By my count, there were over 40 announcements / updates that came out of “Opening Night Live 2021”. The 3rd annual outward facing video-game showcase partnership between Gamescom and Geoff Keighley himself is supposed to be for those of us who can’t make it to the world’s largest video-game convention hosted annually in Cologne, Germany. Of course, due to the lingering global pandemic, that list includes EVERYONE as this year’s event was ‘All Digital’ just like last year’s event.
For those of you who couldn’t watch, or maybe for those of you who just want to hear my thoughts on the event: These are 7 Big Things to come from Gamescom O.N.L. 2021.
1 – Let’s start with the biggest piece of news. News so big, it couldn’t even fit on Xbox’s own Gamescom event the day before. 343 Studios and its Head of Creative, Joseph Staten, were proud to announce that the Campaign and Multiplayer of Halo Infinite will be released together on December 8th, 2021. Fans were also treated to a multiplayer CG trailer showing off Commander Agryna, a character that will be important in Season 1 of Halo’s free-to-play multiplayer and beyond. Before leaving, Staten was also pleased to announce 2 new pieces of hardware: a new Halo Infinite themed Xbox Elite controller Series 2, and a Halo 20th Anniversary Xbox Series X console.
2 – Technically, the main show started with a good look at Volition’s reboot of Saint’s Row, coming February 25, 2022. BUT if you want to learn more about that game, you can look it up somewhere else because where the main show really started for me was with its second announcement: Marvel’s Midnight Suns from Firaxis. A tactical RPG, seemingly set in the tone and style of Firaxis’ previous game series XCOM, Midnight Suns takes a crack at telling a darker and more mystical Marvel story with a new original customizable character created in a collaborative effort between Firaxis and Marvel themselves. Encouraging to see was the cast of characters shown in the trailer. A mix of Avengers, X-men, and other Marvel notable heroes were shown helping our hero to thwart their evil threat – Lilith: Mother of Demons (also sometimes known as Lilith: The First Vampire). Wolverine, Blade, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and others were shown but hopefully many more will make an appearance when this game launches in March 2022.
3 – As someone who can enjoy light-hearted and whimsical games, I was pleasantly surprised with the reveal of DokeV, an open world action-adventure creature collecting game from a South Korean studio by the name of Pearl Abyss. The incredibly bright and colorful trailer featured some mandatory K-Pop style music and showcased a vibrant city with some very fluidly animated characters. You seem to play as a child who can run, rollerskate, skateboard, drive, or even fly (via a Mary Poppins style umbrella) throughout the town. Encounters with large scale enemies seems to trigger your team of creatures to appear and fight alongside you in Action-RPG style combat. While not much was shown of the moment-to-moment gameplay, the trailer seemed focused on selling you the vibe of DokeV’s world and it got me interested in seeing more in the future. We’re all going to have to wait patiently however, as the release date is set at “2023 or beyond”.
4 – Several Sony announcements! Geoff Keighley gifted us with some Sony news at this show that we may not have been expecting. Biggest of them all was the video from game director Mathijs de Jonge of Guerilla Games, announcing the release date of their upcoming game Horizon: Forbidden West. We can expect the game on February 18, 2022, just a few days shy of the 5-year anniversary of their previous game, Horizon Zero Dawn. Also, sprinkled throughout the show however were some other Sony inspired tidbits. We learned that the protagonist from Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy, will be joining the cast of Genshin Impact. We got a new trailer and official release date for Jett: The Far Shore, which is set to launch on October 5, 2021. Lastly, we learned that kung-fu action game, SIFU, will launch a few days after Horizon’s sequel on February 22, 2022. It’s looking to be a busy 1st quarter of the year for PlayStation fans.
5 – To close out the show, Geoff Keighley presented the audience with an extended look at Death Stranding: Director’s Cut. He put so much emphasis on this announcement that I felt I had to separate it from the other Sony announcements. The 7-minute video that was shown, detailed some of the new content and features, as well as quality of life improvements made to the original game that came out in 2019. New action focused delivery missions along with new delivery tools, new improvements to combat as well as ways to keep track of high scores between friends in the firing range, and even the addition of several race tracks might be reason enough to revisit the craziness that only Kojima can bring on September 24, 2021 when this director’s cut version of the game releases on PlayStation and PC.
6 – This next game I wanted to highlight was already announced as coming in 2022. However, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge from developer Tribute Games and publisher DotEmu brought a new trailer to the show to announce a new playable character: April O’Neil. I am very much looking forward to this game as it pulls on some very prominent nostalgia strings in my heart. It looks to be the perfect blend of the 90’s pixel aesthetic, the classic action-brawler fun, and modern online and couch co-op multiplayer features players expect today. I expect this game to deliver in the same way that Streets of Rage 4 delivered last year, and just like Streets of Rage 4, I’m hoping that April O’Neil is just one of several other playable characters that get announced for this upcoming “Beat ‘em Up”! I look forward to learning more as we near its 2022 release date.
7 – The last ‘Big Thing’ that I wanted to highlight is something that I think most people have overlooked: the O.N.L. 2021 Pre-Show. While you can search online and hear about the big news that was dropped during Opening Night Live’s proper show, the pre-show (hosted by Kyle Bosman of “Delayed Input” on YouTube, formerly of Game Trailers and Easy Allies) provided some World Premieres of its own and several of the games caught my attention. While most pre-shows are just countdown clocks or hype-reels of previously known content, this Pre-Show was worth the extra 22 minutes or so you had to invest to see. While not everything was a winner, the humor provided, and the extra tidbits of information given was well worth my time. I was mostly happy to hear about: 3v3 fighting game – The King of Fighters XV (or just KoF:XV, by SNK), quirky action-RPG – Nobody Saves the World (by Drinkbox Studios), and action/rhythm game – Soundfall (by Drastic Games).
As I always try to do, I’ve listed the entire rundown of the Pre-Show and the Proper show down below for anyone looking to get every last bit of news from the event. Let me know in the comments what most stood out to you, or maybe, what you are most disappointed by it not being at Gamescom 2021.
Opening Night Live 2021: PRE-SHOW
The King of Fighters XV (releasing 02/17/22)
9-5 Nine to Five (Steam early access)
Bus Simulator ’21 (special ONL Trailer)
Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes (releasing 10/22/21)
Dolmen (releasing in 2022)
Nobody Saves the World (releasing early 2022)
— interview with Geoff Keighley —
Soundfall (releasing in 2022)
Dream Cycle (Steam early access 09/07/21)
Opening Night Live 2021
Saint’s Row “reboot” (releasing 02/25/22)
Marvel’s Midnight Suns (releasing March 2022)
Call of Duty: Vanguard (gameplay trailer & Interview with Laura Bailey – releasing 11/05/21)
Halo Infinite (releasing 12/08/21)
- Halo Infinite Elite Controller Series 2
- Halo 20th Anniversary Xbox Series X
Cult of the Lamb (TBD)
Midnight Fight Express (releasing Summer 2022)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (play as April O’Neil – releasing 2022)
Demon Slayer – The Hinokami Chronicles (releasing 10/15/21)
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania (play as Morgana from Persona 5 – releasing 10/05/21)
Splitgate: Season 0 (Beta starts RIGHT NOW)
Rider’s Republic (Beta now through 08/28/21 – releasing 10/28/21)
Century: Age of Ashes (releasing 11/18/21)
UFL: Free-to-play Soccer (coming soon)
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (releasing Spring 2022)
Synched: Off-Planet (releasing 2022)
The Outlast Trials (releasing 2022)
DokeV (releasing 2023 or beyond)
Jurassic World: Evolution 2 (releasing 11/09/21)
Far Cry 6 (Releasing 10/06/21)
Vampire the Masquerade: Blood Hunt (Early Access begins 09/07/21)
Park Beyond (releasing 2022)
Jett: The Far Shore (releasing 10/05/21)
Horizon: Forbidden West (releasing 02/18/22)
New World (Open beta starting 09/08/21 – releasing 09/28/21)
Marvel Future Revolution (download on mobile today)
— Tales of Arise musical performance by Lindsey Sterling —
Tales of Luminaria (coming soon for mobile)
Deadmous5 is on Core
Fall Guys: Disney’s King Louie event (releasing from 09/03/21 – 09/12/21)
Age of Empires IV (releasing 10/28/21)
Valheim: Hearth & Home Expansion (releasing 09/16/21)
Crossfire X (coming soon)
Aloy arrives at Genshin Impact
SIFU (releasing 02/22/22)
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut (releasing 09/24/21)