Gamescom 2021 kicked off in earnest with the Opening Night Live show. Hosted by Geoff Keighley, with co-host Natascha Becker, the show featured two hours of game reveals, new trailers, developer updates and a few surprises along the way.
However, before the main show could get underway, Kyle Bosman was on hand for the pre-show. This half-hour show, broadcast online across social media, Twitch and YouTube, included a host of trailers for players to enjoy.
- King of Fighters XV will launch February 17, 2022, with a mix of new and familiar fighters,
- Nine to Five is a 3v3v3 free to play tactical shooter currently in development for PC,
- A special trailer for Bus Simulator 21 featured a special Gamecom themed bus taking passengers in-game to Opening Night Live,
- The new trailer for The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes featured a new look at the game’s setting as well as details of the game’s various Editions available to pre-order,
- Dolmen is a futuristic action RPG which fuses cosmic horror and sci-fi with close quarters exploration,
- Nobody Saves The World is the next game from Guacamelee developer Drinkbox Studios set for a 2022 release,
- Rhythm action fighter title Soundfall uses the power of music to fuel the story in a fantastical world,
- From the team behind Lara Croft, Dream Cycle is a first-person RPG where the player is trapped in a cursed dimension
During the pre-show, Bosman was also able to briefly chat to host Geoff Keighley about the process that is involved in putting shows like Opening Night Live together in Los Angeles instead of Cologne, Germany and how the gaming community has helped events like this prosper in the face of the ongoing pandemic and the challenges it has brought to the gaming industry as a whole.
The main show opened with a first look at the highly anticipated Saints Row reboot. Set for release in 2022, this new title from Volition features a new The Boss character (played by Bryce Charles of The AM Archives) along with a new crew, a new city named Santo Ileso, and three new gangs to take on for control of the city.
The first trailer seemed to indicate the series was going back to its roots and wouldn’t have the more fantastical and supernatural aspects of later Saints Row games such as 2015’s Gat Out of Hell. The arid American southwest setting for Santo Ileso is a far cry from the overly industrial Stilwater but the trailer was also keen to stress the game would still retain some of the classic humour of the Saints Row franchise.
Saints Row is scheduled to be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC on February 25, 2022.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Next up was one of the big surprises of the event. Firaxis Games confirmed that their new strategy game will be set in the world of Marvel Comics.
Named Midnight Suns, this new story features an entirely new character created in collaboration with Marvel – the Hunter. Playing as the Hunter, players will be able to create their own customisable version of this character before heading out to save the world from the demon Queen Lilith alongside a host of iconic Marvel characters.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns is scheduled to be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and PC in March 2022.
Call of Duty: Vanguard
After being revealed earlier this year, fans got a more in-depth look at the story of Call of Duty: Vanguard.
Taking inspiration from the real stories behind the formation of special forces, the main story of Vanguard’s campaign will focus on a small group of elite soldiers in World War 2, with this new footage showcasing one of those characters – the expert sniper Polina Petrova, played by Laura Bailey.
Call of Duty: Vanguard is scheduled to be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC on November 5.
Up next was one of the most anticipated reveals of the night from Halo Infinite. Along with a new trailer giving fans a look at the story behind Commander Laurette Agryna, one of the key figures in the game’s multiplayer, was confirmation of the release date for both the multiplayer and the campaign: December 8, 2021
That wasn’t the only surprise for Halo fans, as it was also confirmed that a special edition Halo Infinite Xbox Series X console will be available later this year. In addition, an Elite Series 2 Halo Infinite Wireless Controller will also be available, either as part of a bundle with the Xbox Series X or individually.
Halo Infinite is scheduled to be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC on December 8.
There were teaser trailers galore during the show to whet gamers appetites:
- Cult of the Lamb is a devilishly adorable collaboration between Massive Monster and Devolver Digital,
- Developed by a single person based in Poland, Midnight Fight Express is an action-packed brawler set to release in 2022,
- April O’Neil was revealed as a playable character in the upcoming TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge,
- Morgana from the Persona franchise will be a bonus character in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania,
- Fans of Splitgate got a look at the new map and content that will be available in Season Zero, which is available now on console and PC for free,
- A new trailer for Riders Republic introduced two characters that riders will meet on their journey, Suki and Brett, when the game launches October 28.
Celebrating new and current releases, several Gamescom Awards winners were announced by Natascha Becker during the show.
Among the winners were:
- Halo Infinite for Best Microsoft Xbox Game,
- Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope for Best Nintendo Switch Game,
- Syberia: The World Before for Best PC Game,
- Elden Ring for Best Sony PlayStation Game
A full list of the winners can be found here on the Gamescom website.
More trailers and teases for a host of games were up next in the show:
- Century: Age of Ashes is a online PVP adventure involving dragons in combat heading to PC later this year,
- UFL is a new, free-to-play football title currently in development at Strikerz Inc for consoles,
- Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will bring all nine films together for the first time when it releases in Spring 2022,
- Synched: Off Planet is a PvPvE shooter where players will be able to manipulate enemy nanotech currently in development for PC,
- The Outlast Trials is a first-person survival horror story set during the Cold War, where players are test subjects in a facility, set to release in 2022,
- DokeV is a colourful open world, creature-collecting adventure from South Korean developers Pearl Abyss,
- The new trailer for Jurassic World Evolution 2 showcased how players will be able to build their own dream parks, with habitats, attractions and dinosaur species on display.
Far Cry 6
Up next was a look at the new story trailer for Far Cry 6. With a cast led by Giancarlo Esposito as the ruthless dictator Anton Castillo, this action-adventure title takes players to the island paradise of Yara. As the only country able to produce Vivero, a revolutionary cancer treatment, the island is of key importance to the lives of millions.
However, the island is ruled by Anton Castillo, a man with no remorse over subjecting his own people to hardship to keep his legacy secure – a trait he is trying to pass on to his young son, Diego. Playing as Dani Rojas, a freedom fighter with first-hand experience of Castillo’s cruel nature, players are fighting to free the island from Castillo’s iron grip one step at a time.
Far Cry 6 is scheduled to be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, PC and Amazon Luna on October 7.
Fans of Vampire: the Masquerade were introduced to one of the clans from the upcoming battle royale title Bloodhunt with a new trailer.
Combining style and slaughter, the Toreador clan combine beauty with brutality as they use whatever weapons they have at their disposal to disarm their enemies and ensnare their prey.
Bloodhunt is currently in development for PC. Early Access begins September 7.
Next up was the first look at Bandai Namco’s latest project: Park Beyond
A theme park management and building sim, this new game will see players take charge of a failing park with an eccentric cast of characters to help you along the way. Create your dream rides and attractions thanks to the idea of “impossification” which will allow players to defy the laws of engineering and physics if they want to.
Park Beyond is currently scheduled to release in 2022 on Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 and PC.
Horizon Forbidden West
There was a brief update from Guerilla Games about the upcoming sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, Horizon Forbidden West.
Originally set to release in late 2021, the game was delayed to due the Covid pandemic as well as other development issues that arose as a result. Now, Game Director Mathijs de Jonge has confirmed that Horizon Forbidden West will be launching on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on February 18, 2022.
Previews and more
There was another round of trailers and teasers for fans to enjoy as the show progressed:
- Jett: The Far Shore is an intergalactic adventure coming to PlayStation and PC on October 5,
- Amazon Games’ MMORPG New World will have an open Beta in early September ahead of its launch on September 28,
- A new Marvel Studios mobile game, Future Revolution is available to play now,
- Marmalade Games Studios are developing a game based on Jumanji called the Curse Returns for PC and Nintendo Switch,
- The next spinoff in the Yakuza series, Lost Judgement will be available on consoles from September 24,
- Joel Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5, is launching a new “virtual world and music experience” called Oberhasli on the Core platform on October 14,
- The next Fall Guys event will be a collaboration with Disney to bring characters from The Jungle Book to the game, with King Louie as the focus of the event,
Tales of Arise
Celebrating 25 years of games, the Tales of series continues to expand.
With Tales of Arise launching on September 10, there was a special performance from Lindsay Stirling to celebrate the game’s launch and the series reaching this milestone.
Following Stirling’s performance was the announcement of Tales of Luminaria, which is currently in development and coming soon to iOS and Android devices.
Tales of Arise is scheduled to be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC on September 10. A demo for the game is available now.
The final round of trailers included even more delights to come for gamers:
- Age of Empires IV showcased a new story trailer ahead of the game’s October release,
- The first update to Valheim is called Hearth & Home and will launch on September 16,
- A new trailer for CrossfireX debuted the Boogieman unit,
- Fans of Genshin Impact got a first look at Aloy from Horizon Forbidden West in the game and also a preview of the upcoming Genshin Impact concert,
- Sifu, a martial arts game where the player ages every time they die, will be released on PlayStation and PC on February 22, 2022
The final appearance from co-host Natascha Becker was to provide information on the Gamescom Forest 2021.
Working in collaboration with the organisation Treemer, this initiative looks to create a climate stable mixed forest near Bayreuth.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
Last up in the show was the much anticipated, in-depth look at Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, coming to PlayStation 5 in September.
This new extended cut of the game will include new vehicles, new missions, new devices, and new activities for players to enjoy and explore with Sam Porter Bridges.
There will also be the chance to take on other players with ranked activities as well as being able to test your racing skills on new racetracks against other Sams.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is scheduled to be released on PlayStation 5 on September 24.
Watch Opening Night Live in full – with pre-show – below.
Words by Megan Roxburgh
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