Gamescom’s 5 day event in Cologne, Germany has just come to an end. Having been there from start to finish, I feel as though I’m recovering from a massive banquet of gaming goodness. This includes exclusive game demos, talks with industry professionals and an absurd amount of fan service! Allow me to guide you through the Gamescom 2023 experience and share why it’s well worth attending yourself if you can.
Opening Night Live kickstarted things on Tuesday 22nd August. There was an incredible lineup of updates for upcoming and current games complete with appearances from developers, voice actors and many more. For more on Opening Night Live, have a look at my previous article covering the event.
After that, Gamescom was officially open. From Wednesday 23rd to Friday 25th, its business areas were open to trade and media. Then from Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th, its entertainment areas were open to all ticket holders.
When the doors open and you’re let loose in the halls of the Koelnmesse Centre, there is a dizzying amount of things to do. There are many updates that you can get through watching online coverage of the event, but being here in person has a very different feel to it. Here, you can surround yourself with like minded people, just as excited about the next game reveal as you are. Browsing the various impressive game stands gives you the ability to interact directly with the many incredible games being showcased here as well as talking to the developers.
So without further ado, here is your guide of Gamescom 2023 and beyond.
Of course, one of the big things you think about when you think gaming convention is stands to try out new games. This year boasted an incredible quality of stands. This included stages from the great gates at the entrance to Total War: Pharaoh to the mysterious portal at the Nightingale stand.
As well as trying the games themselves, there were also so many fun things you could do at these stands. Sea of Thieves, for example, allowed participants to get temporary tattoos of various insignia in the game. Nintendo had some terrific stands where you could get your pictures taken in various settings. You could pose with Animal Crossing‘s Isabelle and Tom Nook, or the iconic Super Mario green pipe. But the one that took the crown was City Skylines II, who had players playing around a table that was suspended high off the ground by a crane!
There were also two dedicated Indie Halls chock full of small, talented studios showcasing their in development games. As you would expect, these lines are generally a lot shorter than at the AAA stands, and you’re more likely to get some one on one time with the developers while you play.
As well as stands for games, Netflix also had many stands for many of their current shows. Fan could get pictures on the set of Squid Game, with various creatures from The Witcher, or even attend a live cello performance by Wednesday Addams.
More trailers and reveals
Even after Opening Night Live, there were still many announcements and trailers to catch live. I’d like to guide you towards four of my favorites Gamescom premiere trailers.
Deathground, a First Person solo and co-op survival game in the vein of Alien: Isolation. This time, instead of sneaking around being hunted by a Xenomorph, you have ravenous dinosaurs trying to make a meal of you! Deathground will be released on PC and is available to Wishlist now on Steam.
In a very different style but, arguably, just as deadly a setting is Billie Bust Up, a musical platformer where you have to keep your cutesy cartoon protagonists safe from a demon’s insistent invitation to the land of the dead. As well as watching the trailer, I also got to get hands on with the demo, trying to escape said demon by dodging his rhythmic attacks and environments generated by his lyrics. Also to be released on PC and available to Wishlist on Steam now.
This latest ‘Bolts & Bullets’ trailer for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl shows us more action and more reality distortions that tease many different ways to help or hinder you. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl will come out on Xbox X/S and PC, and is available for pre-purchase now.
Finally, Aloft is a very intriguing open-world sandbox survival game that tasks you build, create and adapt in a windswept world of floating islands. There’s a big emphasis on exploration, base building and supporting eco-systems that makes the game look just so enticing! Aloft will be launching on PC and will be available on Steam in 2024.
As well as the reveal trailers, there are so many other live shows you can catch and I would highly recommend searching beforehand to make sure you get to see everything you want. These include Esports competitions, Let’s Plays, interviews and musical performances.
One of my highlights was getting to see the incredible Cosplay Contest which you can see the full stream of below or you can find highlights on Gamescom’s Instagram:
That said, at an event like this, cosplayers are everywhere so you can see amazing quality by simply walking the halls, and, if you ask nicely, some may even be up for letting you take a photo with them!
Other Great Stuff
On top of all of that, there are so many other great things to see and do that I’ll try to summarize as best I can below:
High quality gaming merchandise is available in dedicated halls ranging from Pokémon cards to plushies to incredible artwork, posters and figurines.
Retro gaming areas. Gamescom isn’t just a place for all the up and coming games, but for old classics as well!
Chill out areas and fun activities. Even we gamers need breaks. It’s important to chill out every now and again, collect your thoughts, get hydrated or get a little exercise with a quick game of laser tag!
Save the Date
Thank you for joining me through this guide to Gamescom 2023. Gamescom 2024 will take place August 21st – 24th, once again in the Koelnmesse Centre in Cologne, Germany. To start checking out the event and get onto Gamescom’s mailing list, head on over to the Gamescom website.
For more details on further Gamescom developments, keep an eye on KeenGamer for individual articles on what we have to look forward to in the world of gaming.