Last week saw Gamecom stage their biggest ever event, with the organisers dubbing the gaming festival “the world’s largest event for computer and video games.” And with 350,000 visitors, a seemingly endless number of exhibitors and a surprising amount of high-stakes esports action (not usually Gamescom’s specialty) that doesn’t seem too outlandish of a claim to make.
Our eyes on the ground came courtesy of our very own Ali Habibi, who launched a charm offensive on the festival’s famous guests so intense it bordered on the creepy. Keep an eye out for the fruits of his labour on this Thursday’s edition of The Bridge, as well as Friday’s Daily Download special.
It’s no surprise that the industry’s biggest event brought with it some massive tournaments, announcements and previews. There was so much stuff to digest that we figured we’d break it all down into a few key talking points from the event. So here they are. Enjoy them.
Gwent VS Hearthstone
Hearthstone’s stranglehold on the digital card game genre faces a stern challenge from Projekt RED’s increasingly popular Gwent. Both titles made an appearance at Gamescom, with the “Hearthstone Global Games” reaching its conclusion at the con, while Gwent players battled it out in an open $25,000 tournament.
There was no shortage of drama in the HGG, with the Czech Republic emerging victorious over Ukraine in a close final. As for Gwent, Austrian player Elias “Shaggy” Sagmeister took the top prize. A strong performance also for Jan “SuperJJ” Janssen, a former Hearthstone pro who recently made the switch to Gwent, who made it to the semi finals.
Amazon’s Breakaway turns heads
Breakaway, Amazon’s new foray into the world of competitive gaming, seems to elude any definite classification. There is a MOBA-esque roster of characters, each with their own set of unique abilities, and the presentation is evocative of Overwatch, yet the objective of the game is reminiscent of football, with teams having to score goals by transporting a “Relic” to their opponent’s goal
Somewhat interestingly, the developers claim Breakaway has been designed with streaming explicitly in mind. Twitch were involved in the development process with the aim of building a game that would not only be fun to pay, but also fun to watch.
Final Fantasy XV mobile version announced
There was plenty of good news for fans of the massively popular RPG series, as Square Enix showed off a new trailer for FFXV at Gamescom. This iteration will see a mobile version of the game released alongside its PC and console counterparts, featuring chibi graphics that are bound to divide the series’ famously dedicated fanbase.
Other announcements included a chapter select feature, which will allow players to replay their favourite parts of the game without having to start over, and a bestiary feature, which will catalogue fallen foes for further study later. Which sounds pretty neat, as there are a lot of extremely intricate character models featuring in this title.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z looks pretty great
Arc System Works used Gamescom as an opportunity to show off their new and improved build of the much-anticipated fighter. It’s visually splendid, and if the gameplay lives up to those extraordinary graphic then Dragon Ball Fighter Z will be one hell of a game.
The developers also held a tournament for Gamescom attendees – check out the finals here.
The PUBG invitational was unlike anything we’ve seen before
PUBG’s esports credentials have been hotly debated in the last month, but this $350,000 invitational offered promising signs for how the competitive scene could develop. The most impressive thing was the sheer scale, with the 100 players all competing simultaneously, and in the same room. This generated so much action that covering all of it was impossible, with production opting to switch between third person cameras and individual first person perspectives in order to catch as much of it as they could.
Some were a little disheartened by the sheer amount of camping that took place (often the best way to win is simply to avoid dying). Indeed the winner, Evermore, had an absurdly defensive play-style, stockpiling healing items and taking massive blue damage simply to avoid other players as much as he possibly could.
Boring, but effective. One wonders how the competitive meta will develop over the course of future tournaments.