After a couple of quiet summers for Cologne’s Koelnmesse, Gamescom is back – in a big way. The industry’s biggest gaming event of the year kicks off on August 24 and will run until August 28 – that’s five days jam-packed with new game reveals, brilliant demos, and an Opening Night Live showcase hosted by Geoff Keighley.
With less than a week to go before Gamescom opens its doors, we’ve rounded up some of the most exciting games that will be making an appearance at this year’s show. Whether you’re tuning in for the Opening Night Live stream from home, or visiting in-person to check out some early game demos, there’s no shortage of promising titles to keep your eye out for. With that in mind, here are the games we’re looking forward to seeing the most – plus one that may or may not be appearing.
High On Life
High On Life is a shooter being developed by Squanch Games – which you may recognise as the studio of Rick And Morty creator Justin Roiland. Judging from the game’s debut trailer at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase, High On Life has Roiland’s fingerprints all over it: the sci-fi first-person shooter (FPS) tasks players with violently dismantling an interstellar alien cartel that wants to use humanity as a drug.
An action comedy, High On Life‘s lighter side comes to life with talking guns and Roiland’s signature voice acting. With frantic gunplay and a zany sense of humour, High On Life looks like a mash-up of Rick And Morty and Borderlands – and for anyone intrigued by that, it’s going to be one of the most essential things to keep an eye out at Gamescom.
The Callisto Protocol
The next horror title from Dead Space co-creator Glen Schofield, The Callisto Protocol is shaping up to be a spiritual successor to the beloved horror trilogy in everything but name. Not for the faint-hearted, this terrifying sci-fi thriller follows prisoner Jacob Lee as he tries to escape a prison that’s been thrown into chaos. The catch? That prison is located on Callisto, Jupiter’s moon, and Lee’s fellow prisoners are mutating into bloodthirsty monsters.
Schofield has previously said that he’s aiming for The Callisto Protocol to be “the most terrifying game of all time,” and our first look at the game in action suggests he wasn’t joking. Before taking to the stage on Tuesday (August 23), Keighley has shared that The Callisto Protocol‘s Gamescom demo is “a step beyond” what we saw at Summer Game Fest – if that’s anything to go by, horror fans would do well to tune in for another look.
Lies Of P
Last November, developer Neowiz revealed Lies Of P – a soulslike that re-imagines Pinocchio’s quest to become human as a brutal, gothic struggle. Set in the run-down Victorian city of Krat, Lies Of P is filled with unsettling, twitchy automatons that players will need to fight through with fast-paced combat and a creative use of Pinocchio’s replaceable body parts.
Lies Of P‘s appearance at Gamescom is particularly exciting because aside from one gameplay trailer, we’ve seen very little of the upcoming soulslike. However, that single trailer should be enough to capture the interest of any FromSoftware fan – with an intriguing premise and a gorgeously grim setting, Lies Of P looks incredibly promising. For Gamescom, Lies Of P isn’t just getting a new trailer: anyone attending the show in person can try out the game’s first demo at Hall 9.1 C-049.
Admittedly, Sonic Frontiers has drawn scepticism from fans, but the game’s premise is undeniably intriguing. This is the first open-world outing for Sega‘s iconic blue hedgehog, but not everyone has been sold on the premise just yet. Gamescom is Sega’s opportunity to clear things up and prove why the company thinks it’s going to rake in high reviews at launch. A seven-minute gameplay segment from June demonstrated how Sonic Frontiers will merge the series’ usual platforming trials with an open-world format, but Sega has even more to share this week.
Like Lies Of P, Sonic Frontiers will make an appearance at Tuesday’s Opening Night Live showcase, with a “world premiere new look and news” planned for the stage. Even better, there will also be a demo available for visitors to play at Hall 9 – meaning that visitors can see what all the full is about.
Return To Monkey Island
Back in April, Devolver Digital casually dropped one of this year’s biggest surprises: not only was Monkey Island coming back, it was returning very soon. Return To Monkey Island is the project of series creator Ron Gilbert, who’s picking things up where they were left off in 1991.
The series revival packs a brilliant-looking art style and will feature “lots of weird twists and turns” as it follows directly on from Monkey Island 2‘s ending. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the series or you’re just intrigued by the game’s hilarious Steam page, it’s worth watching Opening Night Live – as publisher Devolver Digital has promised “some big Return To Monkey Island news” will feature in the show.
First, Bethesda said Starfield would be at Gamescom. Then, it said Starfield wouldn’t be there. Now, any mention of what Bethesda’s bringing to Gamescom has been removed – leaving it up in the air as to whether the studio’s upcoming sci-fi RPG will make an appearance. During the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase event in June, fans got their first look at Bethesda’s journey to the stars – which will let players explore over 1000 planets.
The Starfield has fans keen to jump into the upcoming sci-fi game, but it’s unclear if it will be at Gamescom. Even if it’s a no-show, this year’s showcase has more than enough gems to keep attendees – and viewers – busy for the week.
Gamescom runs from August 24 to August 28, with Opening Night Live scheduled to begin at 8PM CEST / 7PM BST on August 23. You can watch it here.