Ben: Gamescom, the European version of E3, is right around the corner and something tells me this is going to be a big show. The show has been getting progressively larger over the last several years, and with Microsoft planning to have a bigger than normal presence during this year's proceedings, Gamescom 2014 could be the biggest iteration of the show yet. If the swirling rumors are true, Sony has some big cards up their sleeve to play on the table. What does Microsoft have planned to counteract their chief rival? Ooh, this is exciting! What are you hoping to see unveiled at Gamescom this week?
While you ponder that, let's get on with this week's edition of the Musings!
5 Predictions for Gamescom 2014
While Gamescom 2014 technically runs from August 13-17 in Cologne, Germany, like its E3 brethren, Microsoft and Sony effectively kick the show off in earnest on Tuesday, August 12 with their respective, requisite press conferences. Microsoft hits the stage on the 12th at 8am EST, while Sony follows suit later in the afternoon at 1pm EST. What do gaming's big guns have in-store for inquiring gamers? I'll look into my crystal ball, tap into my inherent clairvoyance, and tell you right now!
1) PS4 and Vita Ports
This one is basically a gimme. Thanks to a list that recently leaked, we will almost assuredly see Journey and The Unfinished Swan ported to PS4. I think there is a good chance we'll also see these games announced for the Vita. Fans have been clamoring for these titles on the PS4 and Vita for some time now, so if Sony is planning to bring Journey and The Unfinished Swan to the PS4, they might as well deliver these modern classics to Vita owners in the process.
I don't think that's the end of the ports, either.
With reports circling that The Last of Us: Remastered may have sold as many as 1.5 million copies worldwide within 24 hours (possibly 2 million when digital sales are factored in), it's clear that either there are a ton of PS4 owners new to the PlayStation family, or there are a bunch of people who loved The Last of Us so much they just had to see/experience/feel it in 1080p/60fps. Honestly, it's probably a little bit of both.
Back at E3, PlayStation's American VP of Marketing, John Koller, told Kotaku that approximately 31% of PS4 owners are new PlayStation owners, meaning they only had an Xbox 360 or Wii during the previous generation. Current sales estimates peg the PlayStation 4 at nearing 10 million units sold, which when compared to the percentage of PS4 owners Koller believes to be new to the PlayStation brand, matches up nicely with The Last of Us: Remastered's sales figures. (At 2 million copies sold, both physically and digitally, this would mean approximately 20% of PS4 owners bought a copy of the game). The PlayStation 3 had a totally killer lineup of exclusive games for the system, and it's unsurprising that Sony would be interested in leveraging these titles to both satisfy new/current PS4 owners, and woo those millions of Xbox 360 and Wii owners out there who may not have picked up a next-gen system yet.
As Andrew House told Eurogamer last month:
It's clear that House wants to see more "Remastered" titles on the PS4. So, who are the likely candidates? More importantly, which "Remastered" titles might we see make an appearance at Gamescom? I think it's all but certain we'll see a sort of Uncharted: Remastered Collection at some point. However, with Naughty Dog recently cranking out The Last of Us: Remastered, it seems a little early to think they'd be talking about another PS4 port from their studio. They do need to work on Uncharted 4 at some point, right? inFAMOUS could be a candidate for the "Remastered" treatment, but Second Son has already been released so the opportunity to properly market and promote an inFAMOUS collection for the PS4 has passed. Which brings me to God of War. We know Cory Barlog returned to Sony Santa Monica Studios close to a year ago and has been hard at work on a top secret new project. Whether or not it's the first God of War for the PS4, we've yet to determine. It's a top-selling franchise for Sony, though, and I could easily see a "Remastered" collection for the PS4 unveiled at Gamescom.
Beyond: Two Souls was rumored as a potential PS4 title in the near future. A Heavy Rain/Beyond: Two Souls package could be quite the enticing offer for prospective buyers. Europeans love their racing games, making Gran Turismo 6 on PS4 a strong candidate for reveal. Even though these are not first-party titles, there have been rumblings of next-gen ports for both DMC: Devil May Cry and the Mass Effect Trilogy. A Gamescom unveiling for these next-gen ports would make sense, as developers Ninja Theory and Bioware gear up for their next titles. Mass Effect 4 can't be too far off from an official reveal, can it?
My dark horse pick for the "Remastered" treatment? A Crash Bandicoot remastering by Sanzaru Games that re-imagines the first three Naughty Dog games in HD for the PS4 and Vita. Hey, I said dark horse, right?
What "Remastered" games do you want to see come to PS4? Let us know in the comments below.
Ok, so number one is out of the way. Making progress!
2) Sony's Mysterious Teasers
Sony has released a series of mysterious trailers (seen above!) this week leading up to their Gamescom press conference Tuesday afternoon. There have been several theories as to what game this could be referring to, including some suggesting it could be hinting at a new Resident Evil exclusive to the PS4. After the third and final teaser, I think it's safe to say the trailers are referring to the reappearance of teen horror game, Until Dawn.
Interestingly, Until Dawn is listed as a PS4 title on the same leaked list that ousted the PS4 ports of Journey and The Unfinished Swan. It's been a long time since we've seen Until Dawn, and it appears it may no longer be a PS3 title. Created in the vein of a classic slasher flick, and originally unveiled at Gamescom 2012, this Move-based horror game gained quite a buzz following the show, only to disappear off the grid completely. Now, it looks like the time is right for its re-unveiling, exactly two years after its official reveal in 2012. It appears it will be a PS4 title now, and I'm excited to finally hear about this title again! I thought it looked and sounded really cool when it was initially shown a couple of years ago.
Could the "horror reinvented" line from teaser trailer #3 be referring to the rumored Project Morpheus integration for the game? Hmmm, that would be interesting...
3) Microsoft has Something Big Planned
Microsoft has had a more subdued presence at past Gamescoms, but this year they appear to be coming to the ballpark swinging. They have their big press conference at 8am EST on the 12th, and I think they're going to announce something big. I have no idea what that will be, but I'm going to guess they're going to have another third-party exclusive to announce for their system.
I'm sure we'll see some stuff about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, FIFA, and probably Forza Horizon 2 — games that really appeal to the European audience — with the former two set to receive some more exclusive content, I'd wager.
Which third-party would step-in and offer another exclusive to Xbox's new machine? EA and Microsoft have been awfully buddy-buddy lately; could they really put another exclusive franchise on the Xbox One with the sales tilted so heavily in Sony's favor?
I feel like maybe we'll see the return of Dead Space, exclusive to the Xbox One.
Whatever it is, Microsoft wants to make some noise at the show this year, and I'm sure they have something exciting planned for us.
Edit: I missed the mark! Rise of the Tomb Raider is announced as an Xbox One exclusive!
4) Sony has Something Big to Show, Too
Not to be outdone by their arch-rivals in the green and black, Sony wants to keep their steam-roller-momentum going, following the launch of the PlayStation 4. Their Gamescom conference is the perfect place to do just that. The House of PlayStation has been placing more and more emphasis on Gamescom in recent years as the show has continued to grow in scope and attendance, and I don't expect anything different from this year's iteration of the Sony press conference. In fact, I expect this to be their biggest conference yet.
We've already talked about the teasers pointing at the re-introduction of Until Dawn on the PS4. I know we'll see a host of awesome new indie games unveiled on the stage, and I think we may finally hear what at least one of the first-party studios is working on. If I were a betting man, I'd be lying in front of the casino as a homeless drunk in search of my next gambling fix. Wow, that got really dark, really quick. *Ahem* If I were a less dark and infinitely more happy version of the betting man, my money would be on Media Molecule or Polyphony Digital to lift the curtain on their secret PS4 creations. Media Molecule is definitely working on a new IP for their first PS4 game (LittleBigPlanet 3 is being handled by Sumo Digital), while Polyphony is just waiting for the right time to announce they're bringing Gran Turismo 6 over to the PS4. Because, hey, everybody's doing it!
While all of this would be exciting in and of itself, I think Sony is going to make some noise with some third-party exclusives of their own. The PlayStation 4 is selling at an almost 2:1 clip compared to the Xbox One — that sales disparity is even greater in Europe — and the incentive to develop an exclusive title for the clear market leader is a much easier sell, at least from a developer's point of view.
Tying in with the horror theme of their Gamescom teaser trailers, I'm going out on a limb and saying we'll see Resident Evil 7 exclusive to the PS4. I can see them at the press conference showing a gameplay demo of the new Resident Evil Remastered project, which is a remake of the legendary first title for next-gen systems, and then transitioning into a trailer for the all-new seventh entry in the venerable series.
Capcom has been quiet lately, and I also think we're going to see Monster Hunter return to PlayStation platforms soon. I'd expect to see this franchise on both PS4 and Vita at some point. While this seems like something more along the lines of a Tokyo Game Show announcement, it could potentially be brought to light in Europe should they have enough ammunition in the barrel for the Japanese game show later this fall.
5) Vita Love
E3 had little to say about the Vita for Sony, and we should see it getting more time in the spotlight on the European stage. As I mentioned above, I'm sure indie titles will fill a part of the press conference and many of them will be coming to Vita. However, in keeping with the theme of these predictions, we may see a big third-party franchise make its way over to Sony's portable.
I'm going to resurrect a failed E3 prediction here and say we'll see Grand Theft Auto in some capacity on the PS Vita. While a Liberty City Stories-style entry on the handheld would be awesome, a port of the recently remastered original trilogy for iOS is a more likely candidate.
There definitely needs to be more focus on the system at Gamescom. Past Gamescom conferences have had a nice portion of time set aside for the Vita, and personally, I can't wait to see more from Freedom Wars!
Overall, I think we're in for some excitement at this year's Gamescom, where we can kick back, see some awesome games, and enjoy the show!
And don't forget to sound off in the comments below regarding all of the big game announcements!
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