A no-show, a no-play demo, and an unexpected reboot turned viewers’ heads at this year’s Gamescom. The event went completely virtual again for 2021, spreading its coverage out over two days through various streams. It was quite the schedule to keep up with, in my opinion, but I can appreciate the amount of work the organizers put into the show.
But enough about the setup. Let’s take a look at the games that sent people scrambling for their social media accounts.
Halo Infinite’s campaign is a no-show
Halo Infinite took the virtual stage with a bunch of new information. We finally have a release date set for December 8. A multiplayer trailer showed off a new character. There’s going to be a Halo Infinite-themed Elite Xbox controller. And Microsoft is releasing an incredible Halo-themed Xbox Series X that looks absolutely fantastic.
Despite these announcements, however, there was a distinct absence that fans couldn’t help but notice: Where was the info about the campaign? The last players heard about the campaign was July 2020, just over a year ago. Disappointed fans expressed their concerns about the quality of the upcoming campaign, prompting Halo Infinite’s creative director, Joseph Staten, to address these worries in a press release.
“Before boarding my flight, I had a chance to read some of the commentary online,” wrote Staten, “and I definitely hear the disappointment about not seeing Campaign gameplay on the broadcast.” He then explained that the Halo Infinite development team was in “shutdown mode,” meaning they were focusing on smoothing out the game and getting it ready for launch. It’s a very critical phase, so they couldn’t afford to be distracted by creating new trailers.
Staten made sure to promise fans that the campaign was a lot of fun — and he’d know because he’s been playing it. “I hope all of you take comfort from the fact that, honestly, I can’t wait to get back home, fire up the build, and hit ‘Continue’ on the Campaign.”
DokeV dazzles with its chaotic children gameplay
No one seemed to know what to make of the DokeV trailer at first glance, but I was really enchanted by it. Despite its chaotic energy, the trailer managed to show off features like open-world exploring, pet collecting, multiplayer battling, and a number of imaginative ways to travel its Korea-inspired setting.
Afterward, developer Pearl Abyss released a video (be sure to turn on subtitles for translations) explaining what it’s all about: action-filled gameplay combined with a plethora of fun things to do. The developers hope that DokeV will be something that makes both kids and their parents smile while playing.
I can dig it. I’m sure there are some parents out there who wouldn’t mind playing something other than Minecraft with their young kids.
You either love or hate the Saints Row reboot
An announcement trailer for the Saints Row reboot dropped during Gamescom and calling it “extremely divisive” is putting it lightly. Honestly, the best thing to do is watch the video and make a judgment for yourself.
Personally, I’m not into the “misfit 20-somethings form a gang for friendship and profit” vibe I get from the trailer. But I’m sure my impression will change as we get more information about the game. Until then, pardon me as I continue to mourn the loss of Johnny Gat.
The sacrificial lamb fights back in Cult of the Lamb
Have I mentioned before that I love Devolver Digital? Well, I’ll say it again: I love them. I don’t know how they find so many unique games to publish, but they’re such pros at it.
Cult of the Lamb (by developer Massive Monster) combines cute animals, dungeon crawling, and cult management into a single, very intriguing package. I’m looking forward to its release!
Elden Ring wins awards even though no one can play it yet
This is a weird one. For some reason, Elden Ring won three awards from Gamescom even though it’s still in development. This is kind of a normal thing for Gamescom — a lot of the games shown are new or upcoming releases — but it never fails to feel very unusual to me.
It didn’t seem like I was the only one who thought it was silly, either. I mean, even the types of awards were funky. Elden Ring won an award for “Best Sony PlayStation Game” even though it’ll be released on multiple platforms.
Become an Elden Lord in the Lands Between! pic.twitter.com/dCzn1d2Az1
— gamescom (@gamescom) August 27, 2021
And it won awards for “Best Action-Adventure Game” and “Best Role-Playing Game” even though literally no one has been able to play a demo.
Reporters from gaming websites, such as IGN and Eurogamer, wrote that they watched a dev play a demo of the game for 15 minutes. They weren’t allowed to try it and get a feel for the combat and movement — an important factor when judging action-adventure games, in my opinion.
— gamescom (@gamescom) August 27, 2021
I don’t doubt that the game will be good, especially after reading very detailed reports from other sites. But awards for an unreleased game without a hands-on demo? It’s all fluff to me.