By Paolo Succi on June 9, 2014 at 4:32pm
Sony's sitting on the top of the heap when it comes to next-gen console sales, meaning this conferences carries with it a lot of hype. Player Theory is here to see if the company's coming software will satisfy those who've made the jump to next-gen.
In the last year, Sony has made concerted efforts to cement the PS4 as the flagship console for launch of EA's "Destiny," and their conference continues this trend. Andrew House describes how the PlayStation is "the choice to play games." He continues with saying that the beta will hit PS4 players first, starting July 17th. But wait there's more! The alpha will be available to those who simply cannot wait until next weekend.
The "Destiny" trailer didn't include much gameplay footage, and certainly wasn't wowing the crowd. In rather stereotypical fashion, a narrator says that you are the only one that is able to push back the "dark forces" that threaten the human race. The graphics looked understandably impressive for a next-gen title, but there was little else to get excited about.
Following "Destiny's" announcements, Sony moved into their next flagship console-exclusive, "The Order: 1886." This trailer provided much more to gamers excited to play something new on their PS4 this fall.
The preview followed a player through London's steampunk-styled underground as he fought off a (surprise!) zombie. The game appears to place an emphasis on cinematic presentation, drifting in and out of cutscenes between player-controlled set pieces.
With virtually no transition, we are taken from an English steampunk alternate history into a mesmorizing dance of two dragons twisting and churning through beautiful soundscapes. A particularly unegaging developer walks us through the game's core concepts, promising it's more of a unique experience than a playthrough for completionists. The game evokes an art style in the spirit of something like "Journey," and while it was a short presentation, I can't help but think they may be comparable experiences.
Following a very brief intro to "Infamous: Second Son's DLC," the crowd erupts with the screen's reveal of LittleBigPlanet 3's splash screen appearing behind two presenters. Past slightly updated graphics and minor gameplay tweaks, the core of LittleBigPlanet seems to still be intact, and that's certainly not a bad thing.
Crowd favorite, Shuhei Yoshida, Sony's President of Worldwide Studios takes the stage to further hype up the crowd for "LittleBigPlanet 3's" new features and introduces a completely new IP that is "very dear to [his] heart," titled "Bloodborne."
The "Bloodborne" trailer follows unsettlingly grotesque creatures through gothic landscapes. The "From Software" tag thrills the audience, and the trailer appears to share many visual similarities with their previous project, "Dark Souls." Oh and there's blood, lots and lots of blood, coming to you in 2015.
Alexander Hutchinson, "Far Cry 4's" creative director rehashes much of what the Ubisoft press conference revealed earlier this afternoon. The trailer follows through maybe five minutes of the game, filled with what you would expect from the "Far Cry" experience. The player rappels through stunning vistas, taking out enemies through several methods of gruesome execution. The major twist revealed in this presentation is the introduction of the second player to the action (assumingly controlled by a human rather than AI). He comes in just in time to grab the protagonist in a helicopter, which allows him to mow down enemies with an LMG.
Adam Boyes then climbs on stage and says "that looks pretty great," followed by a rather awkward pause. Thanks Adam. More importantly, he reveals that only on PS4 will players be able to join in others playing Far Cry even if they don't own the game (only one copy will be necessary).
He then introduces the trailer for Sony's next (surprise again!) zombie-centered free roamer, "Dead Island 2."
Adam continues with debuting (for the second time today) the trailer for EA's "Battlefield: Hardline." More awkward jokes about grappling hooks and some news about "Disney Infinity's" add-ons lead into PlayStation's exclusive content for "Destiny." He promises unique weapons and missions for PS4 players, saying it will be "bigger and better" on the next-gen console.
Paradox Entertainment Studios is next up with their big reveal for "Magicka 2," coming to PS4. Poor Adam can't seem to give up his budding comedy career with more laughless jokes about Paradox's spelling of the title.
All is not lost, as Adam is privileged to reveal that Sony has exclusively secured the rights for a rerelease of Tim Schafer's masterpiece, "Grim Fandango." You're redeemed, Adam, keep up the good work.
Those worried about releases for next-gen may have relaxed a little more during this conference. Boyes plays a super-cut of several indie titles that are exclusively coming to PS4, including "Hotline Miami 2" and "Not a Hero," among many others.
Sony's Giant Squid studio then reveals their next work that is very much in the spirit of the PlayStation 3's "Journey," titled "Abzu." Not much was revealed concerning gameplay, but the brief trailer was visually stunning.
Adam closes out his comedy set with thanking the fans and playing an extended trailer for yet another Sony exclusive, "No Man's Sky." The preview was simply stunning, featuring colourful landscapes filled with dinosaurs and then flying to another planet in a spaceship, making me think it combines the best parts of "Jurassic Park" and "Star Wars." This of course means it's already my favourite game of all time.
Andrew House returns to the stage to introduce Sony's updated camera peripherals coming in the near future, and introduces SCEA's President and CEO, Shawn Layden.
Following this, Layden discusses a host of stats associated with the PSN online network, revealing crucial data like "how many times the share button has been pressed." Much more important news follows, as they announce YouTube will be officially implemented into the share feature in the coming future.
Additionally, Sony clearly sees the Free to Play model as a critical component to the console's future. They made a special point to announce their commitment to this model and announced several games that are coming to Sony's gaming ecosystem.
Following this, Layden drops one of the larger bombs of the evening, saying an open beta for Playstation Now, starting July 31st. The new streaming service will launch with a library of 100 games, and all that's required is a Sony device and a Dualshock 3 controller.
Not to forget about PS4's little brother, several titles for the PS Vita are announced, including Telltale Games' "Tales from the Borderland's." Past that announcement, and a mention of remote play, not much is said about the system.
Shawn follows with a "world premiere" of Mortal Kombat X's gameplay footage with far too much excitement to reveal what followed. Those who have played a fighting game since 1995 generally know what to expect.Two characters used brutal methods of punching, kicking, and slicing one another, only this time the next-gen graphics allowed for particle effects that really communicate that spine breaking or flesh ripping action. Other than the prettier gore, there wasn't much to be excited about.
Reluctantly acknowledging that we live in a world that doesn't only contain videogames, Andrew House discusses Sony's plans for television, movie, and comics (yes, comics) integration. Comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis comes onstage to announce that "Powers" will be available to Playstation Plus subscribers this December.
Andrew is once again back to provide a reveal a trailer for PS4's rerelase of "The Last of Us." Once again this wasn't exactly thrilling footage, as most of us have played through "TLOU" already, only to see slightly better looking textures and lighting effects.
It wouldn't be a Sony Press Conference without discussing "Metal Gear Solid" to some capacity, so Andrew House drops a new trailer for "Ground Zeroes."
In much more exciting news (for me personally anyway), the "MGS" trailer follows with a big reveal for "GTA V's" rerelease on PS4 this Fall. While there will be a few gameplay features, the trailer heavily featured landscapes just packed with populations of people and cars, making me think they are finally making full use of the PS4's added RAM over last-gen.
Sony closed out the conference with some cinematic footage from one of their largest IP installments, "Uncharted 4" and announced its release for 2015. A montage of what we just saw appeared on screen and that was that.
So we've seen a lot in the last two hours. I'm certainly walking out of this more excited than ever for next-gen. That being said, these games look great, but very little was given with respect to Sony's future timeline. I have no idea how many of these games will be hitting in 2014, or even 2015, meaning it may be a long time until there's enough incentive for casual gamers to make the shift to the latest and greatest in gaming. Lastly, a little more love for the fledging Vita would have been appreciated, and the limited coverage makes me question their commitment to the system. All things considered though, the future is bright.