gamescom opening night live 2021

It’s that time again readers. That time where Geoff Keighley excitedly beams another jam packed show onto your computer, TV, phone or any other device which you have to hand. As ever, Gamescom Opening Night Live delivered updates, in-depth gameplay dives and a few surprises to boot. This was the third year for the event, and thanks to the pandemic the second which didn’t take place in the host country, Germany.

Still, spirits were as high as ever. It’s really difficult not to be pulled in by Geoff’s enthusiasm and excitement for all the announcements. So, in a year where digital events and showcases have ranged from pretty good to downright abysmal, how did Gamescom’s Opening Night Live fare this year? And what should Xbox gamers be excited for?

The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes

What’s that you say? One of the highlights of the event was from the pre-show? You bet it was. We may not have learned much more about it here, but I am really looking forward to The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes. We got to see another (and possibly final) trailer for the upcoming survival horror game which is launching on 22nd October 2021.

In it we saw the characters grapple with their desperate situation, being stalked by monsters and struggling to figure out exactly who to trust. When all hell breaks loose and faith in each other breaks down, The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is shaping up to be a deeper and more bleak tale than it first looked.

We can’t wait to see how this one follows on from the previous The Dark Pictures titles – Man of Medan and Little Hope.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

It’s been a year since we’ve seen anything from the latest game in the LEGO series, but our prayers were finally answered with an epic new trailer for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. We were treated to new gameplay footage across the nine films, complete with the trademark LEGO sense of humour.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga looks to be the ultimate love letter to Star Wars fans, and capture the magic of the series that is bound to make so many excited for it, despite being very much familiar with the story. The game is set to launch in Spring 2022.

And of course, if it doesn’t work, there are always some other franchises that the LEGO brand could hit up in order to rake in the cash.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns

Pretty much anything from Marvel is welcomed with open arms these days, and during this reveal it became clear Marvel’s Midnight Suns was more than simply DLC for Marvel’s Avengers (thank goodness). The game is inspired by the comics featuring the same characters from the Ghost Rider series in the ‘90s, however we still know relatively little.

The trailer gave us an insight, however the gameplay won’t be revealed until 1st September 2021. What we do know is that Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a tactical RPG from the creators of XCOM, but promises to be quite different. The full release is expected in March 2022. 

Riders Republic

Riders Republic was one of the few games that really caught my eye at the Ubisoft Forward E3 presentation earlier this year. This multiplayer sports game boasts 50 player races, customisable gear and five different extreme sports to master including skiing and rocket wingsuit flying.

The big news here is that the previously closed Beta is now open to all players until August 28th 2021. Riders Republic looks set to be the Forza Horizon of the extreme sports world, and you can jump in yourself when the game is released on 28th October 2021.

Saints Row

It’s always a tough choice when looking for a game to open a show like Opening Night Live (I imagine, despite never having to do so myself), however it’s safe to say the team pulled it off. Coming straight in with the announcement of a brand new Saints Row game, the debut trailer was honestly one of the coolest I have watched in a long time.

As you may have realised with the omission of the “5” (this being the fifth game in the series), Saints Row is a reboot which sees Volition take things back to their roots with a brand new urban playground to wreak havoc in, along with a new Self Made gang. The aim (as ever) is to rise to infamy, tackling established gangs head on to take over the city of Santo Ileso bit by bit. However, you’ll have to wait until February 25th 2022 before setting out to build your criminal empire. 

Halo: Infinite

I mean, it had to be right? Rumours had been rife that we would see more from Halo: Infinite and the long awaited release date had unfortunately been leaked before the show. The good news is the sixth entry in the main series has been confirmed for launch on December 8th 2021. However, perhaps controversially, the single player campaign was once again nowhere to be seen.

Instead we were given a look at Halo: Infinite’s first multiplayer season. In it, you begin your season spanning story as Academy Commander Agryna. This is a personalised experience, via a character who knows first hand just how critical Spartans can be in turning the tide of battle.

As well as this, Joseph Staten himself was on hand to reveal a Halo: Infinite Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 (which looks absolutely gorgeous) and a limited edition Halo Xbox Series X console (which also looks stunning). This is, of course, all in aid of Halo and Xbox’s 20th anniversary this year. The Master Chief’s next adventure is finally, very nearly here.

All in all I think it’s fair to say that Gamescom’s Opening Night Live was an impressive, if a little lengthy, show. Geoff may have played down any expectations of “wall to wall surprises”, but there was pretty much something for everyone on the night. The upcoming release calendar for this Winter and early 2022 looks incredibly busy as the industry plays catch-up after the pandemic. Best get saving those pennies and making space on your hard drive (or hard drives if you decide to pick up one of Seagate’s new options), it’s going to be a busy one.

What were your favourite bits of Gamescom’s Opening Night Live this year? Tell us in the comments below or via the socials.

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