Player 2 Vs Summer Game Fest 2023

Player 2 Vs Summer Game Fest 2023

It’s early June and so you know what that means! That’s right, it’s time for another Geoff Keighley showcase! Summer Game Fest begins with the fairly new Kick-Off event, and much like each of Geoff’s other shows, there’s a spotlight on many players big and small, AAA and Independent, and on Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation or PC. So how did the 2023 iteration of Summer Game Fest fare? Join Player 2 Editors, Jess and Paul, as the pair recap the good and bad from the event.

Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown

Paul: Well, I most certainly did not have Prince Of Persia on my Game Fest bingo card! With the tumultuous development of the Sands Of Time Remake, I figured that it would be a while before we would see the Prince again, and yet, this 2D side-scroller looks fantastic, and it’s coming relatively soon (pending any fan issues with the art design and a sudden full rebuild)

Jess: This was definitely a surprise, but one that actually makes me interested in Prince of Persia for the first time. I feel like everyone is going to have something to say about the new look of the protagonist, who is uhh… much hotter now? But it’s a very modern look, and I’m sure it will raise some eyebrows.

Mortal Kombat 1

Paul: So I’m not a fighting game guy, and as a result, with a 5AM start to the stream, I would’ve felt pretty weary through this lengthy segment, however, Mortal Kombat 1 is so incredibly hyper violent that my senses were being assaulted, keeping me glued. It was nice to see Geoff get Ed Boon on stage too. The guy deserves to be celebrated.

Jess: I am so deeply not a fighting game person, but I’m thrilled for those who have been waiting for this. It looks very smooth. I’ve definitely never seen a video game ribcage shatter with such realistic definition. A note for those who have yet to watch the trailer, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Spinal cords are removed.

Path Of Exile II

Paul: We’re in Diablo fever right now, so a top down RPG that looks mighty similar being shown of at this showcase is either a very good, or very bad, marketing idea. I’m liking what I’m seeing, but I may also have had my fill with Diablo IV and will be content for a while. Hopefully the game gets a fair shake at it though because it looks pretty solid!

Jess: Like Paul said – it’s a bold move. For the team’s sake, I hope that when the next announcement hits in July, people are riding the wave of Diablo but are ready to open their hearts to another top down RPG. Path of Exile was a big success – here’s hoping the sequel can land as neatly!

Street Fighter 6 x Exoprimal

Paul: Capcom has already kicked off the collaborations with Street Figther 6 keeping it in the family first by cross-promoing with the upcoming Exoprimal. It’s clever thinking, but again, as a non fighting game guy, I was pretty disinterested throughout.

Jess: I promise there are people on the Player 2 team who are interested in fighting games, but Paul and I are not them. I’m almost always in favour of a good crossover though, so am generally in support of efforts like this. Also the triceratops looked great.

Dead By Daylight x Nicolas Cage

Paul: Couldn’t care less about Dead By Daylight, but Nic Cage’s energy with Geoff was great! He had fun and so did we. As Geoff said, let’s look forward to more Cage energy in other games in the future!

Jess: What did I just… what? I mean, welcome… to Nicolas Cage? This seems like a very Nic Cage move, mostly because it’s shrouded in confusion and unpredictability. Good for him.

The Witcher Season 3: Volume 1

Paul: I’m not crazy about ads for TV and movies cropping up in my gaming showcases, but when that product being promoted is The Witcher, I’m happy to eat my own words. Volume 1 of this final season to feature Henry Cavill is on the way and I couldn’t be much more excited for it

Jess: I am ready for the era of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri travelling the world as a dysfunctional little family, but I am not ready for whatever the hell has happened to Jaskier’s hair. The trailer looks excellent, of course, but is a sad reminder that we don’t have much time left with Henry Cavill’s Geralt!


Paul: This has been such a long time coming, but Witchfire is finally closing in on launch! Now while this is sadly just a PC early access launch, I’ll take it for now. The PC dorks can point out the bugs and the team can get them sorted ahead of the inevitable console launch in the future alongside 1.0 on PC.

Jess: Damn Paul, just coming for the PC players. Fair call though. As far as the game goes – I loved The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, so am intrigued to see what the team’s got for us. This seems like a pretty big departure, and this trailer doesn’t say much about the game itself, but there’s plenty out there for those who want to know more.

Crossfire: Sierra Squad

Paul: Recently shown at the PlayStation Showcase, and I didn’t care then either. Crossfire has left a bad taste in the mouths of many Western gamers following the launch of Crossfire X on Xbox which was frankly awful. I hope this VR title performs better, but I want nothing to do with it for now.

Jess: Yeah, nah. There’s nothing here for me.

Remnant II

Paul: A pretty underwhelming trailer for a game that I was already lacking interest in due to its Souls inspirations. Hoping that it is as successful (if not moreso) than the original game, but I suspect that just like its predecessor, Remnant II won’t be for me.

Jess: I liked the goat thing the guy was riding on at the beginning. That was where the interest ends for me too, sadly. It was certainly a flashy trailer, but one for a series that brings me no joy.

Sonic Superstars

Paul: It was nice to see a retro inspired Sonic, but at the same time the “Gotta Go Fast” component seemed to be lacking with this one. I didn’t feel a need for speed, and consequently I don’t feel particularly compelled to play Sonic Superstars

Jess: Sonic did feel like he was going strangely slow here, didn’t he? I hope he picks up a little more speed when the game eventually rolls in. I’m actually keen on this one though – it looks like there could be fun to be had in co-op, and I’m a fan of the art direction!

Honkai Starrail

Paul: I wanted to but never ultimately started playing Genshin Impact, and Honkai Starrail I suspect is going to be added to the same pile. Seems like they’re doing cool things, and it’s great to see that the PS5 version is nearing, but I don’t know that I’ll be giving this one ago. Good thing they have millions of actively hooked players already

Jess: I have heard nothing but good reviews of Honkai Starrail for those who are already playing, so it’s hard not to be interested. I dabbled in Genshin Impact, and will probably dabble in this too – but whether or not it can hold my attention for more than a few sessions is another thing entirely.

Lies Of P

Paul: Could I fall in love with a Soulslike? I feel like I could be falling for a Soulslike, but with the awesome news that Lies Of P has a demo available, when paired with this fantastic new trailer, I feel bullish about this game’s potential, and the potential that I might actually play it.

Jess: Whoever that blue-haired woman is, I’m definitely in love with her? But it’s true – the game looks upsettingly good. I’d appreciate it if all Soulslike games could be utterly unappealing to me, so that I wouldn’t feel bad about avoiding them. I think I’m actually going to have to give this one a go, and see what the demo has to offer.

Sand Land

Paul: Apparently Sand land is an old Manga. I had no idea, but with Akira Toriyama at the helm artistically (Dragon Ball, Dragon Quest), I’m all for getting in on the ground floor for this frankly gorgeous looking new title from Bandai Namco. Keen to see more of it in the coming months I hope!

Jess: I’m a sucker for games with this art style, and this looks like one epic adventure. I hope that knowing nothing about the source material isn’t going to affect enjoyment of this game – I feel like we could be safe. Either way, I’m keen to know more.

Throne And Liberty

Paul: Another NCSoft MMORPG. There are only two MMORPGs in the world that could possibly get me on board at this point, and those are The Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV, both because they’re connected to established IP that I love. Sorry Throne And Liberty, but I’ve gotta pass, because I don’t even have the time to commit to the two that I really want to.

Jess: Much like Paul said, as pretty as it looks, it’s just another game I know I won’t find the time for.


Paul: An all-CG trailer, and a game with ‘War’ in the title at that – consider me completely uninspired at the moment

Jess: Geoff’s little intro piqued my interest, but the trailer managed to lose it pretty quickly.

Party Animals

Paul: Party Animals is a genuinely funny and fun looking game, and so it was nice to see it pop up again at this event. The trailer didn’t really give us anything new to digest, outside of the exciting September release date. Looking forward to more in a few months then!

Jess: It’s coming sooner than I expected! And I can’t wait to jump into Party Animals with friends. It’s going to offer some silly fun, which is the best kind.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Paul: Techland had been low-level hyping this one up, but what it became was a teaser of a teaser. Sure, there is a gameplay update coming this month, but if you want to excite people for what’s next then actually tease them a bit.

Jess: I feel like I blinked and missed what this was actually announcing, it was so brief. New stuff in Dying Light 2: Stay Human, I guess?

Crash Team Rumble

Paul: It’s a few weeks away, and as someone who already wasn’t nuts about Crash Bandicoot, I’m even less enthused by Crash Team Rumble. Pass

Jess: I played a lot of Crash – particularly Crash Bash – as a kid, so I’ll give this one a go. We’ll see in a few weeks whether or not that’s a good idea!

Alan Wake II

Paul: We’d been told that Alan Wake II was going to embrace more of a Survival Horror approach, and while I wasn’t trembling watching this brief demo, I can certainly see the pivot in focus when compared to the original game. Alan Wake II is one of my most anticipated titles for the remainder of the year, and so if we can fast-track to October already that will be grand.

Jess: I’m sorry, I just can’t get excited for Alan Wake. Games like Alan Wake are extremely my jam, but I bounced so hard off this beloved game that I cannot imagine willingly jumping into the sequel and enjoying it. Feel free to fight me on this, it is a hill I will die on. I wanted to like it, given how much I love Stephen King novels (and Sam Lake clearly does too), but here we are. I’m sad about it, because the premise of Alan Wake II looks great.

Warhammer Space Marine 2

Paul: Could I… possibly find myself interested in a Warhammer game? Space Marine 2 looks pretty dope here, and so I might just follow this one a little more closely in the coming months and might dip my toes into that world for the very first time as a result.

Jess: I’m interested in the co-op aspect of this game, but otherwise it doesn’t grab me.

Yes Your Grace: Snowfall

Paul: I’m very keen on the art of Yes Your Grace: Snowfall. Certainly I need to see more gameplay to get my head further around the things that I’ll actually be doing in the moment-to-moment, but the game presented well, and I’ll certainly have it in mind for future showcases

Jess: I really enjoyed Yes, Your Grace and am ready for more! The art style is great, the mechanics are quite unique and there’s always an interesting story to be told. I trust the devs to deliver something moving and suitably complex.

Toxic Commando

Paul: John Carpenter is back, and you can’t help but know this because his name is all over it. I enjoyed the You Give Love A Bad Name cover, but I’m not sure that I’m into the game. We’ve seen countless mass zombie killers, but what is this one doing to separate itself from the pack? The trailer couldn’t provide me any answers to that one.

Jess: This was certainly a classic action game trailer. Epic soundtrack, lots of murder, no real answers. It might be fun? But it’s yet to wow me.

Baldur’s Gate III

Paul: It’s time to stop showing off Baldur’s Gate III. Each time Larian has less and less to share, because they’ve gone so hard in the past. Now let’s just sit back, await August, and be lost to the world that they’ve created, stop shoving it in our face at every opportunity in the meantime.

Jess: They’re hardly the only studio to oversaturate showcase events with their game, so I’m not mad about it. I enjoyed the footage of Jason Isaacs in the recording booth – at least I didn’t have to do what I usually do with these trailers, and spend the whole thing trying to figure out why the voice is familiar.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Paul: I thought that Sony was trying to nurture a positive relationship with Remedy, not blow it apart by launching Spider-Man 2 mere days after Alan Wake II, and boxing it between Spider-Man 2 and Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Some new art was cool, some story nuggets were intriguing, but otherwise, there was nothing other than the exciting October 20, 2023 

Jess: It’s interesting to know that this Venom isn’t going to be Eddie Brock – I feel like that’s a cool reveal, and might be unexpected (I certainly assumed they’d go down that path). I am ready to relive the emo Tobey Maguire vibes of Spiderman 3, but this time in high def and with the addition of Miles Morales. The release date is a weird choice, but I’ll take it whenever I can get it.


Paul: This is a mighty strange Pokemon-like where we see at one point the Pals (?) working assembly lines making guns. Yep, that’s odd, but the rest of the game looks pretty cool. It’s going into Early Access in the new year, so again, those PC plebs can road test it for the rest of us, but I’m really intrigued by it

Jess: I honestly thought that gun-Pokemon had been a fever dream, or that it had disappeared into the aether, never to be seen again. But here it is. I genuinely cannot understand who this game is for, or how they’re getting away with some of the Pal(?) designs without being hounded for copyright infringement.

Black Desert

Paul: Nope, another MMORPG – No time for that, or this trailer.

Jess: It’ll find an audience, but I will not be a member of that audience.

Lord Of The Rings: Return To Moria

Paul: I have a very bitter taste in my mouth right now by the name of Lord Of The Rings: Gollum, so forgive me if I don’t seem enthusiastic to play Return To Moria at present. The bar has been set incredibly low, and it’s something that I’m certain that this new title will overcome (I mean, how could it get much worse?), but I feel they could’ve held on this one and waited until we weren’t cursing the name of Middle Earth

Jess: I’m really going with a ‘hey, at least it can’t be worse than Gollum!’ mindset here, and choosing to be excited. Please, Free Range Games. I believe in you.

Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis

Paul: Geoff the sly bastard really got everyone going post this trailer, but I’m into Ever Crisis at face value, I’m just concerned by the potential to somehow nickel and dime us given that it is a mobile game launching in the current mobile game climate which is typically pretty predatory. I’ll pick it up, but I dunno how much I’ll invest of myself (let alone my hard-earned) into it.

Jess: I feel like I’ve left it too late in life to become a Final Fantasy person, but the crowd was clearly excited. Until that whole burrito thing – I thought they might riot.

[Final note from Paul – Jess, it’s never too late]

Banishers: Ghost Of New Eden

Paul: I was cooler on Banishers: Ghost Of New Eden last time we saw it, but this latest viewing has me much more into the idea. I’ll need to see more to determine whether it’s worth carving the time out for, but this is a much better second impression and I’m keen for when they bring it back out.

Jess: I’m a big DONTNOD person, so this one is high on my list. Their storytelling is always top tier, and if this game doesn’t make me cry, I will begin to question whether or not there’s something deeply wrong with me. I’m excited.

Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

Paul: I am, so out of step with Yakuza/Like A Dragon. I’ve had exposure to the games and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played but I’ve never come close to finishing one and with every new game that’s revealed the mountain to climb to approach this IP gets even larger. It might just be a rip off the bandaid moment that I need, so perhaps Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is that game

Jess: Paul’s right – I fear it’s too late for me too. But every new thing I learn about this series makes me more intrigued, mostly because it just gets weirder and weirder. There was a time when I thought Yakuza/Like A Dragon games were meant to be serious, or at least took themselves seriously. I no longer believe that, and it makes me that much more interested in the series.

Under The Waves

Paul: I missed this during the reveal but… this is a Quantic Dream game?! Setting aside the fact that David Cage is obviously an asshole from the mix for a moment, I’ve long enjoyed what Quantic Dream has created, and so, with that knowledge now at my disposal, I’m suddenly quite likely to pick this one up in August! But again let it be said, David Cage, you’re an asshole

Jess: I wish I didn’t like Quantic Dream games, largely because of the whole David Cage situation, but this does look super polished and I’ll probably jump in. It’s so incredibly my bullshit, but also, ugh.

[Post-note: Quantic Dream is acting as a publisher for the game and isn’t in-fact the developer]

Call Of Duty: Warzone

Paul: Ciao COD

Jess: I am not about to start playing COD now.

Fae Farm

Paul: A Story Of Seasons/Animal Crossing like is always going to hold some appeal to me, although this one seems to be at the lower end of the spectrum of excitement for me. I felt like Fae Farm was too busy trying to be cute with this trailer and wasn’t spending enough time showing what it can do. Perhaps I just need to do more digging.

Jess: This is the sort of game I could accidentally lose a hundred hours to. The art style isn’t the most appealing, but it is cute, and the gameplay could easily pull me in. As long as it’s diverse in its characters and options (which the trailer implies it might be?) I’m ready to love it!

Marvel Snap

Paul: Okayyyyy… yes, players suffer from bad luck at times, but what was the point of this exactly? Apparently there’s a conquest mode launching now/soon, so good luck to them I guess. Marvel Snap is hugely popular, but not with this guy, so I’ll leave you other millions of fans to your own devices!

Jess: I jump in and out of Marvel Snap, mostly because the genre is so unfamiliar to me so it’s hard to be committed to actually getting good at it. I guess they can get away with confusing content like this… skit(?) because the game is already so popular that it just doesn’t need actual new game content to keep the hype going?

King Arthur: Legends Rise

Paul: Coming from a team called Kabam is a great start, but King Arthur: Legends Rise reeks of microtransactions and other pay-to-win tomfoolery that I cannot abide by. I could be reading it wrong, but despite it mechanically being interesting, there’s a stink about it that I didn’t like.

Jess: I honestly feel like that trailer told me nothing about that game, but after looking it up independently, I’m inclined to agree.


Paul: I still don’t know if this is the right pathway for Airship Syndicate to be going in. They’ve done amazing work with Darksiders, Battlechasers: Nightwar, and even League Of Legends spin-offs, but I’m growing more unsure of this one with every viewing. I love this studio so I hope that it’s good, and that it succeeds, because I want them around for the long-term.

Jess: I know next to nothing about this game or this studio, but I liked the trailer. It’s bright and colourful and I’ll be looking it up to learn more after this show is done.

Stellaris: Nexus

Paul: There was a lot going on in this very brief trailer, and I honestly made sense of very little of it. It’s not really a Paul game from what I can tell, but for those who are keen, I wish you all well.

Jess: It’s not a Jess game either, but I liked what I saw of the characters?

Space Trash: Scavenger

Paul: I’m out collecting space junk? If that’s the hook, then consider me the fish that got away because I wasn’t all that interested in what this trailer was showing. Maybe a deeper dive into it in the future might help.

Jess: I have so many questions. This could easily be a game for me, but I feel like that trailer gave me nothing. I hope we see more of whatever this is soon, because unlike Paul, I am open to being hooked.

Star Trek: Infinite

Paul: You only engage with Star Trek because there’s a lack of Star Wars, and since we’re not lacking for Star Wars, then there’s no reason to engage with Star Trek. This trailer also didn’t really show us anything either? Big no for me.

Jess: Paul, I feel that is a very controversial take, and Star Trek fans are well within their rights to come at you. I’m not sure that’s a sentiment I quite agree with, but I also am not a Trek person. It’s a cool choice to use the platform to announce that it’s coming but also to do the actual reveal on Picard Day – props to the team for that.

Twisted Metal

Paul: Another TV adaptation, and while the trailer for Peacock’s Twisted Metal looked good, I was disappointed by the lack of vehicular action, the core tentpole of the game franchise. Give me more of that stuff so I can make a judgment call ahead of the show launching.

Jess: Never been a Twisted Metal person, and I’m not sure the change in media format is likely to change that. But it could be a fun show?

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior

Paul: This one seems pretty cool! It’s going to take a while for the name Lysfanga to become embedded in my brain, but the game has a cool sense of style to it, and so it’s got me interested in a future showing. 

Jess: That title alone is enough to get me excited. “Time Shift Warrior”? So cool. And tonally, this seems very much my jam. I’m going to be keeping my eye on this one.

Immortals Of Aveum

Paul: Though it isn’t EA’s fault, I’ve seen a lot of Immortals lately, through preview opportunities, the PlayStation Showcase, and now this Kick-Off event. I’m keen, just let me start playing it already EA! Please!

Jess: Immortals of Aveum has such a stacked cast and I am generally inclined to at least dip my toe into anything Gina Torres chooses to be a part of. The first time I heard about this game I felt literally nothing for it, but somehow with every new reveal my excitement grows, and now I might actually play it? I love how excited Darren Barnet seems to be about the story, too – his enthusiasm is infectious.

Fortnite Wilds

Paul: Fortnite isn’t my thing, so I was happy to shut the eyes for a minute or two and pass this one by.

Jess: I haven’t touched Fortnite in a while, and keep meaning to jump back in and see what’s changed. Clearly the characters in this trailer have never seen an Indiana Jones movie, though – don’t they know you’re not supposed to pick up items off suspicious pillars? Of course you were going to be attacked by a Transformer. Come on now.

Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth

Paul: It was always going to end this way after a week of very strange teases from the Final Fantasy VII social channels, and the build-up was 110% worth it. There was so much to like about this trailer, including the fact that the game has slid to early 2024. There’s enough going on in the back end of 2023, and so I’m happy that I’ve got more time with those titles before Rebirth sucks the oxygen out of the room completely.

Jess: One day it’s gonna happen. I’m gonna play FFVII. One day. This trailer is beautiful, and  I can see why people are so excited about this. Definitely a fitting end to the show.

Final Thoughts

Paul: Geoff is gradually building up his empire with Summer Game Fest: Kick-Off, GamesCom Opening Night Live, and The Game Awards, but the SGF showing had been the weakest up til this point. The 2023 showcase is the best one we’ve had so far, and it was great to see that the event felt largely free of excessive, gross advertising, and finally, it brought a great line-up of games overall. Congratulations Geoff, you did an awesome job at addressing not only my personal needs from this event, but clearly the needs of a lot of different audiences too.

Jess: There was some cool stuff here, but I don’t really feel like we saw a whole lot that we didn’t already know was coming. Maybe that’s just because of how many of these games weren’t my sort of thing, but it felt like the bigger showcases were for games we’ve already seen a lot of. I 100% agree though – it was great to see the advertising stuff kept to a minimum, and the guests who made appearances showed clear passion for the games they were promoting. Even weird ol’ Nicolas Cage. I had a fun time!