gamescom 2012 is just over one week away. Before half the office frantically brushes up on basic German phrases and decides how many Euros they need to fund a week of consuming nothing but meat and beer, we've put together some general thoughts on what we all want from the show.
Tom Orry, Editor
gamescom seems to be a bit low-key this year. With Microsoft and Nintendo not attending (Nintendo missing a trick to give consumers hands-on time with Wii U in my opinion), and a lack of expectation over new game announcements, it's down to the known quantities to impress us. Although I'm holding out hope of a few surprises.
F1 Race Stars from Codemasters has my interest. I generally love the racing titles Codemasters put out, and I'm just hoping that the upcoming F1 spin-off isn't too kid-focused. Something along the lines of Mario Kart 7 and Sonic All-Stars Racing, with the level of presentation we're used to from Codies will be very good indeed.
Maybe a slight pattern emerging here, but like 'The Camel' Scammell is sure to agree with below, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is one of my most eagerly anticipated games of 2012. Hot Pursuit grew on me over the months I played it post release, and Most Wanted is one of my favourite Need for Speed titles. Everything EA has shown of the game so far looks brilliant, so I'm hoping this will end up as one of the games of the show.
We're not sure if it's going to be at gamescom, but Codies look set to reveal Grid 2 on August 8, and given that the first game was excellent the sequel is right at the top of my most wanted list.
To pick one non-racing title, I'm hoping Sony and Naughty Dog's The Last of Us will be revealed a little more. While everything I've seen on the game looks mightily impressive visually, I'm still not sold from a gameplay perspective. For me Uncharted 2 was Naughty Dog's best game by a long way, and I don't love that nearly as much as the majority of gamers do.
Neon Kelly, Features and Deputy Editor
I love gamescom, despite the fact that it feels like E3's less important German cousin. When we head off to Los Angeles each year, there's always the sneaking hope that we might get something new – despite the fact that we rarely do (thank you, Watch Dogs). In Cologne, on the other hand, you usually know exactly what to expect.
Top of my list of things to see is Borderlands 2. I was surprised by my initial lack of enthusiasm for this, given how much I liked the first game, but over the past few months I've built up a real appetite for Claptrap and company. The last preview build was everything I wanted – anarchy, black humour, and more gunfights than you can shake a boomstick at. I've already decided I'm going to play as Zer0, the cloak-y assassin chap, and at this point all I really want is to see more. Note for Gearbox: I don't really care what you show off, just make it big and loud and utterly unhinged. Thanks!
Beyond Borderlands, the other big game on my radar is Dishonored. I'm sort to torn on this one, to be honest: half of me is desperate to know what Arkane Studios has in store for us, and the other just wants to keep everything as a surprise for October. Still, Arkane and Bethesda have been fairly good at not giving too much away, so I think I can justify another (brief) taster at this point.
Honourable mentions: XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Unfinished Swan, Tokyo Jungle, Hitman: Absolution.
David Scammell, Staff Writer
Given the publisher's intel black out, I wasn't too surprised to see Activision ignoring Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified during its investor call last night. But nonetheless, the ongoing lack of information surrounding this year's big Vita hopeful is a major concern. Previous handheld Call of Duties have never stolen the PR limelight, of course, but with Vita flunking, Sony needs Declassified to secure a spot in the public eye sooner rather than later, and gamescom is as good a place as any. If nothing else, I'd hope we'll at least get an idea behind who's developing it and a vague release window.
Besides Black Ops, Criterion's ongoing efforts with Need For Speed continue to leave me impressed, and I'm eager to get some extensive hands-on time with Most Wanted during the show. I have a sneaking suspicion Kinect support may finally be announced but, in particular, I'd like to hear more specifics about the console versions. Will they run at 60fps? What engine is it built on? Will it launch on Wii U? And what does the Vita version look like?
Talking of EA, the firm has at least one new announcement set for Gamescom. Hazarding a guess, I'd expect to see BioWare jetting off to Germany to lift the lid on Dragon Age III, a game that's clearly - but unofficially - been in development for quite a while. And following the backlash from Dragon Age II, the controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3 and the rapid decline of The Old Republic, BioWare can't afford to have anything other than a strong reveal.
I'm also hoping to get a glimpse at GRID 2 and Dead Island Riptide. The former was ambiguously teased earlier today, and with tweets from various Codemasters officials hinting at a reveal next week, a Gamescom showing is clearly on the cards.
Above all else, though, if - and this is a big if - Rockstar does make an appearance with GTA V, it could very well be the game to steal the show. With the hype train in full swing, Pachter's emphatic that the publisher could announce a release date during the show. But while I don't think that's too likely, a surprise announcement in the weeks that follow could very well get the wheels in motion for what will likely be the generation's swan song.
Brett Phipps, Intern
Far Cry 3's E3 presentation hooked me because it had the potential to be something different, an FPS with a truly gripping story. Jason Brody is on the brink of insanity, journeying across a gorgeous jungle searching for the man who killed his brother, causing explosive mayhem along the way. Count me in. The voice acting on show at E3 was amazing, and I'm really excited to see more of this story. Oh, and you also get to unleash tigers on the bad guys.
Sections where you are tasked with escorting AI characters through levels are usually the most frustrating parts of a game, aside from ICO. But in The Last of Us, it looks like Ellie is more than capable of handling herself in Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic dystopia. Though we have seen plenty of in-game action, it is still unclear how this game will play, is it open-world? Is it a series of semi-linear levels more in line with Uncharted? We'll find out at gamescom.