By Terris Harned (NWOrpheus)
Thanks for checking out the OnRPG coverage of the Sony Playstation conference at the 2018 E3 convention! After Sunday’s presentation from Microsoft’s XBox, Sony had a pretty tough act to follow! How did they fare? Read on to find out!
Shawn Layden started off the show thanking his “congregation” in a church-like stage. Where many presenters this E3 have been talking about the creative aspects and lots of new reveals, Sony took the route of going deeper into many of the titles that they’ve told us were coming. In general, Sony broke the mold with their conference and decided to do things their own way, focusing heavily on storytelling. As with any good writer, Sony does this not through telling, but by showing.
First up was Gustavo Santaolalla. Gustavo opened with a haunting live version of the original “Last of Us” theme song that managed to yank our heart strings anew. Bethesda, take note, THIS is how you do a musical introduction.
After the song, the lights dimmed and the crowd cheered as we were led into our first video presentation. We see Ellie, all grown up, surrounded by people at a ho-down. That delightful banjo twang filling the air. Sony first shows off their prowess with storytelling, allowing us to engage with their characters in a way that we cannot resist. Then, into the stunning eye candy that is the “Last of Us II” gameplay. Watch Ellie fight her way through enemies seamlessly. Notice the way she flinches when glass is broken near her head. Make sure to pick your jaw up after the video.
We had a bit of boring desk talk here, as the audience was ferried from one stage to the next. The biggest reveal during this portion being that the massively acclaimed “God of War” is getting a “New Game+” mode, largely due to prompting from the community on social media. Layden once again cautioned audiences not to be expecting anything big and new, but instead to walk deep into the heart of some of the titles that we’ve all been anticipating, such as “Spider Man”, “Ghost of Tsushima”, and the mind boggling “Death Stranding”.
Veteran “Call of Duty: Black Ops” fans may be pleased to see that some of the most popular maps from Black Ops 1-2 are being remastered and added not only to Black Ops 4, but also to Black Ops 3 for those who pre-order Black Ops 4 from the Playstation store. If you don’t have Black Ops 3 yet, don’t worry, it’s coming to Playstation Plus for free for all members.
Next the hosts recapped the countdown to E3 reveals over the last week, including “Tetris: Effect” (which will have a PSVR version), Zombie apocalypse game “Days Gone”, Psychological thriller “Twin Mirror”, “Ghost Giant” for PSVR which you’ll have to see for yourself, and the delightful to watch “Beat Saber”. We also got a story peek at the upcoming DLC for the Destiny franchise: “Forsaken” which players can get their hands on September 4th of 2018.
Here Sony took us back to a musical interlude, bravely defying the world to accuse them of cultural appropriation as a very not-Japanese man played a Japanese flute in feudal Japanese garb, in front of a scene of animated rice blowing in the breeze. Real talk, the guy was good, and the song was beautiful. Maybe unnecessary, but hey, it was a lead-in for a gameplay video of Sucker Punch Productions new title, “Ghost of Tsushima”. I personally found the video to be beautiful overall, with amazing detail and gorgeous graphics. Really though, I also felt like the combat animations were a bit stiff. It was more like watching Virtua Fighter 2, with a really snazzy graphics upgrade, which made me sad.
Our next video trailer was for “Control”, by Remedy games, developers of Alan Wake. We see the main character moving through a surreal and protean landscape. Something like if you took “The Force Unleashed” and dropped it into an M.C. Escher painting is what we get to see in the video, and yet somehow it works.
January 25th of 2019 will satisfy many fans of the Resident Evil series, giving them a gorgeous remake of one of their favorite titles in the franchise, “Resident Evil 2”, this time, with an over the shoulder camera style reminiscent of “Resident Evil 4”.
“Trover Saves the Universe” is uh… well.. it’s a thing. A platform thing. I can’t help but think drugs were involved. Maybe it’s your thing though. Do you like platform things? Okay, well, here you go.
Now, get ready for the mashup you’ve been waiting for! Sony in their infinite wisdom takes Kingdom Heart’s Sora, and drops him into the world of “Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag” and calls it, Kingdom Hearts 3! Okay, maybe that’s just while he’s in the world of “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Check out the video, but keep an eye on the end. Not only do we get a release date for the game, January 29th, 2019, but we also get a glimpse of the PS4 Pro “Kingdom Hearts III Limited Edition” console and controller. Plus, HD Remixes of Kingdom Hearts 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8, all in one package, only available on PS4.
If you’ve been following the next title, then nothing I can say will explain it any better. If you haven’t, anything I say will just confuse you more. Death Stranding is a cerebral mindfuck that doesn’t respect you in the morning, and is never going to call. But Norman Reedus is in it, and he does a lot of walking. The Walking Reedus.
“Defy death, death defies you”. These words and a demon-filled fight sequence are the teasers we receive for “Nioh 2”, sequel to the 2017 action RPG from Team Ninja.
The end of the main showcase featured a look at the intro to the upcoming “Spider-Man” title being released by Insomniac in September of this year. The footage shows everyone’s favorite smart mouthed web slinger swinging through the Raft lockup facility chasing Electro, who is busy releasing Spider-Man’s rogue gallery of foes; Negative Man, Rhino, Vulture, and the Scorpion. Who is behind this breakout remains to be seen!
Not only are the graphics stellar on this new Spider-Man game, but it boasts a sandbox style and open world gameplay that make me think of titles like “Prototype”. Players swing through New York City slinging webs, taking out goons, and completing heroic challenges. The combat appears fluid and dynamic, and I won’t deny being jealous of the folks at E3 who got to play.
Towards the end of the show we got to see the very first footage of From Software’s new PSVR game “Déraciné”. We really only get a taste of the style, and it’s hard to tell what sort of game it will be, but I definitely get the sense it will be atmosphere heavy, in a good way. Given the mention of going to the realm of fairies, and the definition of Déraciné (To be uprooted from ones natural environment) it seems that perhaps this will be an exploration game of some sort. Pure speculation there however.
Media Molecule wrapped up the showcase talking about their upcoming “Dreams”. Since Sony didn’t seem to want to bother actually telling us anything about the game, here’s a bit from a Wikipedia page: “In Dreams, players control an “imp”, which is used to interact with the game’s world (like a mouse cursor), create new items and characters, and manipulate objects by grabbing and pulling them. Players move the imp by using the [controller]. The imp is customizable, and players can change the emotion of the imp by drawing on the controller’s touchpad. The imp has the ability to possess characters featured in a dream, allowing players to take direct control of these characters.
Dreams‘s levels are separated by different segments known as “dreams”, and these dreams are connected by different gateways such as doors. Players encounter different puzzles in the game, which must be solved by using the abilities of the imp and the possessed characters, as well as the objects players retrieved in a dream. Items collected by players can be used to alter and modify the state of the game’s world.
Players can create their own levels in the game by using custom and pre-built objects. Players can then share their completed levels online. Cooperative multiplayer is also featured in the game, allowing players to create and manipulate their custom dreams together.”
We then got to see a video of creative mode, where two people use the imps to create a small landscape.
That’s all we’ve got for today’s Sony presentation. Not a bad offering all in all. The highlights were definitely “Last of Us 2”, “Spider-Man” and “Resident Evil 2” for me. If you’d like to share your thoughts on this year’s Sony press-conference, or anything else, head on over to https://www.onrpg.com/boards/index.php and tell us what’s on your mind!