Coming into E3 2017 gamers questioned whether Sony could deliver another year of dreams. In the past two years we’ve seen them announce Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last of Us Part II, Crash Bandicoot Remake and Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. The answer was no.
This year was a return to a more predictable line up. In a similar vein to Microsoft, Sony presented a solid line up of titles during a sleek and uninterrupted conference with only Shaun Layden taking to the stage.
Layden was keen to make himself scarce as he emphasised the importance of focusing on games. God of War’s cocktail of story and combat looks stunning, Days Gone enjoyed a more effective showing this year than last and Detroit: Become Human’s versatile narrative gameplay is shaping up nicely. However, the latter two titles remain without a release window.
There was a lack of concrete release dates which plagued Sony’s offerings. Shadow of the Colossus is getting a remake and Monster Hunter World was also announced, both with a 2018 release window. Sony also offered up several VR experiences in Skyrim, Final Fantasy XV, Bravo Team, Superhot VR and Starchild. Supermassive Games revealed a prequel to their 2015 sleeper hit Until Dawn with The Inpatient coming to PSVR sometime in the future.
We had to look to Sony’s pre-conference stream show for some offerings releasing this year. Highly anticipated Ni No Kuni 2 is releasing November 7th, Knack 2 is arriving in September and Gran Turismo Sport is coming this fall. Sony has once again left the path clear for 3rd party titles during the holiday season like Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: World War II, both announced to be featuring exclusive content on Playstation 4.
This represents a strategy which Sony may at first have inadvertently stumbled upon. Both Uncharted 4 and Horizon: Zero Dawn missed their holiday season release dates in 2015 and 2016, releasing early in the following year. This allowed Sony to release high quality titles throughout the year, whilst having exclusive content deals with big 3rd party titles makes Playstation 4 the enticing platform to buy them on. Both of the aforementioned titles had their big DLC story updates shown during the conference, with Uncharted: Lost Legacy arriving August 22nd. It seems Sony are going to continue with this effective formula, though it certainly damaged the impact of their press conference showing this year.
Sony closed with a mesmerising demonstration of their exclusive Spiderman title from Insomniac. With flawless transitions from cut scenes to gameplay, grand set pieces and a sleek design the game looks like it could be a special title. The only let down wasn’t the Quick Time Events that cropped up during combat, but that this title is also lined up for a 2018 release window.
2018 is going to be an impossibly busy year for video games if Sony hits these release windows, that’s without even mentioning 3rd party titles like Far Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption slated to release early next year. This conference lacked surprises and titles releasing this fall, but the style of the presentation and the sustained stream of trailers dropping made for an impressive watch.
Just as they hung zombies from the convention centre rafters, Sony dangled several carrots in front of us, however, greatness must remain awaiting for Playstation 4 owners a little while longer.