All the shock announcements from Gamescom 2014

From the Xbox indie resurgence to Sony’s Share Play, here’s all you need from this year’s Gamescom.
Ninja Theory’s brand new title, Hellblade.
All the shock announcements from Gamescom 2014 © Ninja Theory
By Jon Partridge

All eyes have been on on Cologne, Germany for this year’s massive Gamescom expo, where Sony and Microsoft last night revealed the latest crop of games slated to hit their next-gen consoles – including a few exclusives we never saw coming. In fact, last night was all about shock revelations: read on for all the biggest. Did Sony or Microsoft get the edge this year?

Rise of the Tomb Raider – exclusively on Xbox

While we finally got a first look at actual gameplay from Remedy Entertainment’s highly anticipated time-bending Quantum Leap, the biggest scoop from the Microsoft camp was that Lara Croft’s next adventure would be exclusively launching on Xbox. Darrell Gallagher, studio head at Crystal Dynamics, took to the stage to announce that Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to last year’s reboot, is slated to hit Xbox consoles “Holiday 2015” – but there’s no confirmation yet on whether it’s limited to Xbox One or if it’ll be hitting Xbox 360 too. For a series that’s historically been a PlayStation staple, it’s a surprise to see it locked down to Microsoft’s console, but whatever the platform, we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare edition Xbox One

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Edition Xbox One © Microsoft

We were treated to a first look at a brand-new single player level from Sledgehammer Games’ upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, set on the iconic San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, but that’s not all that was on show. A brand new Xbox One bundle is on the way that not only packs in a copy of the futuristic game, but both the console and controller have been given a custom Advanced Warfare-themed paintjob that ties in perfectly with the game’s aesthetic. The console’s built-in hard drive has also been boosted to a huge 1TB of storage, giving you twice as much as a standard Xbox One console. That boost in space does come at a premium, as the bundle is set to cost €499.99/£429.99/$499 when it touches down on November 3 – and that’s without Kinect.

ID@Xbox: Indies take centre stage, including Smite

© Xbox

Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about indies either, as Chris Charla, director of Xbox’s independent games program, took to the main stage to unleash a whole wave of upcoming indie titles that are on the way to Xbox One. Titles like Goat Simulator, Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 and Gunscape were some of the titles featured in a montage sequence, whilst particular focus was given to Space Engineers, Kickstarter breakout Superhot, The Escapists, and Below – all headed to console first on Xbox One. Smite, the Olympian-themed third-person action MOBA, which is kicking up a storm on PC is also headed to Microsoft’s next-gen console, bringing complete console controls and the same low, free-to-play price tag. We’re excited.

FIFA 15 – Ultimate Team Legends

© Xbox

FIFA fans, here’s something for you: renowned Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel headed up on stage to reveal that for this year’s FIFA 15, Xbox platforms have exclusive dibs on legendary classic players in FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode. Not only is Schmeichel available to pick in the new Ultimate Team Legends mode, but esteemed players like Roberto Carlos, Roy Keane, Sir Bobby Moore, Alan Shearer, Jay Jay Okocha, Carlos Valderrama, Franco Baresi, Laurent Blanc and more are all selectable in the new game. That’s not all, as there’s also an Xbox One bundle on the way to Europe that comes pre-loaded with FIFA 15. For £349.99 in the UK and €399 across Europe, you’ll find in the box a console, controller and a digital copy of FIFA 15 – but no Kinect. The bundle will also include an Ultimate Team Legends Gold Pack. If you’ve already got yourself one of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles, FIFA 15 is also one of the first games that you’ll be able to pre-order and pre-load the Xbox Games Store when it launches on September 23 in North America and 25 in Europe.

Xbox One is getting a media boost

Xbox One Digital TV Tuner © Microsoft

While it wasn’t announced onstage among the staggering amount of games, Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One will be getting a whole lot more media savvy. For starters, a new Media Player app is on the way that will let you finally play media files from a USB drive, while you’ll also be able to beam down videos from a network connected home media server via the magic of DLNA. That’s not all, as along with the recently announced Xbox One Digital TV Tuner that’s set to launch across Europe in October, you’ll soon be able to stream TV straight to your SmartGlass connected tablet or phone with the tuner too, all through your Xbox One. You’ll be able to pause, play and rewind, and change channels – all without causing any hassle to whoever’s gaming.

DayZ on the way to PS4

© VG247

Already an instant classic, PC zombie survival shooter DayZ is ready for its next-gen console debut – and it’s coming to PlayStation 4. Creator Dean Hall took to Sony’s stage to announce that the game is headed to consoles, but given the lack of the word ‘exclusive’, you could be seeing it pop up on Xbox One too. Hall also said that “didn't want to just port DayZ” to consoles, and that he’s making sure to take advantage of each respective platform. When’s it coming though? Hall didn’t say, but we can’t wait to start our zombie adventures on console soon.

Share Play

Sony revealed what’s set to be a killer feature for its next-gen console with the upcoming 2.00 update, and it’s all to do with the handy Share button that’s on your controller. Share Play is the name, and Sony says that the best way to think about it is that it’s like a “virtual couch” – that means you’ll be able to invite friends to join your game to play cooperatively, even if they don’t own the game – all they need is a PlayStation Plus subscription. Need someone to crush at FIFA or NBA? Just invite your friend. And if you get stuck in The Last of Us, you can simply invite a mate to take over the controls for you to beat that tough level. We already knew this feature was coming to Far Cry 4, but it’s great to see Sony rolling it out on many more titles too.

Ninja Theory’s new game, Hellblade

© Sony / Ninja Theory

Ninja Theory, the creators of Heavenly Sword and last year’s DmC: Devil May Cry re-invision, have taken off the wraps for its next project – and it’s called Hellblade. The AAA-looking title, which is based on Celtic myth, plants you in control of protagonist, Senua, as she takes on the hellish underworld that the game’s set in. If it’s anything like Ninja Theory’s past titles, look forward to a slick and stylish action game with jaw-dropping graphics and fluid gameplay – and you’ll be playing it first on PlayStation 4.

PlayStation TV, PlayStation Now in Europe

PlayStation TV © Sony

Last but definitely not least, Sony dropped news of its other home console (no, not the PS4). The PlayStation TV, a super cheap and compact console that plays PS Vita games is finally coming to the west, with a planned launch date of November 14 in the US and Europe. Not only will this little €99 bad boy play Vita titles and PS4 games from another room in your house, it’ll also get access to Sony’s smart PlayStation Now streaming service, giving you access to a huge back catalogue of games on demand, no download required. PlayStation Now is already in beta in the US, and will kick off its European rollout next year, starting in the UK.

What was your highlights from Gamescom this year? Tell us in the comments below!

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