I found it somewhat refreshing that Geoff Keighley announced prior to his Summer Game Fest presentation that images would mainly be shown of already announced games. It may have been a bit of a downer, but at least it prevented high expectations. Because if there’s one thing that causes disappointment, it’s that.
Lees here all the news from Summer Game Fest
How come I was so disappointed? Maybe it’s me. Maybe I don’t like games as much as I used to. Am I still interested in it at all? These are the kind of questions you’ll be asking yourself when almost every announcement leaves a sour aftertaste.
I think it’s because of Geoff Keighley after all. He was a good expectations manager beforehand, but at the start of the show he showed himself again as a ‘gaming enthusiast’. He loved that his show, which was physically held in Los Angeles, was not platform specific. Summer Game Fest is not an Xbox Showcase, not a Nintendo Direct and not a State of Play: it is something of everything and according to Keighley there is also something for everyone.
Somehow he was right. I’m looking forward to that beat ‘m up game with the Turtles and the Delicious Last Courseexpansion for Cuphead is the perfect time to finally pick up that game. As a Dead Space fan late The Callisto Protocol I wasn’t completely unmoved either, but I still didn’t really feel like it. What I especially remember is how little I really remember. In space, apparently, no one can hear that many more developers are working on a survival game in space, so that we will suddenly have three or four such games in the coming time. The Callisto Protocol, the Dead Space remake, Routinein Fort Solis† It feels like all my enthusiasm for this genre has been sucked right back through a hole in the airlock.
You can show so many sides of the game industry in a show of almost two hours, but I still saw a lot of guns again, the low point being the way too long gameplay demo of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2† I understand that the development of this cannot be canceled suddenly and that that is what that game series is called, but could this presentation really not have been possible without this? The fleeting shout-out to the developers of Replaced, which has been delayed because of the war in Ukraine, felt very hollow after almost fifteen minutes of extensive thought had been given to yet another war-glorifying first-person shooter.
The creator of The Callisto Protocol, Glen Schofield, emphasized on stage how important Geoff Keighley is to him and other developers, because he always puts their hard work in the spotlight. I completely agree with that, but I now long for a lighting technician with a fresh perspective. Someone who dares to look beyond the umpteenth dark shooter, whether it’s isometric, first-person, third-person or maybe secretly not an action game at all (like Stormgate).
Even Marvel’s Midnight Suns, a tactical RPG from Xcom maker Firaxis with map elements, was revealed through a gritty trailer, musically accompanied by Metallica. It was rarely a relief to suddenly be confronted with climate change in Highwater, until the guns also floated to the surface in that trailer.
I charge of course. I like to do that to make my point extra clear. Of course there was plenty else to see. You could say a lot about the anime block, but it wasn’t dark. And that character creator from Saints Row looked good just like Street Fighter 6 en Neon White.
It was only indicative that the most interesting games didn’t come until Keighley and everyone there in LA had left the room. After Summer Game Fast, Day of the Devs could still be seen online, organized by iam8bit and Double Fine. In the space of an hour I was reminded of gesture, that Dutch game where you jump from shadow to shadow. I found out A Little To The Left, a game in which you literally put things right. And I fell in love instantly Animal Wella beautiful, pixelated metroidvania.
But I especially saw a lot of touching people who deserve the attention much more and need it much more than the makers of the new Call of Duty. Turn it around once. Give the main stage to a Ghost, an A Little To The Left or Bear & Breakfast† Let the developers have their say. Only then you really show the universal appeal that gaming has. You don’t do that with the dark sludge from the umpteenth Call of Duty. No spotlight can compete with that.