Gamescom, Europe's stop on the major game convention circuit, is just around the corner, kicking off with three press conferences from Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Sony next Tuesday. The German hosted event has risen to prominence over the past couple years, now viewed by publishers as an additional avenue (alongside E3 and TGS) for major global announcements - Sony and Microsoft revealed the PS3 Slim and Fable III at Gamescom 2009, respectively. With that in mind, anticipation for next week's convention is high, so we've broken down what to expect from the big three conferences.
Microsoft's three hour press event, dubbed "Play Day", is still largely a mystery at this point. The Xbox maker hasn't revealed much information so far, other than to expect a "bunch of announcements."
The name and duration of the conference, in addition to Microsoft's showing at E3, suggest Kinect will have a large presence at the show, possibly with playable units on hand. A definitive European release date for Kinect will also likely be announced. On the other hand, don't expect much in the way of new software.
In terms of traditional games, Microsoft already showed most of its hand at E3, but that doesn't mean we won't see anything new. Expect extended E3 showings from 360's core lineup - Halo: Reach, Fable III and Gears of War 3. In particular, Fable III should have a large presence at Gamescom, seeing as it was revealed at last year's convention, Lionhead is a prominent European studio, and Peter Molyneux wasn't given his usual center spotlight at E3. Will we see another trailer for Crytek's mysterious 360 exclusive Codename Kingdoms? It's possible, but a long shot considering Crytek's list of other projects.
Electronic Arts has a long list of potential titles to showcase at Gamescom 2010. While nothing has been confirmed, it's a safe bet to assume notable heavy-hitters such as FIFA 11, Dead Space 2, Medal of Honor, Bulletstorm, EA Sports MMA and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit will makes appearances in some form. Additionally, EA will likely be keen to blow the lids off the recently announced Dragon Age 2 and Need For Speed Shift 2.
That being said, there's still uncertainty surrounding a number of EA's titles. After a delay into 2011, Crysis 2 may skip Gamescom if development has hit a hurdle. Although, that game's delay could easily be attributed to stiff competition in the fall 2010 shooter market, making an appearance more likely. There's also the question of Mass Effect 3. Legions of fans would surely rejoice at even the shortest teaser, but Bioware's numerous other big projects (i.e. Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic) suggest we'll have to wait a little longer.
Sony came to last year's Gamescom in a big way, as their press conference featured one of 2009's biggest announcements, the PS3 Slim. Gamescom gave the hardware redesign and price cut extra attention in the gaming community due to a lack of other major announcements. Sony seems to have learned the value of spreading out their reveals.
The PlayStation maker's software lineup is already looking strong, with Killzone 3, Gran Turismo 5, Motorstorm: Apocalypse, LittleBigPlanet 2, DC Universe Online, Journey and InFamous 2 confirmed for the show. In addition, PlayStation Move will continue to be a big focus for Sony. However, we'll likely only see some extended E3 media on all these already known quantities.
In terms of what we still don't know, Sony appears to have a few surprises in store. In a wake of Insomniac's declaration of a new game announcement by PAX next month, there's been a great deal of speculation that Resistance 3 will be unveiled at Gamescom. The Last Guardian was also strangely absent from E3. While new information on that hotly anticipated title is possible, Sony is likely saving it for TGS. Bottom line, Sony is in position to make a major announcement at Gamescom.
Gaming Union will be at Gamescom in Germany next week. Stay tuned for live coverage from August 17th to 22nd.