but that reveal does mean that the hype train is now officially leaving the station. Rocksteady is a British developer, so getting over to Germany wouldn't be a great hardship, and we do know that the UK branch of Arkham City publisher Warner Bros. Interactive is heading over. Surely it would be insane not to take a reel of the first gameplay footage over there with it?
But what do you reckon? You expecting any of the same stuff we are? Or is there anything else you're going to keep an eye out for? Let us know what you're most excited about, and most expecting to see. Hit the comments, or stick your opinions to our digital fridge doors atFacebookandTwitter.