Gamescom 2023 from the show floor – gaming’s future looks bright beyond Starfield 

Gamescom 2023 from the show floor – gaming’s future looks bright beyond Starfield 
Ben Borthwick Updated on by

Video Gamer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more

Gamescom 2023 has been an interesting year for the show. While last year’s event was officially the first return to the European show’s in-person format, that felt more like a test run for this year, where the show returned in full force – and how. 

Games like Alan Wake 2, Modern Warfare 3 and of course Starfield dominated the headlines of the early part of the event, as expected. The first evening’s Opening Night Live included trailers for all three of these and –stage invasions aside – marked a show full of crowd pleasing moments. It’s hard to believe that this was Bethesda boss Todd Howard’s first Gamescom, but for most of us that have been looking forward to Starfield, having him come on stage to talk about the RPG this close to launch was a shrewd move. The crowd ate up his every word, and the later presentation of the game on the showfloor was met with equal measures of  excitement that  you’d expect for what’s almost guaranteed at this point to be gaming’s talking point for the rest of the year.

Starfield at Gamescom

The fact Starfield was so close, in fact, did loom large orbiting (excuse the pun) around Gamescom. Many of the developers we talked to this week mentioned or otherwise acknowledged the game, whether asking in casual conversation if we’d played it yet, mentioning they were looking forward to playing it and even in some cases some developers mentioning their aspirations of having a game with the gravitational pull of the new Bethesda RPG.

It definitely wasn’t the only game at the show though, and far from it. While we can’t talk yet about absolutely everything we saw this week,  some highlights we can mention include getting hands-on with Mortal Kombat 1’s single player modes, seeing how Cyberpunk’s 2077 Phantom Liberty expansion is shaping up well, and indeed the previously mentioned Alan Wake 2 seems to making all the right moves with its new survival horror direction – it’s dark and weird in all the right places, from what we’ve seen so far. We’re also really liking the look of how Sega’s Hyenas is shaping up – so much so we gave it one of our ‘One to Watch’ awards at the show.

Happily, there was also plenty of room this year for games outside of the typical bombastic Hollywood-esque blockbuster mould too – we had a wonderful chat with Dont Nod about their upcoming climbing game Jusant, where we learned how it’ll use the lessons the team made from the wonderful Life is Strange series. Strategy aficionados on both sides of the spectrum were also well catered for, giving us hands on time with Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin for those who like their combat meaty and with that unmistakable Warhammer flavour.

We also got a couple of nice surprises – we were already looking forward to Ghostrunner 2 as a fast paced slick game of parkour action based on the first game, but we were really impressed coming away from our hands on demo just how much they’ve expanded the original’s concept and made it somehow even slicker and cooler. It was also wonderful to get the chance to talk to Charles Cecil of Broken Sword fame just as his studio Revolution announced their intentions for a 4K remaster of the original Broken Sword The Shadow of the Templars as well as an all new sixth game in the series.

Another unexpected surprise came in the form of the reveal of Little Nightmares 3. The game’s quietly built up a pretty large fanbase over its previous two games of creepy indie platforming, and with horror veterans Supermassive now taking their shot – it’s shaping up to give you more of the ick in the best way. Anyone worried that the game’s third outing would reduce the level of horror somehow can rest assured this is looking just as macabre as ever, and the reaction to the reveal at ONL gives a good indication of the reaction of the journalists (yours truly included) who got to see the gameplay demo at Gamescom.

Little Nightmares 3 reveal at Gamescom
Little Nightmares 3 reveal at Gamescom

And all this only scratches the surface of everything at the show this year  – given the scope and size of the show there was so much more than just what our small on-the-ground team could cram into our non-stop two days of meetings and previews – but what this year of Gamescom has shown us is that gaming is in as rude health as it’s ever been – and while naysayers may be adamant that most of gaming these days is about chasing trends, what we saw at this year’s Gamescom first hand paints a different picture. Rather, there’s plenty of neat ideas, cool games and wonderful teams bringing some mighty fine gaming good times to our grubby fingers over the next twelve months and beyond. Truly, it’s an excellent time to be a fan of videogames.

As mentioned, we’ve still got plenty more to come from Gamescom over the next few days when it comes to previews from the event as embargoes lift and we’re allowed to say more. So keep it locked here on to make sure you get the lowdown on all the delicious meaty gaming treats over the next few days and weeks.