Sony has had one hell of a run with their last few E3 conferences. It seems the time has come for that run to pace down to something of a jog. This year’s E3 has been a bit of an odd one. There have been mixed responses from fans across the board to everyone’s press conferences (apart from perhaps Nintendo who absolutely knocked it out of the park). Of course, consistent quality builds high expectations from fans. This no doubt, is why Sony’s conference felt a little less punchy than in previous years. That said, looking back at E3’s past, it used to be more of a trade show for the press and industry folk to get into.
In the last 5 or so years it has transcended from that corporate tinged showcase to become a place of geek fandom where platform holders battle it out to take gamers money. Back in the day it was common place to show some slides with some financial reports from the last year of trading. The ‘old Sony’ (pre PS4 sony) used to be kinda bad at their presentations and messaging (wonder book for PlayStation move anyone?!). More often that not you would get a conference that had shades of brilliance. Then some really odd moves that sapped all the energy out the room. This year was nothing like that. Still it also wasn’t as good as the last 2 years where Sony blew the doors off and went for broke.
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Where Are The New Games?
There was a lot to be happy about, Spider-Man looks amazing, as does Days Gone both of which got some great in game action and kept the hype alive. God Of War with it’s brutal combat and potentially maturer feel really has a chance to be an incredible game too. All 3 of those games though, like many others at Sony’s E3 conference had already been announced over the last year. leaving very few big reveals or surprises. They all looked fantastic and I can’t wait to get my hands on them, which I suppose begs the question; What am I complaining about?
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The main problem for me was the level of expectation I’ve developed after multiple fantastic years of Sony at E3. Certainly not helped by Sony’s slight change of tactic recently, having developed something of a bad habit of announcing games way before they’ll release. Leading to hype burn out after years of trailers (Death Stranding being a prime example). This year was a little too much of a tease here, tease there. Content we already know about and whilst it’s great to see more about games we want, us gamers are impatient. We want new games and we want them now.
Big Surprises In The Near Future?
With any luck this E3 suggests that Sony is working hard on correcting course. Ensuring the next time we hear from them we’ll be getting solid release dates for these games. This, of course, means we got a conference like this one where we have more extended looks at known games without a look at fresh titles. With many other developers tightening up their announcement and launch cycles It’d be fantastic to have Sony firing on all cylinders too. Announcing great new games with launch windows under a year away.
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I am probably more negative than I should be. Sony still has the momentum. They still managed to pull together a slick conference of back to back game trailers with absolutely no filler. They crammed game after game into their 60 minutes. Never straying from their message of being ‘All about the games’ (a message that Xbox really adopted this year too). Destiny 2 got a whole load of hype, helping to build the competitive gaming scene on PlayStation.
PSVR too, got a healthy amount of stage time which is great because Sony has been known to lets its peripherals go out to pasture. Sony is trailblazing VR on the console scene though and this seems to have really helped drive some impetus for them to deliver consistent PSVR content. Speaking of PSVR content, the titles revealed looked really cool, ‘The Inpatient’ looks terrifying and Skyrim VR will get a lot of people talking.
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The Remake Trend Continues!
There was one surprise moment which came in the form of a PS4 remake for Shadow Of The Colossus, which really was a surprise and was a much needed ‘oh snap’ moment. There were some notable absences from this conference too though, no The Last Of Us Part 2 (which is not a huge surprise) and no Death Stranding (again a very good thing, they need to go dark now on the media). No Dreams either. Which given its already long development time might be a sign that it’s safe to assume the game is in trouble.
Most surprisingly though there was no new game from developer Sucker Punch. Maybe Sony are keeping the reveal for PSX? Or maybe it is simply not ready to show at all? This would be surprising though as it has been 4 years since their last game released. Hopefully the absence of a few titles is a sign we will get the ‘here is the game, you can play it soon’ model. Or it could be that game development is fucking hard and these games are just very ambitious.
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There was no release day for ‘Detroit Become Human’ either which is a little frustrating but I would prefer a good game from David Cage than a rushed one. The conference did have it’s flaws as I’ve mentioned. Still, in the end it did a good job of allowing people to have a closer look at some sweet looking games. As usual there is not much coming out this year first party wise but next year is looking pretty sweet.
It’s Still A Good Time To Be A Gamer
I have this feeling that if Sony held back on The Last Of Us Part 2 trailer rather than showing it at PSX 2016 then this conference would have been a killer. That all being said it’s a great time to be a gamer. It’s a really good time to be a PlayStation gamer in particular. For this writer I’m just happy we are no longer stuck with the old cocky Sony of the late PS2 to early PS3 era. Now they show true appreciation for their fans with fantastic content.
Jake Buchanan | @hdd_heart