Of late, Sony’s E3 press conferences are a little like buses. Still trying to remove the scars of that PS3 announcement in 2007, we’ve waited years for killer Sony E3s. Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Shenmue 3, Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian, Uncharted 4: Drake’s Deception: now the great times seem to be coming in a flurry. Actually less like buses and more like limousines. With an onboard bar and flat screen TV. And a PS4, obviously.
Sony’s E3 2016 showing is, once again, the one to beat. The pace was relentless; the usual preamble and nattering about company philosophy was all but sacrificed in favour of game after game after game. And then more games. Beyond a solemn nod to the victims of Orlando, brand new game announcements and updates came thick and fast, each bustling for more attention than the last in a veritable cacophony of PlayStation hype.
God of War
Kicking things off was a God of War reboot. Almost as surprising as a bearded Kratos is a new GoW game at all; 2013’s Ascension received a lukewarm reception. Here Kratos gets all fatherly as he teaches a young lad how to hunt. Along with some characteristically visceral punch ups of course.
The Last Guardian
Next up was a brief snippet of The Last Guardian. Once in development hell, Trico (the gargantuan bird/dog/giraffe thingy) is ready to swoop onto Sony screens October 25th. No further gameplay was shown….
The Last Guardian
But that was where Horizon: Zero Dawn came in, next up. Showing off some human on robot stealth gameplay, things look as if they’re shaping up very well in the post-Killzone days of Guerrilla Games.
More updates from Quantic Dream took the form of Detroit: Becoming Human. Fallout 4 fans will come for the existential ‘can robots be proper human types’ conundrum, and everybody else will stay for the deep, nuanced Cage choice-system. In the latest footage, we see a rogue android threatening to throw himself off a skyscraper with a young human girl, followed by the many and various other possible permutations of the event.
Virtual Reality is coming to PlayStation, and in a big way. Sony announced that 50 games would be coming to PSVR alongside its October 2016 launch. This includes newly revealed games like Resi 7: Biohazard, Far Point and a new Batman Arkham title, and VR-flavoured updates to existing games such as Star Wars Battlefront.
Call of Duty
After some new gameplay from the upcoming Final Fantasy XV — and a release date announcement of 30th September 2016 — came a distinctly po-faced, yet futuristic space scrapper. The FPS gunplay looked interesting and fast-paced, but the barrage of military jargon revealed the latest incarnation of Call of Duty. Infinity Warfare is out November this year, but the remastered Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is playable 30 days early on PS4 if you pre-order. You’ll still have to stump up the extra sterling for the posh collector’s editions mind.
Similarly to this time last year, Sony’s press conference got our nostalgia-counter in all a frenzy. Our favourite bandicoot is getting the current-gen treatment! Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios Shawn Layden confirmed that Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2 and Crash Bandicoot: Warped would be getting a fresh coat of PS4 paint.
Sony’s boundless fan service didn’t end there; gaming legend Hideo Kojima finally looks like he’s getting the love he deserves as he showed off his first game after hanging up his Konami boots. To rapturous applause, Kojima-san revealed Death Stranding. Starring Norman Reedus (of The Walking Dead fame), Stranding looks wonderfully weird as our starkers main character wanders about on a beach with deceased sea life and floating angel-thingies and… actually I can’t make head nor tail of it.
From lombaxes to superheroes, developer Insomniac are looking to round off a successful year (but whatever you do don’t mention the film) with a Spiderman title. Not much more than a brief teaser trailer featured in the latter stages of the conference, but there was plenty to stoke excitement from onlookers.
Closing the show was a new game announced in trailer form earlier on in the show, with more than a little of The Last of Us to it. Days Gone from Bend Studio amounted to a far weaker showing than previous finishers Sony have included before, notably including Uncharted 4 last year. It’s early days of course, but Days Gone is graphically unspectacular and it appears to do little of any intrigue with an increasingly stale post-apocalyptic, zombified setting.
Despite this minor misstep, Sony’s E3 2016 showing was exceptional, and everything PlayStation fans could possibly want. Without elongated, snore-inducing speeches, Sony threw everything, as well as numerous kitchen sinks, at their audience. Updates to triple-A IPs such as Horizon: Zero Dawn still impress and VR support looks strong, hitting all the right nostalgia notes in the process. Such an excellent show last year was always going to be tough to top, but the future is looking rosier than ever for the PlayStation Nation.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that all of the music was performed by a live orchestra. Because Sony. The whole live stream and each trailer from the show is available on the PlayStation YouTube channel