Welcome to the Sony Press Conference for Paris Games Week. Through the textomancy of Nate Church, and the mysterious magicks of the internet, you’re about to become a virtual attendee. YouTube, eat your heart out.
Yesterday, Sony’s press conference at the Paris Games Week made some waves. Though there was little in the way of brand new game announcements, the event managed to fill in the details on many hotly anticipated releases from the entertainment giant.
The show began beneath an avalanche of trailers, both for multiplatform games and exclusives for the PS4. In an auditorium swallowed by darkness, a flickering electronic pulse moved from either side of a massive panoramic screen. A blaze of blue-white light exploded from the center, pulsating with four symbols very familiar to anyone who has ever picked up a Playstation controller.
The next few moments were a barrage of light and sound, with Uncharted‘s Nathan Drake smirking to a heavy electronic beat amidst clips of countless games. Among them, Destiny, Star Wars Battlefront, Assassin’s Creed, Mirror’s Edge, Call of Duty, and many more. By the time Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s President and CEO Jim Ryan steps onto the stage, the crowd is ready and waiting.
Notable among the first games showcased is Shadow of the Beast, a passion project from Heavy Spectrum’s Matt Birch. In it, Aarbron — I keep hearing it as Air Bro’ing — the alien Wolverine hacks and slashes his way through a side-scrolling world ripe for the disemboweling. This remake of a 1998 action game of the same name doesn’t shy from gore, and someone got a bit frisky with the screen splatter effects. It looks like a hell of a lot of fun, so long as you’re properly desensitized. (I am.)
After the flood of game footage ends, Ryan warms up the crowd with some corporate powerpoint style presentation. Woo. He redeems himself quickly by shifting gears to the announcement of a significant PlayStation 4 price drop for Europe to complement the previous announcement for North America and a trailer for the Zombies mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops III. It looks to be a far more substantial experience than offered in the past, and I can’t help but get excited despite not being a huge fan of the franchise. It looks inarguably awesome.
Battlefront is the next to get an extended look, and I’m not going to pretend that it didn’t give me goosebumps. Maybe it’s just the blatant pandering to fans of the franchise, but this game just oozes atmosphere from every orifice. Both Battlefront and Black Ops III are getting special edition versions of the PS4.
So far, Sony’s been lobbing some pretty soft pitches. Having made a few quick jabs, their next footage is a hard left hook: Street Fighter V, releasing exclusively for the PS4 on February 16th, 2016. The announcement comes from Yoshinori Ono, the game’s executive producer. He’s wearing a headband with yellow chickens bouncing around on springs around his head, because — industry secret — if you’re a gaming executive, you can only choose from CPA, bro, and birds-on-your-head crazy. They close this segment with a sketch about someone who looks like Japan’s Stephen Colbert claiming that he’s appearing in the game. (But not really.)
Tekken 7 is next, somehow incorporating PlayStation VR, though how is not entirely clear. The announcement is brief, essentially confirming that the game is on the way. It feels like a bare acknowledgement when compared to the dramatic Street Fighter V presentation.
Battleborn springs onto the massive screen next, and it’s never looked better. This is the first time that the Gearbox entry into MOBA/FPS hybrids a la Paladins and Overwatch seems like a serious contender, and the trailer is a lot of fun. It’s also looking a lot less like Borderlands-ish than it has in the past, which — despite the wild success of that license — is a good thing for a new IP that needs to set itself apart.
The next time the screen lights up, we’re treated to what might be the dark horse of Sony’s exclusive line-up. Boundless is a truly gorgeous voxel adventure sandbox, and the brief glimpse we’re given is more than enough to whet appetites. Following that is Avicii Vector, a music game that is more Amplitude than Rock Band. Trippy would be an understatement.
No Man’s Sky is next on the docket, and we’ve got a release window! We won’t get a chance to actually play this thing until June of 2016, but the trailer sells it hard. I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop on this title for a while; it seems too ambitious to succeed. Now? I just want to play it. Immediately.
The creators of Dead Nation, Outland, and Resogun debut their new title Matterfall. Developer Housemarque knows how to make an impression, and the new game shows just how fluid a game full of cubes can be. It appears to be a fast-paced shooter with a cyberpunk asthetic. Giant blood-red voxel tendrils attack an armored space warrior while he leaps to some sort of holographed platform, and everything goes black.
Ratchet & Clank continues the sci-fi aesthetic, and it looks as good as anything the franchise has produced. Thank Quark it’s not another spinoff. The next truly exciting title, however, is post-apolapyptic robo-dinosaur hunty-survival tribal adventure Horizon Zero Dawn. If you think that’s a mouthful, wait till you see the game in action. The gameplay demo is pretty wonderful, and you can expect to see more coverage from us on this title as it nears release.
The next few minutes are a slew of announcements. The Old Hunters expansion for Bloodborne — which we’ve previously covered — gets a confirmed release slated for November 24th. DriveClub Bikes gets a promo, as well as Gravity Rush 2 and the Uncharted 4 beta that begins December 4th.
Dreams gets a gameplay demonstration in the vein of Horizon Zero Dawn, showing off the gameplay mechanics of controlling a little imp as he walks about and possesses other creatures, summons buildings, and takes part in smaller, contained adventures. It’s gorgeous and undoubtedly surreal, but it’s difficult to tell whether this is going to be an engaging long-term experience or just an admittedly adorable gimmick.
After that, we get a few intriguing PlayStation VR title promotions. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, and Robinson: The Journey. The first is a VR-exclusive expansion of Until Dawn, and the second a game based on the extension of CryEngine concept footage from months ago.
Curiously, confirmation of the PS4 Gran Turismo‘s existence emerged not from the conference itself, but from the Gran Turismo Awards in Las Vegas. The announcement of the winner’s presence in the game is the first time anyone’s heard anything concrete about the title. Still, the announcement and footage of the game generates a lot of excitement.
The show closes with two of my personal favorites. Wild casts you as a shaman, caring for your tribe in a vast untamed wilderness. You’ll be schmoozing with gods, summoning beasts, and taking control of them in order to accomplish specific tasks. You can also ride a giant bear. Sold.
Finally, Quantic Dream’s new game is Detroit. It’s a game about a topic that is heating up on every front. You are Kara, a synthetic artificially intelligent being indistinguishable from humanity. The game is, quite simply, stunning. It’s a bit of near-future science fiction that could be poised to be our generation’s Blade Runner.
All in all — and with surprisingly few missteps — the Sony press conference was very entertaining. It’s left me very excited for what PlayStation owners are going to be able to experience in the very near future. Even E3 didn’t feel like as much a statement about Sony’s position in this console generation.
Keep an eye on Breitbart Tech for further news as it comes out of PGW, and more in-depth analysis of the games covered.
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