After the tepid response of Microsoft’s press conference and the fact that Nintendo decided to forego doing one altogether, it really was Sony’s year to steal the show. The heavily social media focused presentation of the PlayStation 4 has largely been forgotten by this point, presenting a rare opportunity to start things off on a clean slate with a better focused message. Here’s how it turned out.
1. Sony kicked things off by showing a short montage of the titles that would be coming to Vita. God of War 1 & 2 HD, Final Fantasy X/X-2, Flower, Dead Nation, and a new Killzone were among those shown. While it’s great that they dedicated some time to the platform, they didn’t dedicate enough time, especially since nearly everything shown was a port from the PS3. New titles, especially those from third parties, would boost confidence in the platform.
2. There was also a great deal of time spent with the PlayStation 3. The Last of Us, which releases this week, got an intense trailer. Some, what looked to be indie titles, were showcased in the form of Puppeteer (which reminded me of LittleBigPlanet) and Rain. Beyond Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6, and Batman Arkham Origins also received new trailers. A Grand Theft Auto V bundle was announced that showed the game bundled with a headset. As I tuned out momentarily to take notes, I didn’t really catch why this was.
3. The design of the PlayStation 4 was finally shown as the console was brought out on stage. It looked… interesting. The pictures that were displayed made it appear like the PS2, though the actual console’s sides were slanted, making it look more like a rhombus. Don’t expect this unit to pull your living room together or anything.
4. Some time was dedicated to social media and the work being done with Sony Pictures. This was a very small portion of the conference, though it did feel like it dragged on a bit too long as given the audience for this device.
5. Titles that were shown last February for the PS4, such as the new Killzone, inFAMOUS: Second Son, and Drive Club debuted additional trailers at the conference. A new IP in the form of The Order 1886 took center stage as well and looked pretty neat.
6. A new game/tech demo by the name of The Dark Sorceror was shown, featuring an old man that looked strikingly like the one that was shown off at the February conference during the “look at how uncanny valley our visuals are” phase. Said old man casted a spell in very dramatic fashion with the aid of goblin minion, though in a humorous twist, the demonstration was interrupted as the old man stopped to ask if he should reread the script from a new angle. Supergiant Games then took to the stage to demonstrate Transistor that looked as though it maintained elements from their previous hit, Bastion.
7. Some good news for indie developers was announced: indies can now self-publish on the PSN Store. Given that Microsoft is requiring indie developers to have a publisher before launching a game on the Xbox One, this was a huge blow to their platform.
8. Tetsuya Nomura of Square Enix was on hand to deliver a one-two punch of exciting PS4 news. Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the Duke Nukem Forever of FF games, was shown again in a brand new trailer. The main twist being that the title is in fact being rebranded as Final Fantasy XV and will be released on the PS4. Following the trend of “it’s about time” moments, Kingdom Hearts III was also officially announced for the platform as well.
9. Ubisoft took the stage to show off Assassin’s Creed IV and Watch Dogs, while Bungie and Activision followed suit with some new footage of Destiny. While none of the games could truly be considered new announcements, they still looked like great additions to the PS4’s growing stable of upcoming games.
10. Once again, the biggest news of the entire conference had to be the bombshell that PS4 would not only support used games, but not require any sort of authentication or DRM to do so. There is also no requirement to take the system online. In addition, the console would be retailing this holiday season at the price point of $399; a full $100 cheaper than the Xbox One.
Between the various game announcements, the price, and the no-DRM stance of the PS4, Sony put on what is quite possibly the best E3 press conference that they have ever done in years. The main focus of the show was games (as it should be) and they seemed to have lost the arrogant attitude that had plagued them the entirety of the last generation. While Sony is hardly what I would call “pro-consumer”, it’s comforting to know that they at least have been listening to their customers’ pleas over the last several weeks. I think I may just enjoy the show a bit more this week. Keep an eye out for more E3 2013 coverage on Diehard GameFAN this week!