Sony, much like Nintendo before them, have reached a point of security in terms of their brand power and the power of the IP and studios they wield under the umbrella of their first party. What this means, then, is that Sony understands it can do things on its own terms. It understands that people are going to end up inevitably having to purchase a PlayStation to play the top tier games you can’t get anywhere else – because Sony is the one making them. So it doesn’t matter how bad the press around Sony’s moves get, or how long Sony goes without making major announcements. Sony has nothing left to prove. All it has to do is continue doing what it has done for the last decade – and people will buy into PlayStation.
Yesterday’s show, the first big PlayStation show in almost a year, was basically a show put on by a market leader that understands this position. It was, very literally, more of the same. For a lot of people who were maybe hoping for Sony to come out and make left-field out there announcements to generate hype and interest like they did in the late-PS3 and early-PS4 eras, maybe this show yesterday was disappointing. But ultimately, what it delivered was more of the exact same kind of fare that people are on board with PlayStation for – we got to see more cinematic narrative action adventure games from Sony’s studios, we got to see some cool third party collaborations, we got to see some multiplatform games, we saw a couple of indie games, and we saw Deathloop and GTA5, both of which are going to be fixtures of Sony shows till the end of time.
Nothing was really surprising. I mean, yes, an Insomniac Wolverine game is technically surprising, but it’s not really a left field announcement anymore, because precedence for Marvel games from Sony is already set. And to be honest, I think it’s fine nothing was surprising anymore. At this point, I know what PlayStation does, and I know what to expect from it, and that’s all I want from it. Unlike Xbox, who are still finding their voice and aesthetic as far as a first party goes, PlayStation, like Nintendo, now has a defined position and formula for what works – and so, giving people more of what made PlayStation so big to begin with is absolutely a great thing to do with a new show.
The pacing of the show was great – very little win the way of fluff, and just game after game after game. I’ve seen some sentiment online that individual game trailers or segments tended to drag, but honestly, I didn’t feel that way at all. The most we saw of any game was 3-4 minutes, so if you didn’t like what was on screen, you didn’t have to put up with it too long. That, along with the conference being shorn of the kind of filler that stage shows usually have, means that this was a quick moving show – slick and well produced, brisk and quick moving.
The actual content was pretty solid too, and while people drunk on so-called “insider” hype expecting a Bluepoint Metal Gear remake and a PlayStation exclusive Silent Hill were probably disappointed, we actually got to see a fair amount of great looking upcoming games – Forspoken (some actual gameplay footage, traversal and mobility look cool, everything else is iffy); Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake (an exciting proposition, but hard to really get attached to without any gameplay, or anything except CG really); Project EVE (which looked like a surprisingly interesting action game); third party multiplatform titles, such as Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, Rainbow Six Extraction, Alan Wake, and Guardians of the Galaxy; yet more looks at Deathloop and GTA5, because we can never have enough (the latter, surprisingly, being delayed into early next year); Ghostwire Tokyo (which looked pretty neat!); Tchia, arguably one of the most charming and interesting looking games shown; and then we moved on to the PlayStation Studios segment.
Even here, to be honest, nothing was really unexpected, with one obvious standout. Gran Turismo 7 looks great, and Spider-Man 2 promises a really exciting sequel to the 2018 game and Miles Morales, but both of these are expected sequels (as well as sequels that had already been shown off/announced/discussed/acknowledged before). Wolverine by Insomniac is an exciting proposition, but we got to see no gameplay, we barely got to see anything that would give us an idea of what the game is like. Naughty Dog’s announcement was fairly disappointing – Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves may be exciting in that it finally brings Nathan Drake over to PC, but for PlayStation owners, having to pay full price money to get the same game as on the PS4 but with a frame rate and resolution boost is unacceptable, and hopefully there will be an upgrade path for existing owners that we will learn about closer to launch.
Sony chose to end the show on Ragnarok, and that was a great idea, because Ragnarok looks spectacular. It looks like Sony Santa Monica, who are pitching Ragnarok is the conclusion to the Norse narrative, are going all in and taking all the feedback that the original game got into account. What we saw already showed us more varied enemies, what looked to be bigger and more varied set pieces and bosses, and a more populated world with more NPCs; so it’s already looking like Ragnarok might end up delivering on the promise of 2018, a game which lay the foundation for one of the greatest games ever, but never quite reached that level itself.
Ending on Ragnarok, and indeed, on a segment focused only on their own games, which also included Wolverine, was a smart choice. While the early parts of the conference may have ended up disappointing many of Sony’s audience that traditionally would tune in for a show like this, Ragnarok and Wolverine meant the show signed off on a hell of a high note, and that the lingering impression for the show ended up being positive – even if they may have been disappointed or underwhelmed with what came before.
But honestly, I don’t think anyone who really enjoys PlayStation and the style of games that PlayStation pushes, could have been disappointed by yesterday’s show. It may not have been a top tier show on the same level as Sony’s legendary E3 2015 or 2016 shows, but at this point, it doesn’t have to be. At this point, Sony knows what people like, and giving them more of that is all it needs to do. And that’s what they did yesterday, and what we ended up with was a show that painted a promising picture of the future of PlayStation.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.