"Holy moses." That's all I can say. You know that card of "bank error in your favor" in Monopoly and Uncle Pennybags is reeling backwards in surprise? That image perfect sums up this presser out of Sony. The 2nd of the "Big 3" press events (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo), Sony came in running a stark counter to Microsoft whom presented a significantly more focused hardware leaning presentation. Sony brought the games to the show. They didn't just bring the games, they brought tears to many people's eyes and screams of joy.
With Sony's press conference this year, they went with a tried and true method of handling a presser; talk about the games. There was very little focus in their presentation in regards to hardware (although Project Morpheus was mentioned). They opened up the show with a title that has been harder to pin down than what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. From there, they followed up with sure-fire winners and huge surprises that drew gasps of exasperation from the crowd and viewers at home. If you want to get the gamer's attention, you do it through a strategy that always works; the games to come that make your hardware worth owning.
Let's take a look at what Sony brought to the table!
The Last Guardian
Release Date: 2016
Pulling exactly zero punches, Sony opened up their floor show with a game that has been trapped in development hell for years, The Last Guardian. Considered by many to be a part of the "Ico Trilogy" of games (Ico and Shadow of the Colossus comprising the other two), The Last Guardian was originally slated for release on the PlayStation 3. With a series of problems tripping up development, Sony went dark on this title for a while and it was believed that the game was cancelled for a long while. Opening up the show with this title drew an impressive reaction from the crowd, and it was good to see that the third in a series of series that has touched many a gamer over the previous generations will finally come to fruition on the PlayStation 4.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Release Date: 2016
A brand new IP from the developers of the Killzone franchise (often dubbed as Sony's answer to Halo), this one really caught people's attention. An action RPG of sorts, what really caught people's attention and reactions from what I watched was the post-apocalyptic tribal vibe... with robot dinosaurs. Yes, I said robot dinosaurs. The gameplay that was shown would definitely seem to familiar to folks who played Capcom's Dragon's Dogma and was very well received by the crowd.
Street Fighter V
Release Date: March 2016
The granddaddy of all fighting games came back to show its face since its previous announcement. In a bold move, Capcom is making Street Fighter V exclusive to the PS4 console wise, with a PC port as well. Not to just let people linger in anticipation, Capcom promised a beta for the game will be coming along July 23rd, which is incredibly exciting. When it comes to fighting games there is no better group to let you know what's up with your game than the fighting game community.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Release Date: TBA
I think one would be hard-pressed to find a bigger announcement out of E3 this year. A remake that has been requested for so long that it is more or less video game legend, Square Enix finally bit the bullet and decided to move foward with a remake of the oft celebrated Final Fantasy VII. Of course, there are always going to be people with their own favorite Final Fantasy title, but this is one of the ones that tends to be requested more often than others. You know, discussing Final Fantasy can be a tricky subject to broach. The way I see it, our generation is going to end up saying that like politics and religion, you don't discuss your favorite Final Fantasy in pleasant company. That said, production has only begun on the title, and current reports say that it won't be a straight remake, but will contain some deviation from the original. Reports also show that Square Enix's stock jumped up in a major way from the moment of that announcement.
Shenmue III Kickstarter Announcement
Release Date: December 2017
Yet again a colossal surprise that caught most everyone off-guard, one of the great stories of generations past, Shenmue, is headed to its conclusion. Yu Suzuki, the creative mind behind Shenmue dating all the way back to the Dreamcast, took to the stage to announce he had acquired the rights to Shenmue III from Sega in order to finish the story. In a bold and contested move by many(myself included), it was announced that they would be utilizing Kickstarter crowdfunding with a massive $2 million goal. Now, any well-rounded gamer would likely know that Shenmue was at one point one of the most expensive games of all time to develop with a budget between $47-70 million, being eclipsed by Grand Theft Auto IV some years later. Clearly, $2 million dollasrs doesn't even begin to scratch the surface likely needed to develop the title. Nevertheless, within 8 hours of the announcement of the Kickstarter the funding goal was met and continues to climb as of this writing. From that point, Sony would later come out and say that because of this success, they would be helping fund the rest of Shenmue's development.
Other Announcements and Showings:
- No Man's Sky
- Destiny: the Taken King
- Assassin's Creed Syndicate
- World of Final Fantasy
- Arkham Knight
- Project Morpheus Update
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III
- Star Wars Disney Infinity 3.0
- Uncharted 4
- PlayStation Vue Ala Carte TV services
Overall, I think that Sony had a very strong showing at their presser, although it was very light on PlayStation Vita titles (and they've been criticized for what appears to be poor support for the platform consistently). Sony really banked on tugging at the crowd's heart strings and it paid off in spades. A hefty mix of existing IP, long awaited titles, and new IP gave them a very solid round out for their show. What I did find interesting was the PlayStation Vue ala carte television services that are going to be offered. It's been reported more than a few times that many people are beginning to forego cable services altogether in favor of utilizing various internet services to fit their televised programming demands with services including Netflix and Hulu, among others. With PlayStation Vue letting consumers finally pick and choose the channels that they want, this may be the next big salvo across the bow of the traditional cable and satellite service providers. It will be interesting to watch, for sure, no pun intended.