How do you sum up Sony’s press conference? E3 had, until the final conference of day, been a flurry of middle of the road announcements and previously hinted rumours. Then, with a loaded shotgun of game announcements, a live orchestra and a ‘we’ve got this’ attitude it was a case of hitting play and watching trailer after trailer. There were no moments of devs coming out to talk about their games, no third party agreements or awkward interviews, just game, after game, after game.
First up was God of War. The series has appeared to have had a reboot, and now with a Norse inspired setting a slightly calmer reimagined Kratos, taking his son on a hunting trip. Of course, it doesn’t go to plan with the title character having to battle past lava demons and an enormous horned giant. The combat appears to have taken more inspiration from the likes of Dark Souls where any lapses in concentration are greatly punished. There’s also a sniff of an open world nature as a new area is ‘discovered’ during the playthrough.
Speaking of open world games, we finally had a chance to see Days Gone, the title Sony Bend has been working on for a number of years; a post apocalyptic game where you play a member of a disbanded biker gang, forcing yourself to survive in a world filled with gollum-like zombies. Think The Last of Us and The Walking Dead meets World War Z and you get the jist.
The exclusives kept coming. An extended look at Horizon Zero Dawn, with footage confirming it’s RPG epicness, was followed by a brief glimpse at the overly hyped and severely delayed The Last Guardian, finally given the release of 25th October 2016. The early Sony flurry was rounded out by Quantic Dreams’ Detroit: Become Human. Looking at the threat of self aware AI, you take the role of a robot, and like most QD games you have faced with hundreds of decisions, all affecting the eventual outcome of your story.
Keeping up? Good!
Then it was time for some VR talk. A POV walk around an abandoned house, filled with peeling wallpaper and dark corners confirmed the existence of Resident Evil VII; a full VR game with a demo available on PSN now, it will release on 24th January next year
With a marquee title like that in the bag for VR, the release date of 13th October can’t come quick enough, as Sony promises to have more than 50 games for the system by the end of the year. These include the likes of a space FPS Far Point, Battlefront X-Wing Mission VR, Batman Arkham VR and a Final Fantasy XV experience. Details were still scarce on these games, but be sure to keep your eye out on them.
Such was the flow of the conference, the VR section seamlessly transitioned into a slice of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare gameplay, so much so, you’d have thought it was fully VR compatible (it isn’t). By the looks, gravity, or the lack thereof seems to have a big impact on how you play the game. Dramatic set pieces all revolve around; 1. Shooting guys (no surprise there) and 2. Removing gravity from any given spaceship, forcing your foes into the inky black abyss.
Then it all changed. The live orchestra started to play a familiar score and out walked Shawn Layden accompanied by the shadow on one Crash Bandicoot. The rumours were true, while Crash is the latest character to join the ranks of Skylanders, the big news was that Crash 1, 2 and 3 would all be getting PlayStation 4 remastering thanks to a new agreement between Sony and Crash’s current owners Activision.
While a trailer for LEGO: The Force Awakens acted as a palate cleanse for the gritty realism gone before it, a demo available now, normality was quickly restored when none other than Hideo Kojima entered the stage. “I’m back” he declared, as the crowd went insane.
Death Stranding is the title given after a strange and eerie cinematic involving a man (the returning Norman Reedus), ink hand prints, invisible babies, floating people and hundreds of dead whales. Don’t expect this game any time soon, though. He’s only just found the engine he wants to run it on.
Rumours have been circulating for a couple of weeks now that Sony have the rights to an exclusive Spider-Man game, and you better believe it after the show they put on. Being developed by Insomniac, the team behind Sunset Overdrive and Ratchet & Clank, Spider-Man PS4, it's ‘under development name’, captures the fluidity of Peter Parker’s movements beautifully.
And following another glimpse of Days Gone, that was it, for arguably one of the best conferences in recent memory. Games, games and more games are all anybody wants, and it’s exactly what we got.