Gamescom 2015, the show that missed the boat


Gamescom was kind of the show that was destined to greatness. With 335’000 visitors in 2014 (including the mainstream public, not just the press like E3), it’s the most visited gaming event, and it made the headlines in 2014 with announcements like the (false) exclusivity of Rise of the Tomb Raider for XboxOne. In 2015, the German show just had to score again to establish itself as a major hub for European gaming, different enough from E3 to rival it. That did not happen as Cologne’s assets faded.

Microsoft was the only manufacturer to hold a conference and thus had to set the pace and give added value to Gamescom’s offering. But the reveal of Crackdown 3 or Halo Wars 2 is of little interest to the European consumers at large : far too classic to surprise or impress. Platinum Games’s Scalebound stands out but to me it is kind of a contradiction in itself. You definitely can’t pick a Heroic-Fantasy world with a cool dragon and stuff and mix it with a youngish dudebro to much like DmC’s Dante impostor.

And there is the Mafia III case. Biggest reveal of this Gamescom 2015, there had been at least one tweet per day before the show to inform us that, wow, Mafia III would be an exclusive reveal at Gamescom, of course don’t tell anyone… No seriously, Bethesda leaks during E3 were already ridiculous but 2K’s handling of this is beyond shameful.

Final Fantasy XV was supposed to be the big thing of this Gamescom, but the content shown was so little that it was barely noticeable. I won’t bother you again with the dismal Dawn trailer that tells us even less than the ones of 5 or 10 years ago. The only (and damn short) gameplay above actually informs us that 1/ the frame rate suffers hell (new thing, since it was fine in Duscae) 2/ Xylomids are back! Fantastic, it’s like saying GT7 will have tyres. We’re seriously far of the tremendous expectations FFXV triggers and the numerous questions raised by Duscae. Tabata has missed the boat despite promising a great ride, and that doesn’t bode well for FFXV development in general…

But not everything was terrible and this gameplay of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst makes no mistakes in enhancing the original experience to new generation heights : the inside of the buildings and the outside world, lightning effects are among to best ever shown on a console. The gameplay seems intact and the story darker, with more depth put into charcaters. As many reasons to save the date for it release on February 25th.

Let’s stay at DICE, the best developer on the planet from a technical point of view, with Star Wars Battlefront that presents its aerial gameplay with the usual grandeur and breathtaking style. This is very impressive and I do hope that making a dedicated mode means shifting to more accessible controls because BF4’s aerial vehicles are a real pain.

Kinda discreet showing for Metal Gear Solid V here. The trailer does have a good rhythm, lots of appealing sniper rifles, but reveals little in terms of story… That said, I had the impression I saw Psycho Mantis.

Well, that’s about it… no fresh sniper stuff for Black Ops III, everything was shown at E3, including multiplayer matches that traditionally are premiered at Gamescom. Cologne clearly lost something big here. The European event didn’t do much to promote the Japanese games on the showfloor (or is it the stupid journalists bent on their AAA games all day long?). KoeiTecmo had somewhat a big showing, with games like Samurai Warriors 4-II or Arslan Warriors (which is quite a big manga IP at the moment), and having the most striking reveal in announcing a brand-new Attack on Titan game for all Playstation platforms. Something that should matter for a show neighboring Japan-friendly countries, but nobody in the stupid European game establishment cares. Such a pity.

This Gamescom 2015 downright wasted its trump cards and potential, and went back to a status of “mini-E3”, raising concerns on Europe’s capability to set its own gaming pace without lazily receiving US trends.

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