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Here's everything that happened at Summer Game Fest 2022

Without E3, the hopes for Summer Game Fest were high. We tell you about everything that went down during the show.

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Although some argue that E3 has lost relevance compared to previous years, there is no doubt that it is the period that generates by far the most announcements and gaming news. However, just like last year, E3 is cancelled and instead we have to make do with various press conference-like events, of which Microsoft's is the biggest, as well as Summer Game Fest being up there.

The latter is the closest thing we have to an E3 replacement and is organised by Geoff Keighley, who also hosted the event. He has an uncanny ability to get developers to buy into his concept and show what they've got going on, and when he announced in advance that as many as 30 developers and publishers would be attending, more people than just me were probably hyped up. That's why it was a bit worrying when he made a clear statement earlier this week that we should keep our hopes in check, and that it would mostly be about already announced titles, rather than brand new ones.

Here's everything that happened at Summer Game Fest 2022
Geoff Keighley is both the organiser and host of the Summer Game Fest - and much more.

Although I was going to save my collective judgement for the end, I can already state here and now that I understand what he meant. Because from an announcement and news perspective, it wasn't really that exciting. As the clock struck 8pm and Summer Game Fest got underway, we were greeted by a smiling Geoff Keighley who explained that he was broadcasting live from Los Angeles, and that the show was available to watch both from home and at selected IMAX cinemas.

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And the game that had the honour of opening the show was Street Fighter 6. As we all know, it was announced recently, but now we got the chance to see some gameplay and we also found out that Guile is back. His Top Gun-inspired style has been freshened up and actually brought to mind Street Fighter II, something that is also helped further by the fact that the fighters have been given a slightly more robust look that makes us think of the 3D incarnations of the classic pixels. However, I'm not entirely sold on his scraggly moustache, and still find the graphics a little plastic.

The next game to be showcased was Aliens: Dark Descent, which we got to see for the first time. A game whose trailer made it difficult to judge genre, but which I suspect is closely related to XCOM. Of course, I never say no to more Xenomorphs, and even though a CG trailer doesn't really say a thing about the game itself, the presentation felt promising, which leads me to believe that the developers understand the franchise after all.

Here's everything that happened at Summer Game Fest 2022
Aliens: Dark Descent was announced during the stream.

The Callisto Protocol was up next, where we now got to peek at both a trailer and check out gameplay. If you thought the game looked rough earlier, it's clear that there was an improvement compared to what's to come. It's every bit the spiritual sequel to Dead Space, but so much more, and there's a lot to be said for it becoming a modern classic. The end of the gameplay preview still gives me the creeps...

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Then it was time for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. While we all know that there's a Call of Duty every year (which is petty ironic that I write, considering there's none coming next year), I still find it exciting to follow them. Clearly, this seems to be just plain Modern Warfare with plenty of military action, crackling radio communications, icy one-liners and improbable scenarios. Modern Warfare II looks to have everything I love about the series such as top-notch action, but also a lot of the things I'm not as sold on, such as overly scripted scenes. We also got to hear a bit more about the upcoming Warzone 2.0, but it was short on details.

Geoff Keighley explained that his next announcement was something we'd had to wait 30 years for, so it seemed fitting that the Microprose logo appeared on the screen. Because there's another Flashback coming up. Although you can now move in depth, there's no doubt that it's an adventure in the same spirit as 30 years ago. Flashback 2 was followed by Witchfire, which spontaneously brought to mind Vermintide 2 and seems to offer magic and medieval action as well as fierce battles.

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One of the event's most interesting announcements was next, as a trailer for a game called Fort Solis rolled out. It appears to be a third-person sci-fi horror game (horror and space were common themes at Summer Game Fest this year) and lets us explore mines on Mars. Voice actor Troy Baker was also confirmed to appear in the adventure, which I'm looking forward to seeing more of. Routine was next in the queue, an adventure that has been in development for ten years, and which also seems to offer sci-fi and horror. Mick Gordon (Killer Instinct, Doom) was confirmed as the composer, which sounds promising, but unfortunately we didn't hear any evidence of this during the trailer.

After a sponsored post where Dwayne Johnson appeared to promote his own energy drinks and upcoming Black Adam, where we got to see parts of the trailer released this week, the show returned to the world of gaming with a brief look at the Outriders expansion Worldslayer. Outriders is always fun and Worldslayer looks to offer more of just that, but it was hard to form a good opinion of the uncommented and somewhat bouncy content on display. A video featuring Fall Guys then took over, reminding us that it will be free-to-play to all formats on June 21.

For the second time in the evening (Aliens: Dark Descent was the first), a trailer was then shown where I couldn't for the life of me understand what I was watching, as some sort of explorer was attacked by a monster but backed up by a mech. Fighting? Action? Role playing? Reality strategy, it would turn out to be a game called Stormgate. It got a pretty good run-through, but I had a hard time shaking off the astonishingly bland trailer, and what I remember most is how the former Blizzard veterans promised that there will be no loot boxes or NFT in the game.

Here's everything that happened at Summer Game Fest 2022
Dwayne Johnson appeared in a feature and promoted energy drinks, the movie Black Adam and his biceps.

Here we were about halfway through the show when I started to feel that, unfortunately, this year wasn't very good. The games being shown weren't big enough or the news not hot enough to carry a show for two hours. But of course the last hour was able to deliver and opened with the pleasant Highwater. A game about environmental degradation in which you have to go on adventures in a yellow rubber boat in very peculiar and water-soaked environments.

We were also reminded of Russia's senseless war on Ukraine, as Geoff Keighley told us that the Ukrainian Replaced would have been shown at the event. But as war is raging, that bit unfortunately had to be cancelled. Insignificant compared to all the indiscriminate killing of civilians and destruction of people's lives, but just as much a reminder that it's something that has consequences beyond borders too.

American Arcadia is a game I've been keeping an eye on myself. It's a sort of Truman Show-inspired story where people live well, but are chronically watched around the clock and well-liked people get advantages and less popular people can disappear. A new trailer showed off the game whose set-up makes me want to play, even if the trailer itself was pretty bland. Then it was time for Goat Simulator 3 in an announcement video that parodied the Dead Island 2 announcement trailer, complete with Swedish accent. But then, it is a Swedish developer.

Here's everything that happened at Summer Game Fest 2022
Firaxis makes Marvel games that have a lot of potential.

I'm not a Marvel fan and generally prefer the more unpolished DC characters. Marvel's Midnight Suns, however, is one I've been keeping an eye on. It's an XCOM-inspired adventure developed by Firaxis, who made XCOM. Although the pre-rendered trailer said very little about the game, it's clear that it's going to be little gift for Marvel fans, no question about it. We were also treated to a sneak peek at the Cuphead expansion The Delicious Last Course, out on June 30, which once again clearly illustrated that it's still a game that's a serious contender for best-designed game of all time.

Neon White was next, an Annapurna game that looks distinctly unique with a layout unlike any other. I recommend you check out the trailer for yourself - or even play it, since it premieres on June 16. The one-man project Midnight Fight Express was on display, developed by a Pole who clearly loves top-down shooters. I think it looks decently fun with a slightly Sin City-scented setting, but that remains to be seen. It was refreshing in any case with the gameplay. Warframe expansion The Duviri Paradox got a decent amount of time, but for anyone who hasn't played Warframe (me!), most of it feels pretty incomprehensible. Anyway, more information is promised on June 16.

Hoyoverse then offered two titles, both of which felt like standard template manga games. The first was the role-playing game Honkai Starrail, which revolves around a sci-fi theme and colourful hairstyles. The more action-oriented Zenless Zone Zero, on the other hand, we didn't get to see as much of, but even here manga hairstyles are a big deal, apparently.

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Here, both I and my colleagues felt that Summer Game Fest felt more than a little drab, so it was lucky that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge was the next game to make an appearance. After heavy leaks over the past few days, we did know that it would launch on June 16, but getting it confirmed is obviously a positive. We also got to check out Casey Jones and learn that you can play with up to six people at once, both locally and online. This pixel-based brawler really does look incomparably good.

After a quick announcement of the Super People beta on August 17, it was time to check out Humankind which is being expanded with more content as well as coming to console and also Game Pass. We love Humankind and are looking forward to more of everything we got to see, including the new content, which seems to be focused on Latin America and interesting Native American cultures.

One Piece Odyssey took over and really made it clear that this is a Japanese game based on an equally Japanese prequel. That's something I really love, and the fact that Bandai Namco is choosing to make something more role-playing rather than another fighting game is something I would encourage in the strongest possible terms. Anyway, the insane trailer piqued my curiosity and hopefully this will be a treat.

Here's everything that happened at Summer Game Fest 2022
One Piece Odyssey feels promising for the fans and provides good opportunities to immerse yourself in the world of Eiichiro Oda.

After receiving trailers for Game Pass, Samsung's new Xbox service, Mario Strikers: Battle League and Capcom Arcade Stadium 2 in turbo-speed, we got to check out by far the most hardcore title of the evening. Just hear the name, Metal: Hellsinger, and you'll know what we mean. It's simply an action game with rhythm elements, but instead of something disco-pop-ish, it's all about hard rock. Think Doom, but with rhythm, sort of. A launch trailer of The Quarry came right after that presentation, which felt moderately hot though considering it was released just two hours after the show ended.

Nightingale was announced at The Game Awards six months ago, and now it was finally time to see more from it. It seems to offer fairly unique crafting and survival elements, as well as strange enemies. Then again, BioWare veterans are behind the project. It has potential in spades, I just hope they pull it all together in a good way so it's an entertaining game in the end. Right now, it looks mostly strange to me.

This was followed by Saints Row, where it was confirmed that Volition has now released a demo that allows you to create your own character. We've told you about this before, and it's incredibly well made and allows you to really make the character you want to play as. The demo is appropriately called Boss Factory, and I'm looking forward to playing around with it for a while. There was also gameplay from Fatshark's upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, which promised a lot. If you liked the hyper-violent and meaty Vermintide 2, you'll have just as much fun with this, although I hope there are some outdoor tracks so it's not all pitch black.

Here's everything that happened at Summer Game Fest 2022
The Last of Us multiplayer game will have story embedded and a huge game world.

Poland's Bloober Team loaded up after that with Layers of Fears, which is the third game in the series. We knew beforehand that it would be announced after teasers from the developers on Twitter, but something being official is always a plus. Gotham Knights was also a game I was waiting for, as it was confirmed in advance that it would be shown during Summer Game Fest. Nightwing was the focus here and it actually looks well made, although I feel I've now seen enough from it and want to get playing myself after years of delays.

Naughty Dog had the honour of rounding off the show, with Neil Druckmann on stage. He had three The Last of Us projects to talk about, namely the upcoming TV series, the multiplayer game and the remake of the first one. While concrete information about the first two was scarce, Druckmann made it clear that he believes in them. The Last of Us: Part I, however, had been leaked in advance of the show, but at least we got to see a trailer and learn that it was being built from the ground up for PlayStation 5 and would be released on September 2.

Overall, I feel this year's Summer Game Fest was weaker than 2021, and Geoff Keighley certainly didn't have enough material for two hours. Either he should have picked off some narrower projects and trimmed the program length, or given the bigger ones more time. The biggest problem, though, was that there wasn't really a natural talking point. The Last of Us: Part I could possibly have been, but it was too well known beforehand and didn't look as promising as I'd hoped. Next year Keighley is running it again though, and I hope it's hotter then than it was in 2022, because this year I could feel the boredom creeping up on me on several occasions.

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