Sony E3 2014 Reactions
After a day filled with a consistently messaged but ultimately underwhelming games-centric Microsoft conference, an utterly pretentious and insulting EA conference, a quirky and numbing Ubisoft conference, it was Sony’s turn to convince us gamers why Playstation is the best place to play.
The following will be a mix of news announcements and commentary on my experience with Sony’s E3 press conference. If you’re one who dislikes hard opinions, feel free to skip the “My Take” section at the bottom.
First, the news and announcements. Starting in true Sony tradition, the conference kicked off with a montage of a lot of squares, triangles, circles, and x’s flying around. Yay face buttons.
This was quickly followed by a CG shot of three astronauts landing on Mars, walking around the red planet. At this point, it was obvious that this was Destiny. A voiceover talked about human expansion enabled by the Traveler (the giant orb). A trailer montage of new gameplay was showcased, featuring the voice of Peter Dinklage expressing that you, the player character, is Earth’s last hope. It featured different characters, various locations, player powers, enemies, and guns.
Next, Andrew House took the stage where he reiterated Sony’s commitment to the gamer by saying Playstation is best play to play giving players “choice, best visual quality (definite dig at Microsoft), and a thriving community of friends.” He announced the Destiny beta coming to Playstaion first on July 17th. Also, starting this Thursday and running throughout the weekend, PS4 owners get to play the Destiny First Look alpha. You can sign up for that here. Also announced was a white PS4 Destiny bundle to launch alongside the game on September 9 and will include the game, a white PS4, and a 30 day voucher for PS Plus.
Also, on launch day, Playstation owners get exclusive content to including weapons, gear, armor, exclusive strike on Mars, and a multiplayer map.
Up next was The Order 1886 where we were treated to new gameplay. It began with Gallahad walking through a hospital (or train station?) He saw a humanoid creature, which then morphed into something ghastly. Gallahad bravely ran away, something I commend. The creature then caught up with him and spoke, indicating that these creatures are definitely intelligent and will pose a significant threat to the player. What I noticed most was the instant and seamless transition between gameplay and cutscene. It was all very smooth.
Next, a new game called Entwined was announced. Developed by Pixel Opus, the game is about two souls in love but can’t be together for some reason. The player will control each character with either analog stick. Surprisingly, it was announced that Entwined for PS4 is available right now on PSN for $9.99, with PS3 and Vita to follow.
Infamous Second Son DLC was announced as well. The player will take control of Fetch and play out an unknown portion of her story this August.
Sony darling Media Molecule took the stage next and announced Little Big Planet 3. They showcased some co-op gameplay, introducing new characters, each with their own abilities. The game looks to be a PS4 exclusive, so no luck PS3 owners. It also features the same robust level creation in first two games and is due out this November. Shuhei Yoshida also revealed that over 8.7 million levels of LBP and LBP 2 were created and shared by the community and that when LBP 3 launches, you can play ANY of these levels with improved visuals on PS4.
Soon after, a new IP by From Software was announced. Titled Bloodborne, it featured a gothic, dark city with what looked to be zombies/infected running around. Expect this in 2015.
An extensive demo of Far Cry 4 was next featuring some truly grand vistas, a lot of explosions, driving and subsequent trashing of a rickshaw, and some wingsuit gliding. All of this showcased the open nature of Far Cry 4, something that is so staple to the franchise.
However, Adam Boyes then dropped some pretty incredible information. When you buy FC4, you can invite PS3 or PS4 friends to join you, even if they don’t own Far Cry 4. This feature is available only on Playstation.
This was followed by a Dead Island 2 announcement and a Battlefield Hardline trailer. Double Fine then announced that Grim Fandango would be receiving a remaster after fifteen years. Fan service, indeed.
A slew of indie titles followed, including Not A Hero, Hotline Miami, Titan Souls, Broforce, The Talos Principle. This was followed by a new Suda 51 game called Let It Die, due out in 2015, and a new game by the creators of Journey called ABZÛ.
Some footage of No Man’s Sky was up next featuring the player character seamlessly going from walking on the ground, getting in a ship, and taking off into space. A brief battle ensued, followed by the character entering a new planet and flying around before flying back into space.
Sean Murray from Hello Games took the stage to discuss his game, explaining that it’s a science fiction game, inspired by the likes of Asimov. It features a procedurally generated infinite universe, one that everyone can share. They will start each player on different planet, so no two players have same experience.
Project Morpheus was shown off to work with the PS Camera, followed by Shawn Layden, the new Jack Tretton, who announced a slew of information.
YouTube is coming to PS4. Now, a simple press of Share button will allow players upload to YouTube. You can also see what friends have shared to YouTube in What’s New the feed. You will also be able to watch and interact on livestreams via Twitch and Ustream, features that were announced during last February’s reveal.
Playstation Now will allow streaming of past Playstation titles, starting with PS3 titles. The service will be available in USA and Canada by open beta on July 31 PS4 with access to more than 100 PS3 games. Shortly after, it will be available on PS3 and Vita. They’re also bringing PS Now to select Sony TV’s (all you need is a Dualshock 3). Currently, they’re still working out rental duration and prices.
Playstation TV was also discussed. This new microconsole can pair with you PS4, allowing you to play PS4 via Remote Play on a second TV in your home. It can also play PS Now. PS TV will have access to nearly 1000 games and will cost $99. There will also be a $139 bundle with a Dualshock 3, 8 GB memory card, HDMI cable, and the Lego Movie video game.
Mortal Kombat X showed off some new gameplay with some truly gruesome combat and finished movies. Yeah, there was a lot of blood and broken bones. Pretty standard per Mortal Kombat.
Some discussion was had about Sony’s TV and entertainment endeavors which I completely tuned out of. I won’t bother discussing it here because I assume most of you don’t care about such things. Moving on…
The Last Of Us Remastered received a released date for July 29 and had a new trailer to boot. And then, in a move surprising this editor, GTA V was revealed to arrive on PS4 (and Xbox One and…PC!!!) this fall. Also surprising, and a direct move to grab up Xbox players, PS3 and Xbox 360 players can transfer their GTA Online progress to the PS4.
An Arkham Knight demo was next, showcasing fluidity of the open world. Batman flew around, seamlessly hopped into the Batmobile and drove along. He then transformed the Batmobile into a tank and started blowing up everything. There will be exclusive PS Scarecrow nightmare missions.
Finally, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was showcased with the caption, “the following trailer was captured directly from a PS4”. I must say, it some very impressive visuals. It feature Drake waking up in jungle, picking up gun, and wandering off. It’s due out in 2015.
I have to say, I am very disappointed by today. Everything I saw fell into two categories: 1) I already knew about the game, or 2) the game shown was nothing new. I didn’t see anything that screamed “next gen” to me. Nothing was jaw dropping.
It seems like every single conference was marked by an unspoken fear to cling to the safety net of the tried and true. There was no risk taking. There was nothing so incomparably impressive to me.
Microsoft was consistent in its messaging, but again, I knew about most of the games announced. A lot were cross platforms titles which are PC no-brainers. I will absolutely not buy The Witcher 3 on Xbox One.
EA meanwhile decided to fill their press conference with pretentious videos, “conceptual prototypes”, and churned up, annualized garbage as is expected of them. Absolutely no excitement. No passion. Just pure mechanical insult to the consumer. What a load of rubbish.
Ubisoft had a more quirky tone than EA, but even here, there was nothing impressive. Nothing.
And then Sony. It was going so well but then you had to talk about TV, didn’t you? True, I liked Sony’s first party lineup immeasurably more than Microsoft’s, but – as is the theme today – I either knew about games announced, or the game shown wasn’t new. And no, remakes are not new games.
And so, I am left disappointed and utterly frustrated by the hype created by IGN on Twitter today. Today was not a step forward. It wasn’t a step anywhere, really. Today just…was.
And still no Last Guardian…