The gaming highlights at Gamescom 2021

The Gamescom games fair will again be held completely digitally in 2021. Nevertheless, there will be no shortage of game announcements. At the “Opening Night Live,” there will be some news about big titles – and a few surprises to boot.

Gamescom 2021 kicked off with a two-hour show full of announcements and trailers. Host Geoff Keighley kicked off the “Opening Night Live” (ONL) with news on the hotly anticipated titles “Halo Infinite,” “Horizon Forbidden West” and as-yet-unannounced games, among others.

The big system sellers get dates

It was one of the main criticisms when the new console generation appeared in 2020: there were hardly any exclusive games for the Xbox Series S and X and the Playstation 5 at release. Two of these big games, called “system sellers,” have now gotten their release dates at Gamescom 2021.

The first-person shooter “Halo Infinite” for Xbox will be released on Dec. 8, according to the announcement. The game once again puts a big focus on multiplayer in different modes. A trailer for a new character in the Halo universe was also shown at the game show. Commander Agryna trains fighters called “Spartans” at the academy, and the trailer briefly tells her story. The makers have also announced an exclusive controller and a limited version of the Series X in Halo optics at Gamescom 2021.

release date is now set: “Halo Infinite” for the Xbox will hit the market on December 8. Photo: Microsoft/dpa-tmn

For “Horizon Forbidden West,” the developers had actually planned a release on Playstation 4 and 5 in 2021. However, the release is still postponed a bit. The sequel about the red-haired protagonist Aloy in a post-apocalyptic world full of mechanical animals is now coming on February 18, 2022.

Gamers who already own a PS5 can also now play the predecessor “Horizon Zero Dawn” in a higher frame rate of 60 frames per second (fps).

Best game chosen for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC respectively.

Premieres with Marvel and “Saints Row

The ONL started with two completely new announcements. The “Saints Row” series, which used to be considered a “GTA” competitor, is getting an equally named remake. It is set in the southwest of the USA, the trailer revolved around a group of young petty criminals who relieve other criminals of just captured rocket launchers. This brings the series more back to Earth, after the game’s predecessor “Saints Row IV” still allowed players to rule the entire galaxy with superpowers.

The remake of “Saints Row” is set in the southwest of the USA. Photo: Deep Silver/dpa-tmn

If you don’t want to miss out on superheroes, you can check out “Marvel’s Midnight Suns.” The new game from “Xcom” developer Firaxis is a tactical role-playing game. However, it is said to have “nothing in common” with Xcom in terms of gameplay, as the site “Polygon” reports.

Instead, players will be able to create their own avatar with superpowers. In the trailer, which was shown at Gamescom 2021, the superheroes Wolverine, Iron Man, Blade and Ghost Rider appeared, among others. Exactly what the game will look like will be shown in another stream on September 1.

Strategy sequel with dinos and theme parks

Strategy games are traditionally particularly popular in Germany. So it’s no surprise that there was also some news for fans of strategy and management games at Gamescom.

One of the most hotly anticipated games in this division is “Age of Empires IV”. Among other things, a new campaign was shown for the real-time strategy game at Gamescom 2021. It is scheduled for release on October 28 for the PC.

“Park Beyond” brings futuristic and fantastic rides to the theme park simulation genre. The game, announced for 2022, featured such things as roller coaster cars that are shot through the air with a cannon and a giant, branching Ferris wheel.

Dino fans can check out “Jurassic World Evolution 2.” The game is said to focus more on the management aspects of a dinosaur park and iron out some unloved elements of the first installment. Of course, there are also more dinosaurs, including flying and aquatic ones. The game is scheduled for release on November 9.

News from Earth's past
“Jurassic World Evolution 2” brings new flying dinosaurs to the game, among other things. Photo: Frontier/dpa-tmn

“DokeV”: The prettier “Pokémon”?

The game “DokeV” has also particularly caught the eye at Gamescom 2021 so far. According to the developer’s homepage, players make friends with Dokebi, which are based on the Korean nature spirits Dokkaebi. For example, a pink anteater, a white dog with a cape and a black and white bear with red boxing gloves could be seen.

The game world looks colorful and detailed in the trailer. This might interest “Pokémon” fans, among others, who were recently disappointed by the lifeless-looking game world in trailers for the upcoming “Pokémon Legends: Arceus” in the trailers. However, there was no information about the planned release date of “DokeV” at the Gamescom start.

The cult sheep from Devolver

Perhaps the strangest part of the ONL came from publisher Devolver Digital with the game “Cult of the Lamb”. In it, a lamb is saved from execution by an enigmatic stranger – but is possessed by a demon instead. The sheep builds a cult among cute forest animals with big eyes. At the same time, however, it has to fight nasty-looking monsters. The game is announced for 2022.

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Diversity without announcement

What also stood out at the show, without it being emphasized much: Many studios are focusing on diversity in their characters. A large number of the main characters in the trailers are female, often with non-white skin.

One example: In the video shown for “Call of Duty: Vanguard”, the Russian Polina Petrova plays the main role. In the game, she fights German soldiers in Stalingrad during World War II and learns her role as a sniper. Players can then also control Polina as a specialist in multiplayer.

Here’s how Gamescom 2021 continues

Another highlight at GamesCom 2021 is the Indie Arena Booth: Here, interested parties can register, create a small avatar and stroll through a digital trade show in their browser. Many independent and small development studios can be found here. Often, there are not only trailers to discover, but also links to demos of the games shown.

Gamescom 2021 will be accompanied by various other content, such as “Gamevasion”. The streaming program is organized by Rocket Beans, Freaks 4U Gaming and Instinct3. There will be various gaming content with several influencers to watch.