Sony has always been the champions of showmanship, and they did not disappoint this year. The conference started with a live orchestra which played through most of what was shown.
We started with God of War. Kratos is guiding his son in a hunt. He wants to help the child, but the child is scared. The movement through the world implies open(ish) RPG, the action is all God of War. It seems like a perfect breath of fresh air to the series. The relationship between father and son was personally the most touching theme.
Next was a beautiful cinematic trailer for Days Gone, later in the conference we got a gameplay trailer that implied something like The Last of Us. Days Gone seems to be a biker story in a zombie world, with a strong emphasis on drama. The trailer itself gave us very little, other than a destroyed world and who our protagonist is. At the end of the conference we got a look at gameplay, and this game could be a hit. It looks solid, and slightly overwhelming with zombie like enemies. I am excited to hear more.
The Last Guardian was highlighted. It’s music was tear-jerking, and we are promised another artistic, soul crushing, beautiful experience. Now we know that it’s coming this year.
For Horizon we got an intensive gameplay demo that showed off many different styles of gameplay. Honestly it just furthers the belief that this will be a highlight game when it comes out.
Detroit is another game in the lines of Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls, but follows an android trying to make his place in the world. It looks great, but so did the others. It does emphasize choice, and promises it will be to an extreme degree. It implies choosing x will drastically change the next step where choosing y makes a different path. I like these games on principal, but have been underwhelmed with execution. So I am not sold.
The next game highlighted was a bit of surprise. We watched as a character explored a dilapidated building, and then found it was the next in the Resident Evil series. Resident Evil seems like a real horror game vs horror action. However, we got no details on how it relates to the series. It did however launch the VR segment for the press conference.
Sony showed off their VR, featuring Batman, Battlefront, and a number of other games. All of them highlighted the VR technology, none of them had a lot of detail however. It was mostly teaser trailers, if forced to define them. After the launch of their VR headset there will be 50 games before the end of the year, that is an impressive number, but given the total lack of information on most of what we saw it leaves a lot of questions. Will it be 50 gimmicks that just show off technology and don’t entertain? Or 50 games worth playing and getting excited over?
We got a look at the updated Call of Duty, and it looks great. However unless you are already hype for the remastered Call of Duty, you probably won’t be sold on it.
PlayStation then teased Crash exciting both the audience that was there and watching. The hype was met with a disappointing announcement that it’s little more than a remastered version of the older games, and that Crash is being added to Skylanders. It did not really feel like an E3 worthy moment, especially because the announcement did not meet the excitement level.
Kojima then got on stage to present a game lacking details, Death Standing. There is little known about the game other than apparently it’s a rising above what Konami did to the game developer. A horror game with Norman Reedus and what? If given the imagery lives up to the actual game then it could be something impressive. The segment felt like just a short moment to say “f you” to Konami, and left us with a million questions.
There were a number of other smaller announcements like Spider Man by Insomniac, but the overall theme was “all of this looks impressive, but what are the details”. It was very easy to join the hype train while it was happening, Sony if nothing else, is great at showmanship. However in reflecting on it, other than the first half of the conference we got little more than teasers. Yes, I was very excited to watch said teasers, but I am left wanting detail. What was Death Standing? Can we see more from the VR highlights? Why should I be excited for all the games that basically showed us 30 second clips? Where I felt Microsoft had too much bad dialogue that didn’t sell the games, I felt Sony had too little information. In the end it was still an impressive showing. I admit to being very excited for a number of things I saw, and again Sony has showmanship down well. The devil is in the details, and hopefully we will actually get more of those soon in order to keep us excited for what’s to come.