Finally, we come to the Sony press conference; the final and longest of the day. Up until this point all of the press conferences had been no nonsense events (with some very minor exceptions). The representatives would get one stage, say their lines, and then the next item of business, usually a game, would be presented. Sony had the only press conference that featured any material that could be described as “filler”, and it was kept to a relative minimum throughout the event and a large quantity of games were demonstrated.
Not wanting to be the odd man out, Sony started the press conference with a trailer for one of their heavy hitters being released in 2014, Destiny. The exposition of Destiny was delivered to the audience; the trailer was good at setting the tone and atmosphere for this notable title. While Destiny is not a PlayStation exclusive, it has been heavily marketed as “Best on PlayStation” and even discussed at the PlayStation 4 announcement event in February of 2013. Right after the trailer, the PlayStation exclusive beta was announced, starting on July 7th, 2014. The “First Look Alpha” began later that week. PlayStation 4 members were able to register for the alpha and every PlayStation+ subscriber, that registered, was given access to the alpha.
The next big ticket item was shown immediately after Destiny. The Order: 1886 was given a large amount of stage time with a demonstration of game play. The clip that was shown demonstrated a slower paced, horror themed section of the game featuring a one on one confrontation between the player and a horrible monster thing. The footage that I had seen of it made it look like an alternate history 3rd person shooter, and this demo seemed to imply that the game would have more depth than the typical cover shooter that has littered the last console generation. The game featured incredible looking visuals, but this is a game that is coming from SCE Santa Monica and Ready at Dawn, the two main developers behind the God of War series, so incredible visuals are par for the course for these studios.
LittleBigPlanet 3 was announced at this event, and surprise, it looks like more LittleBigPlanet. Now to just completely brush off this game as just more of the same is a tad disingenuous; however, I could not help but to feel that throughout the entire, agonizingly long, live demonstration. Announcements were made that new characters are being introduced that will have their own unique puzzle solving abilities, which could lead to more variety in level design. What I really respect, and must have been a significant technical hurdle to overcome, was the announcement that LittleBigPlanet 3 would be completely backwards compatible with all previous LittleBigPlanet levels that had been created thus far. So if you want to go and play the map that remakes Final Fantasy 7 in LittleBigPlanet 2 then you should totally be able to go and do just that with the newest iteration of the game.
Leading up to E3 2014 several leaks about the new title developed by From Software had escaped onto the internet. Screenshots were first, and then a short video clip, the name “Project Beast” was associated with all of these leaks. Well Project Beast made an appearance at the Sony press conference, and was given its actual name Bloodborne. I have never played Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls (but I do intend to) so I do not have the affinity towards this title that seemed to be present throughout the entire crowd at the event.
The extended game play demonstration for Far Cry 4, which I had assumed would have been at the Ubisoft event, happened with Sony, and for good reason too. The demonstration featured some of the insanity that one would expect in this title after playing Far Cry 3, but the proverbial bomb shell that dropped, was the announcement of feature exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. This is the ability to let your friends play in the multiplayer component of this game with you, even if they do not even own a copy of the game.
After the Far Cry 4 demonstration the Sony press conference began to lose a little bit of its momentum. Sony ran very short teaser trailers of a couple of the new titles while they spoke about different relationships that Sony had established with other developers and explained how Sony is attempting to build exclusive content for Playstation+ the way Microsoft is doing for Xbox Live. Sony had showed of teasers of Dead Island 2, Disney Infinity 2, some more of Destiny and the two most hilarious sketches of the entire day, the announcement of Magicka 2 and Grim Fandango.
Tim Schafer posed as a little girl, both age 8 and age 10, who was writing a letter to Sony to request old adventure games be released for the Playstation platforms. It was a quick gag but it was still quite humorous. The Magicka 2 announcement came from a very well-produced video of an out of work wizard coping with his lengthy unemployment and going through his day until he finds an advertisement for a wizard job. Describing this video doesn’t do it any justice, please go see it.
The highlight of this entire press conference, in my opinion, was when the announcement was made that No Man’s Sky would be making their console debut on the PlayStation 4. The more I see of this game the more I seem to be in complete disbelief that it exists, and how a company as small as Hello Games could be making it. After listening to multiple sources talk about what it is like to play this game, the more I seem to think that it is going to become a 1st person game cut from the same cloth as Starbound.
Sony made some quick announcements about the new peripherals that they are developing to use with the PlayStation 4. They stated that the Project Morpheus VR Headset would be on display and be able to be used at the Sony booth. The new CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America spoke about how the PlayStation consoles would be supporting the “Free to Play” genre, and making sure that the free to play games remain free on all PlayStation consoles. A subscription to PlayStation+ would not be required to play free to play titles online, while Microsoft still requires a subscription to Xbox Live Gold to play “free to play” titles online.
Sony announced that the Vita TV, released previously in Japan, would be brought over to North America as the Playstation TV. This little box is already able to play select PlayStation Vita games on a television, but is also going to be taking advantage of Remote Play. This is one of the best features of the PlayStation Vita, allowing you to use your PlayStation 4, remotely, on your Vita; however, this new device would let you use the PlayStation 4 on another television in your house instead of on the small vita screen.
The final game demonstration, from a larger developer that was at this press event, was an extended look at Batman: Arkham Knight. This game looks visually amazing; it is an incredible step up compared to the previous Batman Arkham games. The size and scope of the environment that is playable in this game is enormous by comparison. Arkham City and Origins attempted to create what felt like a big open world Batman title; this game looks like it is going to finally deliver on that concept. This is a game that I am anxiously looking forward to.
Sony closed out their press conference with a very short teaser trailer of Uncharted 4. I realize that Sony needed to that their premier developer, Naughty Dog, is working on a new title, and not just the enhanced version of The Last of Us. But what they showed did not provided anything of substance. It consisted of an unconscious Nathan Drake waking up, grabbing a gun, walking into a jungle with corpses inside of cages, and then cut to black and show title. Nothing of any value happened in that trailer other than to remind people that Uncharted is a game that is still coming out despite the recent exodus at Naughty Dog. Overall, Sony gave a really good show, they had interesting things to show across a wide range of genres and the future of the PlayStation 4 seems to be looking very positive. Hopefully they can keep up the momentum.