2015 was an interesting year for Sony. While their sales lead over the competition continued to grow, they ended the year with somewhat of a whimper as their major holiday game, Uncharted 4, was delayed into 2016 and nothing really took its place in the release calendar. Thankfully, their massive install base and strong third party lineup helped the company weather the storm and into the promise of 2016.
As expected, this year has already started off with a bang propelled by the previously mentioned Uncharted 4, the wonderfully re-imagined Ratchet & Clank, the exclusive Street Fighter V, and the continued success of third party titles like Destiny. With even more interesting things on the horizon such as PlayStation VR and rumors running wild prior to the event, gamers expected big things from Sony.
So how did Sony do? Were they more interested in resting on their sizable lead or push the envelope to continue their sales dominance? Lets have a look!
An Epic Opening With Kratos
What an opening!
Sony opened their show with a live orchestra playing what sounded like a score from an epic movie soundtrack. Of course, it ultimately turned out to be the constantly rumored God of War game and boy did it leave an impression.
The live game play demo showed a much older Kratos, teaching his son how to survive in the wilderness. The tone of the game already appears to be wildly different, focusing more on atmosphere and setting rather than constant violent action. With that said, combat appears to be in a similar vein to previous titles, only this time Kratos lacks his Blades of Chaos and instead has a magically enhanced bearded axe. With the aid of his son, Kratos tapped into the familiar rage and managed to take down a large troll.
There’s still a ton we don’t know about this Norse inspired take on God of War, but it appears to have a lot of interesting and new ideas going on and I for one can’t wait to see more on it.
Days Gone Part 1
An atmospheric post apocalyptic game featuring zombie type enemies, I wasn’t expecting this game at all. It has a Last of Us kind of vibe only with more combat options. For now, only a trailer introduced the game, but don’t worry, Sony has more in store later on.
The Last Guardian Confirms Its Date
A new trailer for the oft delayed Last Guardian appeared showing off more game play moments, but the big reveal is that this one is finally going to launch on October 25. Finally.
Surprisingly though, no live demo was shown off, which I was totally expecting to see.
Horizon: Zero Dawn Feature
Arguably the showpiece for Sony this year, the beautiful and compelling looking Horizon: Zero Dawn took a big chunk of show time. And rightfully so. This year, a new game play segment showing off more of the fragments of humanity left in the world. The main character Aloy hunted down these crab like robots in order to obtain the cargo crates they carried which she planned to use to craft explosive arrows.
A dialogue wheel not too far from what BioWare has perfected in the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games appeared during a conversation with another character in the world as well.
In addition to the large looking map and lush vistas, a new robot type called the Corrupter was also shown off, with Aloy having to destroy it before it could wipe a settlement.
Detroit: Become Human Reveal
David Cage and Quantic Dream’s next project was also revealed in the form of Detroit: Become Human. An android known as Connor is dispatched to a rooftop to confront another robot who has taken a girl hostage. The trick here is that the exchange and eventual outcome can be changed based on how much detective work was done prior to this confrontation, with most dialogue options having significant benefits or consequences on the direction and eventual outcome. Like most of their games, there appears to be a huge amount of branching options that will shift the narrative.
Resident Evil 7 Surprise
Well, that was creepy.
I have to hand it to Capcom, they fooled the majority of people watching. What started out as a home footage looking first person horror game, revealed the Resident Evil VII logo at the end. The creepy footage depicted a person walking through a delapidated house, complete with freaky mannequins, weird noises, and some gross looking things. No zombies quite yet, but this is a Resident Evil game, so don’t be surprised to see some infected individuals between now and it’s release in January.
Virtual Reality Showcase
PlayStation VR stands as a major investment for Sony, so naturally, part of their show was devoted to selling people on the product. To that end, they called upon some big franchises to help, showing off Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing Mission, Batman Arkham VR, and Final Fantasy 15 to name a few. People love options, and those picking up the hardware will have 50 launch titles ready to go.
In addition to some big name software, Sony also reaffirmed the price ($399) and the release date (October 13).
The Annual Call of Duty Gameplay Reveal
As expected, Call of Duty was on hand to show off the first campaign game play from this year’s title. For Infinite Warfare, the main character is aboard a star ship, walking through corridors in a familiar guided experience that Call of Duty cut scenes are known for. When the action kicks off, the traditional first person shootering is met with high action moments, including a section where the player jumps into a fighter ship and participates in a space dogfight. Gravity altering grenades, zero-g environments, and vertical movement appear to be big game play staples added to this year’s game as well.
Not to be forgotten, another new trailer for Modern Warfare Remastered was also shown off at the end of the demo. Raven Software has seemingly done a remarkable job updating the lighting and graphics from the almost 10 year old game.
Crash Bandicoot Returns…sort of
Linked to a furious amount of rumors prior to E3, Sony revealed that their original mascot was indeed coming back…kind of. With the orchestra playing a familiar Crash Bandicoot theme, Sony revealed that a remastered version of the first three games is being developed and the character is coming to Skylanders Imaginators this October as well.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer
Next up, a new trailer showing some iconic moments from The Force Awakens in LEGO form was shown off with the reveal of a demo being now available for download on the PS4 displayed at the end.
Kojima and Norman Reedus Are Back Together
The big surprise this year was Hideo Kojima coming out on stage to show off the very first trailer for the now official game from Kojima Productions known as Death Stranding. In typical Kojima fashion, the trailer was super weird featuring a naked and crying Norman Reedus clutching a baby that he’s tethered to along with dead crabs, whales, and fish. Couple that with inky hand prints and five mysterious figures in the sky and you have one stylish if not confusing trailer.
With Silent Hills long since dead and the two reuniting for another project, can we give them a cute couple nickname this time? How about Kojeemus or Rejima.
Insomniac and Spider-Man
The rumored Spider-Man game was finally revealed at this point, but the big surprise for me was that it is Insomniac, not Sucker Punch working on the game. While the game is still a long ways off, the trailer already revealed a gorgeous New York along with a very acrobatic, flashy, and fluid Spider-Man as he webslings around the city and takes the fight to the bad guys. It’s clear that Insomniac has done their Spider-Man homework on this one and I for one cannot wait to see more.
Days Gone Part 2
The second part of the Days Gone reveal came at this point in the form of a lengthy game play demo. Here we see our biker looking protagonist strapped with an assault rifle entering what appears to be an abandoned camp. As it turns out, he’s looking for a missing person, who he finds while running into a creepy zombie looking person. Before long, a swarm of undead come running their way as they run towards a warehouse. What struck me most about this demo is how fluid and terrifying the zombie swarm looks. I can’t say much about the title, but it has my attention for how it combines the atmosphere of a game like The Last of Us and meshes it with a more combat-centric third person shooter.
No Vita Love
Same as last year really as the handheld system was again largely ignored. These days, it’s not much of a surprise, but I’m sure it still hurts for those of you who bought in.
An Abrupt End
I don’t know about you but did anyone else think the show came to an end rather abruptly? I was surprised when the show just ended, it felt like there was supposed to be something else, but Sony cut things short. I could be off on it, but
In my opinion, Sony had the best conference out of the bunch, but it wasn’t by such a wide margin as it was last year. Sony once again had another stellar show, doubling down on the PS4 and the great upcoming lineup of first party and exclusive games coming for the hugely popular system.
Even though there weren’t as many “megaton” surprises and announcements like there were last year, Sony went big with a live orchestra, some very cool reveals like God of War and Insomniac’s Spider-Man game, along with some old school fan appreciation announcements like the Crash Bandicoot remasters.
The showcase also gave significant time to Horizon: Zero Dawn and the newly revealed Days Gone which I think was a very smart idea because both games look fantastic.
While Microsoft continues to focus on the software and bridging the gap between the PC and Xbox crowds, Sony, at least, has a solid plan for the back half of this year, unlike 2015 where they kind of just let it pass by after Uncharted 4 was delayed. Sony has positioned themselves for continued success into the back half of 2016 and early 2017, and I don’t see them slowing down one bit. Sony fans should be pretty happy right about now.