With Andrew House announcing that the Neo would not be appearing at E3, expectations would be that games and VR would take over Sony’s conference, and they did. While the middle of the conference dragged a bit and the whole thing ended with a whimper, there were enough major announcements to make any PlayStation fan ecstatic.
Sony did not hesitate to open the show with a lengthy demo for the new God of War (simply titled God of War). It shows an older Kratos with a son going out for a hunt. The game looks gorgeous both technically and artistically in motion. It was also nice to not see mindless angry Kratos yelling at anything and everything. The demo even played with this showing a meter rising as Kratos was growing impatient only for him to take a deep breath and calm down. The combat looked a little stilted, but the camera is more reminiscent of a third person action game than a God of War game. It also seems to have a more open environment with notifications of Kratos discovering new areas.
Next up was Bend Studio’s new game Days Gone which at first looked so similar to The Last of Us that it I thought Naughty Dog handed over development. It seems to center around a motorcycle gang in a zombie apocalypse with a very serious The Last of Us-esque tone. The trailer was fine and I am a big Sam Witwer fan who is the lead actor and likeness for the main character. For those of you who don’t know, he is the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars: Rebels and was also the main character in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. But it didn’t look like anything you haven’t seen before.
After a brief trailer for The Last Guardian with a release date of October 25th, another in-depth demo of Horizon: Zero Dawn was shown. It showed the main character Aloy (voiced by the amazing Ashly Burch) hacking some of the mechanical robots to ride them and fight what seemed to be a boss. The game still looks fantastic and it can’t be released soon enough.
Following Guerilla Studio’s game was a clip for Quantic Dream’s Detroit. It threw us into a hostage situation where an android who had rebelled against his creators had killed several people and taken a small girl. The player character was also an android named Connor who was sent in to negotiate. As it progressed, a bunch of different choices were shown of how to handle the situation and all of the different outcomes that could exist. If David Cage and his team could accomplish that for the whole game, it could be fantastic.
Next up was probably the biggest shock and surprise of the whole conference which was Resident Evil 7 announced to be completely playable from beginning to end in PS VR. I don’t think many people saw that coming. From then on were several trailers for PS VR games that look fine, but it’s difficult to show off VR without the headset on and the conference fell a little flat because of this. The trailers and demos ranged from good to “oh no” with Final Fantasy XV exemplifying that latter. The most important thing was the release date and price which are October 13th, 2016 at $399, respectively, which is a little bit more than I thought but still seemingly reasonable.
After this was a campaign demo for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare which looked awesome. It’s cool to hate on this franchise, and I’m personally not a huge fan, but credit where credit is due, this new game looks cool and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
The second to last big announcement was Hideo Kojima revealing a trailer for his new game, Death Stranding. It confirmed that Kojima is still working with Norman Reedus and that he comes up with some insane ideas. For example, Norman Reedus is naked, has some sort of mechanical umbilical cord to a baby that turns invisible and five floating figures are overseeing him beside numerous beached whales. It didn’t make any sense and is classic Kojima.
Finally was the reveal that Insomniac, and not Sucker Punch, is making a Spider-Man game which looks stellar. Watching the Marvel hero swing through New York gave me flashbacks to Spider-Man 2 for the original Xbox and how satisfying it was. With Insomniac at the helm, I have confidence for the plans they have in store.
The actual final showing was a demo of Days Gone which did not look great. Sure there were a lot of zombies on screen but the gameplay seemed dull and the AI must have been turned off as the undead bumped into the main character without attacking.
Overall, it was a strong conference. Between God of War, The Last Guardian, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Detroit, Resident Evil 7 and Spider-Man, it looks like the PS4 will become a much more interesting console than it has been up until now.