Welcome back to your monthly report of game news compiled into one convenient place, so you don’t have to worry about those pesky cracks that some info tends to fall through at more major publications!
Thanks and credit for the banner image goes to the Avocado’s one and only Space Robot!
Updates from the World of Ratings Boards: Spider-Man Miles Morales, Bandai Namco’s Tales of Arise (following its recent delay out of 2020), AnnaPurna’s The Pathless, and Gearbox’s endlessly appearing Godfall, both of which were seen in last Roundup’s State of Play, have been rated in Australia. The original No More Heroes for Switch has been rated in Taiwan. Breaking news came from Gematsu while I was still writing just last night (August 30th/31st), a game called “Immortals: Fenyx Rising” was just rated in Taiwan. Listed as from Ubisoft, releasing on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, and starring the protagonist Fenyx who had been originally mentioned in June 2019 articles on Gods and Monsters after its initial reveal, all signs point to this being that new original ip from Ubisoft, and had since confirmed was retitled and would be shown again this year, likely at September’s Ubisoft Forward, before a launch sometime this fiscal year. Lastly, the Demon’s Souls remake has been rated in both Korea and Japan, which brings the total number of PS5 launch window games on track for release up to 4, following from Sony’s confirmation of Astro’s Playroom as a launch pack-in earlier this summer. However, between People Can Fly’s upcoming shooter Outriders posting so early ahead of its long-stated holiday launch and Little Nightmares 2‘s Gamescom trailer putting roughly 6 1/2 months between its early August rating and a February 2021 launch date, it’s essential to keep in mind that even when content is finalized, polish still takes time. The rate of polish is only going to be even slower in the midst of ongoing social distancing, work-from-home, etc., but at least these examples help establish a baseline for the turnaround that can be expected right now.
In spite of me having wound up covering the first week early, and many publishers tormenting me and you alike by continually pushing back major announcements, including but not limited to the next-gen consoles’ launch dates and prices, August still managed to be a pretty eventful month! I’ll be starting with some extended discussion of three of the most major, complex headlines before shifting to the usual day-by-day news timeline, which does include some matters that were lost in the shuffle of finalizing the previous Roundup.
After the industry has faced, both publicly and internally, all kinds of delays and upheavals since E3 2019 and especially since the start of the pandemic, one of the single most significant yet happened literally the day after I published the last one of these. On Tuesday August 11th, 343 Industries announced that Halo: Infinite, the first new entry for the series in half a decade and the flagship first-party title of Xbox’s upcoming hardware, has been delayed to 2021. “It is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
Xbox’s Senior Communications Manager Will Tuttle separately addressed the news via Xbox Wire, in which Xbox Series X was recommitted to its 2020 launch with the month of November given as its new, more specific, but expected release window. Although tensions over next-gen launch had been simmering for months with the aforementioned evasion on certain details, they have only gotten worse this month as that wait continues and the overall sense that the timing is all wrong and nobody is ready for it further sets in. Microsoft is in an incredibly difficult position with smaller partners like Bloober Team, the Polish survival horror developer releasing The Medium on Series X as its exclusive console platform this holiday. (Also the team behind Scorn, whenever that thing actually comes out). They would need significant compensation to cover either delaying the game’s launch entirely or the loss of one of the main platforms they had invested in for development and publication, both of which entail missing out on early sales that are vital to smaller companies. This obviously still applies to devs and publishers that didn’t opt for focusing exclusively on Series X but are console exclusive on Xbox, like the producers of Call of the Sea or Echo Generation, Image&Form of The Gunk, and the newly founded Interior/Night of As Dusk Falls.
Sony, meanwhile, has responded to their improved sales performance during the pandemic with increasing PS5 production in July and August by as much as 50% more from the initial order , according to both The Nikkei and Bloomberg Japan, going from 6 million to 9 or 10 million units. The cost of a potential launch delay at this point has thusly only gotten even worse, both in the literal sense of the financial cost of building the devices and not recouping that, and the shareholder/public image cost of stock remaining idle in warehouses.
On the evening of August 26th, it was announced that Microsoft’s Joseph Staten, formerly of Bungie and a narrative lead on the original Halo trilogy, has been brought onto Halo: Infinite as project lead to aid in the extended development cycle. Staten is accompanied by Pierre Hintz, who is now project lead on the game’s multiplayer department. Neither of these really suggest that this delay was a “few extra months of polish” scenario, so my estimate for the new release will be sometime between Fall and Holiday 2021. In the weeks between the delay announcement and these, rumors stirred that the Xbox One version of the game was being canceled, feeding the fantasies of the minority that oppose the slowing down of the exhausting technological escalation this industry is hooked on, and it was also rumored that the game would already be delayed another year to 2022. Microsoft and 343 deny both.
Fortnite has created an insane legal and marketing shitstorm between Apple, Google, and Epic, culminating in the former deleting the entire Epic Games iOS App Store account on Friday August 28th. Here’s how it went: Apple has a brutal monopoly on iPhone app distribution, and the infamous universal 30% profit cut both it and Google employ in particular has upset a lot of smaller companies that are affected by these issues, in turn creating various legal conflicts in the past several years alone. Epic also chafes against it despite their variety of revenue streams and the overall lack of comparative impact on them, so much so that Fortnite simply wasn’t on the direct Google Play Store for roughly 21 months. (That Amazon began receiving exemption from the app store cut earlier this year likely plays a factor as well. Epic wants to be considered more important.)
So on August 13th, Epic introduced an Epic Direct Payment option to Fortnite mobile designed to deliberately circumvent the app store cut, marketed as the Fortnite Mega Drop 20% permanent discount to their highly profitable and predatory in-game currency V-bucks, incentivizing their customers to opt for this option that “passes the savings onto you” by eliminating most (not all) of what portion of the money would go to Apple or Google anyway. On the same day, Apple (and Google) proceeded to remove Fortnite from their stores because of this violation of their guidelines, to which Epic responded with a clearly planned in advance new Fortnite ad that directly invokes Apple’s famed Orwellian 1984 to mock and criticize them and bring their fans in to turn this situation into a #FreeFortnite “moral rallying cry”, as well as filing lawsuits against Apple and Google, and announcing that the upcoming Fortnite Chapter 2: Season 4 wouldn’t be available for the mobile users on these storefronts, even though at that time it would’ve functioned perfectly for anyone who still had the game installed. They also proceeded to cut off cross-play ahead of any further action taken by the App Store owners. Over the ensuing days Apple prepared/threatened to remove both the aforementioned Epic Games account and the Unreal Engine account, which raised the issue of affecting the vast number of other developers that use Unreal Engine. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled as such on August 24th could not terminate the Unreal account due to its impact on companies that had not broken those rules, while holding Epic responsible for its own consequences on the other account, thusly leading to its Friday termination.
On Monday August 24th, in the morning and evening of that same day respectively, Taiwanese newspaper United Daily News and Bloomberg reporter Takashi Mochizuki (previously familiar through his time at Wall Street Journal Japan) each reported on Nintendo’s plans to launch the long-rumored visually and technically enhanced Switch model, often called a ‘Switch Pro’ by fans, in time to keep them in better competition with Microsoft and Sony’s new hardware in the first quarter of 2021, after production on the final model starts in Q4 2020 at the earliest. Production orders on the existing models were increased starting in April in order to stabilize the available supply by the summer in face of shortages, (which was reported as successful in their August shareholder call) thus limiting their ability to begin production sooner on the new model. As per the next-gen competition factor, Mochizuki’s report cites 4K support as something considered in the planning of this hardware; were that to happen it would most likely take the form of outputting to upscaled 4K visuals in docked mode. He also specifically pointed to the Taiwanese article on the matter of that production information, as the Taiwanese paper was citing a variety of local manufacturers. Mochizuki also states firmly that Nintendo’s 2021 software lineup both first and third party were and are largely planned around being optimized for (no signs of exclusivity to the new model, not surprising considering the failure of the New 3DS exclusives) and launching alongside or after the new Switch, thus further affecting their marketing and release plans beyond the pandemic’s impact on development.
Mochizuki has a major history of reliably reporting on Nintendo information and especially Nintendo hardware, first at the aforementioned WSJ and more recently at Bloomberg: 1in October 2018, after speaking to suppliers and developers alike, he first started broadly reporting on Nintendo’s plans for developing a variety of new hardware to establish a Switch Family with software compatible between iterations in the vein of the previous Game Boy and DS families (as well as smartphone families and home consoles’ slim and enhanced updates), extending both sales momentum and the device’s overall lifespan. This report specified that the first would come in 2019. By March 2019, he had began reporting on specific models in development, including a less expensive Switch model that would remove HD Rumble and docking functionality, would replace the 3DS, and would be releasing later the same year, which is of course now known as the Switch Lite.
Other East Asian business reporters like Yuji Nakamura and Debby Wu did go on to corroborate and add onto this information, but Mochizuki is who gathered the info and broke the story first. By and large, he and his sources have been accurate and consistent, and had direct information in a way figures such as speculative analyst Serkan Toto do not. Mochizuki also has a record of being allowed to sit in on and report directly from Nintendo’s shareholder meetings since at least 2017, most notably when he did so in early 2019, describing two first party games, one focused on their online infrastructure and one old-school fans would be delighted to know about (Super Mario Maker 2 and Link’s Awakening remake) for the fiscal year prior to their first public announcements at the February Direct soon after.
With all this kept in mind, here’s a brief history of his reports on a power-enhanced Switch prior to this most recent and most detailed report from last week: the October 2018 article cites internal hardware improvements and an updated screen to improve handheld display as points of interest for Nintendo; the March 2019 article was the first to specifically mention a dedicated enhanced, somewhat more expensive Switch “targeted at avid videogamers”, which based on the prototypes would not reach the level of the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X but bring the Switch family’s range up to or past the initial current-gen standards, and also said that Sharp Corp. would provide new improved screens for some of the new models, months before that company’s executive would say the same thing; then in August 2019 after both the Lite and the battery-boosted model were officially confirmed, and Sharp Corp. had stated that it would provide their IGZO screen model in future Switches as reported on by Mochizuki and others, he reported that Nintendo was still working on further updates to Switch hardware, while the the battery-boost model was shown to have a new screen but not the IGZO, nor is it used by the Lite; lastly in early 2020 he corroborated Digitimes’ article which stated that the enhanced Switch should release later this same year.
This reporter has clearly been a consistent and primary source on this matter just as he was for the Lite for the year before it launched. He is not merely bandwagoning or saying what fans want to hear for clicks, and he has an established strong relationship with Nintendo that likely makes him someone they allow to publish their information as free advertising under strict guidelines. Taken all together alongside what was ultimately proven correct about the Lite, it seems very likely that the enhanced Switch has been and is real, has been in the planning phases for the past two years, was staggered back to further refine its development and not overcrowd Switch updates too quickly, and was finally planned to launch by holiday 2020 until the pandemic fully set in, at which point it was pushed back one final time into 2021. With the previously cited production schedule (and the need to not undermine their holiday sales), the very earliest Nintendo could announce the new Switch is in January ahead of a March launch, timed to the releases of a block of software in that same timeframe, all mirroring their approach to the Switch Lite. (Two months, July-September, from reveal to launch, and Link’s Awakening, Dragon Quest 11S, and Daemon Ex Machina all releasing within a week of the console) That being said, as I previously stated during the Gamescom livechat, further delays can’t be discounted given the state of the world. Whenever it’s ready, I do very much anticipate the Breath of the Wild sequel to be one of its flagship titles for the year and to launch not too far off from it.
August 3rd: After marketing text had tipped the public off in the advance, Marvel’s Avengers, launching shortly before this publishes, was confirmed to have the controversial choice of keeping playable Spider-Man exclusive to the game’s PlayStation release, despite Sony not previously obstructing the character’s long multi-platform history outside of the one recent game series they do directly own. Sony and Square holding a partnership favorable to the platform had been apparent since the game’s initial unveiling, but this was the culmination of both the development of that and the game’s overall struggling public perception. It was followed shortly after by a series of further exclusivity announcements that are more minor but also more simply embarrassing, being particular cosmetics whose availability is determined by a household’s telecom provider.
August 9th: Capcom veteran and main producer of the Street Fighter series Yoshinori Ono announced that he was resigning from the company shortly. After helming the series’ massively successful 3D revival in the late 2000s, Ono had been at the forefront of developmental difficulties on both SFV and Street Fighter X Tekken, and shortly before he made this statement, rumors had begun to stir that the presently unconfirmed Street Fighter 6 had experienced similar difficulties, being internally delayed out of 2021 and resulting in the previously unplanned fifth season of DLC for SFV that began its unveiling during this summer.
August 10th: EA Play, formerly EA Access, was announced to be launching on Steam as of today, August 31st, as part of the company’s new Valve contract and ultimate plan to survive the recent failures of the Origin service. Confirmed authentic (and consistent with previous leaked images) photographs of Microsoft’s new controller and its packaging appeared online, displaying that the controller was compatible with, among others, the Xbox Series S platform, which remains unofficial and unannounced as of yet, but had been long rumored. Xbox Series S is reported to be the less expensive and less powerful counterpart launching alongside the already revealed Xbox Series X later this holiday.
August 12th: Remedy Entertainment announced the new Ultimate Edition release of their 2019 hit Control, which includes all expansions and other post-launch content, as well as exclusive access to digital next-gen upgrades for the game once they’re available by the end of 2020. This edition and early 2021 physical releases of each next-gen version are the only way to play the updated game, entirely cutting off everyone who had supported the game by buying what was available during its first year of release, unless they’re willing to pay for it a second time. For both those specific consequences to the game’s earliest adopters and the overall contrast to this holiday season’s tendency for more universally accessible and free next-gen upgrades, this has been a very controversial announcement.
August 14th: After he had previously stepped down as creative director for AC: Valhalla and an investigation had opened, Ubisoft has now confirmed that Ashraf Ismail was now fired entirely for engaging in a predatory and manipulative relationship with a streamer and fan, which by her testimony had entailed him continually lying to her that he wasn’t married. This is still only the latest development in an ongoing reckoning over company-wide allegations of abuse.
August 17th: Sidebar Games released a short trailer confirming that their highly anticipated upcoming game Sports Story, sequel to 2017’s Golf Story, had been delayed indefinitely. This news came at the same time as the announcement of Nintendo’s next Indie World showcase, the presentation series through which the game and its initial Summer 2020 release was first announced.
August 18th: Arkane’s Deathloop, a PS5 timed exclusive, was delayed from holiday 2020 to Spring 2021, while Baldur’s Gate 3‘s Panel From Hell presentation announced its early access release date as September 30th.
Indie World: The presentation opened with a set of gorgeous animated trailers for Supergiant Games’ Hades and Thunder Lotus Games’ Spiritfarer, each of which were followed by gameplay and dev commentary. The show in general put a strong emphasis on being able to see and hear from the diverse group that had worked on the showcase’s various featured titles. Hades is an isometric roguelike RPG and has been in early access on Windows since December 2018, and as per this announcement will be launching as the finalized title to Xbox, PlayStation and Switch all at once sometime in Fall 2020. Spiritfarer was one of the widely discussed breakout hits from E3 2019 via its premium spot in the Xbox show. It’s a management sim focused on maintaining the ferry to the afterlife and ultimately having to say goodbye to the passengers you’re aiding, and excitingly, it was the first of the Indie World’s many shadowdrops, coming digitally to Xbox, PS4, PC, and Switch on that day, August 18th. From there a number of recent hits and GOTY contenders were showcased, including the 90s internet set adventure game Hypnospace Outlaw, releasing to Xbox, PS4 and Switch on August 27th with an eShop demo that day, and the first-person sci-fi survival adventure Subnautica, announcing that it was coming to Switch in Early 2021 alongside its arctic sequel Below Zero. Garden Story, Bear and Breakfast, and Card Shark were some other big announcements for 2021, the first being a cute 2D animated community-building RPG, the second being a management game about a bear running a makeshift bed and breakfast in the woods, and the last a card game coming from Devolver Digital and the developers of the Reigns series, about gambling and cheating your way into power in 18th century Europe. Torchlight 3, which is currently in Early Access on PC, was also announced to be coming to Switch later in 2020 as part of its overall multiplatform launch.
The rest of the shadowdrops came fast and furious. The stop-motion animated Takeshi and Hiroshi, telling the story of an older brother comforting the latter by playing games with him, coming from Apple Arcade exclusively to Switch. The 3D action platformer Raji: An Ancient Epic, the story of a young woman adventuring in Ancient India by an Indian dev team and a highlight from this summer’s preview shows, as an overall timed exclusive. The beloved indie hit about a bird flying around an island, A Short Hike, coming as a timed console exclusive. First-person gravity shifting puzzle game Manifold Garden bringing its overall console launch like Spiritfarer and Hypnospace before it. And the 2D action-platformer Evergate. All of these were released on Switch on the same day, many of them having not been confirmed for Switch prior, and arriving with weeklong discounts as part of a larger promotional indie sale to help get these games off the ground. Finally, two closers hit: a sizzle reel featuring Haven (coming later this year), Going Under (September 24th), The Red Lantern (Fall 2020), Unrailed (September 23rd but with a demo that day!), Struggling (August 27th), INMOST (August 21st), She Dreams Elsewhere (Early 2021), and Grindstone and Gonner2, both Fall 2020; and lastly, a trailer announcing a free patch coming to Untitled Goose Game alongside and packaged with its physical release on September 23rd, which brings a second goose for two-player co-op fun.
Before the Indie World show aired, reporter Daniel Ahmad returned from having teased the Superhot, Hotline Miami Collection, and Ori and the Blind Forest announcements for 2019’s August indie show, promising more shadowdrops and another Microsoft-associated title. I had at first assumed that Spiritfarer was that game as I remembered, and as previously discussed, its initial reveal being in the E3 2019 Xbox show, but Ahmad clarified that the game he expected was not in that day’s show after all, leaving the questions open of what it might be and when it might be announced.
August 19th: Lead writer Brian Mitsoda and director Ka’ai Cluney were unexpectedly fired from Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 and the two companies behind the game. This follows from the announcement, earlier this same month, of the game’s second major delay, in 2021, a decision which the men by their own word had no knowledge of involvement in prior to their firings.
The first Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War teaser trailer released the same day, following from months of leaks and preceding the game’s full unveil one week later on the 26th. The game is a direct narrative sequel from the first entry in the subseries, following some of the same characters. Like Take Two’s upcoming NBA title, this game’s standard next-gen versions will launch at a $70 price, and Activision representatives confirm this will be their standard going forward for this series. These announcements also entailed a broader bizarrely labyrinthine setup in which: the physical PS4 version of the game will digitally upgrade for a fee, but also requires that disk in a PS5 system, while the Xbox One version doesn’t offer any form of direct upgrade as a deliberate opt-out from Smart Delivery, only playing the X1 disk in the new console without full enhancements or buying the XSX version of the game; the physical disk of the latter does also work in both the Xbox One and Series X consoles due to Microsoft’s intercompatibility.
August 22nd: After years’ worth of teases and rumors, Warner Brothers Interactive featured two major announcement trailers during the DC FanDome weekend event, for Gotham Knights from WB Montreal and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League from Rocksteady. Both are coming to Windows and next-gen consoles and set in different interpretations of the comic book universe, telling the stories of Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, and Red Hood working in Batman’s absence to defeat the conspiratorial Court of Owls, while the Suicide Squad are taking down rogue superheroes. Gotham Knights by the word of its developers and look of its footage is a story and single player focused title with supplemental co-op, despite previous public suspicion that it would be like a live service like its counterpart Suicide Squad. Bizarrely, according to Rocksteady Creative Director Sefton Hill, between the two games Suicide Squad is the one that shares the Arkham series’ setting despite it being the more contradictory and less organic option. Gotham Knights is set to release in 2021 on the aforementioned PS5 and Series X as well as Xbox One and PS4, while Suicide Squad is set for 2022 and next-gen only. There will be a second DC FanDome event on September 12th focusing on DC’s TV projects, fan retrospectives, and other more specialized event and discussion subjects. If it does have any game news that’ll be covered next month, but right now we can anticipate it to include updates on Doom Patrol, the actual best DC project right now.
In the days prior to this presentation, The Guardian reported on a letter written, signed, and delivered to studio leadership by ten staffers (more than half of the women employed there) at Rocksteady in November 2018 which cited an established history and culture of abuse within the company that included various forms of sexual harassment towards those employees including groping, abuse of power by senior staff, and the use of transphobic slurs. Issues similar to Ubisoft where this office culture naturally informs choices made within their games were also cited. This letter, previously not public knowledge, was recently shared with The Guardian’s reporter Alex Hern because no improvement had been experienced within the studio almost two years later, and the only action taken had been a single training seminar.
Rocksteady went on to respond with a new letter it claims was received “unsolicited”, signed by seven of the eight women that remained at the studio since signing the original letter, which insisted that the previous letter shouldn’t have been made public, and that a thorough response from studio heads to their letter had occurred, which included “involvement with how our characters are represented” and workshops on building “self-confidence within male dominated industries”. At no point mentioning that any form of disciplinary action towards the sexual harassment and its perpetrators had occurred, of course. All of this insinuated that these employees , as if someone needing to stay at a company to ensure they remain credited on the finished product of something they worked on isn’t a known issue in this industry (The Guardian’s source specifically cited this phenomenon relative to their work on Suicide Squad), and as if someone has never put their need of their current source of money to live ahead of their well-being, up to and including potentially simply going along with putting your name on something blatantly written by executives.
August 25th: The Sinking City, the cosmic horror detective game from Frogwares, developers of the long-standing Sherlock Holmes series, suddenly became unavailable on all digital storefronts except the team’s own website and the Switch eShop. Frogwares quickly addressed this matter, explaining that the event is the product of them terminating their contract with licensee and publisher Nacon due to violations of said contract and a subsequent ongoing legal dispute, which include unpaid royalties from the publisher as well as them mismarketing the game as developed by themselves and not Frogwares. Once across-the-board self-publication rights are in Frogwares’ hands, the game will fully return.
August 26th: Now keep in mind this is mostly just me restating my comment from a couple nights ago because I…really can’t outdo it, but here we go: Sony has opened new pre-orders directly through the Playstation site, and the system behind it is…simply heinous.
“It’s a raffle where you put your name in, and then Sony selects a select few out of all submissions based on how good of a customer they are as recorded by their PS account. Direct quote: “based on previous interests and PlayStation activities.” Even getting as far as Sony having selected and reached out to someone “does not guarantee someone a console”, also direct quote, because the limited supply devoted to this little stunt might already be claimed. In that case someone will have the option to choose from pre-ordering several peripherals without the console itself. You know, the one they still don’t have, and don’t know when it’s coming out, or how much it will cost.”
On top of going massively viral across streaming and social media, Mediatonic and Devolver’s Fall Guys has reached over seven million sales on Steam and become the most downloaded PS Plus game in the service’s history, surpassing such heavy-hitters as multiple Call of Duty titles, Destiny 2, the Shadow of the Colossus remake, and the incredibly surprising contender, Sonic Forces, as seen in Sony’s infographic from earlier this year.
No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games announced their new game The Last Campfire as launching on August 27th across PC (EGS exclusive), PS4, Xbox, Switch, and Apple Arcade. Many wondered why this was a stand-alone and day before announcement instead of featuring in either the Indie World or Partners Showcase, as it had previously been seen in March’s Indie World.
Direct Mini Partner Showcase: Opened with rhythm-action spinoff Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory after it was announced earlier this summer, announcing its release date as November 13th along with features like online competitive leaderboards, 8-player local play, and an exclusive new narrative chapter. It was followed by an extended gameplay showcase for Harmonix’s Fuser, coming Fall 2020. Next was expansive RPG DLC for Taika no Tatsujin and the launch of the mobile game World of Tanks: Blitz, then the Rocky-themed Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions coming in Spring 2021. The final set of main announcements came from Square, Ubisoft, and Sega, with the very much expected Just Dance 2021, but also the more unexpected Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, coming December 8th, and the Collection of SaGa, coming December 15th, following up on last year’s SaGa releases with a trilogy of the very first games in the series, the Game Boy games known as Final Fantasy Legend I through III. The ending sizzle reel featured Minecraft Dungeons‘ Creeping Winter DLC, available this September, Jump Force Deluxe Edition and Captain Tsubasa, which released August 28th, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered which came August 27th. At the close of the video, Nintendo’s narrator promised still more Partner Showcases to come this year.
GamesCom Opening Night Live: Between the “preshow”, the main opening show, and the next day’s Future Games show, following from the first earlier this summer, Geoff Keighley certainly did keep to his promise that they would feature dozens and dozens of games, but not many new announcements. Many of the third-party titles showcased in Xbox’s previous dedicated shows reappeared here, such as Bandai Namco’s action-RPG Scarlet Nexus, Dirt 5, which teased some kind of vampire car and maybe asymmetric multiplayer to go along with it, Chorus (Chorvs), Deep Silver’s contender in the revival of flight sim and flight combat games this year, dinosaur shooter Second Extinction, exploratory adventure Call of the Sea, and Bright Memory: Infinite.
Other appearances included: Park builder Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition, coming to Switch November 3rd, more from Call of Duty which really doesn’t need my advertising it, Doom Eternal‘s story DLC The Ancient Gods Part One coming October 20th 2020, concept art from Dragon Age 4, Chris Lloyd appearing as Doc Brown to announce that Surgeon Simulator 2 was launching that day, Walking Dead Bridge Constructor, two consecutive extended promos for the narrative and gameplay of the new World of Warcraft expansion Shadowlands, announced to be coming October 27th, Twitter viral hit Teardown, a Minecraft alike focused on creating heist courses in a “fully destructible world”, was announced to be coming to PC in Early Accesss by the end of the year, the aforementioned Little Nightmares 2 trailer, announcing the game’s full multiplat arrival on February 11th 2021 (with next-gen editions later in 2021),
more Roundup repeat offenders like WWE Battlegrounds and Godfall, Star Wars: Squadrons, a trailer for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge content coming to Sims 4 on September 8th, timeloop mystery indie game 12 Minutes revealing its voice cast of James McAvoy and Daisy Ridley as the leads and Willem Dafoe as the villain, a trailer for Warframe‘s Heart of Deimos expansion which had already released, a new cutscene-based trailer for Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga confirming its delay to Spring 2021, the co-op sidescroller Struggling (as seen earlier in the Indie World) promoting its launch that day, Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition‘s release being dated as October 15th, a trailer for Wasteland 3‘s launch, the magic-based battle royale Spellbreak launching September 3rd, a quick trailer for Destiny 2‘s next expansion Beyond Light, coming November 10th, the surprise reveal from M2 of Turrican Anthology Volumes 1 and 2 for PS4 and Switch, and a heavily promoted teaser for Fall Guys‘ second season before it arrives in October, featuring medieval theming for its new courses and costumes as well as some minor construction and obstacle rearrangement elements.
There were some brand new announcements, like Override 2, a Brazilian multiplayer mech brawler coming to PC, PS4 and PS5 December 2020, the turn-based strategy game Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground coming in 2021, Respawn’s VR game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond releasing Holiday 2020, and perhaps most intriguingly, Reflector Entertainment’s debut title Unknown9: Awakening announced with a cinematic trailer, a narrative-driven adventure game about a young Indian woman in Kolkata with supernatural powers coming to Series X, PS5 and PC next year, the centerpiece for the studio’s plan to make a name for itself with a larger multimedia Unknown9 franchise universe.
Gamescom Future Games Show: This included several titles that first appeared in Opening Night Live but received more extended presentations here, such as Mafia Definitive Edition, cosmic horror first person shooter Quantum Error coming to PS4 and PS5, strategic timeloop multiplayer shooter Lemnis Gate coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2021, asymmetric co-op espionage game Operation Tango releasing on PC, Xbox One and PS4 in 2021, Crash Bandicoot 4 revealing its flashback tapes, special challenge collectibles that unlock challenging puzzle levels set before the series’ start, and the Sam and Max point-and-click VR game This Time It’s Virtual, coming in 2021 from a new team founded by former Telltale and LucasArts employees. The rest of the Future Games were as such: Die By the Blade, a Kickstarter project and indie swordfighting game coming to PC, PS4, and X1 in 2021, rhythm FPS Bullets Per Minute, WB’s stealth-adventure game Lord of the Rings: Gollum (where you play as both Gollum and Smeagol) creeping into our caves for PC, XSX, PS5, X1, PS4, and Switch in 2021, the episodic indie hit Song of Horror coming to PS4 and Xbox October 29th, two indie games coming to PC October 21st, LOVE, a puzzle game about bringing color back to life, and Tenderfoot Tactics,
Smalland, a shrinking survival game to compete with Obsidian coming to PC Early Access soon, the 3D scifi adventure Sable coming to PC in 2021, gameplay showcases from Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 and The Survivalists, the latter of which announced its demo and opened for preload for that day, management sim Monster Harvest, Mini Motor Racing X coming to Switch September 17th, the comedy-horror game and Monkey Island throwback Gibbous coming to Switch October 28th, the roguelike Crown Trick coming to PC and Switch later this year, Inkulinati, a hand-drawn animated tactics game coming soon to PC and Switch, Werewolf: the Apocalypse: Heart of the Forest (the interactive animated tie-in to the other Werewolf the Apocalypse game) coming in late 2020, point and click adventure Chinatown Detective Agency coming to computers and Switch in early 2021 with a Steam demo available now, a first-person stealth horror game with dinosaurs, Deathground, gameplay from Marvel’s Avengers, a demo trailer for CrisTales ahead of its November launch, a full trailer depicting the character recruitment process in Watch Dogs Legion, gameplay from Team17’s Epic Chef coming to PC in 2021, a gameplay trailer for AC Valhalla focused on the game’s mythological bestiary,
the release trailer for an indie open world survival game with a unique setting Medieval Dynasty, coming to Windows September 17th, sidescrolling RPG Morbid the Seven Acolytes, a sizzle reel featuring2, as well as the surprise comeback game Rune 2, promoting its substantial updates and effective relaunch after the disastrous and publisher-negligent launch last year, the simplistic but self explanatory You Can Pet The Dog VR, Serious Sam 4, Frogwares’ latest, Sherlock Holmes Chapter 1 coming in 2021, and first person puzzle horror In Sound Mind, coming to PS5 and Series X.
Finally, Opening Night Live closed out with a gameplay showcase from Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart that expanded from what Sony showed in June while focusing on the same demo level. It featured a greater variety of seamless world-shifting moments within gameplay throughout the demo, and closed out with a brief Q&A, which included statements on the game’s place in the series, being a standalone follow-up to the 2013 entry rather than the original or its 2016 quasi-remake, and that it would be in the PS5’s launch window.
As previously shown at the close of the Gamescom livechat last week, this is the (updated) timeline I currently expect for PS5 releases based on various factors , including what was discussed at the top of the Roundup: Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Godfall – November/December 2020, Demon’s Souls Remake – Early 2021, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart – Spring/Mid-2021, Horizon Forbidden West – Fall 2021.
Look forward to Game News Roundup #4! September should have a lot of big news but who knows anymore!