Gamescom is upon us! Or it’s upon some people anyway – not me especially, as I’m not in Germany – but many fine folk are over there voraciously syphoning out the latest news from any developer that so much as coughs, spitting it back out mid-grimace into the bucket that is the internet! Hooray.
Anyway if you’ll excuse the metaphor, which you’ll have to to be honest, along with the inference of my desperate pining to be over at the Cologne event, we can get on with the news. Gamescom has never been E3 in terms of announcements, but this year so far it seems at least to have found itself a very particular flavour.
And that flavour, of course, is RTS, as no fewer than THREE big name Real Time Strategy games have already been paraded about the place, to the interested nod and raised eyebrow of many a ‘real’ journalist.
First and foremost, Age of Empires IV (that’s ‘4’, not ‘Intravenous’) rears its age-old head and promises more armies of sheep scouts than ever before. It’s being developed by the now SEGA-owned Relic Studios and other than the totally information-less video below, you won’t find anything else about it just yet. Cause to be excited? Maybe. Relic made Company of Heroes which was great – but Age of Empires III was rubbish. So we’ll have to wait and see if Relic have it in them to restore the series to its true former glory. A favourite of mine as wee bairn, AOEII still stands proudly as a leading fond-childhood-memory-factory, and one of the best games of its type EVER, for me.
Alongside AOE:IV, we found out at E3 earlier in the year that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition would also be making an appearance. HD Remasters of II and III were brought up with an air of ill-deserved occasion at Gamescom, and honestly I had to fight off the yawns typing that sentence. Hooray for HD remasters.
Next up, Jurassic World Evolution. The more embittered and cynical among you (i.e. the older ones) may have fond memories of Jurassic Park Operation Genesis on the PS2 – and while Hollywood has been routinely beating seven shades out of the franchise for a little while now, JW:E might actually be really, really good.
Why? Because Frontier are behind it – Frontier who knocked the most immersive space sim to date together in Elite Dangerous, and more relevantly, who just finished up making the genre-redefining Planet Coaster. Basically meaning if anybody can make this good, these guys can.
In a Eurogamer post, Frontier exec Jonny Watts said “As long-time fans of the entire Jurassic series we’re thrilled to be putting players in charge of their own Jurassic World […] We’re excited to bring over 15 years of management, simulation, and creature development expertise to a destination and franchise that remains an inspiration to us.”
The trailer is below for the immediate pleasure of your eyeballs.
Lastly, here’s Anno 1800; the life-consuming city-building and management sim takes a time-portal back a few hundred years from the most recent version, 2205 to, how did you guess, 1800.
I’ve long loved the visual dexterity of the Anno games, and I think I’ve always had an idealistic fondness of city builders in general. As in, I love the idea; I spent a long time in AOEII just building pretty-looking villages and farms, but I just do not have time to get involved in something as vast and comprehensive as the Anno series.
Anyway – give this trailer a go, it certainly looks up to scratch, and if I one day get made redundant or something, who knows, maybe I’ll be able to give an actual recommendation.
That’s all for the RTSFest that is Gamescom so far; if anything else good happens I’ll be sure to send a smoke signal your way.
More on Respawn soon!