Sony always has their E3 conference scheduled to follow Microsoft’s, and this year was no exception. Whilst last year for example this worked out really well for them, I did think that the media briefing for 2014 went on perhaps too long, and would have benefited more from the Boom, Boom, Boom effect of the Microsoft show. That said however, plenty of great looking games were shown, and a few surprises were dropped to make it clear that 2015 would be a very good year to own a PS4.
Perhaps more important than what was shown for Sony was what was skimmed over. Vita again got more or less ignored, with about 5 minutes spent talking about it, and mainly highlighting the remote Play functionality. A few games were discussed, including Minecraft and Tales from the Borderlands, but once again ports were the order of the day. Apparently over 100 games are in development for Vita, but right now I would be surprised if many of those were AAA exclusives. It is beginning to look like last years line-up of Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway might represent the best we ever see of the handheld system. Project: Morpheus was also very hastily discussed, although that is probably because there wasn’t much more to share after its reveal earlier this year. It will be playable on the show floor however, and of course VR tech doesn’t really lend itself to being shown off at big press conferences.
What about the games though? The titles shown off were pretty impressive on the whole, but it certainly feels like the really good stuff won’t see the light of day until 2015. DriveClub was shown off pretty quickly, with a likely bigger showing at Gamescom, which is closer to its release date. Of the other games due for release this year, Destiny was shown in an interesting trailer which opened the show and promised a PS4 exclusive beta. Far Cry 4 meanwhile featured an impressive looking gameplay session that really reminded me of Far Cry 2, only with much bigger vistas, and elephants that you could call for assistance in the heat of battle!
Anyone who loved inFamous: Second Son should also be very happy that standalone DLC is coming in a couple of months time titled First Light, with the player able to take control of Fetch, one of the characters from PS4’s best game so far.
We already knew about The Order: 1886 being delayed, but during the games showing yesterday the same doubts were raised about the games interactivity, with the majority of the section that was shown seemingly on-rails. It does look very petty though, so here’s hoping its brains will match its beauty when it finally sees the light of day early next year. Another enticing game in a similar vein was Bloodborne, by From Software. It looked very dark, as you might expect from the developer, but it also had a Dickensian vibe to it. Will it look too close to The Order to stand out? Hopefully we should see more of the game very soon to judge for yourself.
So much for the games we already knew something about, but what about the surprises? First off, Little Big Planet 3 was shown off in playable form and looked very impressive, with a host of new characters. The demo indicated that there may be a more puzzle based format to the platforming levels, but regardless the audience were extremely happy to see the first look at a game which has been added to the sparse-looking Holiday 2014 line-up for PS4.
A couple more surprises were in store throughout the conference, the first being that the original Ratchet and Clank game would be seeing a PS4 upgrade next year, along with an animated film. Nothing was shown of the game, but if it combines the great gameplay of the original with some 1080p graphics it should be a treat when it launches. Grim Fandango was also a shock, being announced as a remake for both PS4 and Vita. The original was released way back in the late 90’s and was a cult classic, so I can imagine many people are looking forward to seeing how it looks on PlayStation.
Aside from an overlong presentation around the original show Powers, coming to PSN users next year, and some indie game trailers (No Mans Sky looks amazing by the way – imagine a procedurally generated Metroid game mixed with Starfox…), four heavy hitters were saved for the last few minutes of the conference. Firstly a new and very impressive trailer for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was shown off, then GTA V was finally confirmed for next gen consoles. Batman: Arkham Knight was shown off next with a gorgeous looking slice of gameplay focusing on the Batmobile. Finally a teaser was shown for Uncharted 4, along with a new title – A Thiefs End. You can imagine we will be seeing a LOT more of that game in the next 12-18 months…
And that was pretty much it from Sony. Playstation TV was confirmed for a western launch, but aside from that, the conference was predictably all about software. Playstation Now was talked about a little and launches this July in the US, with the cost of rental periods etc apparently still being up for discussion. A couple of technical issues with sound meant everything didn’t go 100% to plan, but all in all it was impressive and exciting. Much like the Xbox conference earlier in the day however, there was no killer moment such as gameplay for Uncharted 4, or a God of War announcement. Few people watching however who have bought a PS4 would be disappointed in the gaming line-up in store for the year ahead.