Upon finishing watching Sony’s E3 press conference I had a bad taste in my mouth. I left thinking that the entire press conference was underwhelming. I now realize this is not true, simply due to many of the awesome games that were shown. But there is truth to that feeling I had, and it had to do with the pacing of the conference, some of the games highlighted, and the lack of diversity of representation on display at the press conference.
Sony opened with the re-reveal of The Last Guardian which looks incredible! It was definitely the high point of the press conference for me, which from a conference stand point isn’t actually a good thing since that means nothing after the first ten minutes hit the same level of excitement and interest. They showed a significant, uninterrupted portion of gameplay and the game just looks beautiful! The music in particular stood out to me as captivating. Sadly, we probably won’t see it released until holiday 2016. I also loved Shuhei Yoshida coming onstage afterwards; he was just a bundle of happiness for having finally been able to show The Last Guardian.
Guerrilla Games (Killzone) followed with the reveal of their brand new IP Horizon: Zero Down. This was the second best part of Sony’s conference for me. This game looks absolutely incredible and couldn’t be more different from Killzone (in a wonderful way)! The game stars a female protagonist (yes!) in a far future setting, long after a post-apocalyptic event. Humans and the world have reverted to a more primitive state and no one knows what happened to cause the apocalypse, except there are now huge machines that roam the world. People hunt these machines like wildlife and the setting is very green. I am so intrigued by this game. They showed extensive gameplay and a there’s plenty of combat with bows. Horizon was a beautiful surprise this E3.
Then there was a CG trailer for Hitman that was quite boring. There were lots of middle-aged white guys, scantily clad women, and nothing all that intriguing about it. After that a Street Fighter V trailer played showing new fighters, but that’s really only going to appeal to Street Fighter fans.
Hello Games came onstage to show off more of the brilliant No Man’s Sky. Every time I see this game I am more and more intrigued and impressed. The sheer scale of this game is like nothing I have ever seen before. It’s a space exploration/space combat/planet exploration game with literally MILLIONS of planets to visit. No two of which look the same. All of which have things to do on them, flora and fauna to discover. The devs were so confident in their game that during the onstage demo they picked a planet at random – and trust me, it was totally and completely random – and just went and visited it. On the planet there guardians there to protect it from explorers, there was an outpost, there were alien fish, and it looked beautiful! Just go watch their E3 demo to truly gain an understanding of just how massive this game is.
Media Molecule followed with a reveal of their newest game/IP Dreams. I’m still not quite sure I understand what it is, but it is certainly something that only Media Molecule could come up with. It seems to be a game in which you create scenes using some sort of painting/sculpting tool. It seems you then animate the scenes and record what happens. They described it as a tool to bring to life your dreams, in a literal sense it seems. I certainly want to know more about this game.
After Dreams, Campo Santo showed off Firewatch, which I have high hopes for. Campo Santo is comprised of some brilliant people who worked on Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1, Gone Home, and Ori and the Blind Forest, among others. It’s a story driven indie game and I really wish it had been given more time because I would have loved to see a chunk of gameplay.
Then they showed off a Destiny expansion. It’s more Destiny, I didn’t care. It was followed by another franchise I don’t care about: Assassin’s Creed. They finally have a playable female protagonist in one of their main entries (I hope it didn’t cost Ubisoft too much money to animate -_- http://www.themarysue.com/ubisoft-female-characters-assassins-creed-unity/ ), but it’s far from enough to get me to care about the game.
They moved onto Final Fantasy with one of the biggest momentum killers I’ve seen. Instead of showing the Final Fantasy VII remake people were hoping for, they led with World of Final Fantasy, some uninteresting game with chibi versions of Final Fantasy characters. After that mess, they showed off Final Fantasy VII which did look incredible. The theater I was watching the prese conference in erupted in applause. It was really incredible to see so many people getting so excited for this game. I never played Final Fantasy VII, so the remake doesn’t resonate with me in that way, but I am definitely excited to get to experience this game. The CG trailer looked incredible and I hope the game lives up to it and the amount of people who attest to its greatness.
Sony then had a short segment for Devolver Digital, producers (not makers) of Hotline Miami, and they showed off four new games in a highlight reel. I’m definitely interested in these games, but I wish they had more time.
Shenmue 3’s…kickstarter was revealed. This part gets me really annoyed. There is no reason Shenmue should be getting a kickstarter. If Sony is putting them onstage at E3 then they fucking know how popular Shenmue is. They should just go ahead and pay for the development of that game. Instead, they are getting away with not paying for it by having all of us pay for it. This is not how kickstarter should be used. Kickstarter should be used for games like Koji Igarashi’s new game Bloodstained. He took that game to something like 30 different publishers and all of them said no. Sony could and should fucking publish Shenmue 3.
Sony spent a good amount of time showing off the exclusive Batman: Arkham Knight missions and they seemed interesting, though perhaps not the best use of stage time for something rather inconsequential. They brought on Morpheus and although I want it to be awesome, I do not have high hopes for it. Morpheus will live or die based on Sony alone and I just don’t see many game studios/publishers wanting to make something for it when the install base will likely be small.
Sony then brought up Playstation Vue. I thought this would another boring section but they announced that we will soon be able to subscribe to actual tv channels individually via Vue, something cable companies should’ve done years ago. I still probably won’t use it, but that sounds cool.
And then, for the first time, this year’s Call of Duty was shown off at Sony’s press conference. And it could not have been more boring. I was so happy when Call of Duty wasn’t anywhere in Microsoft’s press conference, and now I know why. I can’t stand Call of Duty. Its annualization, lack of good writing, and multiplayer focus completely turns me off. The fact that they spent almost ten minutes showing it off was ridiculous. There were so many more interesting, original, and compelling games at E3 that deserved more time. People are going to buy Call of Duty regardless! It didn’t need ten minutes of stage time! Give more time to interesting and unique games that might not sell well like Firewatch, No Man’s Sky, or Devolver Digital’s games.
Sony just really likes killing momentum I think, because when they brought out EA to talk about Star Wars they spent half their time on Disney Infinity 3.0. E3 is not the place for that. Kids and families are the primary audience for Disney Infinity, and they are not watching E3. Why would you waste onstage time with Disney Infinity instead of the games I mentioned earlier? Finally they showed Battlefront gameplay, which looks as awesome as ever. And it has split-screen co-op, which I didn’t know! Very happy to hear that.
They ended the show with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. After some technical difficulties, they showed an extended gameplay section in which Nate is driving a jeep and trying to get away from a truck chasing him through a town. It looked absolutely incredible and the sheer scale of the seen is what we’ve come to expect from the Uncharted series.
Writing this piece has made me realize that Sony’ press conference wasn’t as bad as I initially thought upon walking out of the theater, but it was quite a bit worse than I had expected after Bethesda and Microsoft. The back half of the conference had nothing of note other than Uncharted, but that wasn’t exactly a surprise. And where were games like Amplitude or Until Dawn? Until Dawn is a Playstation exclusive due out later this year and it wasn’t shown? That’s ridiculous. A real problem at Sony’s press conference is that despite having great games like The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII, and Shenmue, none of them showed gameplay and none are coming out anytime soon. And time and again they lost their momentum with things like World of Final Fantasy and Disney Infinity. When compared to Microsoft’s nonstop barrage of games earlier today, it just felt slow. The choice of games to devote time to was poor and the second half of Sony’s press conference really diminished the impact of the press conference. Furthermore, Sony had zero diversity in people onstage at their conference. Whereas Microsoft and Ubisoft were able to get women and people of color onstage, every single announcer at Sony tonight was a white man in a suit. It was sad. Sony started the press conference by mentioning the inclusivity of Playstation. Did not seem that way tonight.
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