While the summer months have traditionally been a time of heading to the seaside and trying to make the most of an ice cream as the rain crashes down around you, in the games industry, summer serves a different purpose. While there may be scarce few new releases clogging up the shop shelves, there's only a temporary cease fire in the shops, as we're bombarded with a non-stop stream of brand new announcements, trailers, and other bits and pieces from giant trade conventions instead, where publishers and developers big and small get together to make some noise about their latest and greatest.
While E3 in LA is arguably the most famous, it's gamescom in Germany that holds the title of being the largest. With over 340,000 sweaty germans (and press of assorted nationalities) cramming into the glass-filled convention centre last year, for a single week in August, the games industry revolves around Cologne - and that's why as of next week, we'll be heading out there ourselves.
Through the website itself, and the magic of social media, we'll be bringing you all the news about the games you care about, as soon as we get it. And there'll be a lot to share. A chance to get hands-on with the smaller, more interesting titles that often get drowned out in amongst the Call of Duties and FIFAs, there's a huge variety of games on show at gamescom, from the AAA to the indie puzzle games - and we'll be playing them all. We've even heard rumours of a big Skylanders announcement to come out of the show - so you can guess where we'll be heading first thing on Wednesday morning...
The show itself kicks off with a kind of pre-show on the Tuesday, with several events and press conferences being held beforehand. We'll be kicking off our day with a trip to play the Sims 4, followed by the Sony press conference, where we'll be hoping to see something new from Beyond: Two Souls studio Quantic Dream, and Little Big Planet developer Media Molecule.
The Wednesday is a press only day, which is the only time you ever really want to go near the show floor, as it's the only time to get near the booths without being trampled under a horde of raging gamers. We'll be getting hands-on with plenty of games as the day goes on, and keep you updated with snippets of thoughts as and when we can.
From the Thursday to the Friday, the doors are opened to the general public, and all hell breaks loose. That's when the queues start to stretch for miles, the corridors heave with a giant mass of bodies, and the shops start to run out of bratwursts. Luckily for us, we spend most of our time then in the business area, swapping the sweaty crowds for air conditioned bliss - and plenty of cool games.
And we want you to get in touch! While we'll be doing our best to keep our social channels updated while we're out at the show itself, if you have any burning questions about anything we're going to be seeing, or simply want to tell us how cool you think something looks, feel free to share. We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Here's our full schedule of what we'll be seeing. We may not be able to post updates on our social channels all that regularly, due to how crazy shows like this can get, but we'll do our best to stay on top of all your comments.
- 1pm - 4pm - Sims 4 hands-on with the final build
- 7pm - onwards - Sony press conference.
- 9am - With any luck, Skylanders Trap Team
- 10 - 12 - Free time to explore the show floor and get hands-on
- 12 - Flame Over (a PS Vita fire-fighting "rogue like")
- 12:45 - Skylanders Trap Team Interview
- 1:00 - Sherlock Holmes
- 2:00 - Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries
- 3:00 - 4:00 - NIS America (Danganronpa 2, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labryinth, NAtURAL DOCtRINE)
- 9:30 - Magicka 2
- 11:00 - The Witcher 3
- 12:00 - Metal Gear Solid V and PES 2015
- 1:30 - WWE 2K15
- 2:00 - Batman Arkham Knight and LEGO Batman 3
- 3:30 - EA (Bioware's latest, Sims and more)
- 5:00 - Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix Interview
- 6:00 - Disney Infinity 2.0
- 10:00 - The Talos Principle
- 10:30 - JUJU, a really cool looking, old-school co-op platformer
- 11:30 - Mordheim: City of the Damned
- 12:00 - World of Warships, Warplanes and Tanks
- 1:00 - Raven's Cry
- 2:00 - Daedalic Entertainment - point and clicks galore.
- 3:00 - The Evil Within
- 4:00 - Theatrhythm Interview