Next-gen reveals and the future of games – our 2020 digital events schedule
© CD Projekt RED
With no GDC, E3, Gamescom or TGS, as well as the others in between, gaming's big announcements, reveals and deep-dives are going online - here's how to keep up with the tide of information in 2020!
In the age of social distancing and working from home, not to mention quarantine measures as the world deals with the current pandemic, quite a few major events have been cancelled. From the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March to the glitz and glamour that is E3 in June.
Later this year both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are expected to launch, so events like E3 and Gamescom take on a special quality when there’s new hardware in the mix. With games, price tags and a list of features and services for next-gen still (mostly) a mystery – E3 was the place (and time of year) we would have gotten the juiciest and meatiest slabs of info on Microsoft and Sony’s plans. Let alone Nintendo’s and what the wider videogame-verse of publishers and developers had, or has, in store.
Thanks to the power of technology and that thing we call the Internet, the Year 2020™ sees the videogame conference go digital...
But, fret not. Thanks to the power of technology and that thing we call the Internet, the Year 2020™ sees the videogame conference go digital. And over the next few months there’s quite a bit coming in the digital presentation space. So much so that the usually crammed E3 week will now be spread out over many events.
Let’s go through what’s coming.
Summer Game Fest
What is It: An entire season of digital gaming events, reveals and announcements spearheaded and hosted by one Geoff Keighley. Already underway, so far, we’ve seen an impressive PlayStation 5 tech demo running on the next-generation of Unreal Engine in addition to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remake reveal with Tony Hawk himself on hand to chat about the ollies and, err, 720s. Monthly and weekly streams, developer interviews and game showcases will continue right through to August.
When is It: May - August
What to Expect: How about a special Cyberpunk 2077 preview stream with CD Projekt RED on June 11? Or a large-scale developer showcase highlighting several Indie and bigger budget titles on June 22? Without E3 proper, Summer Game Fest is here to pick up the slack. And if we’re on the cusp of one final deep-dive into Cyberpunk 2077 before its launch in September, we’re all for it. Especially when it will feature a near-final version and look at the game of games.
The Guerrilla Collective
What is It: A digital games festival chock-full of announcements, gameplay demonstrations and trailers focusing on several Indie and smaller publishers. Hosted by Greg Miller and sponsored by the likes of ID@Xbox, Razer, Astro Gaming and others, the three-day streaming event will present a who’s who of the Indie scene.
When is It: June 6-8
What to Expect: An overload of Indie excellence, thanks to a list of participants that includes: 11 Bit Studios (Frostpunk, This War of Mine), Fellow Traveller (In Other Waters, Neo Cab), Funcom (Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, Conan Exiles), Good Shepherd Entertainment (John Wick Hex, The Eternal Cylinder), Larian Studios (Baldur’s Gate III, Divinity: Original Sin II), Paradox Interactive (Cities: Skylines, Stellaris) and more.
What is It: EA’s annual ‘event that isn’t but still feels like E3’ showcase is going digital this year. As per EA Play presentations seen in the past, this year will be no different with the focus on upcoming EA releases. Expect sports titles running on next-gen hardware and a few surprise announcements too. Also, a few key Indies will be championed as part of the company’s wonderful EA Originals label.
When is It: June 11
What to Expect: FIFA running on either PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X hardware. As one of the biggest games in the world, it’ll be interesting to see just how much extra visual detail the next-generation of consoles will bring to the World Game. At the very least, loading times will be all but removed. As for big announcements, EA has been quiet of late so it could be anything from the next Battlefield to a surprise new Star Wars game or even a complete remake of the original Mass Effect. In a perfect world we’d get a glimpse at all three. Truth be told, we’d be happy with just the last one.
What is It: Ubisoft’s first digital showcase is being described as E3-like in structure, meaning it will be the time and place we get a proper look at Assassin’s Creed Valhalla gameplay. The publisher is also hinting that there will be multiple reveals – many of which will probably be showcased on next-gen consoles.
When is It: July 12
What to Expect: As mentioned above, a deep dive into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla gameplay – running on next-gen Xbox Series X hardware. In addition to that an updated look at Watch Dogs Legion, with a new release date for the delayed open-world game. Also, Rainbow Six Quarantine which is meant to be the studio’s take on Left 4 Dead. On the surprise front we’re hoping for a new Nintendo collaboration to show up, in addition to the long overdue return of one Samuel Fisher. AKA, the gravelly-voiced dude from Splinter Cell. We might also learn the fates of both Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Skull and Bones.
Inside Xbox / Xbox 20/20
What is It: A monthly Inside Xbox stream where Microsoft will present looks at the future of its hardware and the games we’ll get to play. With the release of the Xbox Series X listed as ‘Holiday 2020’, Xbox 20/20 will be the new Inside Xbox -- with monthly deep-dives into the next-generation of Xbox with reveals, announcements and showcases. Best of all these digital events will run from now until launch.
When is It: Monthly
What to Expect: The first Series X episode of Inside Xbox has come and gone, focusing on upcoming third-party games. The instalment that everyone is waiting for is the one where first-party titles like Halo Infinite, Forza and others will be shown. That’s taking place in July and will be Microsoft’s E3-style presentation. With all 15 Xbox Game Studios working on next-gen titles, it’s going to be huge.
Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition
[With] limited-time demos and short playable experiences, the Steam Game Festival is all about play...
What is It: Where PC storefront and platform Steam shines a spotlight on games set to debut on the platform in the coming months by giving people the chance to go hands-on. Via limited-time demos and short playable experiences, the Steam Game Festival is all about play.
When is It: June 9 - 14
What to Expect: As per Steam festivals seen in the past, a massive list of Indies and games far enough along in development to offer playable demos. With a lot of what’ll be on show being new, recently released gems that might have flown under the radar will also be represented. Think of it as walking around the Indie booths at PAX Australia and marvelling at all the cool stuff in development. But whilst wearing no pants and sitting in front of your computer.
New Game + Expo
What is It: A digital showcase (natch) but one that will feature and highlight several studios from Japan. From SEGA to Atlas to SNK and Natsume, the event is set to feature looks and reveals for dozens of upcoming games covering “every genre from action to puzzle-solving and even storytelling”.
When is It: June 23
What to Expect: With SNK’s inclusion we’d be willing to wager that there’ll be at least one fighting game in the bunch, wedged between the JRPGs and anime-inspired action games that may or may not feature mechs. Okay, sure, there’ll be more than a few mechs. With Grasshopper Manufacture taking part in the event, here’s hoping we get a look at the previously announced and currently in development No More Heroes 3 for the Nintendo Switch.
What is It: Unlike E3, Gamescom hasn’t been cancelled this year. But, as the world’s biggest community and industry event Gamescom is going all digital. The good news is that Gamescom: Opening Night Live with Geoff Keighley is back (and will also double as the Summer Game Fest closer), kicking off three packed days of digital gaming goodness via the newly updated Gamescom Hub.
When is It: August 27 - 30
What to Expect: Gamescom has always taken place after E3, which means a lot of the big stuff from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will have been seen a month or so before. That said, at the very least there’ll be new PS5 and Xbox Series X stuff on show. And with NVIDIA using Gamescom to debut its ground-breaking GeForce RTX line a couple of years ago, there’s a chance the next-generation of PC graphics will be a highlight of this year’s digital Gamescom.
Nintendo E3 Direct and Sony’s Big PlayStation 5 Blow-Out
What is It: Nintendo and Sony’s E3-style mid-year presentations whereby each company showcases its line-up for the next year. Last year Sony skipped E3 all together, but even if it wasn’t going to officially be a part for E3 2020 a Sony-style media presentation has to happen. With PlayStation 5 out this year and the company so far being relatively silent on its next-gen plans, something big is surely on the cards. Huge. And Nintendo’s late 2020 schedule is just about empty in the game department.
When is It: TBC
What to Expect: Laws of expectations and common sense say that Sony will conduct a PlayStation 5 reveal digitally that will showcase both the hardware and some select games for the platform. With The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima looking amazing and set to hit the PlayStation 4 soon we wouldn’t be surprised to see this event sometime in July (or sooner). Where the company will spend at least 10 minutes opening with unedited and gorgeous real-time gameplay from Horizon Zero Dawn 2 before showcasing the console proper. As for Nintendo, well, it’s Mario’s anniversary and apparently the Switch is getting every Mario game ever remastered in HD in 2020. From the GameCube’s Super Mario Sunshine to the Wii’s Super Mario Galaxy. Very cool. Also in lieu of Metroid Prime 4 gameplay, we’ll take some Metroid Prime Trilogy in HD too.