It’s not quite the same as running around the halls of the Koelnmesse in person, but virtual or physical, Gamescom always delivers. Here’s all the announcements from Germany’s annual convention for all things video games this year.
We’ll continually update this post as more announcements are made, and more confirmations / official trailers / releases pop out. Gamescom has always been great for highlighting a ton of games that don’t usually get the limelight at E3, especially on the PC and Sony fronts, and 2021 has been no exception.
MidWintär is a co-op stealth action game where you’re a werewolf battling cultists
The idea behind Midwintar is fantastic. You’re a werewolf trying to take revenge on a religious cult, so what do you do? The answer is in two steps. During the day, you can sneak around the village, steal stuff and spread rumours to fuck with the cultists. The actions you take during the day then set up proceedings for the evening, where you transform into a werewolf. You can even incriminate other villagers during the evening, causing other villagers to start pitchfork mobs against their own kind. You can play as a vampire or a witch, and the witch can brew a ton of potions that cause the cultists to become paranoid.
It’s a killer idea. Midwintar doesn’t have a release date yet, but there’s more info available on Steam.
I’m really liking where FAR: Changing Tides is headed
The sequel to FAR: Lone Sails isn’t out until 2022 sometime, but I’m really digging the whole submersible design. The music in the trailer above is excellent as well — probably the soundtrack that’s stood out the most to me all week, next to the banger that’s in the DokeV trailer anyway.
Bravely Default 2 is coming to PC
Love your JRPGs? Then you’ve got Bravely Default 2 to mess with. It’ll hit Steam on September 3 for Australians, or next Friday.
Uh, there’s a new Mythbusters game
It looks like part management sim, part inventory management, part Kerbal Space Program-style construction. There’s more info available on Steam here.
Sands of Aura is another one for the Dark Souls crowd
“Deliberate and punishing combat” seems like it’ll be the go-to term for saying Dark Souls without saying Dark Souls, it seems. Sands of Aura announced it’ll be launching in early access from October 21, and it’s got a lot of nice environments so far. For more details, head to the Steam page.
Who’s ready to Farm
I still really don’t know who the target audience is for the Farming Simulator series, but if that’s you, I’d love to know how you feel after watching this trailer. Some of the textures and animations in here look a bit dated, but the game’s not out until November 22 so we’ll see how it fares at launch.
Remember Comanche? Well, it’s out now
Remember how Comanche, one of those 1990s helicopter sims, had been repurposed to be more in the Ace Combat style? Well, its since left Early Access. Reviews haven’t been great over the early access period, but this seems like it might be fun over a weekend nonetheless.
The gorgeous Taiwanese painting adventure, Behind The Frame, is out now
Perhaps one of the week’s nicer surprises. Behind The Frame was one of the sweeter games announced at E3 this year. In a very quiet release, it was revealed that the Taiwanese-developed game has launched on PC, iOS and Android. It’s $13.05 for Australians. $7.99 on Android and iOS.
Strange Horticulture is a puzzle game where you run an occult plant store
I wish to all that was holy that this was launching today and not 2022, when it’s coming out on PC. There’s a demo available now, however, and some great Lovecraftian elements where you have to search nearby areas for more clues — but you could lose your sanity along the way.
More info’s available on the Steam page here.
Death Cathedral is giving me some Soul Calibur vibes
It’s billed as a “very challenging action RPG”, but Death Cathedral honestly looks like it has just as much claim as a single-player fighting game. The official Steam description says the player has 15 days to kill the devil hidden deep within the cathedral, and you have to progress through a variety of enemies in a side-scrolling fashion.
It honestly looks like a Souls game but from the perspective of, say, Soul Calibur. Real surprise out of nowhere, this one. There’s no release date, but you can download a demo now through Steam.
Park Beyond is a new theme park sim from the makers of Tropico 6
Fun one if you haven’t had enough time with Planet Coaster. The big pitch with this is an idea called impossification, which is basically a made-up word to say Park Beyond isn’t going to let too many real-life physics issues get in the way of making absurd coasters.
That means things like not having to buy or redesign a coaster if you need the kart to transition from normal rails to something that goes underwater or gets shot out of a cannon. There’s a first-person camera as well, as you’d expect.
Below you can see an alpha version of the building options work, and what the first-person camera view is like. Keep in mind it’s alpha footage, so there’s some placeholder assets and it’s not the final look of the game.
Murder Mystery Machine is a detective noir puzzler, out now
This one’s out on Steam and consoles as of today. You play as a detective in the District Crime Agency, and you’re charged with organising evidence, gathering clues and sifting through the red herrings to present your findings. I know a ton of people who love all sorts of true crime and detective thrillers, so head over to Steam for more info if you’re interested. For consoles, here’s the Xbox listing and the PlayStation equivalent.
Little Nightmares 2 gets a PS5, Xbox Series X/S enhanced edition
Pretty simple announcement here. If you’d been holding off on Little Nightmares 2 before, now’s a good time to jump in. The performance mode has a 60 FPS lock with ray-traced reflections and a dynamic resolution, while the “Beauty Mode” targets native 4K/30 FPS with “optimised ray tracing”.
There’s also a new immersive 3D soundscape mix for those with compatible headphones or 5.1/7.1 audio systems, and improved volumetric shadows on all platforms.
Star Dynasties is leaving early access in September
One for fans of space and sci-fi RPGs, this one. Star Dynasties has been out on Steam for a while but it’ll fully launch sometime in September. It’s not exactly Crusader Kings in space, although the procedurally generated events and narrative certainly have a bit of a Stellaris vibe to it.
You can find more info on the Steam page here.
Apart from the bit where Call of Duty: Vanguard and Far Cry 6 played and everyone pretended everything was normal with the companies behind those games, there was a lot of good energy coming out of the opening Gamescom event.
The Saints Row reboot has gotten a total overhaul that looks neat. Marvel Midnight Suns is the new XCOM-style project from Firaxis, Midnight Fight Express looks fantastic, and the Aussie-made Cult of the Lamb has some real style. But the best energy out of the lot was the upcoming Korean MMO DokeV, which is a Pokemon-style affair from the makers of Black Desert Online.
There’s far too many individual trailers to include into this big wrap, so head over to our Gamescom Opening Night Live story for all the announcements there.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Myst launching with ray-tracing
I know Guardians of the Galaxy is probably the bigger game of these two, but I couldn’t help but give the spotlight to Myst, a game that was the industry’s most successful video game in the early ’90s. But Nvidia has announced that both Myst and Guardians will get ray-tracing support on PC for their respective launches. That’s this week for Myst, which is relaunching on Steam, and October 27 for Guardians of the Galaxy.
If you’re playing on consoles, Guardians will support ray-tracing on both PS5 and Xbox Series X with a specialised 4K / 30 FPS mode. There’s a performance option that’ll drop the resolution down to 1440p / 60 FPS for both consoles — although PC users will have access to DLSS, so 4K / 60 FPS should easily be on the cards.
Medieval Dynasty, a Middle Ages sim about building a thriving village, is leaving early access
This game’s been on Steam for a while. It’s been doing pretty well there, but but as part of the Gamescom news cycle developers Render Cube announced Medieval Dynasty would be fully launching on September 23.
It’ll get its sixth major content update to coincide with the launch. The reception on Steam has been pretty decent thus far — 91 percent positive rating from over 15,000 reviews — so save for some major issues, I’m sure the 1.0 release will do pretty well. There’s more info available on the Steam listing here.
Xbox brings more Forza Horizon 5, new controllers, Wasteland 3 DLC, air taxis to Flight Simulator, and more
There was no Halo Infinite during the Microsoft presentation, but we did get competitive air races for Flight Simulator. To be fair, the entire stream was super packed with a ton of solid announcements for the rest of 2021. The inclusion of indies from Humble Bundle on Game Pass looks great, and Forza Horizon 5 is getting a more structured, more engaging campaign.
Age of Empires 4 is getting some great documentary-style videos to buff out its “playable history” moniker, and Crusader Kings 3 confirmed it was coming to consoles (as reported earlier this week below). It’s a lot to unpack here, so see our full wrap from the Xbox conference here.
The Sims 4 gets a free update: apartment lofts
Are you ready to become a true Brooklynite Simmers? ???????? Design the loft of your dreams with the new The Sims 4 #IndustrialLoftKit ✨????
Available August 26th on PC/Mac & Console pic.twitter.com/9tGkrxL36b
— The Sims (@TheSims) August 24, 2021
Here’s a bonus surprise for Sims fans. Arriving on August 26 across all platforms is the Industrial Loft Kit, an add-on to the game that includes more lighting fixtures, furnishings, windows, doors, vent choices, paintings, posters and decorations to build the apartment of your dreams.
The new paintings look real good, too.
EA notes that the patch will also fix an issue where Sims are teleporting between floors. “Not a marvel of modern science fiction novels, but should be a problem that no longer occurs after this update,” the developers wrote.
Imagine trying to survive in the desert, running from Dune sand worms, and you’ve got Starsand
Announced by Toplitz Productions this week, Starsand will launch in early access this November. It’s hitting a lot of your typical survival beats for a game launching on Steam: forage, hunting, building, running from worms with tons of sharp teeth.
There’s more info on the official Steam listing here.
Destiny 2 reveals The Witch Queen, launches next February
Want to craft your own weapons in Destiny 2? Now you can. The expansion will concentrate on the Hive god of trickery and cunning, adding a new Glaive weapon type that has projectile attacks and melee combos.
The Witch Queen should be a massive update, especially since Bungie first announced the expansion back in mid-2020. If you want more info on The Witch Queen, head to our coverage here.
Battlefield 2042 will have DLSS and Nvidia Reflex support at launch, but no ray-tracing
This one’s not hugely surprising, only because even when DICE added ray-tracing into Battlefield 1, it wasn’t included in multiplayer. It seems like DICE are following a similar thread here, focusing more on frame rate and input latency.
I can’t imagine how much in practice you would actually get advantages from ray-traced reflections — that is, seeing the reflections of enemies around corners and such — but at least the DLSS support is there.
Broken Roads, the Aussie cRPG, gets a 2022 release date
Another bit of good Aussie news here. Broken Roads has gotten a new publisher — Team17 — and the backing means the Aussie studios are now targeting a 2022 release date. It’s launching on PC and consoles, too.
Still, the support is good news. Broken Roads has sounded intriguing ever since it was first announced, so a bit of extra backing will surely help flesh the game’s ideas and systems out even further. And if you want to know more about the game, we’ve got our big interview with the studio here. (We’ll also have more about how the game’s progressed in the coming days.)
Crusader Kings 3 has been rated for consoles
This one’s not really attached to Gamescom per se, but the timing of the news works just nicely. Gematsu spotted that the Taiwan Digital Game Rating Committee has rated Crusader King 3 for next-gen consoles and, interestingly, Xbox One.
The PS4 wasn’t listed at the time. Whatever the reasons, or specifics, we’ll likely hear more later in the week.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is getting a 60 FPS patch
Need a time sink to return to? Then Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey might be what you need. The Greek-themed open-world adventure — which usually goes for a song these days — is getting a 60 FPS patch for the next-gen consoles, although there won’t be any additional graphical enhancements.
Missing Ancient Greece? A new title update for Assassin's Creed Odyssey will be deployed on August 24, adding 60FPS support when running the game on Xbox Series X|S & PlayStation 5 through backwards compatibility! #AssassinsCreed
— Assassin's Creed (@assassinscreed) August 23, 2021
Encased shows off more classic RPG flair
There’s a certain charm to Encased, one that reminds me of classic Bioware adventures and the comical misanthropy of Obsidian adventures. The game’s technically already out now, although it’s due to leave early access on September 7. It’ll do real well if it gets more trailers like the one above, though.
Torn Away is a watercolour narrative set in World War 2
Torn Way is definitely echoing Inside a little in the trailer above, although the whole game is based off stories from children’s diaries that were found during the Second World War. Due out later this year, you play as a 10-year-old fleeing wartorn Germany and Poland.
There’s another Warhammer 40,000 mobile tactics game
Not that we haven’t had enough of them already, right? Games Workshop has given the license to the makers of Legend of Solgar to make a Warhammer 40k tactics game that’s playable on mobiles. (If you want a good tactics game now, however, the Aussie-made Battlesector is well worth a look.)
Highrise City, which looks like Cities: Skylines 2.0, gets a playable demo
The pitch for this one is “what if Cities Skylines but the building and population count jumped a hundred fold”. Highrise City won’t officially launch until 2022, but it has gotten a playable demo for Gamescom here. There’s also a good feature deep-dive, although it’s worth noting that a ton of the assets in the video are obviously placeholders.
Project Haven takes inspiration from Jagged Alliance, looks sick
On the turn-based tactics front is Project Haven, which is already shaping up to be one of my favourite indies of the show. You lead a mercenary crew on high risk tactical missions, with a layer of management involving your crew, skills and inventory in between the X-COM-esque action.
It’s not due out until 2022, but a demo will go live later this week to coincide with Gamescom. Full trailer’s below.
Pets Hotel is a game where you run a hotel for, literally, pets
I have my doubts about this game, but the concept put too big a smile on my face to ignore. Pets Hotel is basically a light simulation where you design a hotel to make various puppers, cats, turtles and other small creatures comfortable, all while you give them the luxury treatment. There’s an official Steam listing here. It’s due out sometime this year.
Grow: Song of the Evertree
The next chill adventure from the Aussies behind Yonder: The Cloud Catcher CHronicles is Grow. It was officially announced just before the latest lockdowns began, but the game’s publisher will be using Gamescom to showcase a solid chunk of gameplay for the first time.
There’s also a neat little campaign where the publisher and developers will plant a certain amount of trees based on how many people wishlist the game on Steam. Wishlisting doesn’t cost users anything, and it fits the vibe of Grow pretty well.
We are getting very close to the next tier in our wishlist campaign!
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to wishlist Grow: Song of the Evertree on Steam. Everyone who wishlists before launch automatically receives any wishlist discounts!https://t.co/dMExIx96cn pic.twitter.com/7AEym9yNt2
— Grow: Song of the Evertree (@GrowEvertree) August 9, 2021
Call of Duty: Mobile adds two new maps, Ozuna, and a new event
Call of Duty Mobile still has an enormous player base, so it’s no surprise it’s getting all sorts of throwbacks and collaborations seven seasons in. The new mode on September 4 is called Cyber Attack, and it’ll let players send their operators into multiplayer and battle royale every six hours to earn new rewards. On the maps front, Scrapyard 2019 makes a comeback. There’s also the return of Monastery, a map that first debuted in Call of Duty Online — a spin-off which was never launched in the West.
As always, all updates are coming to Android and iOS simultaneously.
Gamescom is always great for highlighting a ton of indies, and many of those usually make some waves before the official program begins. Serin Fate is one such indie, taking inspiration from Stardew Valley and Pokemon.
Assetto Corza is getting a mobile spin-off
Assetto Corsa Mobile won’t officially launch until the end of the month at August 31, although there will be an official dev stream on August 27 to go more in-depth. The simulation elements have been adjusted to suit mobile devices, although it’s still a serious racing experience. There’s some gameplay below, and Assetto Corza Mobile will launch simultaneously on iOS and Android.
Rogue Spirit throws Studio Ghibli vibes into a 3D roguelite
Another game that’s getting the spotlight is Rogue Spirit, a 3D roguelite that’s launching in early access on September 1. More details about what it’ll launch with are yet to be known, but there’s a demo on Steam if you’re impatient.
See anything we missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it above!