Gamescom 2012 is days away, and I have a plane ticket and media pass with my name on it. Last year it was Geoff “GeometriX” Burrows and I who stormed the German halls of Gamescom, but this year I’m heading off on my own to cover as much gaming goodness as possible. I’m packing my running shoes: what with the Koelnmesse being the size that it is, and me being on my ace, I’m anticipating a serious amount of sprinting between appointments.

While E3 arguably gets all of the game reveals, Gamescom is never lacking when it comes to new information, hands-on opportunities and interviews with top developments teams. This year there are a number of titles that I’m particularly looking forward to seeing. We’ve already secured appointments to see most of these, but there are always a few surprises to be found in the numerous halls that make up Gamescom. What follows is a list of the games and hardware that’s getting me most excited for next week’s trip. It’s going to be one hell of a week of exclusive content so be sure to watch NAG Online, Facebook and Twitter.

Naturally, NAG wouldn’t be attending any of these expos if it weren’t for some very generous sponsors. This year I’m making my way to Gamescom thanks to EA South Africa and Musica.

Assassin’s Creed III & Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation 

Ubisoft’s flagship IP is set to return to the forefront of their line-up later this year. In March, I attended the press event for the debut of Assassin’s Creed III, and since then the NAG E3 team managed to go hands-on with the multiplayer portion of the game. I’m hoping for some single-player hands-on at some point during Gamescom. Furthermore, the PlayStation Vita exclusive, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, was unveiled days before E3 started. There have been one or two trailers for the game up until this point, so hopefully Ubisoft will have some further information to share on this Sony exclusive.

 

Beyond: Two Souls

Revealed just a few months ago at E3 in Los Angeles, there’s still a lot to find out about Quantic Dreams’ next AAA title, Beyond: Two Souls. The developer’s most recent entry into interactive storytelling, Heavy Rain, received mixed reviews but I found myself profoundly affected by the whole experience. I loved Heavy Rain, so I’m very interested to see how the dev team expands on their repertoire. The fact that Ellen Page plays the part of protagonist Jodie Holmes is the icing on an already mouth-wateringly enticing cake.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

I’ve already admitted that I normally don’t get excited for Call of Duty games, but Black Ops II has my attention thanks to its near future setting and liberal use of hi-tech gadgetry. Miktar attended the game’s official debut some time before E3 began, and then the June gaming show brought with it a ton of new information. What Activision and Treyarch has in store for Gamescom is up for debate. Zombies? Oh please, let it be Zombies.

 

Command & Conquer: Generals 2

It’s not clear whether this will be making an appearance at Gamescom, but I’m hoping to find it nestled away in the Electronic Arts business lounge. Very little has been shown on this game and it was entirely absent from this year’s E3. Electronic Arts hasn’t unveiled their complete line-up for Gamescom, and they are holding a press conference the day before Gamescom opens; it’s possible that Generals 2 might be given some promo time during that event. I’m hoping for some snippets of information on this real time strategy title especially considering it’ll be using the Frostbite 2 engine. Aside from Need for Speed: The Run, Frostbite 2 has been used exclusively for first-person shooters, so it’ll be interesting to see how it powers an RTS.

 

Dishonored

Arkane Studios’ Dishonored is shaping up to be something very special. This first-person stealth game has an undeniable air of intrigue about it that has me itching to give the title a whirl. NAG has been able to secure hands-on time with Dishonored, so look out for a preview brimming with firsthand feedback.

 

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Many thought EA’s 2010 reboot of Medal of Honor was a lacklustre affair, but I thoroughly enjoyed the single-player campaign. It had excellent sound, an interesting storyline and some vehicle sequences that left me thoroughly impressed. Also beards! Its sequel, Warfighter, looks to continue the rather gritty take on the military first-person shooter genre, only this time it’s happening on DICE’s Frostbite 2 engine – the same beast that powers Battlefield 3. I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

 

Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Electronic Arts has put developer Criterion in charge of developing Need for Speed titles every second year. Their 2010 release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was a brilliant entry into a series that was in desperate need of a shake-up. Criterion delivered, and the debut of the Autolog online suite was something that changed social multiplayer for the better. Now Criterion is bringing us Need for Speed: Most Wanted – a heady mix of 2010’s Hot Pursuit and the developer’s excellent open-world Burnout ParadiseNeed for Speed: Most Wanted looks set to repeat the success that was Hot Pursuit, and these grubby mitts of mine are itching to get some hands-on time with the latest from one of my favourite racing series.

 

Oculus Rift

It’s uncertain as to whether or not this newly announced piece of hardware will be making an appearance. Their official Kickstarter page claims that they will be at Gamescom demoing the latest prototype, but then elsewhere on the page they fail to mention Gamescom in a list of upcoming events they’re planning to attend. In the past, they’ve demoed the unit alongside id’s Doom 3: BFG Edition, which we know will be at the show. I’m holding thumbs that the Rift will be there with Carmack’s latest version of the series that launched a thousand FPSes.

 

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

At last year’s Gamescom, I got to interview Jonny Ebbert, who is the senior designer for StarCraft II. The focus of that interview was Heart of the Swarm, which was available to play on the show floor and which Blizzard spent a lot of time promoting. Since then, updates on Heart of the Swarm have been pretty slim, so it’s going to be interesting to see how things have developed over the last year. I’m hoping for a concrete release date or at least an indication of when to expect a beta.

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