Gamescom 2019 begun with a special edition of Inside Xbox, where it was announced that seven titles will join the Game Pass library this month, three of which are available now.
The Bard's Tale Trilogy recently hit Game Pass and on 27 August you can continue the series, as The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut will be available for Xbox and PC.
And finally, 30 August will see the launch of Bloober Team's Blair Witch, a psychological horror title that "studies your reactions to danger and stress."
Let us know what you'll be playing this month in the comments below or over in the forums.
The Gamescom festivities kick off next week and we're expecting to see lots of new trailers, gameplay and announcements along with the usual post-E3 updates over the course of the event. There are three livestreams in total, all taking place one after the other on Monday, 19 August. All times stated are in GMT.
Microsoft have teased "big news and reveals" on some of the biggest titles coming our way, such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Wasteland 3, Empire of Sin, Greedfall, The Surge 2, Vigor, Metro Exodus and Blair Witch, as well as some info about what's coming to Xbox Game Pass and November's X019 showcase.
You can catch Inside Xbox at 5pm, via Mixer, Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
For those who don't want Google Stadia to crash and burn, Stadia Connect is said to be "all about the games" showing even more brand new trailers and going behind-the-scenes with some of their partners.
Google are keeping their cards close to their chest but the platform is already sporting a healthy lineup of launch titles, including Destiny 2, Metro Exodus, Mortal Kombat 11 and Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
You can watch Stadia Connect at 6pm on YouTube.
Opening Night Live
The last of the big streams, and possibly the most anticipated, is Opening Night Live, hosted by The Game Awards' Geoff Keighley.
A number of big names are slated for the stream and we'll also hear from some independent studios. The confirmed list of appearances so far includes Death Stranding director, Hideo Kojima, and:
You can tune in to Mixer, Twitch or YouTube at 7pm to see them in action.
THQ Nordic have a packed week ahead of them, with livestreams starting at 10am Tuesday through Saturday. Those in attendance will get the chance to go hands-on with a handful of games, whilst the rest of us will have to make do with watching. We can look forward to seeing a previously unannounced title and more from the following:
Check out this image for the full rundown and watch it live on Twitch, YouTube or Facebook.
Head to the forums or comment below to let us know if you'll be watching any of the livestreams and check out what we think will be the highlights of Gamescom 2019.
Codemasters’ (F1 2019, DiRT Rally 2.0) GRID reboot will be playable for the first time at Gamescom, which takes place in Cologne, Germany next week.
“We are so excited to bring our vision for dynamic motorsport racing to the Gamescom community,” said GRID Game Director Chris Smith. “I truly look forward to seeing all the players having fun with GRID and creating their own racing stories, I hope to see you there.”
GRID features a variety of cars and race types – including, point to point, circuit and street racing – all set across four continents. Havana was the latest Street Circuit to be announced for the game, which you can see in action in the video below.
GRID is out 11 October on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. A Google Stadia version will be available some time in November.
Are you going to Gamescom? Looking forward to trying GRID? Let us know below or in the forums.
Traxmaster Software’s neon-drenched, level-shifting 2.5D platformer, Exception, is now available on PC and consoles.
All the action is set to a futuresynth soundtrack created by some of the genre’s top artists, including Waveshaper and Kalax.
“After five years in development I am stoked to finally release Exception for everyone to enjoy,” said Will Traxler, Founder of Traxmaster Software.
“The shifting environment in Exception offers players a new way to experience action platforming while the whole game aesthetic harkens back to arcade nostalgia.”
Exception is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC with an RRP of $14.99/€12.49/£10.99
Let us know what you think of the game below or over in the forums.
Studio Fizbin, an independent team from Germany, are partnering with publisher Mixtvision to bring Minute of Islands to the masses.
Mo will discover the truth about herself, the islands and the Giants living below the surface, as she journeys across the "haunted islands of her homeworld and into the depths of her subconscious," in an "emotional, poetic story of self-exploration."
The colourful world is brought to life through a hand-drawn, comic book art style and deeply atmospheric soundtrack, with curious characters, intricate details and tiny discoveries littered across multiple unique islands.
Minute of Islands is due to release early 2020 on Xbox One, PS4, Switch and PC.
Like the sound of Minute of Islands? Let us know below or over in the forums.
Bad Yolk Games, a new studio founded by former Wolfenstein and DOOM developers, have announced their first game, titled Main Assembly.
It looks like the game will feature two modes; a single player challenge mode and a sandbox mode in which players can team up together and create their own fun.
“Main Assembly is our first project, and we want to hit the ground running by wowing players with a wide variety of options in terms of construction and creativity while also providing sophisticated challenges that will put their creations to the test,” said Mike Paixao of Bad Yolk.
“What we have now is already pretty amazing from a physics perspective and also a lot of fun to play with friends. We intend to polish and hone these features and are very much looking forward to player feedback to help us make the best game possible.”
Main Assembly enters Steam Early Access sometime later this year, with a full launch planned for late 2020.
Are you tempted to get building? Let us know below or over in the forums.
Two former MachineGames developers have formed a new studio, with a new IP already said to be in production.
Located in Uppsala, Sweden, Bad Yolk was founded by Michael Paixao and Joel Jonsson, who previously collaborated on DOOM and Wolfenstein titles The New Order, The Old Blood and The New Colossus.
“After years of working with some extremely talented people on some really great projects we felt it was time to branch out on our own to create a new kind of studio,” said Michael Paixao from Bad Yolk.
“Obviously high quality video games should be fun to play, but we also believe that they should be fun to make and that creativity thrives best in a healthy and balanced work environment, which is a central pillar of our corporate message and structure.”
While there’s little information on Bad Yolk’s debut IP, judging from the few screenshots shared on the studios' twitter account it looks like the game will feature a minimalist aesthetic and possibly a small robot.
Let us know your thoughts and speculations below or over in the forums.
Two Point Studios and SEGA have announced that the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital is coming to Xbox One, PS4 and Switch later this year.
You'll also have access to two expansions, Bigfoot and Pebberly Island, offering new challenges while raising the total number of available hospitals to 21 and (hopefully) curable illnesses to 119.
"Bringing Two Point Hospital to console is something we always envisioned when starting up Two Point Studios in 2016," said Mark Webley, Game Director at Two Point Studios.
"Our community’s number one question since launch has been: ‘when is Two Point Hospital coming to consoles?’ Well, it is happening and we are very excited."
For more from the folks at Two Point Studios, check out our interview with Creative Director and co-founder, Gary Carr and keep an eye on the official site for a series of blogs throughout the week.
Have you been eagerly awaiting news of a console release? Let us know below or over in the forums.
If you enjoyed Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden as much as we did, you'll be happy to know that the upcoming expansion, Seed of Evil, is launching at the end of July.
Khan is a veteran Stalker who has been exploring the Zone in self-imposed exile. His strength allows him to land devastating critical hits and his unique mutations, Ground Pound and Flame Puke, are effective at dealing with groups.
Seed of Evil adds a new chapter to the story, picking up right where the original ended, with more locations to scavenge, enemies to battle, gear to equip, a vicious new threat, and a way to upgrade your mutations. It's recommended that you finish the main story before starting, due to spoilers and the level range of the content.
The expansion will launch 30 July on Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch. The Deluxe Edition, including the base game and Seed of Evil, will be available on all platforms in both digital and physical form on the same date.
Aye you looking forward to seeing what Big Khan can do? Let us know below or over in the forums.
The first of two planned tests takes place this weekend for anyone who has pre-ordered Gears of War 5, or those with an active Game Pass subscription.
The Coalition have shared some details about the game modes and newly added features in an FAQ:
Arcade: A new approachable, frenetic Versus experience.
Escalation: The pinnacle objective mode of Gears is back and better than ever.
King of the Hill: Capture the hill, enjoy the carnage.
Bootcamp: Practice your skills and learn new mechanics in our new training mode.
Tour Of Duty: Experience a mini Tour of Duty, where you’ll complete Medals to unlock exclusive Tester Weapon Skins to take into Gears 5. Complete Challenges and earn enough stars to unlock the exclusive Tester Banner to showcase in Gears 5.
The Technical Test can be found in the Game Pass Library right now. Head on over to the Microsoft Store to download if you've pre-ordered digitally, or to enter a code if you've pre-ordered a physical copy through a participating retailer. You'll need around 10GB of space on your hard drive.
PC players may want to take a look at the FAQ for the recommended specs.
It all kicks off at 6pm BST on Friday and runs until 6pm BST on Monday. The second test will run at those same times the following week.
Gears of War 5 launches 10 September on Xbox One and PC. You can play four days early with the Ultimate Edition or a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate.
Fancy having a go at the Technical Test? Let us know below or over in the forums.