When you’re the top dog, it can be easy to become complacent. This generation, PlayStation has been soaring off of one of the greatest conferences in history during E3 2013 when they announced the PlayStation 4 (PS4). Since then, they’ve had many solid performances as well as a couple of killer, crowd pleasing conferences at E3 2015 and 2016.
Now, Sony is coming off of the successful releases of multiple long-gestating exclusive games, and has at least four more big-guns in the hopper. But, what can they do to keep that momentum going?
Why E3 2018 is Important for PlayStation
Sony is riding high right now after two straight months of knockout releases. They’ve already stated that their main focus of their media showcase for E3 2018 is their four main upcoming releases: Spider-Man, The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, and the recently announced Ghost of Tsushima.
In the past couple of weeks, PlayStation has put some information out their about their exclusive games – they set the Spiderman release date for September 10 of this year and they also set the release date for Days Gone, to be released on the oddly crowded February 22, 2019 (sharing the date so far with Anthem and Metro Exodus).
With the rumored gameplay of Death Stranding, hype will continue to grow on a game that seems to be constantly in the spotlight – this will be the fourth trailer/showing of the game so far, which is insane for a game that seems to still be a ways off in the distance.
Ghost of Tsushima is itching for more information past the reveal trailer to come out. As this was the last revealed game, it is arguably the furthest away from release, so maybe there isn’t a ton more that can be shown. But, if there was gameplay to be shown, this could be a huge hit for Sony.
Of other games that Sony might put out there, Dreams seems to be the game screaming the most for some air time. After the huge focus at the PlayStation Experience last December, this is a game that seems like it is about ready to hit its final push towards a beta and release. But, with such a difficult and complex concept to show quickly in a conference, it seems like it may be tough to put that out there. The only way is if they say something along the lines of “It’s just too hard to explain, the beta is live now so go out and experiment with your dreams!”
Outside of their exclusives, Sony’s conference ends up being the last place to get some of the announcements or demos of the games that fans have been watching for in all of the other conferences: will we see what Rocksteady is working on and is it the Superman game that has been rumored; is Final Fantasy VII Remake going to make a reappearance and stoke the flames of hype again; and will Splinter Cell get its huge reveal that everyone has been expecting? And then there is also the much pined-over Resident Evil 2 Remake that is possibly expected.
What Was Announced?
In an odd conference that changed locations partway through, Sony definitely delivered extensive looks of the four games they promised as well as giving us some surprises as well.
- New gameplay and story footage was shown of the four main games listed, but no release window was mentioned for The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, or Ghost of Tsushima.
- The Resident Evil 2 Remake was finally confirmed with a reveal trailer during the Sony conference. Similar to Capcom’s delivery of Resident Evil 7, the trailer ended with a release date of January 25, 2019.
- A new Pirates of the Caribbean world was revealed during an all new Kingdom Hearts III trailer, showing Captain Jack Sparrow and company. The world had a much more realistic style compared to the various cartoon representations of the other worlds and also included ship combat that hearkened back to Assassins Creed Black Flag. They also announced a Limited Edition KH PS4 as well as a collection of all of the remade KH collections along with KH III.
- Control, a new game from formerly Microsoft-owned Remedy Games, was announced with what seemed like a gameplay trailer. The game is slated for a 2019 release window and it wasn’t specified whether it has any console exclusivity attached to it.
- Dreams was shown in the post-show for the conference, but also was used as a transition between scenes using in-game created characters, sound effects, and music.
- During the strange downtime while moving the audience from one venue to the other, Shawn Layden announced that Sony Santa Monica is working on building out a New Game + mode for God of War and that more information will be coming soon on the PlayStation Blog.
- Nioh 2 was also revealed with a teaser trailer from Team Ninja and Tecmo Koei. No release date or other information was revealed on the game during the show.
What Can I Play Now?
The only real shadow drop announced during the show that Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be available for download for PlayStation Plus users starting later tonight for the next month.
How Did PlayStation Do?
Why don’t we start with the bad – as cool as it may have been to have your venue match up to one of your main, tent-pole releases, it might not be advised to have a 10 minute transition to move hundreds of press and fans from one venue to the next in your conference.
With that said – oh my did PlayStation have some amazing things to show. The balance of story reveal and brutal gameplay of The Last of Us Part II was truly incredible to behold. The way that all of the animations flowed together through some truly intense combat was pretty incredible and definitely a step-up from anything that Naughty Dog has done previously. And the brutality of how Ellie dispatches enemies was amplified by the reactions of the enemies themselves as the realization on their faces of their imminent death was something that hasn’t really occurred to that level of detail before in a game.
The graphics and gameplay flourishes of Ghost of Tsushima were also top-notch. Riding a horse through the wheat fields of Tsushima was beautiful, but the diorama created by some of the fight scenes with the environment blowing and changing around the characters created a striking style to the game.
Death Stranding did its regular thing of providing some new answers while creating many, many more questions in the process. The main character, played by Norman Reedus, was revealed to be a courier of some sort and we were able to see him travelling through various beautifully rendered environments, until he ultimately faced off against the mysterious, invisible enemies and found his demise.
The Spider=Man gameplay demonstration ended up using its final time in the spotlight on the big stage prior to release by showing multiple enemies in Mr. Negative, Electro, Rhino and Vulture as well as stopping prior to a huge reveal of another main villain. Otherwise, the fluidity of the combat looked phenomenal, giving a sense of the Arkham games on speed.
Otherwise, pretty much every other reveal outside of the intermission had some weight and surprise to it. The Resident Evil 2 Remake looked even better than the RE7 release a year ago and really upped the ante. A Nioh 2 reveal as well as the reveal of the next VR venture from Justin Roiland (co-creator of Rick and Morty) served to please different groups of PlayStation fans.
All-in-all, the conference had some pretty amazing games to show, even if it was a bit limited on specifics as to when a lot of those games would be coming. Also, many of the reveals aside from the focuses are not system exclusives, so the conference had a similar feel to the XBox conference where fans of all systems can be excited for some new, amazing games coming their way in the next couple of years.