E3 2014: Sony Press Conference Recap - LittleBigPlanet 3, Uncharted 4 and More!
After practically kicking in the teeth of Microsoft's E3 press conference last year, Sony showed last night that they had no intention of just laying down. Their Playstation 4 consoles are selling well, software is selling as well as it can be despite a lack of AAA games, and, as a telltale sign of how well Sony is doing right now, even their PS4 camera is selling well, often finding itself out of stock. This is compared to Microsoft who had to remove the Kinect from Xbox One consoles in order to make fans happy. Over the course of the press conference, Sony stated that 95% of PS4s are connected to the internet, and the share button has been pressed 220 million times.
As mentioned during the Microsoft recap, we thought that them not mentioning numbers and figures, or anything non-game related, would have hurt them, and while it did slow down Sony's conference at times, these numbers didn't hurt. Last night, we got games, lots of games, we got some tech, and a brand new CEO delivering his first nervous E3 speech. The public reaction to the conference was pretty great, as they had a reason to be happy with surprises from Media Molecule (who tweeted earlier in the week that they wouldn't be attending) and Tim Schafer himself.
Indie developers also had a pretty strong showing, with a trailer for a new game by the art director of Journey titled Abzu, and a slew of games announced for Sony consoles by publisher Devolver Digital, including Hotline Miami 2. All in all, Sony stood atop a hill and gave many gamers reasons to hold onto their PS4s, PS3s and Vitas for at least another year. Personally, I was hoping to see at least Kratos or Nathan Drake, and they delivered with a teaser for a game with one of those characters, but in the end, Sackboy's return and No Man's Sky stole my heart.
Let's get the tech, numbers and some other things out of the way:
New PS4 Bundle - Shortly after a trailer for Destiny, a new bundle was announced for the game's September 9th launch, combining Destiny, a free 30-Day subscription to PS Plus, and a 500GB Glacier White PS4 with matching white Dual Shock.
PSN - Sony came out with some big numbers regarding the online service: 95% of PS4s are online, 1.25 billion hours have been played on the console, there have been 1 billion multiplayer sessions, the Share button has been used 220 million times and 150 million sessions have been spent spectating someone else playing. These numbers will see a huge boost when Youtube hits the PS4 later this year, as players can play, Share a video, and immediately upload it to Youtube.
PS Now - The streaming service that will bring games like The Last of Us to the PS Vita and other Sony consoles, will enter an open beta on July 31st for PS4 owners, and later this year on PS Vita and PS3.
PS TV - The Apple TV-like device is headed to North America and Europe later this year for $99. Poor Ouya. This little console will play most PS Vita games, and, using PS Now, will be able to stream PS One, PSP and PS3 games made available through the Now service, and can be used remotely with the PS4 like the PS Vita if you want to use a TV in a different room. A $139 bundle was also announced, providing a Dual Shock 3, an 8GB memory card, an HDMI cable, and a copy of The Lego Movie Video Game.
Powers - This series developed for Playstation 4 owners will be based off the graphic novel series of the same name where the main characters solve crimes caused by or involving super heroes. One of the writers of this series has been involved in all of Marvel's recent movies, and sits on Marvel's board of writers, so the quality of the work is expected to be high. Available in December, 2014.
Now that that's out of the way, let's move onto some of the most exciting games shown:
Destiny - The trailer above kicked off the evening, and looks pretty fantastic. The closed beta will be made available first on PS3 and PS4, with weapons, armor sets, gear, ships and maps being available as an exclusive Sony bonus.
The Order: 1886 - This game is starting to ramp up beyond what, to some, originally looked to be very similar to Bethesda's Dishonored game, but has begun to branch out onto its own thing with a trailer that featured gameplay, cutscenes, and a werewolf. Got a real The Last of Us vibe from the trailer.
Entwined - This indie title developed by Pixelopus, a studio made up of recent college and university graduates, is a twin-stick game where you control two souls that long to be together but can't. Based on a Chinese myth in which a fish and a bird fall in love, these two souls take on the forms of these animals, and must travel through 9 life times/levels side by side collecting items found on the screen until a level is completed successfully, where they become a dragon. Think of it as DYAD meets Journey, or basically any other game by thatgamecompany.
Infamous: Second Son - Standalone DLC announced titled Infamous: First Light. This content will follow Fetch, a female character from Second Son who has neon light-based power that enables her to shoot lasers and run at amazing speeds. The story serves as somewhat of a prequel, showing her life prior to capture by the Department of Unified Protection (a government agency out to capture all conduits/people with powers, despite being government by someone who can control concrete). Set for release in August 2014.
LittleBigPlanet 3 - Yes, you read that right. Though this time, with a different developer, as Media Molecule wishes to grow beyond this franchise. LBP3 by developers Sony XDev Europe and Sumo Digital will star Sackboy once again, but with a few new friends like Oddsock who has great speed and the ability to wall climb, Toggle who can switch between a large, heavy form and a smaller form, and Swoop who can fly and carry smaller characters around the screen. Any player-created LittleBigPlanet or LBP2 level can be played on LBP3 with upgraded graphics. Release expected for this upcoming November.
Bloodborne - From Software/the Dark Souls people debuted a very short and gory teaser trailer. No word on a release date other than it coming out sometime in 2015, or whether or not this game will follow the sharp difficulty curve of Dark Souls or not yet.
Far Cry 4 - A new gameplay trailer shows stealth, wing-suits, high-octane action and elephants attacking humans. Players can join seamlessly, and, as an added bonus, your PSN friends can join in on the fun in your game even if they don't own a copy themselves.
Dead Island 2 - This announcement trailer followed a jogger as the world behind him succumbs to the zombie apocalypse, then eventually himself included without even stopping. Let's call it Zogging.
Grim Fandango - Tim Schafer helped Sony deliver a surprise that no one really saw coming. Grim Fandango will be remastered exclusively for PS Vita and PS4.
No Man's Sky - Joe Danger developer Hello Games stole the show. After this past winter's VGX, all anyone could talk about was this game, and once again, here we are marveling at how beautiful this game looks, despite much of the development being done by less than 10 people. On Christmas Eve, 2013, Hello Games' studio was flooded, with only their back-ups surviving, and they powered through to continue development on this procedurally-generated open-world game. Set in outer space, every player will start on a different planet, each packed with hazards such as dinosaurs, giant worms and more, and environments such as vast oceans and deserts. Every rock is generated by the game itself, so not even the developers know what will lie ahead for players.
Mortal Kombat X - New gameplay trailer featuring two new fighters, and a slew of fatalities. This gameplay video shows that the environment can be interacted with much more than most other fighters, but the extent of which it can be used is unknown at this time.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain - In a very powerful trailer, we see an aging Snake spread a person's ashes on his scarred, aging face. Have to wonder how much longer this series will be able to carry on punishing this character psychologically and physically.
Batman: Arkham Knight - A new gameplay trailer shows off some amazingly long gliding distances, very Twisted Metal-like Batmobile driving, Penguin suggesting that Batman isn't a threat, and a very angry Scarecrow who aims to destroy Gotham City from within. Delayed until 2015, we definitely cannot wait for this one.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End - The show officially ended with a teaser for Naughty Dog's most recent flagship franchise, debuting an older, married Nathan Drake headed for what may be his final adventure, once again with Victor Sullivan in tow. Can't wait to see more on this one.