Gaming Roundup – Not-E3 Roundup

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, details from Summer Game Fest and the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase!

Summer Game Fest

This was basically E3 week, except without an actual conference held in California by the ESA called “E3”, but this didn’t stop it feeling like it was on anyway.

Two major showcases happened in the past week, the first of which was Summer Game Fest, where gaming hype man and former Dorito pope Geoff Keighley spends way too long getting through a bunch of gaming announcements.

Sci-fi horror was a pretty strong theme in this year’s show, with more of The Callisto Protocol plus the reveal of Aliens: Dark Descent (a top down game of some sort), Fort Solis (which stars Troy Baker and Roger “Arthur Morgan” Clark) and Routine (Alien Isolation with robots???). Space also appeared alongside anime nonsense in Genshin Impact developer MiHoYo’s latest title, Honkai Star Rail. And Bloober Team showed up to show off Layers of Fears, the awkwardly titled latest entry in their haunted house walkthrough series Layers of Fear.

Other stuff set in space included the reveal of Stormgate, an RTS made by former Starcraft developers, and gameplay footage of Warhammer 40k: Darktide, one of roughly 40k Warhammer games releasing this year.

Other big announcements of the night included the official reveal of Guile in Street Fighter 6 (anyone surprised?), a bunch of Modern Warfare 2 news, a trailer for Spider-Man in Marvel Midnight Suns, the reveal of the Saints Row Boss Factory where you can make your Saints Row character before the game launches, the reveal of Goat Simulator 3 (get it? They skipped 2!) and the reveal of a surprise sequel to 1992 Amiga game Flashback. I don’t know where that came from either.

Indies got a good showing, with Highwater, American Arcadia and Midnight Fight Express all looking great. Also if you like your fast-paced Doom-style shooters, both Witchfire and Metal Hellsinger provided. There was also the gameplay reveal of Nightingale, which has a fascinating setting and aesthetic and then promptly ruined all that with generic survival gameplay crossed with generic card mechanics. Okay then.

Geoff Keighley fell back into his old habits of thinking that the viewers of a video game showcase might not think it’s legit without Hollywood’s input, so we had to watch the trailer from Black Adam, pre-empted by Dwayne Johnson shilling an energy drink live from his home gym. I have no idea why this was here.

The big announcement of the night was the official reveal of The Last of Us Remake, which followed the unofficial reveal earlier in the day when Sony updated their websites too early. And if you’ll allow me to interject some editorial opinion here, after seeing it in action, all I have to say is that if you played the original game and you’re thinking of forking out £70 to play this thing, you’re a fool. It’s literally the exact same game as 2013 but with some better textures but built from the ground up again so that Naughty Dog developers could be forced to avoid seeing their families some more. When this was rumoured I didn’t know why this needed to exist and now I’ve seen it, it turns out my expectations of what they were doing with it were way too high and I have even less idea why this needs to exist.

Overall, a lengthy and somewhat tedious showcase, but had some interesting stuff hidden there regardless.

Xbox/Bethesda Showcase

Xbox held their big showcase on Sunday, and it was full of a bunch of stuff, although their first party selection continues to be a bit thin on the ground.

A lot of updates to first-party Microsoft titles as opposed to new games, in fact. Microsoft Flight Simulator is getting helicopters, Sea of Thieves is getting official ship customisation and Forza Horizon 5 is getting Hot Wheels, like I needed more reasons to keep playing that game. On the Bethesda side, they showed off expansions for both Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 76.

New first-party titles, including Bethesda, including Obsidian confirming the full final release of Grounded and announcing a new title called Pentiment, the gameplay reveal of Arkane’s Redfall, the release date for narrative adventure game As Dusk Falls, a lot of shiny cars in a demonstration of the new Forza Motorsport, the reveal of kiddy RTS Minecraft Legends, and A LOT of time dedicated to Starfield, or as the internet as begun to call it, No Man’s Skyrim.

And while they’re not fully under Microsoft just yet, Blizzard dared to show their faces with reveals of Overwatch 2: Surprise It’s Just Overwatch Again, and Diablo IV, which feels ill-timed when everyone is currently still upset about Diablo Immortal being the exploitative mobile game everyone expected it to be when it was first revealed. No news yet on whether or not Activision Blizzard have addressed their internal practices, however, and until this changes, I’d advise never buying anything from them.

Speaking of companies with a history of abusing their employees, Riot showed a bunch of stuff that’s coming to Game Pass. Turns out they have more than League of Legends, which was news to me.

Other games confirmed to be coming to Xbox include sword-battles-in-China battle royale Naraka Bladepoint and teens-battle-Jungian-concepts JRPG franchise Persona. Which means that now I can tell anyone who doesn’t have a PlayStation to play Persona. P5 was my game of the 2010s, by the way. Just saying.

Elsewhere, we got to see more CGI Vin Diesel in Ark 2, we got more gameplay for Hollow Knight: Silksong and A Plague Tale: Requiem, we saw the reveal of Team Ninja’s Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and a first look at Rick & Morty creator Justin Roiland’s FPS High on Life (which features a bunch of talking guns that are guaranteed to get irritating fast).

A solid selection of indies rounded out the rest of the selection, with The Last Case of Benedict Fox, Ravenlok, Ereban: Shadow Legacy, Cocoon and Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn all catching my attention, alongside Scorn and Lightyear Frontier.

Finally, Hideo Kojima showed up and said some words. That’s all. This then had to be followed by a statement from Kojima Productions the following day to reassure fans that they would still be working with PlayStation, all because fanboyism is a disease that rots the mind.

A mixed bag of a showcase that shows Xbox to still be studio-rich but game-poor. A greater selection of first-party titles to justify their many acquisitions could have made this amazing, but as it is, it was simply decent.

Other Showcases to Check Out

These weren’t the only showcases, but if we were to cover everything from the past week, we’d be here all day.

So here are some other showcases to check out:

  • Guerrilla Collective Parts 1 & 2 (link, link) – for indie games
  • Wholesome Direct (link) – for indie games on the cuter and sweeter end of the scale
  • PC Gaming Show (link) – for PC gamers, unsurprisingly
  • Capcom Showcase (link) – for fans of Resident Evil
  • Devolver Digital Marketing Countdown to Marketing (link) – for fans of Adult Swim’s infomercials block (and Devolver, obvs)
  • Final Fantasy VII 25th Anniversary (link) – for anyone wondering what’s next for the FF7 Remake
  • IGN Expo (link) and Future Games Show (link) – for anything else
New Releases

New Releases

After a couple of weeks with minimal releases, there’s a bunch of stuff out this week. Fun fact, my release list for this week was originally empty, but then all these games got surprise releases during not-E3.

For wholesome games, Freshly Frosted (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is a puzzle game about building machines that make specific donuts to customer request, while Lumbearjack (PC, Switch) is a game where you play a bear chopping down every manmade thing in sight to reclaim the land for nature.

In something more old school, Project Warlock II (PC) is a classic Doom clone with cold comic book lines on every enemy, and Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga (PC) is a classic tactics RPG in the vein of games like Fire Emblem.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) is arguably the biggest release of the week. It’s a classic side scrolling beat-em-up in the style of the old Konami TMNT games from the 80s and 90s, drawing a lot of its visuals from the 1980s cartoon version of the franchise. It even goes far enough to add the original voice cast. It supports up to six players with the four turtles, Splinter, April O’Neil and Casey Jones all being playable. And with team members who worked on Scott Pilgrim and the Wonder Boy III remake, with music from Sonic Mania’s Tee Lopes, this promises to be something super rad.

Game of the Week

Game of the Week was a seriously close one between this and Shredder’s Revenge. But ultimately I decided to make Neon White (PC, Switch) this week’s Game of the Week.

Designed by the guy behind Donut County, this is very much not Donut County. Instead, you play as an assassin from Hell who is tasked with killing enough demons that he can ascend to Heaven. And to do this, you take part in one of the year’s most stylish games.

If you combined the parkour of Mirror’s Edge, the bizarre vaporwave aesthetic of Paradise Killer and threw in some deck-building mechanics, you’re part of the way towards understanding what this is. It’s a game heavily inspired by speedrunning, and it looks like it. It also looks like a lot of fun.

And that’s all for now! See you again next for more from the world of gaming!

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