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Shack Chat: What were your favorite Gamescom 2019 announcements?

The Shack Staff discusses their favorite Gamescom 2019 announcement over the course of the show.


Shack Chat is back once again, our weekly feature each Friday where we’ll ask the Shacknews staff to give their opinion on a particular topic, then open the floor to our dedicated Chatty community to provide a diverse mixture of thoughts on the subject. It’s a great way for us to get to know one another better while inspiring healthy debates with all of you passionate gamers out there.

Question: What were your favorite Gamescom 2019 announcements?

Geoff Keighley in Death Stranding - Asif Khan, Lola is my BB

I was really happy to hear that Geoff Keighley finally got to be in a video game made by his best friend Hideo Kojima. Sure there were other cool things shown off in Death Stranding, like peeing, but the Geoff Keighley reveal really stole the show. Congratulations, Geoff and Hideo!

New Death Stranding footage - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

Nothing has really excited me very much over the course of Gamescom 2019 other than the latest Death Stranding footage, which makes up for a lot of the lack of big announcements so far that haven't truly grabbed me. I'll be keeping these on loop for a while though, so that should keep me satisfied until the next bit of footage comes out. I wish I had been able to actually see the footage at the game's booth, but unfortunately I'm not allowed to leave my home and remain chained to my computer for 16+ hour work days with a new puppy so Germany is out. I can't wait to be chained to Death Stranding instead. 

The Witcher 3 Switch Release Date - Josh Hawkins, Calculated Gamer Guy

While everyone else on this list is no doubt going for some of the biggest releases of the year, like Gears footage and Death Stranding, I honestly would have to say that finding out when we can expect The Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch is probably my favorite announcement from Gamescom 2019.

Despite the massive downgrade for graphics and everything, there’s just something about The Witcher 3 that keeps me coming back to it, and the fact that I’ll be able to play it later this year on my Nintendo Switch is exciting. If you haven’t been following the game’s journey to Nintendo Switch, it’s currently set to release on October 15 of this year, bringing us all the triumphs and difficulties of Geralt’s journey to the portability of the Switch.

Of course, there are some very noticeable downgrades, and the PC version of the game will continue to remain the definitive edition. But, the game’s deep lore, story, and fantastic gameplay loop really have me excited about it’s jump to Switch, even if it won’t offer the same graphical fidelity that helped make the game stand out when it originally released a few years ago.

The fact that CDPR has created such a long-lasting title is both a testament to their quality as game designers, and their overall determination to create great stories that keep fans coming back.

Death Stranding Obviously - Kevin S. Tucker, Turn Me On Mr. Deadman

How could I not be excited to see more of Death Stranding? Obviously the whole bit about kidney evacuation was a crowd pleaser, but those of us who really want to learn just what the hell is going on in the game were at least given two new character trailers for Gamescom 2019. I can’t say that I understand the game any better for them, but it’s still safe to say that Death Stranding has plenty of star power. At this rate, I’ll probably only get more confused once I’ve got the game in my hands. Still, November 8 can’t come soon enough. 

NVIDIA making all the games look better - Chris Jarrard, Bonafide

I found it hard to narrow down a favorite announcement from the madness at this year’s Gamescom showing in Cologne. This is why I decided to go with NVIDIA’s continued push for adding ray-traced effects to a wide variety of upcoming games. We got the first glimpse of the technology at Gamescom last year as NVIDIA’s RTX cards were being demonstrated to the public for the first time with demos of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V.

At this year’s show, the GPU giant showed off some RTX action for many games were already known to make use of the technology as well as an assortment of fresh additions to the club. The new DLC for Metro Exodus makes use of ray-traced global illumination like the base game launched with, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will get upgraded shadows, Control uses nearly every RTX trick in the book, and both Watch Dogs: Legion and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 get real-time reflections.  Dying Light 2 was shown off with global illumination and diffuse lighting as well. 

Minecraft RTX garnered the most headlines of the titles NVIDIA showed off, due both to its massive popularity and the staggering change in fidelity it brings to the game. While it looks similar to the OpenGL-powered path tracing shader for the Java version of the game that surfaced earlier this year, the RTX version of Minecraft Bedrock Edition will likely end up being much more advanced and realistic thanks to a larger budget and dedicated team of developers with access to the game’s source code. Even after seeing it in-person, the idea that Minecraft is offering graphical fidelity that trumps titles like God of War, Battlefield V, and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is bewildering. 

NVIDIA also made sure that everyone knows CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 will offer ray-traced effects with the PC version when it releases next year. Already considered to be a game that bridges the gap between console generations thanks to its massive scope, releasing Cyberpunk 2077 with such advanced rendering techniques ensures its will be a showcase title for years to come. Finally, because the RTX graphics cards are used to accelerate Microsoft’s DXR API, owners of the next generation of AMD card will also get to make use of these upgraded features once those cards are released.

Halo: Reach in Gears 5 (and Sea of Thieves) - Sam Chandler, Guides Editor

My favorite announcement from Gamescom 2019 is a toss up between a legit announcement and a bevy of accidental leaks. 

First and foremost, I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of playing as Emile or Kat from Halo: Reach in Gears 5. Halo has always been a staple in my video game diet, so being able to play as some incredible Halo characters in a different franchise is exciting.

However, I’m also partial to a bit of Sea of Thieves. This week has been full of leaks about what lies ahead, and all of them from within Rare. Firstly, James Thomas revealed that the team is working on bringing fire to Sea of Thieves and now the build being used at Gamescom has pets in it! Those are two pretty big deals if you’re an avid Sea of Thieves fan like myself. I can’t wait to buy a monkey and have him climbing around my galleon while I frantically deal with a fiery situation.

More indies on Switch -David L. Craddock, Longreads Editor

While Nintendo’s indie-focused presentation was not explicitly a Gamescom presentation, the fact that it went live during the show is enough synergy for me to name it my favorite collective set of announcements.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a platformer that seemed made for Switch. As visually striking as it is difficult, it’s the sort of game I can enjoy for hours on end or in bite-sized chunks--say, while I’m waiting for friends to arrive for dinner. The same can be said for Hotline Miami 1 and 2: Their blend of style, frenetic action, and single-serving-sized missions will fit in great on the Switch’s robust catalog of games that boast flexible play times as a selling point.

FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, a forthcoming Souls-like from the developer that made “Souls-like” a thing, won’t have as strong a presence at Gamescom as I’d hoped. Rumor has it that director and studio head Hidetaka Miyazaki will be showing the game behind closed doors, so perhaps we can expect information to trickle out even absent a new trailer or concrete information such as a release date. For what it’s worth, FromSoft’s last three titles--Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3, and Sekiro--all released in a late winter/early spring release window. Could March/April 2020 be too soon? Probably, but I can dream.

The Witcher 3 - Bill Lavoy - Clan an Craite

I’m going to take a seat next to Josh this week and agree that The Witcher 3 release date for the Nintendo Switch is the most exciting announcement. I largely view that as the best game I’ve ever played, and the idea that people who’ve never experienced it will now do so because it’s on a new platform excites me.

Superhot on Switch - Donovan Erskine, Intern

Superhot is one of my favorite indies of the last several years. For it to be joining Nintendo’s constantly growing catalog of indie games on Switch is such a delight, and gives me an excuse to play through the game all over again. I look forward to playing the game on the go, and seeing if it will take advantage of the Switch’s motion control capabilities.

Borderlands 3 Proving Grounds - Blake Morse, Vault Hunter

I love me some Borderlands and I’ve made no effort to hide my excitement about its upcoming threequel. But I’ve always found myself with a lack of things to do other than start a new game with a new class type once I’ve beaten the previous entries. Of course, I’ll eventually get some DLC, but it’s always nice to have new challenges to face rather than rehash old ones from a slightly different perspective. That’s why I was so pumped to learn about Proving Grounds.

Being able to do challenge runs where the more I murder and the longer I live gets me better loot seems like a perfect fit to the series’ signature style of mayhem. I can pretty much guarantee that me and my crew of wanna-be Vault Hunters will end up having a lot to prove by the time we get to this end game content. 

Sony purchases Insomniac - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

Insomniac Games has been one of the best game developers for many years, but while they helped introduce one of the PlayStation's most recognizable mascots, they were never a first-party studio. The quality of their work spoke for itself, even the games published outside of the PlayStation umbrella. Insomniac also put together games like the Xbox One's Sunset Overdrive and keen virtual reality standouts like Edge of Nowhere, The Unspoken, and the upcoming Stormland.

For PlayStation to finally take Insomniac in as one of their formal first-party studios is heartwarming to see given how much work that studio put into the Ratchet & Clank franchise, as well as 2018's Game of the Year, Marvel's Spider-Man. In a video game landscape where studios either fall apart under financial pressure, get wrapped up in terrible publishing deals, or crumble under intense outside pressure, it's a rare feel-good story to see a quality developer get rewarded after many years of service. That the news dropped opposite Geoff Keighley's Happy Fun Time Hour was a fun coincidence.

Cheers to Insomniac! Let's hope Marvel's Spider-Man 2 comes sooner than later.

Be sure to share your own thoughts in the Chatty below. This is for your benefit, after all – to start a discussion!

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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