Civilization 7 and more announced at Summer Game Fest

In a two-hour presentation that was short on major announcements, but big on independent titles, this year’s Summer Game Fest was dominated by one reveal – Civilization 7 is coming out in 2025.

The legendary strategy simulation series, which debuted back in 1991, hasn’t seen a fresh instalment for eight years. Although it seems publisher 2K accidentally leaked the announcement earlier in the day, it was still a treat for fans to see designer Sid Meier on video, introducing the new project standing in front of a table filled with Bafta awards.

“For more than 30 years, players from around the world have shared their love and support for Civ,” said Meier, who began the series at Microprose before forming Fireaxis Games. “I’m incredibly excited for Civ fans to see Civilization VII, a game that represents the culmination of three decades of strategy innovation and refinement.”

The game will be launching on PCPlayStation, Xbox and Switch, but no firm release date has been given.

Harry Potter, Lego Horizon Adventures and more

Elsewhere in the show, which started with presenter and organiser Geoff Keighley acknowledging the large number of studio closures and redundancies that have blighted the industry over the past year, there were a few other announcements.

Lego Horizon Adventures had already been rumoured, but this was the official debut for what looks to be a typically light-hearted take on the PlayStation sci-fi adventure. Its a co-op game combining puzzles and combat in which lead character Aloy and pals must confront Helis, “the leader of a group of sun worshipers who bow to an Ancient Evil shrouded in mystery,” according to the PlayStation blog. There’s also some town building, with Aloy able to customise the village of Mother’s Heart. It’s coming out this winter.

Also revealed was Harry Potter: Quidditch Champions from Warner Bros and Unbroken Studios, due for release on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch on 3 September. It looks to be a straight simulation of the magical sport, featuring solo play, co-op online matches with friends, or online play against other players.

There were also new trailers for Monster Hunter Wilds, the horror game Slitterhead from the creators of Silent Hill, and Funcom’s survival MMO, Dune Awakening, which were all suitably breathless and epic. Ahead of its own event taking place on Sunday, Ubisoft showed a fresh trailer for open-world adventure Star Wars Outlaws, which featured a veritable Who’s Who of Star Wars cameos, including Lando Calrissian, Jabba the Hut and a lot of Jawas.

Indie summer

But the stars of a rather announcement-light show were independent developers. Cuffbust is an amusing 20-player co-op prison escape game from the maker of Choo Choo Charles, while Wanderstop is the long-awaited new title from Stanley Parable creator Davey Wreden and Karla Zimonja of Gone Home and Tacoma fame. Meanwhile, the self-explanatory Deer & Boy looked to be a beautiful and emotional adventure boasting highly stylised visuals – a very similar aesthetic to Nevathe next project from Nomada Studio, the creators of acclaimed platformer, Gris.

There were also two important announcements from successful companies looking to support smaller studios. Horror movie maker Blumhouse announced its slate of six new games, all from indie studios, starting with the ‘90s-style, Fear of the Spotlight. Also, InnerSloth, the creator of runaway lockdown hit Among Us, announced its intention to support start-up teams with a new funding arm, OuterSloth.

But those expecting a show to match the hype of the old E3 presentations were left perhaps slightly underwhelmed in terms of major Triple A reveals – although perhaps that is a good thing in the current climate of instability. One of the most eye-catching billboards in downtown LA in the lead up to the show was erected by indie publisher New Blood Interactive: under the header, “Gone but not forgotten” the video ad listed several studios recently shut down by large publishers including Arkane Austin, Roll7 and Tango Softworks. The message then became pixellated and replaced with the words, “We love you. We miss you. We hate money.”

So, no gigantic surprises then. But if one of the biggest events in the gaming calendar can begin with a celebration of the indie titles that have performed well on PC gaming service Steam this year, followed by Geoff Keighley stating, “it’s a reminder to big publishers that you have to treat your developers right”, perhaps there is hope after all.

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