Videogame press conferences are, by their very nature, occasions that invoke intense feelings of excitement and adulation within the hearts and minds of the hardcore videogame community. The chance to be one of the very first to catch but a brief glimpse of the most secretive endeavours of the world’s greatest videogame developers is something that fans around the world eagerly anticipate year on year. They’re a celebration of the future of the videogame industry, of the creative might of an artform that is still in its infancy, continuously astounding us with imaginative and evocative growth spurts that completely rewrite our expectations on what videogames and be and do.
Over the last couple of years, Sony have become the masters of delivering a press conference that evokes the feelings of euphoria and eagerness I have just described. E3 conference after E3 conference has left us all agape, utterly amazed at the wonderous, magical experiences the company’s first and second party studios have concocted for all our amusement. We’ve come to expect greatness for Sony every single time they grace the big stage – who wouldn’t, considering the announcements we’ve witnessed over the last couple of years? As such, with the company revealing their return to the mildly esoteric and ostentatious event that is Paris Games Week (though, that’s more the city than the event itself), expectations were, understandably, high. Even more so, it must be said, considering that Sony themselves touted the event as the second half of E3.
So, did they manage to pull it off? Well, that’s for you to decided, dear reader. In this article, we’ll simply be summarising the announcements from Sony’s main press conference (if you’re interested in discovering more about the pre-show, please click here to find out). So, without further ado, let us delve into the pomp and circumstance that was the 2017 Paris Games Week Sony press briefing – they’re really should of something catchier for next year.
After the usual hype-fuelled introductory extravaganza cinematic, the show licked off with what must certainly be the biggest announcement to the entire show. Although the bamboo forests and samurai warriors of the mysterious opening trailer initially invoked the spirit of the Dynasty Warriors series, such thoughts were soon out to rest when it was revealed to instead by a totally new IP by none other the Infamous Sucker Punch. Called Ghost of Tsushima, this ancient tale of federal Japanese (and, it would seem, Mongol) culture, marks a dramatic tonal departure for Sucker Punch, as the studio forgoes the wacky world of superheroes to embrace the more serious realm of Japanese culture and history – although, the trailer does show hints of the mysticism and supernatural that defined the Infamous series. As would soon become the norm for the show, no release date was given, likely meaning that Ghost of Tsushima will be a 2019 game at the earliest.
Following on from the historical, all mystifying Ghost of Tsushima came yet another brand-new reveal, Concrete Genie. Hailing from the tiny Sony-owned studio of Pixelopus, the team responsible for the Entwined, Concrete Genie seems to the type of game that was synonymous with Sony during the PlayStation 3 era. Chronicling the trials and tribulations of a young Delsin Rowe lookalike with magical, life-creating artistic abilities, Concrete Genie oozed with all of the creative charm and emotional storytelling that make PlayStation exclusives so well renowned. A somewhat temperamental release window was given of 2018, though given the quirky nature of the title, expect it to release sometime in the early summer or Autumn when the schedule is somewhat lighter.
After a strong start, the conference took a left turn to explore the dominion of alternative videogame development. First up was a new Play Link title by London Studios called Erica (for those who don’t know, Play Link is Sony’s new party gaming venture that incorporates player-driven decisions via the usage of one’s phone, a move undoubtedly inspired by the success of Until Dawn). Exact details were scarce, though the game appears to be something akin to a mystery story with a distinct noire flavouring. A VR scissor real was up next, showcasing several titles that featured in the pre-show, a prelude to the announcement of a brand-new first-party VR title by none other than London Studios once again. Titled Blood & Truth, this cockney crime thriller conjures up memories of The Heist, a similarly themed VR experience that was also by London Studios, undoubtedly acting as both inspiration and proof of concept for Blood & Truth. While it certainly looks to be what many would call a “proper game” for VR, I can’t help but hear the Cockney drawl of Blood & Truth’s villains and be reminded of The Getaway series…
Never mind that, though. Press conferences are all about the future, so let’s forget about lamenting the past instead move on to the next announcement, namely a deluge of third-party trailers heralding the promise of PlayStation-exclusive content. I linger upon these announcements for any longer than I need to, so I’ll simply list the games and their respective PlayStation-only goodies: Far Cry 5 co-op mode (though, this seems to be available for all platforms – the trailer wasn’t very clear on that point), Horizon-themed DLC for Monster Hunter World in the form of Alloy as a character skin, the reveal of Destiny 2’s very first DLC expansion, Curse of Osiris, the announcement of Call of Duty: WW2’s first DLC map-pack The Resistance, and the unveiling of a brand-new arcade racing title by Codemasters called Onrush.
With the usual pleasantries of third-party partnership recognition out of the way, the attention of the conference turned once again towards the realms of the first-party, much to joy of audiences across the globe. Insomniac’s Spider-Man swung in to give us all a new story-centric trailer revealing several interesting narrative and gameplay titbits, including the fact that Mary Jane Watson will be a playable character, exciting news indeed. What wasn’t so exciting was the lack of a concrete release date, with only the vague promise of a 2018 window satiating the hunger of baying Marvel and Sony fans alike, me included. Detroit: Become Human, too, disappointed fans thanks to ambiguous sprig 2018 release window, though a new gameplay trailer staring Kara wowed and shocked audiences with its very raw depiction of child abuse.
Trailers for God of War, again featuring a disappointing “Early2018” release date, and Horizon: Zero Dawn – The Frozen Wilds were up next, giving gamers a tantalising glimpse of the luscious natural environments that are fast becoming a staple of the PlayStation first-party eco-system. New gameplay from the Shadow of the Colossus remake soon followed, this time thankfully rewarding dedicated viewers with a firm launch date of February 6, 2018.
Wrapping up the show, Sony revealed to us a brand-new cinematic trailer for what must be the most anticipated game for any self-confessed Sony fanatic – as well as plenty of neutral videogame enthusiasts – The Last of Us: Part 2. Unfortunately lacking any mention of the beloved Joel and Ellie, the trailer gave us a tantalising glance at what has become of the world of The Last of Us: Part 2 since the climactic events of the first game. By the looks of things, the post-apocalypse is well and truly in motion, if the unbelievably bloody and brutal trailer was anything to go by. It has certainly caused some stir within the wider industry, that’s for sure.
And with that, so concludes our summary of Sony’s Paris Games Week press briefing. I’ll admit, the lack of concrete release dates and extended gameplay segments was somewhat disappointing, especially given who close several of the titles in question are to release. That said, with PSX just over a month away, I expect that we’ll finally get release dates for both God of War and Detroit: Become Human, and, hopefully, much more besides.