Gamescom 2013 LogoEggplante recently suffered the ill timing of some technical difficulties during Gamescom 2013. Because of this, the site couldn’t post any news or features related to Gamescom this year, and we apologize for that.

To compensate for the fact that Eggplante couldn’t report Gamescom news as it happened during the outage, I’ve gone and compiled every bit of tantalizing news that gamers should know coming out of Gamescom 2013, in a similar style as my Nintendo Direct Roundups. It’s an especially huge Gamescom this year, given that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are mere months away for us in North America and the PAL territories, but I’ve got you covered if you missed anything, or just want a recap of the highlights!

Be advised however that I won’t be dissecting trailers or picking apart developer interviews, or anything of that sort. This is just a widespread rundown of the news stories to come out of Gamescom. This means, release dates, newly-announced games, maybe some big, high-profile features in upcoming triple-A games, and maybe some important hardware announcements related to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

I’ll mainly be focusing on the big, widely anticipated games, though I will also touch on some smaller announcements and news related to a few cult franchises too. Anything that merits a considerable amount of buzz in whichever circles. There’s a lot to go over, but I’ll do my best not to leave out anything important!

Without further ado then, let’s get started!

CASTLEVANIA’S FATE IS SEALED!

Castlevania- Lords of Shadow 2 - Promo ArtKonami exclusively focused on the Castlevania series at Gamescom this year, being completely mum on the massively-anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, due to the lack of Kojima Productions’ presence at this year’s Gamescom. Still, they did have some good nuggets to say about Castlevania, currently in the hands of Spanish developer, MercurySteam, and even made a shocking announcement about another Castlevania release we didn’t know about before!

If you recall Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate on Nintendo 3DS (I wrote a lukewarm review for it), but lamented it not being available on PlayStation and Xbox platforms, then lament no longer! Konami announced at Gamescom that Mirror of Fate is being revamped and re-released in HD! It will be expanding to Xbox Live Arcade and the PS3’s PlayStation Store, with a release on Steam being “considered”, but not confirmed at this point. This re-release, aptly titled Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD, will release on, somewhat cutely, October 31st of this year.

While they were at it, Konami also gave good news and bad news about the hotly anticipated all-new series follow-up, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. The bad news is that it’s not in fact coming out this year, unfortunately. The good news however is that you won’t have long to wait in 2014, as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 will be releasing on February 25th in North America, and February 28th in Europe! It’s still only slated for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC as well, with Konami confirming once again at Gamescom that they are not even considering authorizing next-gen versions of the game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, nor are they planning to release the game on Wii U.

These release dates and announcements were pretty much it for the Castlevania faithful. At the very least however, those who played and enjoyed the original Lords of Shadow on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or PC no longer have to shell out for a 3DS to play Mirror of Fate, plus we now know exactly when we’ll get to see through Gabriel Belmont’s story in Lords of Shadow 2!

It does suck that there was absolutely no Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain coverage or information however… Maybe at Tokyo Game Show!

BETHESDA DECLARES THAT FREEDOM ISN’T FREE…

The Elder Scrolls Online - Promo ArtFollowing Konami’s almost non-existent presence at this year’s Gamescom, another disappointingly limited party was Bethesda. In fact, the only game that Bethesda opted to discuss at all was The Elder Scrolls Online, coming to PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One early next year. Even then, they only gave one bit of news, and it wasn’t exactly great news.

Bethesda confirmed at Gamescom that the sought-after MMORPG will carry a monthly subscription fee. Not only that, but it will be a bit hefty too, starting at $14.99 for North Americans, and being only slightly less in Euros and British Pounds. Yikes!

So, there you have it… Like I said, not exactly great news.

TAKE-TWO CONFIRMS RUMOURS, DOES LITTLE ELSE…

XCOM - Enemy Within - GamepalyTake-Two took it easy at Gamescom this year, but at least they had a couple of noteworthy announcements to share, even if both had been leaked already.

It turns out that the already-exposed XCOM: Enemy Within is not in fact a full-blown sequel to well-received strategy game remake, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It’s actually an expansion to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, one that promises new maps, enemies and soldier classes. The usual sort. Still, great news for XCOM fans!

The expansion will be $30 on PC and $40 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It will become available to download on November 12th. Given that surprisingly high price tag, it must be one huge expansion!

If strategy isn’t your thing, then perhaps you’d enjoy some shoot-and-loot action on the go? It seems that after much prodding and begging and demanding, Take-Two has finally green-lit a Borderlands 2 port on PlayStation Vita! The game has been available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 since last September.

The news was made official at Gamescom, but it also came with a surprising twist; Regular Borderlands developer, Gearbox Software would be handing most of the development duties to Iron Galaxy Studios, despite mostly being the party to push the Borderlands 2 Vita port idea forth. Gearbox will still actively participate in the project in some capacity however, so don’t get worried about Iron Galaxy’s rather patchy resume yet!

Disappointingly, there were no potential differences or unique features detailed for Borderlands 2 on Vita, including whether it would feature (or pack in) the many DLC expansions available for the console and PC builds that are already available. The only solid confirmation is that it will release next year. Fair enough.

This may be all that Take-Two spoke about, beyond showing a few added screen shots and the like for their upcoming open-world opus, Grand Theft Auto V, but at least it was good news on both counts this time!

WARNER BROS. PLAYS HERO ON BOTH SIDES!

Batman- Arkham Origins - GameplayWhile some coverage was given to anticipated licensed game, Mad Max and next-gen RPG sequel, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, most of Warner Bros.’ Gamescom time was spent hyping up their superhero games.

One of these is of course quite predictable. Warner Bros. threw the bulk of their buzz behind ravenously anticipated prequel game, Batman: Arkham Origins, which comes to PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U on October 25th of this year. They demonstrated some very impressive in-engine footage showcasing both the combat and the Batcave, while also confirming that Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth will finally appear and speak in the flesh for the first time in the Batman: Arkham games, after merely being a voice on the radio in 2011’s previous Batman: Arkham City.

Best however was Warner Bros. drawing back the veil on another of Black Mask’s eight assassins that relentlessly hunt the Dark Knight throughout the entirety of the story, that being jetpack-flying pyromaniac, Firefly. Warner Bros. Montreal, who are taking over development duties on the game from the previous two games’ developer, Rocksteady, also confirmed that they are redesigning the villain battles to take after the very well-received Mr. Freeze confrontation in Batman: Arkham City. No doubt a wise move!

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes - Promo ArtWarner Bros. also finally detailed the plot of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, which arrives on (*deep breath*) PC, DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 3DS, Vita, and Wii U on October 18th, and will also be a launch title for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November. So yeah, you’ll have no trouble getting ahold of it, regardless of your gaming platform of choice!

Anyhow, WB confirmed that Marvel Universe big bad, Dr. Doom will be the main antagonist of the game, and that he will be stealing cosmic blocks derived from the Silver Surfer’s enchanted board to build a doomsday weapon. This prompts S.H.I.E.L.D. to unite the most powerful and beloved Marvel heroes to strike back, in turn having Dr. Doom hire the most recognizable and deadly villains in the Marvel Universe to stand against them. Basic, but no doubt enough to make avid Marvel fans happy!

Those hoping for an indication of just what exactly Rocksteady may be doing behind closed doors however are still out of luck. WB did claim that players can expect to see more of the DC Universe in Batman: Arkham Origins however, which was previously teased by a Green Arrow-owned Queen Industries logo in the lengthy announcement trailer. Perhaps groundwork is being laid for that rumoured Arkham Universe-set Justice League crossover game after all…

SQUARE ENIX FORGETS THE GOODS…

Lighting Returns- Final Fantasy XIII - Cloud Costume FootageSince Square Enix was a visible presence at this year’s Gamescom, you may have been hoping for some cool news on E3’s enthusiastically-received announcements of both Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy XV on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You would be disappointed. Square Enix didn’t even bring up either game, which is no doubt quite a let-down for RPG fans. In fact, not even Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix was so much as mentioned, leaving Kingdom Hearts fans especially out of luck!

At the very least, Final Fantasy fans got a neat new trailer further showcasing some more of the story, plus added details behind the pre-order bonus Cloud Strife costume for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on February 11th next year. Square Enix reminded the press that the game will not come to PlayStation 4 or Xbox One either, and was solely made for current-gen consoles. Upcoming MMORPG re-launch, Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn was also shown in passing, but nothing interesting was detailed or said about it unfortunately.

The only somewhat surprising bit of Final Fantasy news came with a new trailer for Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, coming towards the end of the year for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The trailer confirmed that not only would the graphics be touched up for the HD remake, but also the music and sound effects! The revised audio would take greater advantage of the improved sound memory since the PlayStation 2 era, and you can watch the trailer to hear for yourself how battles in particular are much more engaging and punchy in the HD revamp compared to the original!

Beyond that, some new trailers were shown for Thief and Murdered: Soul Suspect, and a few new promo images were shown for Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut. That’s it.

Needless to say, Square Enix has seen better shows.

NINTENDO CONTINUES TO BE ANTI-SOCIAL…

Super Mario 3D World - GameplayUnsurprisingly, given Nintendo’s refusal to have an E3 2013 press conference, and the ever-looming threat of much more powerful and capable next-gen consoles from both Sony and Microsoft, the Mario Maker largely stayed in the background at Gamescom this year, while the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gobbled up the majority of the press. Still, they did participate in the show, and they did have a couple of things to say about their own games, even if it was small nuggets.

Most interesting was PlatinumGames confirming that the Nintendo-published Wii U game, The Wonderful 101, now available early in Europe and coming to North America on September 15th, was once set to star established and beloved Nintendo characters and other such video game characters! The game was obviously modified to feature an original cast, but it makes you wonder what might have been…

Beyond that, Nintendo confirmed that they would be doing something that they almost never do with their games, specifically with Sonic: Lost World; Offer a limited edition! The so-called Sonic: Lost World – Deadly Six Edition will only be available on Wii U, and will include a special ‘Nightmare’ DLC pack that features stages and a new boss inspired by Sega’s cult Saturn classic, NiGHTs into Dreams. Clearing the DLC will allow you an alternate means to get a special colour power for the game that is normally only accessible through special circumstances on Miiverse.

The Legend of Zelda- The Wind Waker HD - GameplayPutting aside Sega and PlatinumGames, Nintendo demonstrated the first playable public demo of Pokemon X/Pokemon Y on 3DS, while also offering a demo for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, also coming to 3DS. Anticipated Wii U sequels, Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 were also available to sample, as was The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ultimately received the most of the limited Nintendo coverage, showcasing some of the more specific changes and modifications that have been made to the Wii U remake over the GameCube original. Of these, the Wii U-exclusive Hero Mode was especially detailed, where enemies deal double damage, and health-restoring hearts can’t be picked up, similar to the Hero Mode of 2011’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword on the Wii.

Nintendo seems to be becoming progressively more reclusive from big gaming events like E3 and Gamescom, which is kind of a bummer. Well, thankfully, we do have Nintendo Direct, so it’s not all bad.

ACTIVISION PROFITS FROM WAR AND HELL!

Call of Duty- Ghosts - GameplayActivision had their usual supply of Call of Duty news ready to go for Gamescom, giving surprisingly limited coverage to big upcoming games like Destiny and Skylanders: SWAP Force. Still, if you are a Call of Duty fan, you’ll no doubt enjoy the massive amount of attention heaped on Call of Duty: Ghosts!

Call of Duty: Ghosts, set to arrive on PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U on November 5th of this year, and slated as a launch title for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, detailed a new multiplayer mode called ‘Blitz’. Blitz works somewhat like Capture-the-Flag, only it is much more fast-paced and aggressive. The goal is simply to reach a portal in the enemy team’s territory. Sounds simple. Given how fast and quickly players can respawn and return fire however, it’s probably easier said than done!

Even better however was the confirmation that Call of Duty: Ghosts will feature dedicated, cloud-powered servers!… But only on PC and Xbox One. Still, this should improve matchmaking quality immensely for those two versions of the game, and should make Call of Duty: Ghosts an even more attractive Xbox One launch title for console gamers with a taste for online multiplayer!

Activision also mentioned that their upcoming console ports of Angry Birds: Star Wars will be receiving exclusive competitive and co-operative multiplayer modes. These would allow players to compete or team up for high scores. I have to admit, I’m not sure why this idea wasn’t implemented sooner in Angry Birds.

As much as Call of Duty: Ghosts was a big game at this year’s Gamescom however, Activision ultimately generated the most buzz via Blizzard’s big contribution to the show. Blizzard officially announced the first Diablo III expansion at Gamescom, which, as suspected, is titled, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. It’s currently without a release date, and without solid release info on any platform.

Reaper of Souls not only adds a fifth Act to Diablo III’s storyline, but also tweaks loot drops. Loot is now less common, but is generally of better quality to compensate, also promising more common Legendary Items that will better tailor themselves to character classes. Players will also be able to enjoy Loot Runs in the post-game within the expansion, which will allow them to traverse through any number of randomly-generated dungeons for more loot.

On top of this, the expansion will take place almost entirely in the dominion of Westmarch, will allow Paragon Leveling account-wide, and will add a new class inspired by Diablo II’s Paladin; The Crusader. It will also pit players against a new villain, the fallen angel, Malthael. Pair that with tweaks and extensions to already-established gameplay and character classes, and you certainly have an expansion well worthy of the Diablo pedigree!

Unfortunately, Blizzard refused to say how far along in development the expansion is, particularly given that its reveal trailer was pre-rendered CG, and didn’t show any actual gameplay. Hopefully it comes along sooner rather than later!

EA MEETS HEAVY METAL WITH HOUSE AND GARDEN!

FIFA 14 - Xbox One Box ArtThere were two themes at EA’s Gamescom slate this year, and they couldn’t be any more unlike one another. Nonetheless, EA had a strong Gamescom presence this year, with plenty of positive press, and a promising next-gen debut ahead of them!

EA’s Gamescom keynote started off a bit slow, and focused a lot on the usual bits about how much Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14 and EA Sports UFC are supposed to improve various technical doodads, especially on next-gen. EA discussing sports was the only time they weren’t talking about something that wasn’t consistent with its two themes of macho metal and goofy suburbanism. It also wasn’t all that interesting, if I’m being honest, especially since EA Sports UFC isn’t even being made available on current-gen consoles, unlike Madden NFL 25 and FIFA 14.

Fortunately, EA had plenty of strong, action-packed games for core gamers to indulge in. Some great coverage was given to Need for Speed Rivals, Command & Conquer, Titanfall, and, most of all, Battlefield 4. In fact, Battlefield 4 consumed almost all of EA’s coverage that wasn’t guest-hosted by PopCap!

Within the torrent of Battlefield 4 coverage was the detailing of the $50 annual Battlefield 4 Premium service, which offers much of the same great perks and bonuses in Battlefield 3 Premium, and that’s great! The identities of the five planned expansions were also revealed, which will apparently span from the October/November launch; China Rising (also available to people who pre-order the game), Second Assault, Naval Strike, Dragon’s Teeth and Final Stand.

EA then confirmed that Battlefield 4 would launch a closed beta in October, with invitations going out to Battlefield 3 Premium members and/or the handful of people that bought Medal of Honor: Warfighter last year. It will be accessible on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and will feature the Siege of Shanghai map.

Battlefield 4 - GameplayEA also claimed that Battlefield 4 would be debuting a new multiplayer mode, Obliteration, where players try to carry a bomb to a certain point and detonate it to score points against the other team… Frankly, it sounds almost the exact same as Blitz from Call of Duty: Ghosts, but it has potential.

As much as Battlefield 4 had plenty of great news, demos and more than one awesome Gamescom trailer however, PopCap really stole the show in the end! They announced the first major expansion offering to Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, dubbed Far Future. After touting the immense sales numbers of Plants vs. Zombies 2, they then went into one of EA’s highlight games at Gamescom; Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was re-affirmed for eventual release on PC and PlayStation 3, but will be arriving earlier in Spring 2014 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The Xbox One version will also exclusively feature Boss Mode, which takes advantage of Xbox SmartGlass to allow players the ability to participate in online skirmishes as an overseer from their mobile device, taking control of Crazy Dave or Dr. Zomboss. PopCap also confirmed that the zombies will be playable in Garden Warfare, going on to show off several classes and unique abilities to the various zombie units in the team-based shooter spin-off within a new trailer.

Plants vs. Zombies- Garden Warfare - CG FootagePopCap also declared that their much-anticipated Peggle 2 would be a timed exclusive on Xbox platforms, further cementing EA’s partnership with Microsoft for the proper start of the next console generation. A trailer was shown, but little else was said.

Lastly, EA finally debuted the first gameplay footage for The Sims 4, set to arrive on PC and Mac next Spring. The Sims 4 will add simple drag-and-drop mouse customization for customizing a Sim’s appearance, and will also add emotional states. This will allow people to use the environment, actions and even home decor to influence Sim dialogue and behaviour. It’s kind of interesting, and makes for a promising upgrade from the prior games, particularly since EA promised that The Sims 4 would run much better on under-powered computers compared to The Sims 3, even if exact system requirements remain unknown.

Sure, there wasn’t much said about Star Wars: Battlefront III, Mirror’s Edge 2 or Dragon Age: Inquisition, but EA still had a pretty healthy Gamescom for my money!

UBISOFT KINDLES THE LIGHT OF TECHNOLOGY!

Child of Light - Title ArtUbisoft wasted no time drawing back the curtain on that new IP they promised to show off, which is apparently, as rumoured, called Child of Light.

The game is apparently heavily inspired by vintage JRPG’s, with Final Fantasy VI being a specific example, and will follow a young female protagonist as she mentally and physically grows up on her journey. More specific details are said to be on the way in September, as the game is currently without proper footage or even platforms, despite apparently being set for release this Fall. Ubisoft implied PC and console releases for this mysterious project, and confirmed that it is definitely not planned for smartphones or tablets.

Beyond that, Ubisoft gave passing promotion to various upcoming and anticipated games in passing, including Rayman Legends, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Rocksmith 2014 Edition, Just Dance 2014 and The Crew. They also confirmed that the anticipated MMORPG that they announced at E3 this year, Tom Clancy’s The Division will indeed release on PC, following its initial confirmation only for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Watch Dogs - Promo ARtAssassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag predictably received some slick new trailers, as did Watch Dogs. Watch Dogs also had specifics of its exclusive perks on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 revealed, which include an exclusive costume, four bonus missions and increased hacking capability for protagonist, Aiden Pearce. Ubisoft also confirmed that the already-planned feature film adaptation of Watch Dogs will be distributed by Sony Pictures and New Regency.

Beyond that, Ubisoft confirmed that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Patriots remains in development, but they had nothing to share on the game at this time. They also confirmed a Kinect-powered fighter for Xbox One, Fighter Within, arriving for launch, but had little information beyond a brief teaser that showed no actual gameplay.

Given how many games that Ubisoft has on their slate, and the fact that the European Gamescom is an appropriate stomping ground for the French mega-publisher, it was a bit surprising to see Ubisoft focusing mostly on hyping up their games over providing actual news about them. Still, as if E3 wasn’t already indication enough, we have plenty to be excited about from Ubisoft before 2013 is even over!

MICROSOFT ENJOYS A LITTLE FANTASY

Xbox One LogoIf there was one thing that was somewhat shocking about Microsoft’s Gamescom presence this year, it was the company’s surprising lack of ‘the usual suspects’. Yes, Forza Motorsport 5 made an appearance, but gone were the legions of shooters, sports games and just about any other popular genre that Microsoft often pushed heaviest during the Xbox 360’s life cycle. Oh don’t get me wrong, it was fantastic, and a very refreshing change of pace for the Xbox maker!

This year at Gamescom, most of Microsoft’s lineup consisted of bright and eye-catching fantasy games, making them stand out a lot more than they did in prior years. I didn’t even miss the complete absence of Halo or Gears of War, frankly. Seeing Microsoft instead talk up more distinct and noteworthy games like Killer Instinct, Ryse: Son of Rome, Project Spark, and, heck, even Dead Rising 3, continued to increase my confidence in the Xbox One, because it has such a diverse and dedicated game library to look forward to now!

Microsoft actually unveiled the full and complete launch lineup for Xbox One this year as well! Sony’s (still not formally finalized) launch roster is actually almost identical for the PlayStation 4 as it stands, and actually is a bit smaller if we’re being honest, surprisingly having less exclusives and more multi-platform options. Yes, Microsoft has more launch exclusives than Sony. It’s kind of shocking!

Anyway, the Xbox One’s launch selections are as follows, divided into the multi-platform games also coming to competing platforms, and Microsoft’s exclusives:

MULTI-PLATFORM:

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, FIFA 14, Just Dance 2014, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Madden NFL 25, NBA 2K14, NBA Live 14, Need For Speed Rivals, Skylanders: SWAP Force, Watch Dogs, Zumba Fitness: World Party

EXCLUSIVES:

Killer Instinct - GameplayCrimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3, Fighter Within, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle, Peggle 2, Powerstar Golf, Ryse: Son of Rome, Zoo Tycoon

Yes, the multi-platform offerings still do outweigh the exclusives, but the launch is certainly looking healthier than I initially thought it would!

Speaking of the Xbox One launch, Microsoft also detailed a promotion while chatting that up. They claimed that there will be a promotion asking Xbox gamers to upload sixty seconds of funny/clever video while playing any game on an Xbox platform, and submit it by September 15th, 4 P.M. PST.

The winners will receive a free year of Xbox Live Gold, every Xbox One launch title, an Xbox One retail bundle with the console’s new Kinect and an extra controller, free promotion, and priority opportunities to create more video for Microsoft. It’s a pretty good heap of rewards, and those launch games will certainly keep Xbox gamers busy for a while!

Dead Rising 3 - Promo ArtAs for new game announcements, Microsoft confirmed a co-operative multiplayer mode for Ryse: Son of Rome, where players would have to team up and fight waves of enemies, simultaneously trying to appeal to the entertainment of spectators. They also detailed the free-to-play content packs of Killer Instinct, allowing players to spend $20 on eight playable fighters, or $40 on fighters, costumes and even a free emulated copy of the original Killer Instinct game!

Microsoft also finally confirmed persistent rumours of a Fable MMO, revealing Fable Legends for Xbox One during their Gamescom keynote. Well, ok, it’s not quite an MMO. It will have an offline single-player component, and will function more as a co-operative, online-enabled game that allows players to decide whether they want to be a hero or a villain, as per series tradition. It looks like fun so far, even if details are limited, and even if it came with Microsoft confirming that there are no plans for a Fable IV. Too bad.

Fable Legends - GameplayThe only bit of sad news from Microsoft came from them confirming that their Games for Windows live service on PC will be shut down in June of next year. This will disable GFWL achievements and other such services in the PC games that support the service, most notably Age of Empires Online, which may not be playable at all afterward! If you’re not a PC gamer, this doesn’t affect you, but if you’ve recently bought PC games like Batman: Arkham City or Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, it’s quite upsetting.

Lastly, Microsoft confirmed that Xbox One will never be sold without Kinect 2.0 bundled right in the box apparently, despite the console no longer requiring Kinect to be plugged in to function. I guess there’s one price cut possibility eliminated.

Still, it was a great showing for Microsoft at Gamescom, and one that offered a refreshing change of pace from the company’s usual predictable fare! They’re definitely starting off the Xbox One cycle on the right foot at this rate!

SONY LOVES INDIES… A LOT!

Like Microsoft, Sony changed up their usual strategy to a degree this year. Instead of heaping all of the focus on the PlayStation 4’s big launch exclusives like DriveClub and Killzone: Shadow Fall, Sony instead gave much more attention to the smaller, lesser-known offerings on PlayStation 4, and even PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita!

PlayStation 4 - HardwareSony ended up announcing numerous indie projects across all three platforms, including touch-controlled platformer/god game combo, Murasaki Baby, sweeping adventure game, Rime, cross-play top-down shooter, Helldivers, scrolling racer, Switch Galaxy Ultra, and ninja-based physics puzzler sequel, N++.

Xbox Live Arcade and Steam darling, Fez was also confirmed to be receiving a belated Vita port soon, and Minecraft was confirmed to come to the PlayStation 4 for launch, later followed by confirmation of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions as well. It certainly looks like the PlayStation 4’s PlayStation Store won’t be starved for content, even early on! The omission of Jonathan Blow’s anticipated digital PlayStation 4 offering, The Witness was a bit strange though.

Anyway, Sony also announced something quite surprising; A remake of Amiga action game, Shadow of the Beast, which is apparently headed to PlayStation 4 at some point! Beyond that and a brief teaser, no details were provided unfortunately.

Sony’s unorthodox strategy paid off, since it re-affirmed their commitment to ‘the little guy’, be it the consumer, or the various indie developers in their corner. Of course, Sony didn’t completely neglect their bigger games either, as new trailers and coverage were given to Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, Gran Turismo 6, Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus and Killzone: Mercenary. Sony also affirmed that one of their most anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusives, The Order: 1886 will be arriving next year, while also confirming that the equally anticipated inFamous: Second Son hits PlayStation 4 in February.

The Order- 1886 - Promo ArtIn fact, Sony confirmed a staggering 180 games currently in development for PlayStation 4 at Gamescom (though I imagine this includes digital offerings on the PlayStation Store), with 33 of them releasing in 2013! From here, the PlayStation 4 was given a release date for November 15th in North America, and November 29th in PAL territories, as I previously reported. Specialized ‘Magma Red’ and ‘Wave Blue’ controllers will also be available separately for PlayStation 4 at launch.

The rumours of a 12GB PlayStation 3 coming soon to North America were also confirmed, along with the reduced price point of $199.99. This will also be a revised price point for PlayStation Vita, which is seeing a worldwide price drop! Sony confirmed that Vita memory cards are also getting their prices slashed, but specifics haven’t yet been worked out.

Sony followed this up by declaring that anyone sticking with PlayStation 3 and wanting to upgrade later can upgrade to a digital copy of the PlayStation 4 version of game they bought on PlayStation 3 for a very low price; Apparently $10 in the case of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Fellow participating publishers, EA, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. have yet to reveal their own upgrade prices however. Still, it’s a great way to support PlayStation gamers unable to upgrade right away, but not wanting to miss out on the hottest games arriving in the PlayStation 4 launch window!

LittleBigPlanet Hub - Announcement FootageBeyond indies and retro-minded games, new announcements were barely existent. Sony did announce a free-to-play LittleBigPlanet community for PlayStation 3 called LittleBigPlanet Hub, allowing LittleBigPlanet fans to share custom designs and fashions. It seemed kind of cute, but not all that compelling, especially with PlayStation 3 entering the twilight of its life cycle. The announcement of smartphone and tablet control and the lack of Game Over screens in upcoming PlayStation 3 mystery game, Beyond: Two Souls was a little more interesting, but not by much.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, Sony revealed details on the upcoming Gran Turismo movie, currently without a release date, actors or anything else. Apparently, the movie will center on a professional racer that entered the racing circuit after being inspired by the Gran Turismo video game. A vanity project? Definitely. Still, maybe it won’t be so bad. As an avid hater of the all-too-common knee-jerk reactions that are plaguing way too many geek communities these days, I’ll reserve judgment until I at least see some footage.

Gran Turismo 6 - GameplayOn this note, Sony also confirmed a special feature in Gran Turismo 6 that allows licensed car makers to implement concept car designs into the game. How it works wasn’t made clear, but I suppose that it’s an intriguing thought for car buffs who have always wanted to test out unreleased designs. Gran Turismo 6 was also given a release date of December 6th, 2013 as well. Hopefully it can maintain the hype releasing exclusively for PlayStation 3 several weeks after the PlayStation 4 arrives!

Sony had the most to say and show off at Gamescom this year for sure, and the PlayStation 4 is only continuing to look better with every showing, I must admit!

IN CONCLUSION

The next-gen buzz at Gamescom was undeniable, even if it did come at the cost of overshadowing Nintendo and many other current-gen offerings. Still, it was a quality show this year, one that only got me more excited to own both a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One in the Fall!

Did you enjoy Gamescom 2013? Feel free to leave your thoughts on the show in the comments below!

Here’s to a smooth recovery of Eggplante technical operations as well!

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