Sony have been riding a tidal wave of success over the last 2 years, with them enjoying some recent spells at previous E3 conventions. Not to mention the 22 million PS4 sales that continue to grow. With all that success and a plethora of PS4 exclusives such as The Order 1886, Last of Us Remastered, Infamous Second Son and Bloodborne (to name a few), many thought Sony may have little to showcase at E3 2015.
In some ways they were wrong and right. Let’s brake down Sony’s E3 2015 highlights.
The Last Guardian
If you are going to start an E3 press conference it may as well be with a bang. Many had given up hope, some thought it to be an elaborate hoax. But with murmurings before E3, and Sony persisting that Last Guardian was still in development, could the impossible become possible? Yes, yes it can. Last Guardian finally has a new trailer and in game footage. Oh and a rough release date of 2016.
This game comes from the masterminds behind PS2 classics, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, and was first unveiled back in 2009. But since then we have had nothing. Nothing but rumour, which slowly turned into myth.
Last Guardian was originally intended for PS3, but a long wait and persistent problems have delayed this game time and time again. So much so that Lead Director, Fumito Ueda, walked out on the project, although Ueda has since returned to conclude the spiritual trilogy of Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian. Eventually Team Ico conceded that the game just simply wasn’t ‘possible’ on the PS3 and started developing for PS4 instead. On the outset Sony have been pretty patient with the developer but have since sought the help of gaming pioneer Mark Cerny to ensure no more technical issues arise.
This latest unveil of The Last Guardian has brought feelings of joy and relief to many adoring Sony fans. Either way this is one of Twinstick Gaming’s highlights of E3.
Horizon Zero Dawn
When we heard that Guerrilla Games where at E3 we thought, like many of you, that another Killzone game was on the cards. Instead they unveiled a brand new and original title called, Horizon Zero Dawn.
The game is due 2016 and visually looked gorgeous. But we’ve seen this before with Guerrilla. Killzone Shadow Fall was visually stunning, but gameplay wise was incredibly impotent. And that is coming from me, a Killzone fan. However, studios make mistakes and in this case, judging by the trailer, Guerrilla may be trying to make up for some of those mistakes.
Horizon’s premise is interesting. Society has collapsed and mankind has reverted back to more primal ways, that is with a heavy doze of futuristic technology. Don’t ask me how that adds up but it could make for an interesting mythology if we roll with it.
The game revolves around a female character named Aloy, who is ousted from her tribe. She must fend for herself and comes up against a range of huge and small dinobots. Looting and RPG element ensue. As this is a game supposedly about nature reclaiming the world, I don’t know how dinobots figure into that, but hey ho that’s what Gamescom is for.
Square Enix’s long running series is back and this time Playstation have exclusive content. Playstation owners will receive 6 exclusive contract missions within a year of the game’s launch.
Hitman in recent years has been peppered by a mixed reception. Yes, the games’ stealth mechanic is impressive and is still one of the best in the business, offering gamers a multitude of different approaches to take out opponents. However, it is the games’ convoluted plot and extreme mesh of over the top characters that leave many of us nonplussed. Graphically this looks pretty sweet but expect to see this on all next-gen formats from the 8th of December 2015.
Street Fighter V
This game was already confirmed as a PS4 exclusive but we got to see it in action and had a couple of additional playable characters confirmed such as Cammy and Birdie (not playable since Street Fighter Alpha 3). This brings the roster up to six with Ryu, Nash, M. Bison, and Chun Li all being previously confirmed.
The one thing Sony can always guarantee is a more ‘out there’ title. If you want more first person shooters then head over to the Microsoft conference (that is unfair I know, but you know what I mean). Dreams comes from the developers that brought us Little Big Planet. Media Molecule harness the Dualshock 4 controller so that gamers can effectively draw or create images, or in this case, ‘dreams’ and bring them to life. In the video you’ll see a host of crazy shit. Colourful, endearing and yet bizarre.
Destiny: The Taken King DLC
No Sony conference is complete these days without their affiliation with Bungie and their multimillion selling game, Destiny. The new DLC entitled ‘The Taken King’ will be available to download from exclusively on Playstation from September 15 2015.
With The Taken King DLC, we expect PS3 and PS4 owners to enjoy these exclusive spoils for around a year, before Xbox owners. Included with this latest DLC is a new Strike entitled The Echo Chamber, Competitive Multiplayer Map – Sector 618, an Exotic Weapon – The Jade Rabbit (13 shot mag Scout Rifle) and finally Legendary Gear Sets – Hesperos (Titan), Azoth Bend (Warlock), and Neuroghast (Hunter).
Now this title does intrigue us. From small indie developer Campo Santo comes Firewatch. You play Henry who has escaped his busy past life to become a fire lookout in the Wyoming Wilderness. You strike up a relationship of sorts with your supervisor Deliah, who communicates with you via a radio. Together you keep the peace and deal with campers and the like, ensuring they don’t hurt themselves, or god forbid, cause a fire. As your relationship between Deliah escalates so do a series of mysterious events. As seen at the end of the trailer, just when Deliah thinks you are at your lookout, you reveal that you’ve made it to a comms tower. This leads her to question who is at your outlook. Dun Dun DUUUUUUN!!!! The wilderness can be scary on your own. Twinstick Gaming intend to keep an eye on this one.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Fans begged and begged for it. Many thought it wouldn’t happen despite Square Enix declaring that FFVII would be coming to PS4 last year, but only in its original PS1 form. Whilst this may have pleased gamers there is nothing quite like watching fans go into a frenzy when their all time favourite game gets a complete HD reworking. And oh boy did it get a re-working.
The game looks completely different, almost unrecognisable. Granted we didn’t see any game play footage, but this looks gorgeous. Let the fandom commence.
Biggest issue Square Enix have is that difficult balance of honouring what fans originally loved about the game but ensuring that FFVII doesn’t feel dated on the PS4. Many will argue that not a single thing (besides the graphics) should be touched, others will say that the game mechanics may need an overhaul so that the game doesn’t appear outdated in comparison to its successors.
However, fans can expect the latter as executive producer Shinji Hashimoto said that this is ‘a remake, not a remaster.’ He followed with “We’re putting in a lot of careful thought to meet the expectations of fans.” We’ll just have to wait with bated breath.
We believe FFVII is a timed PS4 exclusive, as the trailer ends with ‘Play it first on Playstation 4.’ No other formats have been mentioned but there is still hope for Xbox players. Sadly, we have no release date.
World of Final Fantasy
Yes, more Final Fantasy in the form of cutesy styled ‘World of Final Fantasy’. Think of an art style somewhere between Harvest Moon and Kingdom Hearts and you’ve got it.
Little was know about this game at first, the trailer itself gave nothing away and hardly any gameplay footage featured during the presentation. However, we can tell you a couple of things about this loveable title.
The combat system is ATB (Active Time Battle) similar to those associated with earlier Final Fantasy games (from IV to IX). The main characters can swap between small and big form, which effects their abilities in combat and with the rest of the world.
The game will be littered with collectibles but the big seller is the idea of ‘befriending’ monsters – so Pokemon with Final Fantasy characters hmmmm………SOLD. Oh and your characters can somehow stack on top of these monsters forming behemoths and iron giants during combat, that’s according to director Hiroki Chiba.
There will also be tons of familiar characters and locations from the FF universe. And rejoice PS Vita fans, Sony’s conference had little to offer you but not only is this coming to PS4 sometime in 2016, it will head over to the handheld console too.
The biggest shock of E3. Sega lost the rights to Shenmue last year, and boy will they regret that decision. Sony unveiled that Shenmue 3 would be coming to PS4 and PC only, providing that Ys Net could get the crowd funding for this Kickstarter project. Within hours of the announcement, Shenmue 3 broke Kickstarter records by being the fastest funded game in the site’s history. Initially the target was $2million and they currently sit on $3.3million as we speak.
Shenmue 3 will conclude the epic trilogy that fans have waited (so far) 14 years for. Obviously with this Kickstarter being in its infancy we may have to wait a few more years, but provided all goes well, Shenmue fans will finally get what they have been waiting for.
Ys Net have promised the following:
Shenmue 3 will have familiar elements from its predecessors and new fight mechanics to achieve a new level of interactive storytelling.
If this project reaches its funding goal, Shenmue 3 will be available on the PS4 and PC.
Our ambition is to deliver a Shenmue experience that will draw in newcomers to the series and reward diehard fans with its deep story and rich gameplay.
According to Shuhei Yoshida, the games size will depend on how much funding Ys receive. Whilst small in comparison to todays standards, the original Shenmue was considered a large free-roam game. Originally Shenmue 3, under Sega’s leadership, would have cost around $47 million, yet YS Net are only asking for $2 million. So why such a huge discrepancy?
Yoshida explains the maths are simple. This is an indie game and Ys have a much smaller team than Sega, so the costs are significantly lower. Yoshida also added “Once it is successful SCE will give a lot of support to the game, including financial support. That’s no different than what we’ve done with other games like Sportsfriends.”
Showing continuing support for indies, Sony showcased four titles from developer Devolver Digital. And it seems that Devolver lean-to the more gorier side of things.
First up is Ronin, a futuristic looking plaformer were we play as a highly agile Ninja, where slicing and dicing are common place. Throw your sword, smash through windows and unleash hell.
Initially EITR appeared to have a lot in common with Transistor, but the combat appears to be free-flowing. This is an action RPG based on Norse mythology. You play as a Shield Maiden and will need to use a combination of blocking, combos, buffs and positioning to triumph in battle.
Mother Russia Bleeds – A beat ’em up of the same ilk as Streets of Rage, except the multitude of gore in this game may make Hotline Miami enthusiasts blush. Set in an alternative 1980’s Russia, let the violence commence.
Crossing Souls – simply WHAT THE HELL? This game is set during the summer holidays, when a small group of friends discover a mysterious artefact that will ‘change the course of their lives forever.’ Colourful artwork, an 80’s vibe and mayhem ensue, but judging by the trailer this game has so many different game styles it’s hard to pin it down. Looks fun though.
We believe all of these titles are coming to PS4 as well as PS Vita.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Exclusive DLC
The PS4 will receive exclusive AC Syndicate DLC entitled ‘Dreadful Crimes.’ Players sold crimes inspired by a famous novelist of the period. I wonder who they are referring to? C. J. Sansom perhaps?
Effectively we are getting more TV channels without having to acquire them through an extortionate bundle, so you can subscribe to your favourite individual channels rather than all of them at once. Coming to PS4 are Showtime, Fox Soccer, and a new channel powered by Machinima. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let HBO make their way across to PS4.
No Man’s Sky
This astonished us at last years E3 and this year is no different. We knew this game was going to be big in scale. Especially as the game is procedurally generated. However, we couldn’t be prepared for this. Hello Games’ Sean Murray showed us our present location on the map and zoomed out a touch, revealing more suns in neighbouring galaxies. Each sun had planets you could discover. He panned further back, and further back, then further back, continuing further back……ok you get the idea. But after a bazillion suns had passed our eyes, our tiny little minds freaked. Inside this game was a universe. Sean Murray concluded that some of these planets will ‘never’ be explored.
With only 3 minutes of the presentation dedicated to Hello Games intergalactic space adventure we still feel we know little about this game. What is the objective? Are we just roaming aimlessly, scavenging parts? How does the multiplayer work?
This could be the only stumbling block for Hello games, because even though the universe may be endless you don’t want your game to feel like a bunch of kids loitering around the shops, vandalising because they are bored with nothing to do.
Still, the future looks bright for this game.
RIGS – Project Morpheus
So far I’m not convinced by all this VR headset nonsense. I hate to be dismissive, but gaming has been played the same way for years. On the sofa, with a controller. I’m not against diversity but if the Nintendo Wii, which sold over 100 million unit worldwide, with its motion controller couldn’t permanently revolutionise and change the way we play games, no one can. Kinect, Move, Wii Remote are all novelties. Fun ones, I’ll grant you. But the fun wears off and we go back to sitting in our living rooms. Can VR headsets really offer more? Doubtful. And this trailer did little to quell my doubts.
RIGS is touted as some kind of E-Sports VR Game (which is an interesting approach and may sell on that basis alone) and developed by Guerrilla Cambridge who brought us the woeful Killzone Shadow Fall. So my hopes for this game are slim.
If you want to run around in one of the Titans from Titanfall maybe this is for you. This trailer has an irritating commentator with some irritating faces.
Call of Duty Content Coming to PS4 First
Yes, in a recent switch (might have something to do with PS4 outselling Xbox One) Activision have partnered up with Sony. Call of Duty is one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world and all DLC for Black Ops 3 will hit PS4 before all other consoles. Sony also announced that the multiplayer Beta will also come to PS4 first in time for August.
Disney Infinity 3.0 Exclusives
Sony will also enjoy some exclusive Disney Infinity 3.0 spoils. A limited edition starter pack will include Twilight of the Republic missions (Episodes 1-3) and Rise Again the Empire missions (Episodes 4-6). Both of these missions were due to come separately and had a release schedule months apart but the PS4 version will have both ready for launch. The starter pack will also include a limited edition Bobba Fett figure
Star Wars Battlefront
Not exclusive, but Sony got to show off the latest in-game footage for Star Wars Battlefront. Graphically this footage was stunning and the A.I animation looked smooth, however, the game felt a little lifeless. DICE, who are the makers of Battlefield, of all people should be able to create intense chaotic action set pieces. Maybe it was just me but this game feels a little flat. Granted it was only a preview, but considering how badly hardened Battlefront fans reacted to the lack of space battles and other key components that are often associated with the series, you would think DICE would be pulling out the big guns to win fans over or at least ease their fears. Although we now have split screen co-op.
Not that this looks terrible, and I’m still looking forward to it, but lets just say I was a little underwhelmed.
Uncharted 4: Thief’s End
If you’re going to end a show you do it with a show stopper. What you don’t do is lose the PS4 controller and leave fans staring at a motionless Nathan Drake, making them think ‘oh shit the game doesn’t work.’ But the embarrassment was short-lived and quickly forgotten as Naughty Dog and Sony have outdone themselves.
I make no secrets about my love for the Uncharted series but even the unconverted will have to admit that this gameplay footage was jaw dropping. The action looked intense, over the top and fun as Sully and Nate exchanged quip remarks whilst being shot at. The car chase also indicates that this could be the largest Uncharted game we’ve ever seen, breaking away from the linear game play of the original trilogy. In short this trailer was fantastic.
Overall Sony’s press conference was incredibly diverse and filled with games. However, so few titles on offer actually have a 2015 release date. In fact very few did except titles like Call of Duty, Hitman and Star Wars Battlefront, which will also have Xbox and/or PC releases.
But this apparently is due to the fact that Sony are so confident in their sales that they can rely on third-party developers to take their console forward this year. This can afford Sony the time to unleash a tirade of exclusive games in 2016 that even the most hardy rival would struggle to keep up with.
When you drop bombs like The Last Guardian and Shenmue 3 on an unsuspecting crowd you need only mop up, but Sony cranked it up a notched and showed off more No Man’s Sky and Uncharted 4, wowing audiences. Horizon could also be one of 2016’s hottest new I.P’s, as Sony are proving themselves fearless in a gaming world heavily reliant on annual franchises.
Only 2016 will tell whether Sony have managed to win the world over.