Gamescom was all-virtual this year, but that didn’t stop the trade show from showcasing a lineup of great games we’ll soon get our hands on (well, some sooner than others). The weeklong event featured several livestreams, like the Xbox Showcase and Geoff Keighley’s. Many of the games made a lasting impression, and we’ve collected the highlights that stood out from the week, most of which you’ll get to play either this year or in early 2022.
Developer: Volition | Release Date: Feb. 22, 2022
The high-octane open-world action series Saints Row always felt like an appropriate counter to Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series. Though both are about mingling with unsavory gangsters and engaging in hostile takeovers to grow your criminal enterprise, Saints Row did it through the lens of a parody — taking a self-parodying view that the GTA series wouldn’t dare to.
What other open-world crime simulator has minigames focusing on insurance fraud and other bumbling yet still lucrative schemes to boost your gang’s rep? The later entries introduced Matrix-style action and mayhem, but developer Volition is focusing on a more back-to-basics approach for the reboot of Saints Row. It’s more about snatching up rival turf and bonding with your crew of criminals. At least based on the latest trailer, this reboot for Saints Row may be a fun return to form for the franchise.
Developer: Sloclap | Release Date: Feb. 22, 2022
You know those old kung fu movies where the protagonist spends 90 minutes demolishing rooms and rooms of underlings in gradually expanding dramatic brawls? Sifu looks like it’s all about letting you be that guy. Developed by the makers of Absolver, a well-received 2017 PC game, Sifu puts you in the garb of an aging martial artist. That’s not all — each time you die, you age. A slick trailer shown off at Gamescom demos the combat and a range of new locales. Sifu is set to hit PS4 and PS5 early next year.
Far Cry 6
Developer: Ubisoft Toronto | Release Date: Oct. 7, 2021
The next entry in this long-running open-world action series takes players back to the tropical settings of earlier games. In Far Cry 6, players assume the role of Dani Rojas, a native of the island of Yara who joins a revolutionary army to take down menacing yet charismatic dictator Anton Castillo (played by Breaking Bad and Do the Right Thing actor Giancarlo Esposito).
The latest trailer focuses heavily on Castillo, showing off Esposito’s powerhouse performance. We also get to see more of Dani’s story, taking on different lieutenants in Castillo’s regime with an assortment of weapons and gadgets. The Far Cry series has a particular way of letting players dive into its world and offers the tools to cause as much mayhem as possible. Based on what we’ve seen so far, Far Cry 6 is certainly hitting all the right notes for what this series does best, and we’ll be able to see much more of it once it comes out, later in October.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Developer: Firaxis Games | Release Date: March 2022
After a raft of rumors throughout the summer, 2K and Firaxis Games revealed they were working on a new type of tactical role-playing game focusing on (some of) Marvel’s greatest superheroes (plus some B-listers). In Midnight Suns, you play as an original character named The Hunter, who must band together superheroes like Captain America, Wolverine, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange to face off against the mystical villain Lilith and her legion of demons. The concept of an XCOM-style tactics game focusing on Marvel characters is an intriguing one, and we’re excited to see more of the game and how in-depth its mechanics are soon with its upcoming Sept. 1 gameplay reveal event.
Developer: 343 Industries | Release Date: Dec. 8, 2021
It’s been a rough ride for the Halo series since 343 Industries took the baton from Bungie, so the stakes are high for Halo Infinite.
The game had a tortured development period, but a light is at the end of the tunnel. Gamescom gave us the release date: Dec. 8. It also gave us a cinematic trailer for the free-to-play multiplayer half of the game, which by all accounts is very promising.
There’s still no new footage of the single player campaign, since its much-maligned debut in July 2020. That’s troubling, but we rather enjoyed the vibe and back to basics aesthetic of what the team is clearly shooting for. Can’t wait for this one.
Dying Light 2
Developer: Techland | Release Date: Dec. 8, 2021
Dying Light 2 expands on the original’s fast action and smooth traversal (aka, parkour) gameplay set in a zombie-infested world. New footage from Gamescom focuses on the expanded run, jump and climb gameplay, with the protagonist evading several infected and other hostile survivors. It reminded us of the exciting sense of speed and raw power that the original excelled at. With its release set for December, you’ll finally be able to get your hands on the sequel to one of 2015’s surprise hits.
Horizon Forbidden West
Developer: Guerrilla Games | Release Date: Feb. 18, 2022
We didn’t really see Horizon Forbidden West at Gamescom, but we did get a release date: Feb. 18, 2022.
That date couldn’t come fast enough. The game’s predecessor, Horizon Zero Dawn, was mega. Taking the best elements of games like The Witcher, Batman Arkham Asylum and Mass Effect, Horizon Zero Dawn smooshed it all together, added robot dinosaurs to the sauce, and somehow made it work. Horizon Zero Dawn was as polished and compelling as an open-world game can be.
We fully expect Horizon Forbidden West to up the ante, both in terms of the narrative and new features. This is the work of a tight-knit group of creatives at the peak of their powers.
Forza Horizon 5
Developer: Playground Games | Release Date: Nov. 9, 2021
The first eight minutes of Forza Horizon 5 debuted at Gamescom, and the game looks exactly like you’d expect. And if you’ve played a previous Horizon game, that’s a great compliment.
The franchise is known for incredible graphics, varied gameplay challenges and satisfying open-world driving. Forza Horizon 5, from Playground Games, looks to take that formula and tighten it up further with Series X|S improvements. And best of all? It’ll be available for Xbox Game Pass from day one.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Developer: DotEmu / Tribute Games | Release Date: TBD 2022
For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans of a certain age, 1991’s Turtles in Time remains the turtles’ best video game outing. Their upcoming adventure, Shredder’s Revenge, may be a worthy successor. Developed by Dotemu (the studio behind Streets of Rage 4) and Tribute Games, Shredder’s Revenge is a classic side-scrolling beat-’em-up that’s definitely in the vein of Turtles in Time.
Featuring gorgeous pixel art, four-player couch co-op, and the classic cast from the ’80s cartoon (including April O’Neil, who’s appearing as a playable character this time around), it’s an alluring blend of nostalgia and modern gameplay sensibilities.
Developer: From Software | Release Date: Jan. 22, 2022
Toward the end of Gamescom week, we got to see a slew of new information regarding Elden Ring, the next major RPG from the creators at From Software. As the successor to the Dark Souls series, Elden Ring sounds more ambitious with every new drop of content. Moving further into an open-world experience, it brings the familiar Souls-style combat and challenge to a grander scale, and stands as one of our most-anticipated games of 2022. But for now, we’re still waiting to see more gameplay, aside from the paltry two trailers that’ve been released over the last two years.
Call of Duty: Vanguard
Developer: Sledgehammer Games | Release Date: Nov. 5, 2021
Thought 2021 would pass without a new Call of Duty game? Think again. At Gamescom, Sledgehammer Games unveiled Call of Duty: Vanguard, a World War II shooter that’ll firmly plant you in the three major theaters of war: Europe’s Western front, its Eastern front, and the Pacific theater. In addition to a beautiful CG trailer, we also saw gameplay from the horrifying battle of Stalingrad. Vanguard is set to hit all platforms on Nov. 5, about two weeks after Battlefield 2042.