The recently-concluded Gamescom event in Germany hasn't been the platform of choice for big launches, so it was no surprise when the big two made no announcements regarding their next-gen consoles. What was disappointing, however, is the fact that Sony didn't launch the PS3 4000, the last update to the ageing console. Despite the absence of Microsoft and Nintendo, Sony regaled the 275,000-strong turnout with a barrage of new games for the PS3 and PS Vita.
In addition to the new instalments to established franchises already revealed in E3, Gamescom 2012 hosted a fair chunk of new IPs. The incremental updates to popular video game franchises have already been showcased to death earlier this year at E3, but it takes a certain amount of pluck and gumption from a studio to put its money on a brand new idea. It only makes sense then to take a quick gander at the best new IPs the event had to offer.
Originally pitched to Sony as Adrift, this slick Sci-Fi Action Adventure title from French developer Dontnod was axed for reasons best known to Sony. However, after what the developer claims as major revisions, the game looks rather interesting, both visually and conceptually. It's a good thing that Capcom will be publishing the game in its new avatar. You play as Nilin, a femme fatale capable of messing with people's memory and even killing them. Think of her as a mnemonic assassin of sorts set in a futuristic world where memory is a valuable commodity worth killing for. Going by the promos, expect a lot of Batman-style melee combat, and lots of twists and turns in a plot employing the popular Amnesiac Hero trope.
The buzz across town is the rise of free-to-play model that's touted to be the future of video games. If that hypothetical future looks anything like Hawken, I'm game for it. Developed by a small independent studio called Adhesive Games, this online-only vehicular FPS combat game looks gorgeous enough to put most AAA titles to shame. Being free-to-play isn't the only thing going on for it though, because Hawken heralds the resurgence of the long-dead, but incredibly awesome Mech genre. The idea is to customise and arm your mecha to the teeth, pitting it against your friends in online multiplayer arenas. There isn't much that compares with controlling a hundred-tonne hunk of armour and missile pods. Don't take my word for it; just watch the mind-boggling gameplay videos.
This was one of the most promising new titles showcased in Gamescom 2012 in terms of concept and art style. Developed by Sony's Japan Studio, Rain (working title) harks back to teams other visually stunning title Ico. You play the role of a boy who's mysteriously gone invisible and is only visible in rain. This gameplay mechanic entails a visual style and treatment that needs to be seen firsthand to take in the concept. Not much is known about the game at the moment since it's in the early development stages. However, it does remind me of is Konami's Lost In Shadow, which used a similar gameplay style employing shadows. Hopefully, Rain will be able to make better use of the concept than Konami, which couldn't really flesh out the idea well enough.
Sony seemed to be on a roll with yet another promising title from its Japan Studios. Dubbed as Puppeteers, the game puts you in the shoes of a puppet in a, well, puppet theatre production called The Perilous Journey of a Boy Named Kutaro. Expect a distinctive art style and lots of platforming elements. The presentation is quite intriguing, going by how the game world moves within the same static curtained frame, with the world and the objects in it moved by mechanical contraptions. Apparently, the concept for Puppeteers germinated from a game the Art Director Gavin Moore had developed for his 8-year-old son. Needless to say, the child-like charm sure has rubbed off in the version showcased in the event.
Here's a good reason to dust your PlayStation Move Motion Controller, provided you remember where you have kept it. Until Dawn is Supermassive Games' take on the teen slasher genre on the video game front. The studio has worked in tandem with Hollywood scriptwriters for an authentic scare quotient, replete with a cinematic flair that gamers have been spoiled with titles such as Heavy Rain. The PS3 game puts you in the midst of a backyard slasher flick, even as the Move motion controller acts as a torch. The game seems to work rather well with the inclusion of the motion controller, and the video showcased looked full of the customary thrills and twists expected from the genre.