Gamescom Kicks Off With Pokemon Fever and Tightened Security

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Toy weapons have been banned from Cosplay costumes at this year's Gamescom.

On the business side, most are expecting a low-key event, with both Microsoft and Sony skipping press conferences this year.

Gamescom, the European equivalent of the E3 gaming conference, kicks off Wednesday with less hype that usual and under new security fears following a series of terrorist attacks in Europe this year.

Ahead of the conference, organizers told visitors —some 350,000 are expected to attend over five days —to expect longer waits due to extensive bag checks and other security measures. Gamescom will also require visitors to leave bags and backpacks at home. And cosplay fans, who come to the event dressed as their favorite video game characters, have been told not to bring any imitation weapons along with them or risk being banned.

The heightened security comes after a number of deadly terrorist attacks in Europe, including in Germany, which until now had been largely spared the violence that has hit other countries in the region.

On the business side of Gamescom, most are expecting a low-key event, with both Microsoft and Sony skipping press conferences this year. Games heavyweights EA and Blizzard will still be holding events, however, so there will likely be a few new announcements.

Fans, however, will not get a look at the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy XV, the latest edition in the hit role-playing franchise. Distributor Square Enix confirmed pre-Gamescom that it's pushed back the title's release to Nov. 29 worldwide. Originally, Final Fantasy XV was set to drop in September, leading to hopes it would premiere at Gamescom.

But another Japanese gaming giant, Nintendo, will be out in force this year. Nintendo hasn't announced any new titles that will launch at Gamescom, but the company is basking in reflected glory thanks to the global Pokemon Go phenomenon. Several independent developers at Gamescom will be pitching their new titles as the next Pokemon Go. One of the most promising is Fightlings, a mobile title from German developer Thoughtfish, which, like Pokemon Go, uses real-life data, including a user's geographical location, to influence gameplay. The Berlin-based studio is targeting a September release for the title.

Much of the Gamescom hype this year will be focused on virtual reality technology, with VR headsets like those from Playstation and an array of VR-enabled games looking to dominate the conversation.


 

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