Gamescom 2023

Saturday, 2 September, 2023

This year again, we were happy to visit Gamescom, the world’s largest public gaming convention. It is a good place to talk to developers, meet gamers, buy merch and get an idea of upcoming relevant new games from some of the industry’s biggest publishers. From innovative new titles to highly anticipated sequels, this year’s event was packed with exciting announcements. Here’s our rundown of the most notable reveals and updates.

Hoyoverse (formerly Mihoyo), the creators of Genshin Impact, unveiled a promising new title and showcased it’s current very successful Gacha/Mobile game roster:
Zenless Zone Zero: An unreleased new action RPG set in a futuristic semi-retro city. The focus seems to be more on dynamic combat, smooth animations and a distinctive, stylish aesthetic. The demo seemed interesting and Hoyoverse with it’s mayor budget and development experience will surely be able to deliver for fans of the genre.
Honkai: Star Rail: A new space-fantasy RPG, “Honkai: Star Rail” combines strategic turn-based combat with an expansive, immersive universe. The playstyle of this game is more suited for mobile and was able to mirror Genshin’s success without offering the same expansive open world experience, instead focusing on a slightly more mature story and more end game content.
Honkai Impact 3rd: Hoyoverse’s earliest breakthrough title was playable and showcased at the both. With it’s rich story-telling and cinematics, this game layed the foundation for Genshin Impact. It is still supported with new stories and content, but unfortunately show’s it’s age in terms of graphics and gameplay. With the conclusion of the long running first major story arc, HI3rd will need to convince old and new players, that the announced new main cast and major updates for part2 are still worth trying in 2023.

Square Enix didn’t disappoint with their exciting reveals, particularly for fans of RPGs:
Final Fantasy XVI DLC: Following the success of Final Fantasy XVI, Square Enix announced an expansion pack, promising to extend the story with new characters, quests, and challenging boss battles.
Dragon Quest XII: The latest entry in the long-running Dragon Quest series was teased. The game is set to introduce darker themes and a more mature narrative, along with the franchise’s signature turn-based combat.

Bandai Namco showcased a diverse array of games, with something for every type of gamer:
Tekken 8: The latest entry in the iconic fighting game series, “Tekken 8,” promises enhanced graphics, new gameplay mechanics, and a roster of both returning and new fighters.
Blue Protocol: This action MMORPG caught the eye with its anime-inspired graphics and engaging combat system. “Blue Protocol” promises an expansive world filled with quests, dungeons, and cooperative play.

Sega brought an impressive lineup to Gamescom 2023, with several standout announcements.
Sonic Superstars: A new 2D platformer in the iconic Sonic series, “Sonic Superstars” features classic gameplay with modern visuals and new mechanics. Players can expect cooperative multiplayer modes and fresh environments to explore.
Persona 6: The next installment in the beloved Persona series was officially announced. While details remain scarce, the teaser promised an engaging new storyline, captivating characters, and the stylish, turn-based combat the series is known for.

THQ Nordic brought several exciting titles to Gamescom, including:
Alone in the Dark: A reimagining of the classic survival horror game, “Alone in the Dark” aims to modernize the franchise with updated graphics, a new storyline, and atmospheric gameplay.
Outcast 2: The long-awaited sequel to the cult classic, “Outcast 2” features an open-world sci-fi adventure with an emphasis on exploration and narrative-driven gameplay.

Creative Assembly made waves with the announcement of their latest historical strategy game:
Total War: Pharaoh: Set in ancient Egypt, “Total War: Pharaoh” offers players the chance to control powerful armies and build vast empires. With detailed historical accuracy and complex strategic gameplay, this title is sure peak the interest of fans of the series. The demo gameplay did not seem as innovative as previous titles, but we are sure there will be improvements upon release.

Cygames presented gameplay for Granblue Fantasy: Relink, an action RPG based on the popular mobile game. It features stunning anime style graphics, fast-paced combat, and a richly detailed world. The game supports both single-player and cooperative multiplayer modes. The gameplay demo on display was very promising and we encourage fans of the genre to check it out.

CD Projekt Red had a notable presence with the reveal of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, an expansion to their ambitious sci-fi RPG. The expansion promises new storylines, characters, and gameplay mechanics and addressing player feedback from the original release. Updates and fixed will also be available to the main game in an expansive 2.0 update for free.

Gamescom 2022

Sunday, 11 September, 2022

Hello gamers! We are back to Gamescom after a two years pause because of the covid pandemic. That’s why we were very excited to get back to the holy halls of this convention in cologne. Our expectations were very high visiting the center of gaming once again. The whole city was celebrating Gamescom with cosplayers, bars and events coming together around these eventful days.

The famous games reporter Geoff Keighley also hyped up the event in advance with his pre-Gamescom show. It was amazing to see so many companies came to show their new products, technology and merch. A lot has changed since the last Gamescom before covid and new ways of gaming had emerge since then. It was very exciting to see new consoles showing their upcoming games and tools to provide even deeper emersion and experiences. Sony and Microsoft showed us the power of their new consoles and the devices around the console like the new upcoming VR glasses for Playstation 5 and the possibility to create even more realistic worlds. It was clear to see how the two big console companies are going separate ways to catch the audience. While Sony wants to connect the gamer into their network with exclusive games, Microsoft intendeds to commit their customers with a very competitively priced Gamepass gaming subscription. It seems like a new trend of gaming is not buying and owning games anymore, but to stream or rent them on demand similar to Netflix. I don’t know if i like this idea, but for now it offers alternatives to different audiences.

We also got the tell you about the games we experience at Gamescom in the press area. I have to say this year was a big year for the RTS (real time strategy) genre. Never before did we encounter that many new upcoming RTS games. Creative Assembly, the creators of the Total War Franchise, oferred us an exclusively look at what they plan for the future of their magnus opus Total War Warhammer 3 We are very exited and expect a lot to see in the upcoming future. From new factions and the immortal empire map to the reveal of a new historical title the list of new features was very exciting.

Moving on, THQ Nordic had a very promising collection of releases to present this year as well. And as a great RTS player myself, I was very exciting of getting my Hand on their new upcoming game Tempest Rising. This is the unofficial successor of the legendary Command and Conquer franchise. After a briefing about the development of the game, we got our hands on a playable demo of it. It plays amazing and you get the nostalgic feeling of playing the original classic immediately, but with modern graphics and improved gameplay. We cannot wait to see the release of this game. The Valliant or Spellforce Conquest of Eo were also two great upcoming Strategy games to look out for.

In Valliant you play a group of medieval mercenaries and have to fight a lot of small but meaningful skirmish battles against enemies in order to progress in this story driven tactical RTS.

Spellforce Conquest of Eo is a turnbased 3X strategy game based on the magnificent world of Spellforce. In this Prequel of the RTS game Spellforce you take control of the armies of one of ten great mages in this world and have to Conquer Eos, like the name of the game suggest. It plays like the little brother of Heroes of might and Magic. For all of you who like this genre, do keep an eye out for this game.

Another great thing about this years Gamescom was the revival of many oldschool games. Such as Alone in the dark, the legendary Horror survival games from the 90ies. Also Outcast 2 is one of two sequels we were looking for this Gamescom. Both are genre defining milestones on their own. Modern open world games rooted from Outcast and horror games like Resident Evil are inspired by Alone in the Dark.

If you like fighting games or anime games as we do, Namco Bandai is always a very important Publisher to look out for. At Namco Bandai we could lay hands on their upcoming fighting game for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Fans of this classic should definitely take a look. Sadly they didn’t have new information on their hit upcoming fighting game TEKKEN. However, they do have a new One Piece RPG. One Piece Odyssey looks like a JRPG based on the license of this great pirate manga from Oda Eiichiro. It has rather simple mechanics, but might be a interesting buy for younger audiences. Usually we would also mention Square Enix and Namco Bandai in one sentence, but unfortunately this year Square Enix did not have anything new to show. Surely in 2023 they will have news on their multiple ongoing Final Fantasy games and hopefully maybe even a glimpse of something new for the Nier universe.

It was also fun to take a peek at some of the smaller and new studios and their developments. Do take the time to kook around and you might find some hidden gems like the upcoming Cyberpunk actiongame Berlin 2087 or the upcoming DarkSouls-like game Lies of Pi. With the power of modern game engines, small Indi-developers are catching up to the big industry leaders and are compensating their lower budget with passion, original new ideas and responsiveness to the community.

Speaking of Anime, what would Gamescom be without anime and cosplay and a lot of merchandise? We dived into this the two big floors full of shops and merch. If you visit Gamescom, it is definitely worth it to stray a little from the gaming halls and take a peek into the shopping floors, as well as cosplay and entertainment areas. Below are some pictures.

What can we say. It was great to once again visit the German center for gaming and nerd culture and get to meet with people who loves and share your hobbies and passion. A great thanks to all the cosplayers we were able to speak to and photograph. Lots of very beautiful and well made costumes. All in all it was a pleasure to visit Gamescom 2022 and we will see you again next year.

Dokomi 2020

Monday, 2 November, 2020

To my great astonishment, due to the ongoing Corona pandemic the Dokomi convention was one of only a few conventions that were allowed to happen in 2020.

Besides strongly limiting the number of visitors there were also strict rules to follow. Specifically, it was mandotory to wear a mask at all times inside and outside. Staff made sure that guests were keeping proper distance when waiting in queus and in general. Additionally, disinfectants were placed at all entrances.

A big thanks to all staff and organizers as I can only imagine the amount of effort that went into planning a fun and safe convention during these times.
Yet, it was unfortunate but expected to see all japanese star guests cancel their appearances this year. Still, big praises to all German guests and performers that put on a show this year. There was also merchendise, food, workshops and lot more to discover.

The convention was certainly not as spectecular as in previous years, but they made the best out of the current situation and gave us a safe and welcome distraction.

Dokomi 2019

Wednesday, 30 October, 2019

This year again we went to the Dokomi Convention in Düsseldorf Germany. With more than 55.000 visitors the event keeps growing in size, but manages to not feel as crowded due to large spaced and big halls.

This year Dokomi team managed to invite the big J-Pop band fhána to perform on the big stage. They had their big debut in 2013 and over the years a lot of their music was featured in popular anime series such as: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, Haruchika, Gingitsune, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, Sora no Method, Witch Craft Works, Comet Lucifer, Tales of Zestiria the X, Knights & Magic and Uchoten Kazoku. They delived a miraculous live performance.

The Japanese duo Yuko Matsumoto und Atsuko Ota also delivered a wonderful performance on stage, as they reimaging popular anime songs through a classical lens of violin and piano. The more quiet and emotional melodies were in stark contrast to fhána’s performance, yet a pleasant one at that.

As always there was a large offering of anime-related workshops, events, theatrical performances, a big hall of shops selling merchandise and plenty of food stalls for the quick hunger.

A big thanks to the Dokomi team.

Gamescom 2019

Thursday, 5 September, 2019

Gamescom in Germany is still the world’s biggest open gaming convention with 370.000 visitors and more than 1.000 exhibitors this year. Giants of the industry are presenting their newst developments in open booths, trailers and often hands-on gameplay. The following are some of the highlights we have seen this year.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a highly anticipated sci-fi FPS shooter by CD-Project RED, that is based on a tabletop RPG. It has been in development for quite some time now and is scheduled for release on April 16th 2020 for PC and consoles. Current gameplay fotage suggest Cyberpunk to be a very athmospheric and graphically advanced story driven open world FPS. We do have high hopes for this game, especially given the developer’s high reputation earned with their previous open world game Witcher 3.

Another much anticipated title we got to test is Final Fantasy 7 Remake by developer Square Enix. This game is a completely new and graphically stunning game based on the cult classic original from 1997. Many fans who grew up with the original have strong opinions about how much adjustments to the core story and combat gameplay are acceptable for this to be a worthy successor. From what little I got to test, I am very happy with with new combat mechanics that combine the old tactical turn based combat with a more modern real-time action-driven one. FF7 Remake is scheduled to release in March 3rd 2020 for PC and consoles.

We also got to see more of Death Stranding, a game by Japanese star developer Hideo Kojima. The main character is voiced and designed after The Walking Dead star actor Norman Reedus. He is tasked to deliver goods in a post-apocalyptical world plagued by invisible ghosts. We hope this mystery-horror game will come with an interesting story line, twists and a lot of cut-scnenes, as would be expected by Kojima’s games.

Japanese Developer Bandai Namco had seven titles to present this year, many of which including hands-on gameplay. These titles are Dragon Ball Z Kakarot (action RPG), Code Vein (a vampire Dark Sould type game in anime graphics), One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 (dynasty warrors type game), Rad, One Punch Man A Hero Nobody Knows, Disney Tsum Tsum Festival and The Dark Pictures Anthology Man of Medan (horror game). This is a big line-up with many titles anime fans will be happy to get once released.

Dying Light 2 by developer Techland is an open world zombie RPG with parkour elements. This year we got to see a gameplay demo and are very impressed with the dynamic physics and stunning graphics this game has to offer. This is probably the best iteration of the zombi-slashing gerne and we are eagerly awaiting the release on spring of 2020 for PC and consoles.

Borderlands 3 by developer Gearbox is the 4th installment of this gerne defining loot-and-shoot FPS classic. Hands-on gameplay at the booth was very promising and we are already eagerly awaiting the release on September 13th 2019 for PC and consoles.

Those were our highlights in terms of new titels for this year. Big thanks to the Gamescom organizers for bringing together developers and gamers on such a large scale!

Gamescom cosplay contest

Gamescom 2018

Monday, 10 September, 2018

This year again we were at Gamescom 2018 and were able to play some of the newest games the industry has to offer.

First of all, I can assure all Kenchiro fans that Fist of the North Star Paradise Lost will be all that you can expect of this franchise. Fast paced fighting with a lot of blood, over the top animations with trashy, funny but also epic finishing moves. Cool cut scenes on the flow while fighting, which we all know from the Yakuza franchise. It was built like a classic Yakuza game: you can take quests to unlock Kenchiros special finishers, play mini games or discover secret areas in the city. I had my fun with the game and recommend it to all Fist of the North Star fans out there.

On the same stage we were able to have a first look at Segas new turn based RTS Valkyria Chronicles 4, the highly anticipated sequel to the famous anime game from 2008. This game offers the same as the prequel but with better graphics and more tactical options. You have to look deep into the mechanic of the game to see some differences towards his predecessor. We may also be excited about the new story. The developers promised a very complex story with lots of plot twists and emotional moments between the crew members of your squad. The relationships between the characters matters on the battlefield, so they told us. If you are a fan of this franchise, you can look forward for a good game, and forget Valkyria chronicles Azure Revolution.

Our next destination was Bandai Namco the biggest publisher for anime games. The most prominent game was Jump Force, an anime fighting game with a roster of the most popular shounen characters like Goku from Dragonball, Naruto from Naruto Shipudden, Luffy from One Piece, Ichigo from Bleach and many more. Jump Force is basically the spirited successor of J Stars Victory Versus and has a similar fighting system. The gameplay is very tactical. While fighting, you can switch between three characters on the fly. Every character is classified into a combat class. You have range fighters and close combat fighters like most games in this genre. The gameplay is mostly based on dodge timing, parry and creating distance towards your opponents. Some attacks needs range and some attacks are close combos. Especially the special moves are very time intensive to cast but can unleash great damage. The most outstanding part of this game is its unique art style. The skin and clothe textures, as well as moves are extremely satisfying.

At Team Ninja we got to see the new Dead or Alive 6 with an improved engine. It allows for more realistic animations, sweat, clothes that take damage and weather animations. It looks very promising so far.

Last but not least, we need to tell you about THQ Nordic and two of their most anticipated games, Darksiders 3 and Biomutant. I‘ve got to say, look forward to Biomutant. It is THQ’s most ambitious game. From the former developers of Avalanche studio, the creator of Just Cause and Mad Max, comes a giant open world action RPG with kung-fu-like setting in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s similar to Zelda breath of the Wild, where you can manipulate the vast environment of this world to your own benefit. Like Just Cause, it has a heavy physic-based gameplay where your surroundings interact with your active mutant abilities. In the end we are very excited to get this game in our hands. The second big game in THQ’s pipeline is Darksiders 3. An action RPG based on a famous comic series about the four apocalyptic riders who want to cancel the apocalypse, which has been accidently triggered by one of the riders. We are very happy to see this game being developed at last. Darksiders 2 left fans with a great cliffhanger and after so many years, fans can look forward to see the epic story of the apocalyptic riders continue as we continue.

And as always, here are some pictures:

AnimagiC 2018

Saturday, 1 September, 2018

This year we were once again able to visit the AnimagiC Convention, which has moved to Mannheim Germany in 2017. This convention is most noticeable by the sheer number of high-profile music-acts and celebrities it manages to invite each year. This year’s perfomances included eufonius, Konomi Suzuki, ZWEI, Mika Kobayashi, MYTH & ROID as well as Yuna Shinohara und Ken Nakasako, who took a classical music approach to known anime theme songs.

In addition there are multiple viewing areas, where you are able to view most recent anime movies in German dub such as No Game No Life Zero, Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale and many more. Right outside there is also a beautiful part, perfect if you need to take a break. All in all it was a very worthwhile experience and we definitely recommend a visit.

Animagic Park

Dokomi 2018

Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Recently we were able to visit the 10th anniversary of the Dokomi Convention in Düsseldorf Germany. The 45.000 visitors got to enjoy a large merchandise area, multiple musical acts, two cosplay competitions, four stage plays and much more.

We particularly enjoyed the live performance by Eri Sasaki, who is the voice behind the Yuru Camp Opening and the Plastic Memories Ending song. In some of her slower songs she played a violin herself, being accompanied by an acoustic guitar. Those were especially amazing and really let her amazing voice shine.

Not to be outdone, Megumi Nakajima was also star guest and had an amazing performance. She is known for the main role in Macross Frontier and the opening song of Net Juu no Susume.

With all the acts, artists and workshops we of course were not able to see everything, but we definitely had an enjoyable time.