Ok confession. I usually don’t bother with Sony events. I switched from Playstation to Xbox in 2008 and never looked back. Until now.
Sony’s presentation at E3 has caused quite a flutter on the interwebs. So I thought I would check it out and see what all this fuss was about.
The show opened with a giant montage of games. Games of everything, calm, loud, driving, casual, Mickey Mouse, houses blowing up, magic, dramatic music and guns. It was exciting and confusing all at the same time! They promised us games and it looked like they will deliver.
They opened with the statistic that there are 1 billion gamers world-wide. Sony are now claiming that they have games for all of us. They even thanked us for playing games and providing the inspiration and drive for their careers. Squee, I am so easily flattered.
But now onto the Vita, in its second year of existence. Sony outlined how there are 125 Vita dedicated games, and 650 games in total if you count retro and arcade titles. Indie and smaller devs are being enticed to develop for the platform in particular. Before the end of the year 85 more titles will be added to the library including Batman, Counter Spy, Destiny of Spirits, Doki Doki Universe, Killzone, and Tearaway. Retro gamers will be delighted as God of War HD one and two, as well as Final Fantasy X and X2, Flower and Detonation will all be added soon.
The Vita will even have the new Walking Dead Episode, 400 days, in a new bundle coming in August.
This really shows Sony’s commitment to their portable device. They are investing heavily and there is no sign of it becoming defunct like the PSP. Interestingly they also promised co-ordination with the PS4 as a companion device.
Not really game news but Netflix, Skype and YouTube are all accessible on the Vita.
This year will be the 7th holiday season that the PS3 is available and Sony promised that they are as committed as ever to producing great games for the platform. To demonstrate this we were treated to another list of games to get excited over.
The Last of Us.
Ok if you haven’t heard of this game you must have been living under a rock. It has been getting stellar reviews and it has been giving me serious console envy over the past few weeks. Made by Naughtydog, it is the highest rated game across all the Playstation platforms. An action-adventure, survival horror game you fight zombie like killers, gangs of dangerous humans and protect those you care about most in the forsaken world. It is dark, edgy, gorgeous to look at and you get to use a bow and arrow. It has a great mix of story and action. A real gem.
This is a platformer where you play a boy who was turned into a puppet and then has his head torn off. Fight your enemies with a pair of magic scissors named Calibrus to regain your head. Yes really. Magnificent stuff. It is a beautifully colourful game and it is a refreshing change to the ream of FPS at E3.
The story of an invisible boy who can only be seen when standing under running water. Discover a hidden invisible world as you try to find your way home. It seemed like such as beautiful, sad game with subtle charm. Again it is a really unique concept and I am very interested in trying it out, piano music and all.
Beyond: Two Souls
Starring Ellen Paige and Willam Defoe, Beyond: Two Souls is a game about an assassin who is sent to the desert to kill people. The trailer opened with Holmes kicking ass, fighting, training and learning about being a secret agent. I don’t usually like famous Hollywood actors in games, takes away the fantasy element for me, but this game still looked really cool.
Gran Turismo 6
Cars! In the desert! There are big solar panels! The game itself boasts new tire models, new suspension models, aerodynamics, adaptive tessellation, and a new rendering engine. Fans will be best pleased.
Sony decided to let us up for air at this point while they discussed how happy they were to be working with their partners. Then we were dipped right back into the games. Sony were planning on being relentless.
Batman Arkham Origins
This could also be called Batman Christmas in Arkham. There is snow, Christmas trees and Santa outfits (ok maybe not). There are bad guys offering 50 million dollars to kill Batman. It doesn’t look like much new but fans of Arkham City and Arkham Asylum will very much enjoy it.
For Sony gamers there is exclusive content in the form of a 1960s Batman outfit (yes!) and a Nightfall downloadable.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Light on detail about the game itself Sony just described their new exclusive bundle and GTA elite headset. They promised more information in the next few weeks.
Ending this part of the presentation Sony promised 300 titles to be released by the end of the year.
After the slagging they got at the launch Sony were hardly not going to show us the device this time. They distracted us with flashing screens with a blurry black box while a runner dashed onto the stage to hand it over. Then, there is was in its full glory. The designer even came on stage and gave a shy wave. It was all very exciting and the console does look great. Still a bit confused about why it didn’t show at launch but anyway! All is better now.
TV TV TV TV
Now I came down on Microsoft hard for this and Sony will not escape. I watch E3 for gaming not for TV. There is a time and a place for TV, not sure where and when, but my stubborn self thinks not at E3, for sure.
Sony described how the console is now a place for all of the Sony entertainment. Music, video unlimited, Sony pictures etc. As producers of content such as Community, Breaking Bad, Spiderman, Resident Evil and This is the End they announced more original content exclusive to PS4. They promised that this would be the type of content that gamers want.
Now I do not know what this could possibly be. Gamers are a diverse bunch and the only thing that we have in common is games. How Sony thinks it can predict a shared TV interest is beyond me. Games are the thing that link us together.
Anyway Sony stated that there are 150,000 TV shows to rent or buy and 20 million songs which can be streamed over Android, iPhone and Sony products. Sadly I do not think that my 6 year old Sony laptop is counted.
There are also apps, but what even is an app anymore?
World Wide Studios
Now back to the games. World Wide Studios were up next to talk all about how much they love social media as it allows them to connect with fans. Shuhei Yoshia even showed us his Twitter account. They love the Playstation, not just because they work for Sony, but because it allows developers both big and small to achieve their gaming dreams. See I told you it was a lovefest!
At the moment they have 30 PS4 titles in development with 20 of those to be released in the first year of the console’s launch.
At this point I have to ask what is with everyone calling games IP? I really don’t like it for some reason, it is all a bit cold, corporate and proprietary. Every presentation from Microsoft to EA to Ubisoft have done this. Maybe I missed the memo?
Described as a new imaginative title, if this concept works out, I will buy a Playstation. Set in London this is a Steampunk Action adventure. In the pipeline for years it was constantly delayed due to hardware limitations but now, no longer! There are carriages, ruffles, moustaches, top knots, shadowy monsters, secret orders of knights, cobble streets and guns, so many fabulous guns. You pay as an elite member of a group of knights and there are lady knights so I can get my fabulous on. I am excited.
After everyone ceased salivating over The Order, we were treated to an update on the four games announced in February.
Again there was a shout out to devs and Sony repeated how much they loved and respected the studios. Group hugs everyone while we sample the games.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
This game looked really pretty. Big cities on a sandy coastline, thick forest and ziplines to shoot from. I particularly liked the adorable drone which provided shield cover for you while you battled florescently armoured enemies. Also a FPS so hardcore folk should be kept happy.
Vroom, vroom. Drive Club offers rally cars, fancy tracks, cars crashing into each other and scratched paint jobs. Your insurers will not be pleased.
Rally cars, driving on trackers, smashing into each other, paint scratching
Infamous: Second Son
This trailer starts off a bit Bioshock Infinite. There is a giant bird and a cage spray painted on top. But luckily for us that is where the similarities stop and Infamous looks like a great game in its own right. It is the story of brothers with all the conversation and banter that you would expect. Except one of them has a secret which I will not keep. So the guy can shoot fire balls, flies up into the air, has a magic whip and it is all really fantastic looking. The way the body moves and falls is incredible. It is definitely one of those games that I am a little afraid of playing as it looks tough but will be absolutely worth it in the end.
So remember that Toblerone creature that we all laughed at during the launch? Well the smirk is gone from my face. This game looks great. There are creatures made of floating parts who can use those parts for movement, flight and of course fight. It is so pretty and it is a really creative idea. I can only imagine how tough it would be to programme so Toblerone creature, you have my respect.
All of these games will be available at launch, apart from Infamous: Second Son.
It’s just emotions taking me over
We laughed at the Toberlone creature and we also laughed at the man with the dreamy eyes. We should not be so quick to giggle. The PS4 is so fancy now that the studios have pumped loads of time and resources into making people look better and their emotions more believable. Subtly and lifelike changes are important now and this hardware was designed to help achieve the most realistic finish to date. Sony stated that they want to explore all types of story telling so getting this ingredient right is vital to the future development of games. I agree, I mean do you remember how hideous this was?
To demonstrate this hard work a clip from Quantic Dream’s The Dark Sorcerer was shown. Running in real time on the PS4 I was very curious about how it would pan out.
There he was, the old man with the dreamy eyes.
The visuals were just excellent. Everything was so clear and crisp. His flowing hair, wrinkling skin, shouty mouth and of course the eyes were wonderfully done. Then he starts with the spells and winds pick up and fire balls flow.Then there is a twist but I am saying nothing. Go and watch it yourself, it is bloody brilliant!
If all the love given out earlier wasn’t enough you are now in for a treat! Here Sony decided to show case new, and old, talent. These are small/indie devs and Sony restated their commitment to supporting this type of creativity. Spreading the love they said that they were amazed and inspired by these smaller teams. It is enough to make one blush.
They are also allowing devs to self-publish in the Sony marketplace. How bloody cool is that? Now they can go direct to fans and we can discover some great new creativity and talent. This is winning.
First up was Supergiant Games and their first game for a console, Transistor. It was very cute how they spoke about starting of in a Dad’s living room with their buddies and now they are on stage at E3. The game looked very cool. Red is the heroine and she is running around like a mad thing in a comic book like world fighting robots. It is colourful, refreshing and very entertaining.
It is an open ended, randomly generated adventure. Death lurks at every adorable corner.
A side scrolling retro throw back, Tribute Games are kicking ass with this title. It is vintage fun without the vintage headaches.
There is a mad looking jelly man and you have to navigate the world like you have no bones. It looks so wrong but is so right. Also he is wearing a suit. This is just wonderful.
Did you finish Red Dead Redemption and mourn the lack of spaghetti western games? Live in sadness no longer and enjoy this shooter/fighter and wear the much maligned poncho with pride.
Ray’s the Dead
This is stealth action puzzler. You raise a cute little zombie army to help find out why you were killed. Just the right mix of tragic and squee.
This is a first person terror fest. It is dark, grainy and danger lurks around every menacing corner. Approach with no hot liquids in your hands.
Ok so what else can I say other than “ok follow me”. Lorne Lanning got a huge cheer as he is such a pioneering badass. It brought back so many memories of early gaming fun.
A crazy looking space shooter side scroller there are colours, explosions, chaos and happiness. In Spaaaace.
What was really nice was that Sony put one of the devs from each game onto the stage to play their own games. Sony then praised each company, detailing a bit about their backgrounds and why they wanted this game. It is great to showcase talent like this and it definitely exposed me to games that I never would have hear of otherwise. +10 for oureach, +20 for clever PR.
But if you like ‘em big you have nothing to fear.Sony promised the big guns and they gave us a taste of what we could expect including exclusive content for Diablo 3.
Final Fantasy XV
Ok so they did not tell us that this was Final Fantasy and it was not imminently apparent. Yes there were mad looking characters with crazy hair but the cartoonish atmosphere was missing. These guys looked like retro FF characters if they came to life. As a result it had a much darker atmosphere.
The city showcased was stunning. Big sky-scrapers and glorious cathedral like buildings surrounds by an azure lake. It looked incredible. It seemed to have a bit of everything fighting, magic, robots, space ships, dragons, ogres and magic crystals. I do wonder if it isn’t all a little too much but we may just wait and see.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Dear Lord I love this series and I cannot be more excited that it is coming back to console. There is the old team with all of the memories. Rumour has it that newer Disney franchises are being considered. Wall-E, yes, any Marvel feckers, no.
Assassins Creed:Black Flag
For more info see the Ubisoft post. You can also play as Aveline in Assassins Creed III on Vita.
So you are a pirate trained assassin and here we were treated to a live action section. The video stream kept pausing unfortunately but it did not take away from the gameplay.
It opens in a pirate scene. There is drinking, scaring folk, fires, merriment and dancing. You then slip off into the jungle. There are animals sounds, birds taken off, babbling streams and lush greenery. Loads to cover your assassin ways.
Then you kill some folk and boom canons attack. You go from sneaking through the undergrowth to running through canon fire, exploding barrels, and screams of pirates. You run, dash over planks before jumping, landing on a ship, grabbing the wheel and sailing into battle.
Then the fight!
Check out the Ubisoft for more information.
The idea of Watch Dogs is that you can hack anything. Your smart phone/gadget controls them and you then make decisions on what to do based on the information that you receive. They promise you can play any way you like as you roam Chicago.
The game play demo we were treated to a quest helping your friend escape from an apartment. We got to see the hacking of phones, security cameras, stereos, cars, lights and barriers. There was also a little bit of violence, non-lethal and lethal.
Also if you have a friend they can join in on a tablet to help you escape. Very cool.
The more I see of this game the more I am looking forward to it. If it delivers what it promises it will be class.
This was introduced by LeBron James talking to his digital self and giving himself attitude. It was quite funny and I am sure fans will love it.
The Elder Scrolls Online
So I adore Bethesda. When I hear they were making this MMO I was filled with dread as I would never leave the house ever again. In a way I was thankful that it was on PC as I can’t play on PCs for long lengths of time. Then boom, they are on console and I can never escape Tamriel.
It looks brilliant and I cannot wait to get cracking fighting Oblivion. I also really, really want to be able to visit the Shivering Isle once more. The Beta is exclusive to Playstation.
An almost dead body is smeared on the road. An army man gets out of a car. The half-dead man asks the army man to kill him. The army man checks his gun and there is only one gun. He walks away and the man cries out. Then the army man drives over him and puts him out of his misery. Mad Max.
The Crowd goes wild.
Here is when the crowd went mental. The CEO announced, no new restrictions on used games, CHEERS, you can trade in games, CHEERS, you can sell games, CHEERS, lend them, CHEERS or keep them forever, CHEERS.
No need to connect online, WILD CHEERS.
No online authentication, no online check in, no ceasing of service if you don’t check in every 24 hours, MOAR CHEERS.
There is cross game voice chat, ability to play while downloading and live streaming. PS+ membership will carry over to PS4 and there are free titles available for subscribers each month.
The CEO grinned and said that Sony wants to be the best gaming network.
Oh Sony you cheeky, clever people. They are totally playing off the anger directed at Microsoft. In a way I have to admire their PR cleverness but I have to ask, who does this really help? I don’t really want a big console war with one victor. I want companies to be straightforward and tell me what they are offering and let me decide for myself where my euros go.
The grand finale. A game set in a wilderness littered with rusted cars and skeletons. A spaceship rises on the horizon and we see armoured figured with guns.
The adventure begins beside a giant, ruined wall. The player stands there and then a friend appears and they start waving to each other. This is a co-op open world adventure.
This game was beautiful, the scenery, the weapons, the armour, the sets. It had a feeling of Fallout if the universe was full of Quarians.
Then the centre piece occurred. A giant boss battle spawned, ships and giant robots. Everyone online bailed in and fought together to kick ass.
This is all made possible by Gaikai cloud computing.
Finally they announced the price, $399, €399, €349. Before you all start cheering just bear in mind, as Patrick our contributor points out, their games are a lot more expensive than the Xbox. So long term it may cost you more if you go for the cheaper base price/protest purchase.
However they did end with a cheeky promise. Sony promised to trust their consumers, trust them with ownership and they promised to prove themselves to us. Who can fight against all the Sony lovefest?