E3 2015: Sony Press Conference Recap/Review

With Sony continuing to forge ahead of the competition with the PlayStation 4, many fans were wondering what would be awaiting them this year at E3. 2014 saw the high profile first party releases of games like inFamous Second Son, The Last of Us Remastered, Driveclub, and LittleBigPlanet 3 though the later two launched with unforeseen issues which have since been resolved.

playstation e3 2015

With The Order 1886 stumbling with critics and many gamers alike, and Bloodborne reinvigorating the fanbase, the constant question of ‘what’s next’ kept appearing especially with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End getting bumped into 2016. With fans expecting Sony to whip out the big guns, I don’t think anyone was ready for the bombs Sony was preparing to drop on the audience this night.

So how did Sony do? Did they rest on their laurels this year or push forward in their fight for dominance? Lets have a look!

Announcements
The Last Guardian awakens
Talk about opening the show with a bang! The game that has become the butt of jokes due to it’s insanely long and troubled development was finally re-revealed to the public. While I still have no idea what the game is about outside of a kid and a giant bird dog thing, there’s no denying the game has charm and looks great. With a 2016 date applied to it, many fans are wondering if we’re finally looking at a legit release window for this one. Time will tell.

Horizon: Zero Dawn Impresses
While being known as the Killzone studio, Guerrilla Games took to the stage this year to introduce something completely different. The gameplay demo opened with a shot of the world after mankind had fallen. It reminded me a bit of Enslaved where the world population was made up of robots and nature was starting to reclaim the landscape. It was really impressive looking. The demo cut to this female warrior, armed with a bow who went out to hunt these robot creatures. Soon enough, she ran into this massive T-Rex looking robot and a major battle ensued. The fight and animations were spot on and this game quickly vaulted up my “holy crap, I need to see more of this” list.

Hitman
Square Enix was up next and showed off a new CG trailer for a new Hitman game called…Hitman. It featured hitman Agent 47 doing all the killing and skulking fans have come to expect through out this long running series. Apparently, the PlayStation 4 is getting an exclusive beta and missions as well.

Street Fighter V
The PC and PS4 exclusive fighter also had a new trailer for fans showing off a train station stage and adding Cammy and Birdie to the roster as well. Not only that stress tests and betas are coming soon to PS4 players.

No Man’s Sky Gameplay
The game that seemingly has everyone excited, finally showed off some actually live gameplay and boy is it ambitious. When Sean Murray pulled the camera back to show just how massive this space is, it’s almost mind blowing. Every light in a galaxy represents a sun, each with their own planets revolving around them and then each planet has it’s own ecology. Feeling brave, he warped to a random planet somewhere in space and landed to explore. This planet didn’t have any alien life on it, but after destroying some property on the planet to gain resources, a giant security mech landed to hunt him down. It doesn’t sound nearly as impressive just written like this, so go check out the demo to see for yourself.

Dreams
Media Molecule was up next, and if you know these developers, then you know you’re going to get something wildly creative. Even with that knowledge, I don’t think anyone was ready for their next project: Dreams. This title (game?) allows players to use the motion control in the Dualshock 4 controller to create living 3D drawings. By using in game tools players can create and animate art, and even create entire scenes which look like trippy claymation sequences. I don’t know how I feel about this project but there’s no denying that it’s super cool.

Firewatch
This Campo Santo project came up next with a new trailer and the announcement that it’s hitting PlayStation 4 first.

Destiny’s New Expansion
Bungie took the time to announce it’s next major expansion is called The Taken King and is coming in September. The expansion adds in new content, a new story, new gear, and new subclasses. While it’s launching on all platforms at the same time, PlayStation users will be getting exclusive (timed) content similar to last year when the core game launched.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate News
Ubisoft liked to spread the love around, giving Microsoft Rainbow Six and The Division and giving Sony the next Assassin’s Creed game. A new trailer was shown off, this time for the other playable character, Evie Frye. The segment concluded with exclusive missions coming first to the PlayStation 4.

World of Final Fantasy
I mean…yeah, it’s a chibi style Final Fantasy game. I don’t know what else to say here besides: Not interested.

Final Fantasy VII is Back
While the previous trailer may have disappointed Final Fantasy fans, this one sure made up for it. One of the longest requested games to be remade is finally happening. I don’t think fans were ready for this impressive trailer. Cheers could be heard for miles when the title was finally revealed at the end.

Devolver Showcase
To help bring down the heart rate to normal levels, Sony showed off a slew of cool looking indie titles coming from Devolver Digital including Mother Russia Bleeds and EITR. Next came another shocker…

Shenmue 3 Kickstarter
Wanting to give fans a third heart attack that night, Sony brought out famed Shenmue developer Yu Suzuki to reveal that he’s launching a Kickstarter to help fund Shenmue 3, a game that has been sought after by fans for years. Considering that fact, the Kickstarter cleared it’s goal in a scant 9 hours.

Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer
Rocksteady revealed a new trailer showing some things that happened after the events of Arkham City and then putting players in the first person shoes of Officer Owens. Unfortunately for him, he met up with the Scarecrow and proceeded to lose his mind.

Project Morpheus News
This is the point where I figured things would bog down as Sony would show off the product for a good 20 minutes. Nope, Sony decided that wasn’t the best use of it’s time.  Instead, Andrew House took to the stage to quickly announce that Morpheus would allow up to four players to play together and showed how it would work with Guerrilla Cambridge’s new title RIGS.

Call of Duty Goes To PlayStation
With the Microsoft contract up, Activision has switched sides and now PlayStation fans will be getting a 30 day exclusive window on upcoming BLOPS 3 map packs. Gameplay for Black Ops 3 was also shown off and based on the reactions online, it seems this was the low point in the show for Sony. While I wasn’t blown away by the gameplay either, it’s interesting to see that sort of talk online considering how well these games sell year after year.

Disney Infinity 3.0 News
The big announcement here was that multiple Star Wars playsets are coming to Disney Infinity 3.0. Fans would grab a PS4 bundle with Infinity will get these playsets a month early in addition to a pretty cool looking Boba Fett figure for the game.

Star Wars Battlefront Missions Gameplay
In keeping with the Star Wars theme, the Missions mode was shown off for Star Wars Battlefront. The demo, in which Admiral Ackbar is commanding you and the troops, gave off a “horde” vibe if I’m being honest as the player was tasked with defending various points from attacking enemies. This mode can be played solo or with friends.

Uncharted 4 Closes The Show 
For many, Sony saved the best for last. Unfortunately, technical issues struck at the beginning of the gameplay demo, making for an awkward (yet hilarious social commentary online) couple of minutes before the switch was flipped and the demo got under way. Once the gameplay ball got rolling, Naughty Dog once again floored the audience with a stellar segment showing Drake and Sully trying to escape a heavily militarized vehicle persuing them through a sort of shanty town. The gameplay was both thrilling and exciting as Drake navigated the jeep through back alleys, through objects in the street, and capping it off with a death defying dive under a bridge. If this is Nathan Drake’s final voyage, Naughty Dog looks to be going out with a bang.

Disappointments/Concerns
No Vita Love
While it doesn’t affect me too much, many Vita fans are probably feeling a bit dejected as the handheld system was largely ignored. There were no new announcements or big news items for the overlooked system this year.

The Long Wait
With Andrew House previously admitting that Sony doesn’t have a big lineup of games coming this year in the wake of Uncharted 4 getting bumped to 2016, the majority of what Sony revealed is scheduled for next year. While the games look fantastic, fans will have a long wait ahead of them, making the show somewhat of a big tease. A fantastic looking tease.

Overall: A-
Some of you may be crying foul here, so let me explain.

After seeing how strong Microsoft flew out of the gates and knowing that Sony is struggling to fill the hole left by Uncharted 4, I expected them to come out and have a good show marred by a number of slowdowns. Boy was I wrong because Sony had another stellar show.

They dropped a huge nostalgia bomb on fans, revealing three long sought after projects in The Last Guardian, a Final Fantasy VII remake, and bringing Yu Suzuki out to reveal a Shenmue 3 kickstarter, which went on to shatter funding records. It’s like, the three things fans have been screaming for has finally been answered.

Not content to stop there, Sony also showed off new IPs like Horizon Zero Dawn, No Man’s Sky and Dreams and mixed them with fan favorites like Uncharted 4 and other popular third party games. It really was an impressive show, even if not all of the content appealed to me.

So why the A-? Well, as great as their lineup looked, the majority of this first party stuff won’t be available until well into 2016 which acts kind of like a wet blanket. Sure, all of this stuff looks like something I want to play, but knowing I have a long while to wait for a lot of it, is definitely disappointing.

While Sony is going to have to weather 2015 with third party titles, there’s no denying that they’ve set themselves up to have a massive year in 2016. I can’t wait to see more.

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2 Responses to E3 2015: Sony Press Conference Recap/Review

  1. C. T. Murphy says:

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but I am not a big fan of the “they showed nothing for this year” argument overall. The year is already half done. I want to know that the long-term ownership of my platform is in good hands and I want to be excited for the next year. They did just that.

    My year is already booked, as is, and nothing will overcome getting Fallout 4 or finally playing The Witcher 3 or the Pillars of Eternity expansion or a myriad of other titles I still have to play.

    I would’ve loved one big release, sure, but I also will have Tearaway Unfolded, God of War 3, and the Uncharted Collection to mull over buying too. I think it is a solid year for PS4 ownership, though maybe not if you were a hardcore PS3 fan before.

    • That’s fair, though my angle was more of first party titles from Sony or it’s studios. To that end, they really don’t have much coming. Sure, there’s always third party titles and those remastered versions of previously released games, but it’s the big exclusives that really put a focus on a particular console. Microsoft has them beat on that end for this year.

      My guess is that Sony will be partnering up for exclusive content on a lot of the big AAA fall titles this year.

      Either way, 2016 will definitely be a great year for PS4 owners.

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