With E3 2022 canceled, there’s a vacuum at the center of the video game marketing season. Many eyes are on Summer Game Fest for being both the lengthiest and the widest-ranging presser on the horizon. But the host, Geoff Keighley, recently saw fit to temper expectations ahead of the show, saying that it won’t be flush with the “world premieres” for which his events have become known.
Now in its third year, Summer Game Fest is both a singular event (a showcase featuring trailers from a wide range of video game publishers) and a promotional tool (a logo that gets plastered on every bit of video marketing from Memorial Day through Labor Day ). Essentially, it’s a way for Keighley to cement his lifetime tenure as gaming’s god of hype. But for all intents and purposes — at least here— “Summer Game Fest” refers to the showcase.
Where to watch
Summer Game Fest starts on Thursday, June 9, at 2:00 pm ET. And if we can get an “RIP” to me and my peers, that’d be great: A calendar listing suggests it’ll run for three hours. (Last year’s event ran for three and a half, but that also included the hour-long “Day of the Devs” indie showcase.) You can stream Summer Game Fest on YouTube, Twitchand Twitter. Or, if you really wanna see Kaiju Geoff, it’ll air at IMAX theaters in a few dozen cities around the country.
What to expect
During a Twitter Spaces held over the weekend, for VGC transcription, Keighley went into full expectation management mode, saying that the show will primarily focus on games that have already been revealed. “We’re doing some good stuff for you, but definitely manage your expectations in terms of the megaton shocks that you’re expecting,” he said. “We’ve got lots of good stuff to show you but buyer beware of some of the crazy rumors I’m seeing out there in terms of things people expect to get announced.”
A promotional sizzle reel—Set to a cinematic remix of Halsey’s “Young God” —showed a glimpse at a slew of games, both forthcoming and recently released, that’ll show up in some capacity. And a handful of publishers have already made it known which of their titles will make appearances. Among other games, you can expect to see:
- ForspokenSquare Enix’s action-RPG slated for a PS5 and PC release in October.
- Sonic Frontierswhich purports to be Sonic by way of Breath of the Wild but really just looks like an Unreal tech demo.
- Horizon Forbidden West. The open-world game has been out for months on PlayStation and has seen several sizable updates, so perhaps this heralds news of an expansion?
- The Limbo-inspired Planet of Lana will have a gameplay reveal.
- The tactics game Marvel’s Midnight Sunswhich was initially slated for a spring 2022 release but has since been pushed to the fall. It does not currently have a release date.
- Developer Infinity Ward will show the first level from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2‘s campaign.
- More gameplay from The Callisto Protocolwhich had a brief spot during Sony’s not-E3 State of Play event.
- The Lord of the Rings: Golluman adventure game planned for September 1, exactly one day ahead of the Amazon LotR show’s premiere.
- Gotham Knights. Last month, developer WB Games released a 13-minute gameplay video alongside an announcement that it had axed the prior-gen versions.
- The sizzle reel showed a split-second clip of Starfieldthough I imagine Microsoft will save the meat of Bethesda’s role-playing game for Xbox’s marquee event on Sunday.
- Also, apparently some game called Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be there? No clue what it’s about, but I wouldn’t be surprised if gameplay involves lifting weights at the crack of dawn, co-producing roughly half of Hollywood’s blockbuster output, and leveraging America’s wide political divide for a potential run at president someday.
What to hope (but not hold your breath) for
Yes, everyone in the world wants news about God of War Ragnarök, the sequel to Santa Monica Studio’s 2018 reboot of the action series. For one thing, Sony has already had its big PlayStation event of the season (focused on third-party games, but still). For another, in recent years, Sony has veered toward unveiling info about its first-party output via dedicated livestreams with briefer runtimes. So sure, it could pop up, but don’t get your hopes up too much.
That Starfield, Bethesda’s first sprawling role-playing game in 10,000 years, is among the teases for Summer Game Fest is curious. Though it was planned for a November 11, 2022 release date, Bethesda recently delayed Starfield it to the first part of 2023. You’d think Microsoft would hold onto all of its first-party blockbusters for its own big presser, scheduled for Sunday afternoon. But I suppose with more than two dozen first-party studios under its umbrella, Xbox presumably has plenty of other stuff — possibly even some unannounced games — to show off, so it could let its biggest known quantity go to Summer Game Fest with little to lose.
EA is one of the partnered publishers with Summer Game Fest, so some of the games in its pipeline—like Skate 4—Could potentially make an appearance. Notably, some massive publishers who typically have a big showing during E3 season, including Nintendo and Ubisoft, are not among the list of partners. A representative for Ubisoft told Axios it’ll eschew Summer Game Fest in favor of something “later this year.” Nintendo, meanwhile, has been radio silent.