Sony put on a show. Backed by a full orchestra Sony’s E3 media briefing for 2016 was by far the most succinct and on brand message sender of all I attended. They stayed true to their word and made no mention of the heavily leaked PlayStation Neo but instead double downed on their commitment to PlayStation VR (PSVR) and its ability to work with current hardware, which – according to rumours – may be true albeit at less than desirable frame rates.
50 PSVR titles are said to be in works for the release of the hardware which was finally given a solid release date and pricing: October 13th US$299. Australia’s release has been confirmed as the same day too.
Whilst not all 50 titles were revealed (or re-shown) some more AAA affiliated highlights were such as Final Fantasy XV VR Experience, Batman Arkham VR (with Mark Hamill returning as the Joker) and a Star Wars Battlefront “VR Exclusive Mission” which we only saw brief footage of a tie-fighter but could very well link into the trench run models we saw in EA’s Star Wars “behind the scenes” footage yesterday.
No VR title stirred the room more so than the reveal that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard would be fully playable via PSVR. The gameplay shown looked scary as fuck and reminded me very much of the now cancelled P.T.
But PSVR was definitely not the whole story. In fact it wasn’t even the first thing shown. That fortune was bestowed upon the new God of War or as I prefer to call it, God of War: Single Parent. Kratos, now aged and a father, is the soul parent for his son after his mothers death. In the gameplay footage we see them hunting and whilst aesthetically Kratos has aged his physical prowess has not been affected defeating a troll in the gore cinematic style we’ve come to expect from the series. Interestingly not Quick Time Events (QTEs) were displayed during the footage but it remains to be seen if they’re completely gone or not.
The largest and most impressive display came from not so much a game but the introduction of a long time Sony friend. Hideo Kojima was introduced to a deafening roar of applause and cheering, walking from the depths of the stage forwards as his new “Kojima Productions” logo lowered from the ceiling behind him. Speaking rarely in English he introduced his new title “Death Stranding” (yes that’s not a spelling mistake) in which Norman Reedus (Darryl from The Walking Dead) takes centre stage. In true Kojima fashion the story is going to be an out there one and interestingly PlayStation don’t have the trailer on their official channels but you can catch it in all its glory over on IGN’s here.
The games didn’t stop there though. Other big reveals included Insomniacs apparent open-world title for Spiderman as well as a lengthy, somewhat redeeming gameplay section of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Horizon Zero Dawn was of course shown off too with an extended gameplay section that to me makes it look more and more like Far Cry the digital de-evolved edition than anything else.
The surprise of the show for me though was “Days Gone”. A title I’d not heard of before during its initial showing early on in the briefing I’d dismissed as “Far Cry: Bikers Edition” (I compare a lot to Far Cry apparently) but had it redeemed when Sony closed out the show with an extended gameplay capture.
All in all Sony brought it. They filled their show with games and announcements that wowed the crowd but as Patrick Klepek wrote on Twitter just after the event. As exciting as their showings were the majority are years away and whilst Microsoft’s presentation may not have had those moments almost everything they spoke about is out later this year.
Also they announced The Last Guardian will be out in October. Bird-dogs for everyone!