With Sony’s absence and its 2015 calender already filled up, Microsoft has a unique opportunity at Gamescom.
Gamescom 2015 draws near and while it may not features tons of breaking announcements like this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, it’s still expected to be a fun event. This is due in part to the fact the convention is open to everyone, allowing gamers from far and wide to enter and try out high-profile releases on the show floor for themselves.
This year’s Gamescom is a bit different though, particularly because of Microsoft and Sony. The latter has actually changed things up by not attending this year’s conference. Given the number of blockbusters it announced at E3 – including the remake for Final Fantasy 7, reviving The Last Guardian and launching the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter with Yu Suzuki besides showing off Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and announcing Horizon: Zero Dawn – that makes some bit of sense. Sony is on a tear now anyway with 25.3 million PS4 units shipped worldwide anyway so despite the lack of any major AAA titles this Holiday season, it doesn’t have much to sweat about.
"Remedy's Quantum Break is perhaps one of the few games that have been hyped for the Xbox One since the console's introduction, especially with the changes made since its inception..."
However, this opens up a very interesting door for Microsoft. Not only are games like Halo 5: Guardians, Forza Motorsport 6 and Rise of the Tomb Raider available for hands-on play but we also expect new details for each game as well. The advantages these hold are that they release later this year itself. Forza Motorsport 6 is out first in September, followed by Halo 5 in October and Rise of the Tomb Raider in December.
There’s also the fact that Microsoft will be holding a dedicated presser for Gamescom and taking the covers off of some of its more mysterious titles. Crackdown will finally be getting some gameplay footage, showing us just how much the open world supercop title has evolved since its days on the Xbox 360. Scalebound will be revealed in some form or another (it’s hard to decide which one has Platinum’s Hideki Kamiya so worked up) and there may be more to the game than initially believed. Xbox division boss Phil Spencer at least stated that it would be a true AAA title.
Remedy’s Quantum Break is perhaps one of the few games that have been hyped for the Xbox One since the console’s introduction, and it’s undergone some since its inception due to Microsoft abandoning its efforts for TV shows to focus more on gaming. That’s not to say that Quantum Break won’t have some kind of TV series attached to it for players to unlock as they progress through the story.
"Remedy's Quantum Break is perhaps one of the few games that have been hyped for the Xbox One since the console's introduction, and it's undergone some since its inception due to Microsoft abandoning its efforts for TV shows to focus more on gaming."
However, the upcoming showing at Gamescom will offer the most up to date version of the game till now and hopefully build some hype to a real release. You can also bet that Microsoft will use its presser to talk about other key features coming for the Xbox One including its fall update which significantly speeds up UI navigation and backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 titles.
While Microsoft may not dethrone Sony any time soon in the console war, its plan to focus on several key releases at E3 2015 while saving others for Gamescom seems to have panned out. Time will tell just how great the individual presentations for these games are when Microsoft’s conference rolls around but above all else, it offers Microsoft some significant talking points at a time when Sony lacks a major presence (aside from Guerrilla Games showcasing Horizon: Zero Dawn). Word of mouth is the console’s best weapon right now and the more Microsoft stays in the public eye – in a positive way, of course – the better.
The real kicker, besides the overall strength of the presentations, will be when exactly Crackdown, Scalebound and Quantum Break will be releasing. Microsoft was able to fall back on its upcoming Holiday releases when announcing new games at E3. But will the company be able to pull off the same at Gamescom if none of the above games have release dates attached? It’s hard to say but at this point, the House of M needs to keep dating its releases and delivering on time.
"There's still plenty more that could be done when the presser finally rolls around. Microsoft could finally bring its slew of indie titles, like the long in development Cuphead to the forefront."
One of the bigger problems Sony has had, besides the lack of releases for the remainder of 2015, is the lack of dates for games like The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy VII. For all its hype, we may not see Shenmue 3 until 2017. No one knows when Media Molecule’s Dreams is out and David Cage/Quantic Dream are occupied with bringing Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain to the PS4 (neither have release dates). The only major titles that seem to have a strong chance of actually releasing on time in 2016 are Uncharted 4 and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Neither release date has been confirmed. We can only expect Uncharted 4 to be properly dated when the next PlayStation Experience comes up but it should be done earlier.
At least there’s Until Dawn, for what it’s worth, coming out on August 23rd.
There’s still plenty more that could be done when the presser finally rolls around. Microsoft may finally bring its slew of indie titles, like the long in development Cuphead to the forefront. It could significantly expand its preview program to include new games. It could make another blockbuster announcement from out of nowhere. Whatever it decides to do, the company’s calendar for 2015 is set – it now needs to make strong strides for 2016’s line-up. Touting Halo and Forza, along with Gears of War and Tomb Raider, is fine but if there were ever a time to further expand on that roster in a meaningful way, then Gamescom is it.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s plans for Gamescom 2015? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for more coverage on the company’s presser when it begins on August 4th, 9 AM PDT.