Despite being the biggest video games convention on the planet, GamesCom rarely serves up the jaw dropping reveals that are so common at E3. The stakes are much higher this year, though, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One going head-to-head yet again. For both Sony and Microsoft, this may represent the last opportunity to sway indecisive consumers prior to release, so each manufacturer is going to need to bring its very best hand. However, there’s much more than merely the next generation at stake for the Japanese giant, as it also furthers its efforts to reignite the commercial fortunes of the flagging PlayStation Vita and attempts to solidify the PlayStation 3’s position as the budget console of choice. With just days until the company’s big press conference, we’ve pulled together a handful of Push Square writers to discuss our hopes, dreams, and fears for the big show.
Sammy Barker, Associate Editor
I’m still not really worried about the PS4’s lineup. I’ve read a lot of criticism regarding the platform’s first-party offering, but I think that a lot of it is premature. Sony’s clearly learned from the likes of The Last Guardian that it’s better to announce software when it’s almost finished, and it’s adhered to that rule thus far. As such, I don’t expect it to reveal too many games for its next generation console at GamesCom – but I am really looking forward to seeing Housemarque’s title in action. It would be great to see something from Media Molecule or Sony Santa Monica, but I’m not holding my breath. Instead, I’m expecting plenty of smaller reveals next week. It’d be nice to get a proper look at the system’s interface, too.
I’m more concerned about the Vita, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the console’s come into its own this year with the wealth of exceptionally high quality indie titles – but none of those games appear to be motivating the market to actually buy the console. With both Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway – two titles that temporarily rejuvenated the handheld at last year’s press conference – now almost upon us, the company really needs to show a big commitment to first-party content. I’m having a blast with the smaller titles, but it’s clear that something bigger is needed to reverse the hardware’s fortunes.
Mike Mason, Assistant Editor
I'm not too fussed about getting a PS4 at launch right now, mainly due to the strength of PS3 through the end of this year, but I remain open minded – GamesCom is Sony's last main chance to add to an already decent offering and convince me.
What could shift my stance? Media Molecule's new puppety property, perhaps, if it lives up to the brilliance of whatever that teaser was at the PS4 reveal. More focus on exciting, exclusive indie projects. Generally, something different that can really set the console apart on the software side. A glimpse – even just a glimpse – of The Last Guardian, however it looks now, could really tip the balance, too.
Also, as I always request: substantial Vita support, please!
Katy Ellis, Events Correspondent
Sony has very much piqued my interest with the rumour that a PS4 and Vita bundle will hit store shelves at the sweet sum of $500 later this year, and the anonymous source has pointed its finger at GamesCom as the time when this bundle of awesomeness could be announced. I've held off pre-ordering a PS4 so far and haven't yet accrued enough cash for a Vita (complete with Persona 4 Golden, of course), for reasons which only insanity can explain, so this bundle sounds like the perfect opportunity for me to hit two birds with one stone.
My other hope – well, let's face it, it's more of a dream – is the resurrection of The Last Guardian. I refuse to let it go and will keep mentioning it in every 'Talking Point' that Sammy dares to let me contribute to until it becomes a reality. Well, that or some sort of Ni No Kuni sequel – I'm not fussy.
Jamie O’Neill, Staff Writer
This is a 'Hopes and Dreams' feature, so I will push a mention of The Last Guardian through the improbable early doors, and move along to more realistic flights of fancy. In regards to the PS4, I am happy for more detail on the launch window games, especially the titles that arrive later this year. A specific European release date announcement would be welcomed with open arms, of course.
I personally would like to see another background setting in Killzone: Shadow Fall. The game is displaying a flair for visual variety, and the original Killzone and Killzone 3 had stand-out snow backdrops, so I'm hoping for Guerrilla Games to bring a flurry of snowfall to Cologne. After The Dark Sorcerer tech demo, it also would be interesting to discover that Quantic Dream is developing a fantasy PS4 game. The studio’s imagination and art work could run wild through orc infested forests, after the more realistic settings of both Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.
My biggest GamesCom 2013 dream is for a new Vita blockbuster, the next significant title after Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway. I'm happy for it to be based on an established property – a new God of War would make sense – but I think that MediEvil would be a nice fit for the handheld, or a brash and hectic racer like MotorStorm. I would definitely be happy to learn more specifics about the Metroidvania elements of Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, too, and Japan Studio has displayed such style on Puppeteer that I would love to hear of an artistically similar game for the Vita.
Lastly, the indie PlayStation Network title that I am most looking forward to is Mercenary Kings. Side-scrolling run-and-gun games are one of my favourite genres, and the sprite work by Tribute Games is exquisite, so more details on that in Germany, please.
Robert Ramsey, Staff Writer
GamesCom holds specific importance for Sony this year with the imminent release of the PS4, and the dwindling sales of the Vita, so I'm hoping for some big announcements that fit the bill. But first, the relatively boring stuff: the Vita needs a price drop, or at least some sort of bundle that's great value for money. A PS3 price reduction would also see the system maintain its momentum.
Now for the exciting stuff: I'd really like to see some brand new gameplay from exclusive titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall and The Order: 1886, as both are capable of carrying the next generation hype up until launch. For the former, I'm also particularly excited to get the scoop on multiplayer; I’d love a unique co-op mode. As for the Vita, a glance at Freedom Wars would be great, as would some new and promising game announcements. All in all, this is the perfect opportunity for Sony to rekindle everyone's interests – although I'm sure that a firm release date for the PS4 will do just that.
Simon Thornton, Staff Writer
This year’s Gamescom is the final battleground for the PS4 and the Xbox One before they release to the public. As such, Sony and Microsoft will be scrambling to secure a few more pre-orders, and there’s sure to be a plethora of announcements as a consequence.
As ever, I’m first and foremost hoping for a new SOCOM title to be announced, but it's looking less and less likely. I guess I'll just settle for another addition to the launch window – a big AAA game would really increase my anticipation for the next generation system.
In honesty, I’d love for Uncharted 4 to be that game. Sony could steal my hype with a logo and a blast of the franchise’s epic theme. It’d also be nice to know what Media Molecule’s up to, as they do have a history of making announcements in Germany – who could forget Tearaway?
Speaking of which, I reckon that it’s time that Sony gave Vita owners something major to look forward to. You can never have enough games, and the handheld is in desperate need of some attention. Hopefully, the rumour of the PS4 and Vita bundle will come to fruition, and we’ll see some big games announced.
Oh, and as for a more wild prediction – how about Minecraft?
What are your hopes and fears for PlayStation at GamesCom 2013? Are there any titles in particular that you're hoping to see? Let us know in the comments section below.