Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeEntertainment NewsSummer Game Fest 2024 round-up - Valorant, Blumhouse Games, and Alan Wake...

Summer Game Fest 2024 round-up – Valorant, Blumhouse Games, and Alan Wake 2 DLC


Summer Game Fest – there definitely were some unexpected highlights (Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup/Shu)

GameCentral takes a look at the most interesting titles from this year’s Summer Game Fest and what they mean for the future of the industry.

The Summer Game Fest 2024 livestream felt very much like a glimpse of the future. Not merely because it showcased dozens of new and upcoming games but because the nature of those titles was very different from other not-E3 events of the recent past.

After giving a brief acknowledgement of the more than 10,000 job losses the industry has suffered over the last year, host Geoff Keighley talked about how gaming is ‘evolving and changing’, with indie games becoming more prominent and more than one game at the show being made by just one person.

A more cynical mind would argue that was just an excuse to explain the fact that there were relatively few big name reveals, but Keighley had warned that would be the case before the event started, underlining that we now live in era where triple-A games appear far less frequently than they used to.

The question is whether this is a temporary state of affairs or the new norm, but that’s not something that was ever going to be answered at an event like this.

Instead, you got the usual conveyor belt of trailers interspersed by the occasional on stage appearance from a developer. None of these were particular enlightening though and it was disappointing that so many of the trailers were clearly pre-rendered, but that, unfortunately, is also unsurprising.

What was also less than shocking is that all of the biggest game unveils had been leaked beforehand, including Sony’s peculiar Lego Horizon Adventures, Civilization 7 and Slitterhead – although the latter two were the fault of the game makers themselves, who both managed to update their websites/YouTube channel too early.

The whole event was two hours long and followed by the Day of the Devs event, and then Devolver Digital. Considering Summer Game Fest started at 10pm BST for the UK it was clearly not aimed at anyone outside of North America.

Nevertheless, we’d recommend watching the whole thing, at least in the background, as there must’ve been over 40 or so games in total, and we’re certainly not going over them all now.

Many of the bigger budget games appeared only as brief pre-rendered trailers, with Quidditch Champions getting a September 3 release date, Star Wars Outlaws teasing that Lando Calrissian is in the game, Black Myth: Wukong unveiling its various collector’s editions, and Dune: Awakening revealing that its story revolves around a what if scenario where Paul Atreides’ sister is born instead of him.

Recently announced VR game Batman: Arkham Shadow was also only pre-rendered but got an autumn release date and confirmation that the villain is the Rat King, who seems to be a new character – either that or existing supervillain Ratcatcher has had a promotion. Returning to the Arkhamverse is very welcome (although technically Suicide Squad was also set in it) but the absence of voice actor Kevin Conroy is sorely felt.

Metaphor: ReFantazio, by the team behind Persona, got an onstage demo and… looked very much like Persona, with a similar art style and ordinary people once again transforming into fantasy warriors – although this time it was presented as them turning into Final Fantasy style jobs, called archetypes. It looked good and it’s always nice to see a company using its success to launch new IP.

Capcom had a big presence at the show, with a brief look at Monster Hunter Wilds gameplay being the penultimate reveal; there was also the intriguingly strange Kunitsu-Gami: Path Of The Goddess sand new DLC fighters for Street Fighter 6, namely M. Bison, Elena, and Final Fight’s Terry Bogard and Mai Shiranui.

Fatal Fury: City Of The Wolves also got a separate trailer, and an early 2025 release date, while fellow fighting game Dragon Ball: Sparking! Zero will be out on October 11.

One of our favourite moments of the night was the reveal for Blumhouse Games. We’ve not cared for a lot of their movies in the past, but they seem to have engaged with gaming in the most interesting way possible, with multiple indie titles all of which are radically different from each other.

Fear The Spotlight is the first one due out and looks very much like a lost PS1 game, with very basic 3D graphics that still manage to look extremely creepy.

The demo reel of other games includes everything from a Stardew Valley style cosy game that turns evil to what looks like some kind of first person shooter, a very meta game where you play as a developer, and the promise of a collaboration between Immorality’s Sam Barlow and Brandon Cronenberg – son of David Cronenberg.

Among Us developer InnerSloth also had a lot to show, and not just a clip from the new Among Us TV show. They’ve set up a new publishing label called OuterSloth and have signed up a number of indie games, in order to help out other developers who, in their own words, haven’t been as lucky as them.

Despite having never watched an episode of the show, we also really liked the look of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Rita’s Rewind, which is a purposefully retro scrolling beat ‘em-up mixed in with some wonderful looking 3D levels featuring old school sprite scaling. It seems to be part of a new label called Hasbro Retro Arcade, so we really hope that means a future Transformers game in a similar vein.

Not all of the bigger budget games were pre-rendered trailers, as there was another look at medieval action role-player Kingdom Come: Deliverance 2, the announcement of an October 25 release date for Sonic X Shadows Generations (which also leaked out beforehand), a brief and painfully unfunny trailer for Skate. announcing that playtesting starts this summer, and the first DLC for Alan Wake 2.

Alan Wake 2’s DLC is called Night Springs and features three different scenarios and player characters, connected by the game’s pastiche of The Twilight Zone. It all seems terribly self-indulgent, with Rose the waitress wielding a shotgun, Control protagonist Jesse Faden, and Shawn Ashmore – star of Quantum Break – apparently playing himself. The final surprise is that the DLC will be out today, June 8, with physical editions of the main game to follow later this year, including a $200 collector’s edition.

Remedy’s Sam Lake also got an on-stage appearance, but even more time was devoted to Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 versions of Riot Games’ first person shooter Valorant. Very little of substance was said though, with no release date – just a closed beta you can try and sign up for here.

Given recent revelations about how much it costs to be a part of Summer Game Fest we can only imagine how much that publicity cost Riot, or how much Chinese company S-Game paid to have Phantom Blade 0 be the final game of the night. Apparently, it was shown at a previous event but we’re going to admit we don’t remember it at all, but it appears to be an interesting enough Soulslike style actioner, that seems reminiscent of a fantasy version of Stellar Blade.

There were plenty of other interesting looking indie game, including Neva from the makers of GRIS, the self-explanatory Deer & Boy from Lifeline Games, one-man dev creation Killer Bean, French mountain climbing sim Cairn (not to be confused with French mountain climbing sim Jusant), the intriguing Wanderstop from the maker of The Stanley Parable, and real-time strategy Battle Aces from new studio Uncapped Games.

It may be the de facto replacement for E3, but Summer Game Fest has become a very different experience, not in terms of format but the types of games being shown. There were plenty of interesting revelations, but also plenty to still be concerned about when it comes to the health and sustainability of the triple-A games business.

It’s over for another year (Summer Game Fest)

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