This year’s E3 substitute is underway with Summer Game Fest, a weeklong showcase of game trailers, announcements, and awkward devs talking on stage. The opening show went live today, and boy, did it have some interesting things to show (sarcasm, maybe?) Here’s the breakdown:
As usual, this year’s Summer Game Fest is hosted by Geoff Keighley. I admit I skipped his opening spiel and went straight to the first trailer of the show. Guile is back in this character-focused trailer for Street Fighter 6, and he’s looking good. Honestly, the art direction for Guile is perfect, though the general stylistic effects of color splashes on every hit might divide opinions. Every time I see this game in action, it looks a little like Splatoon. The new created character mode wasn’t shown, and neither were any other features, so time will tell how the explorable zones will play out when Street Fighter 6 hits PlayStation hard drives sometime in 2023.
A new Aliens game gets a cinematic trailer showing just a tiny snippet of gameplay at the end. Gameplay is top-down squad-based and faster-paced than most probably want from an Aliens game. The shooting looks too static to be a multi-directional bullet hell, so it may be a tactical game like Xcom. The aliens themselves looked great in the cinematic, but the gameplay scales everything down substantially in the top-down camera. 2023 is the vague date for Aliens: Dark Descent.
The spiritual successor to Dead Space gets a gameplay demo showing off some really cool stuff, and it’s probably the best thing shown in the entire presentation. The Callisto Protocol looks to be very faithful to its inspiration; even the visceral stomp in this demo is just like the one Isaac Clarke employed on Xenomorphs. The gore in this trailer is off the walls crazy, too, with kill/death animations somehow eclipsing those from the original Dead Space and using a gravity gun to shoot zombies into spinning blade fans, tearing them to shreds. Headed by Dead Space director Glenn Schoefield, The Callisto Protocol is poised to be quite good. December 2 of this year is the projected release date, and the gameplay looked pretty far along in development, so here’s hoping for a game of the year contender.
No, not that Modern Warfare 2 from 2009; a completely new reboot and sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare 1, which was also an all-new campaign. Unnecessarily confusing, I know. And yes, this is the “big” Call of Duty release developed by the core Infinity Ward team famous for their legendary single-player campaigns. This’ll have multiplayer like Modern Warfare 1 (19) did with its introduction of the Warzone battle royale, but most of the budget for this title clearly went into the campaign, and that’s very apparent with this lengthy gameplay trailer. Familiar faces from the old Modern Warfares join up to take out a hostile unit on a tanker boat. The level shown here reminds me of the original Modern Warfare’s first level, “Crew Expendable.” It’s dark and pouring rain, and the boat is rocking back and forth due to heavy waves. Skirmishes aboard the boat are very tactical, where using cover is essential. What’s interesting is all the objects on the deck of the boat slide up and down the length of it as the waves rock it, creating some interesting emergent battles where cover is constantly changing. My only criticisms are that the gameplay didn’t show any of the HUD, and it was very difficult to distinguish between ally and foe amidst the dark torrential rain. Though the graphics are realistic and the rain looks incredible, it would be nice to have some clearer visual distinction in these darkened sections. Modern Warfare 2 (22) releases on December 28, 2022, right at the tail end of this year.
This is a sequel to 1992’s cinematic platforming game Flashback. I’m unfamiliar with the original, but it’s always cool to see a long-dormant franchise come back when done well. Flashback2 releases sometime this winter.
FPS in Medieval setting. Gunplay looks pretty solid. Early access coming soon.
Troy Baker in a space horror game.
Another space horror game, but it’s the most interesting-looking one so far besides The Callisto Protocol. Instead of space zombies or aliens, it features creepy robots. Atmosphere is top-notch, so this is one trailer highly recommended to watch for yourself.
The former Blizzard developer’s debut game is a mix of Diablo and Starcraft, which makes sense considering it’s an isometric RTS. Space fantasy mecha-balrogs? Check, I guess? Stormgate is going to be free to play but without pay-to-win crap and NFTs, according to the devs. Open beta is in 2023.
Another indie game where you explore an abandoned society as you sail across the sea. This one just happens to be a world destroyed by climate change… Just a vague 2022 release window for Highwater.
A really cool-looking indie game where you play a guy whose life is televised and must escape a Jetsons-style futuristic city, featuring a variety of gameplay styles like driving and platforming. Really cool aesthetic and premise.
No, you’re not going crazy; there was no Goat Simulator 2. That’s the kind of humor we can expect from the game itself. Also, the entire trailer is a parody of Dead Island 2’s trailer, a game that never saw the light of day. No gameplay shown or release date, but the tone is well established from the title alone.
Firaxis Studios’ take on a Marvel game. This trailer is somewhat misleading, since it shows some cinematic character action, giving the impression that this is something like the recent Guardians of the Galaxy game. Midnight Suns is very much an XCOM RTS game with a Marvel setting. October 7, 2022, is the release date.
This is technically a DLC to Cuphead, but the devs have confirmed it’s grown into something more substantial. A new island of levels and bosses awaits, and it’s the largest island yet. The ice boss shown in the video looked like one of the better bosses from the base game, so expect the same level of brutal difficulty and expertly crafted design. The release is June 30 of this year.
An assassin from hell that fights demons in order to ascend to heaven: that’s the synopsis. It also has the voice talent of Steve Blum, so it’s no slouch in presentation. The gameplay is difficult to explain, but it looks like a first-person platformer shooter using abilities through cards? June 16 is the release date for this unique game.
A one-man passion project. The gameplay trailer was quality stuff, showing the isometric beat-em-up and bullet hell mayhem amidst a cyberpunky aesthetic. Overall, the vibe reminded me of Hotline Miami, though that’s mostly due to the music. A PC demo of the game is available now on Steam, with the full release on August 23.
It’s a new expansion to the long-running live service game. I don’t know anything else about it.
A free-to-play 3D tactical RPG from the Genshin Impact devs. It looks like Genshin in space. Expect high production value, anime, and lots of gacha… in spaaaace.
The other game in development from miHoYo. It’s an action RPG that looks similar to the Star Rail game. We know less about this game, however, since it’s earlier in development.
This brand new beat-em-up is close to release and has looked very authentic to its retro roots, so it’s surprising there’s another new feature to show off in the new trailer. Not only did Casey Jones get revealed as a playable character, but 6 players can tag along simultaneously through the game. If 4-player co-op in beat-em-ups is wild, just imagine this! The mayhem just looks ridiculous with six brawlers jumping around on-screen, and I’m looking forward to jamming out to the incredible chiptune music alongside it all a week from now on June 16.
A new turn-based JRPG featuring Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hats. The trailer shows some dungeons with puzzles and a colorful art style, kind of like Dragon Quest XI. Here’s hoping this show adaptation RPG is better than previous attempts from other shows like Dragon Ball.
The sequel to Atlus’ Devil Summoner Soul Hacker game, itself part of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. The art looks pretty cool, as expected from Atlus. Almost nothing else was really shown, except character designs and story narration. Oh well, at least it comes out soon, with a release of August 26.
Doom and music rhythm games collide with this fast-paced shooter where syncing your shots to the beat of the metal music nets you more damage. The programming required to create a musical syncing system in an FPS like this is pretty fascinating. Doom has always had a kind of rhythm to its pacing, especially with the shotguns, but this is taking it and building a game out of it. It’s out on September 15.
The team behind the popular narrative thriller Until Dawn shows off the first trailer of their new game. The Quarry actually releases at the time this article is posted (June 10), and some reviews have already come out generally saying positive things about it (currently an 8 on Metacritic). The Quarry stars actors such as David Arquette, Ariel Winter, and Brenda Song, so 00s kids may have some nostalgic ears playing this. Keighly described it as “Binge-worthy teen horror entertainment,” and if it approaches the intrigue Until Dawn had throughout its narrative, I expect it to have some lasting power, unlike Supermassive’s latest titles.
Put this game on your radar if you like No Man’s Sky for its gameplay or general ambition. Nightingale is a game where the lands you explore and the worlds you encounter are crafted from cards. Yeah, it sounds weird to me too, but it made more sense when I found out the worlds are procedurally generated. The trailer showed gun and melee combat and harvesting resources in order to build your township. Not sure exactly what the gameplay loop will be like or what the objectives will be, but that makes it all the more intriguing. The visuals look impressive as well, with dynamic lighting putting next-gen hardware to good use. Put this on your wishlist if you were ever interested in No Man’s Sky or even something smaller-scale like Subnautica.
OK, this one’s pretty cool, even if it is another annoying “Same name, different game” title. The trailer was for a demo of Saints Row called Boss Factory that lets players create a character, which transfers over when the game releases. I like the idea of setting up the groundwork of the game a little before it comes out, so you’ll be ready to dip in past the intro on your first session. We’ll see if the actual game is as good as some of the classic Saints Rows when it comes out on August 23.
The follow-up to fan-favorite co-op horde game Vermintide 2 is Warhammer 40k: Darktide. Graphics and animations look substantially improved from the Vermintide games. I know several peeps who are deep into Warhammer lore and love the Vermintide games, often saying it’s the new Left 4 Dead to them. Darktide comes out on September 13.
A follow-up to the original psychological horror game Layers of Fear. Layers of Fears (added S) looks to have an enhanced scope and budget compared to the 2016 game. The original featured a lot of slow puzzle solving and corridor exploring, but this one’s trailer shows something far more dramatic and involved. Release Date: early 2023.
The trailer doesn’t show any gameplay, just some cinematic fight scenes and generic music. At least it establishes the dark and gritty tone, and that Batman is dead, I guess? Release Date: October 25, 2022.
Neil Druckmann talks about a new multiplayer game two years in development. The image shown looks like The Last of Us (surprise, surprise).
The Last of Us HBO show gets an update from Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, who announce they’re playing undisclosed roles in the HBO series; cool, I guess? It’s hilarious they didn’t play the leaked trailer at this presentation, I have to say.
Last, and maybe least for some of us, The Last of Us is getting a remake “from the ground up” titled Last of Us Part 1. Who else is excited about the revisions they’ll probably add to the original story? Druckmann specifically points out this remake will serve as the “definitive” version of the original game; let’s hope it’s definitive in terms of its graphics and gameplay and not new story elements. The trailer looked authentic to the original, though it also didn’t show any mechanical changes whatsoever, so I’m not sure why gamers needed another, more realistic version of The Last of Us. Druckmann even confirmed the voice acting from the original is remastered and not completely redone. It’ll be an interesting time to be on gaming forums when The Last of Us Part 1 releases on September 2 of this year.
That wraps up the opening presentation of Summer Game Fest. The Geeks + Gamers Play crew had a nice, cringey time talking through the entire presentation, and you can watch it right here:
Saturday and Sunday are going to be Xbox/Bethesda’s conference, PC Gaming Show, and Capcom’s conference. Stick around G+G for more coverage on Summer Game Fest, and thanks for reading!