This year marked the 6th annual Paris Games Week, held at the Paris expo Porte de Versailles in Paris, France. It is currently the second largest video game trade show, after Germany’s Gamescom. This is Sony’s first press conference at PGW, having opted to skip Gamescom this year and have their event in Paris. They came loaded for, and with, bear (more on that later) with a nearly two hour conference that barely let up. Also please note that all release dates are European and may not reflect the release dates of other territories.
We started out with a fancy intro, with the iconic PlayStation button shapes that lead into a sizzle reel showing a ton of games, both released and upcoming. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president and CEO Jim Ryan came out to greet the crowd and kick things off. He wasted little time introducing our first two games and the custom console bundles they will released alongside in the near future.
First up was Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Activision). We got to see a new trailer for the incredibly popular Zombies mode, which included a sword swinging badass, and a cast of other characters. Unfortunately, it was all pre-rendered and no gameplay footage was shown. We also got to see the custom controller and console again, and I still contest that the controller is the most abhorrently ugly controller I can recall ever seeing.
Next up we visit a galaxy far, far, away, as Star Wars Battlefront (Electronic Arts) takes front and center. We got to see more pre-rendered footage here and it was gorgeous. Some gameplay may have snuck in here and there, it was kind of hard to tell. We did get to see a lot of characters and species here, and it was a very nice hype video. The Darth Vader PS4 still looks swanky as can be.
Street Fighter 5 (Capcom) took the stage next and it was one weird segment. Game producer Yoshinori Ono showed up with three birds bobbling from his head in tribute to the state of dizzy characters in Street Fighter games. We then get to see Dhalsim, but he is different, as he is old man Dhalsim and he looks awesome. We were told that there would 6 six unannounced characters released throughout the year after SFV ships on February 16th, 2016. He poked fun at the fact that Capcom has been having a doozy of a time keeping secrets under wraps and that all of their reveals were spoiled ahead of time. He said he still had one up his sleeve though and revealed a character select screen with… Katsuhiro Harada…
Wait, the Tekken (Namco Bandai) producer is in Street Fighter 5? Not really, they were just playing around, he is actually out to show us a 20th anniversary trailer for the Tekken series. We also learn that Tekken 7 will be appearing on the PlayStation 4.
Gearbox Software’s Battleborn had a trailer next. It is a team and class based shooter, with a bunch of classes to choose from. It is looking pretty wild and has a lot of character. It also looks to include a lot of modes including single player, co-op, and competitive. PlayStation users will get first crack at an open beta.
Next up we hit a block of PlayStation exclusive games. First was Boundless (Wonderstruck), featuring a city chock full of portals. It looked really cool, with a great art style, but not much was revealed about what the game really is. I will be paying attention to this one. Second was Vector (Hello There), a music/rhythm game aiming to have a live show vibe, and the developers are receiving help from one of the members of the band Avicii.
Thirdly, we got to see some No Man’s Sky (Hello Games); not much new ground covered here, but we did learn a release window: June 2016. This is still looking like it might be the proverbial “last game you will ever need.” Housemarque was out to celebrate their 20 year anniversary by announcing a new game. It is called Matterfall, and I have no idea what it is. The trailer showed a character in morphing body armor fighting killer robots. None of what we saw was gameplay. Housemarque has a strong reputation for making good games with tons of replay value, so I will definitely pay attention to this one. Last in the block was the Ratchet & Clank remake by Insomniac. It still looks fantastic.
Guerilla Games showed off Horizon Zero Dawn and wow, Sony may have a very special exclusive in this one. It is an action RPG with crafting set in a large primitive world… primitive except for the heavily armed robot dinosaurs that hunt you as you hunt them. Some of them are absolutely massive, and the game looks very sharp. I am really looking forward to this one. It is scheduled to be released in 2016.
Time for some first party quick hits. Bloodborne has a new expansion called The Old Hunters and it looks like more Souls-style goodness, including a gigantic and gnarly looking boss. Drive Club will also get bigger with the inclusion of motorcycles in Drive Club Bikes, which comes as an expansion or as a standalone game. Gravity Rush 2 is heading to PS4 and looks to expand with three fighting styles and a tag team partner. Naughty Dog showed off a multiplayer trailer for Uncharted 4; it looked really slick, but it is more of a stylized video rather than a direct showing of the gameplay, though we do see that they will now allow the use of mystical powers. The multiplayer beta will be held in early December. Media Molecule showed us the first real gameplay from Dreams. It looks really cool, but I have this feeling I will never fully grasp what it has to offer.
Now on the stage is the most adorable executive in the world, Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony World Wide Studios. He brought us his never ending smile to tell the world about Sony VR, the virtual reality headset formerly known as Morpheus, and its games. Rigs was a combat sport using mechs attempting to score goals, it had some nice commentary and looked frantic and fun. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a virtual house of horrors by Supermassive Games. Sony Pictures had a really cool looking experience based off of the movie The Walk, where you recreate the film’s high wire walk. Rebellion showed off a Tron-like virtual world with tanks and warfare called Battle Zone. Crytek also announced a new game, Robinson: The Journey. You are placed in a primitive land dodging through the legs of dinosaurs. It looked pretty incredible and is the first game that has me interested in VR headsets.
The next entry in the Gran Turismo was announced with Gran Turismo Sport. Polyphony Digital’s Kazunori Yamauchi took the stage to give us tons of info. The series is striving to make big changes and a lot of that seems to be by getting more connected to the real world of motorsports. There will be two cup series throughout the year. One is called the Nations Cup, where you battle for your home land, and the other is the Manufacturers Cup, where you battle for your favorite car maker. The cool part is that the winners of these cups will be part of the FIA motorsports award ceremony, standing side by side with real world drivers as they claim their prize. The beta will be starting in early 2016 and the game will be PlayStation VR compatible.
We finish with two French auteur game designers. First to the stage is Michel Ancel, representing Wild Sheep Studio. Ancel is the mind behind fan favorites Beyond Good & Evil and the Rayman series. Today he showed us his new studio’s first game, WiLD, and that name is surely fitting. In the demo you play as a shaman for a human tribe in what I am guessing is prehistoric times. As it starts, you find out a villager has been bitten by a snake and needs help or she will die. This leads you on an incredible journey to make a deal with a snake god. You are show taking control of an eagle as it searches the land for you, and once you know where to go you are the shaman again. Walking to the snake god is too slow, so why not hop on a bear and ride… bear back… Later you even control a bunny. In the end you find the snake god, who turns out to be a giant, naked, scaly, woman. It all just looks incredible and I now have a new most anticipated game. I cannot wait.
The last game of the show is the new experience from Quantic Dream. Quantic Dream’s games and studio head, David Cage, are very polarizing with fans, and probably for good reason. The games are often less interactive than most, and Cage pushes hard for cinematic storytelling. A few years back they made a concept trailer called “Kara” which showed an android being assembled and talked to. She becomes self-aware and begins to think for herself, leading to the factory disassembling her. She begs and pleads for her life, and the factory worker relents and has her rebuilt and puts her on the shelf as product. Detroit: Become Human picks up Kara’s story, as we see her in the wider world. It seems to hit a lot of the AI in the real world tropes, and could be very interesting, very cliché or both.
That brings the first ever PlayStation PGW press conference to an end. We got to see a lot of stuff, and most of it looks intriguing. We have a heavy theme of primitive worlds throughout the show, and we got to see some dinosaurs, robots, and robot dinosaurs. Some of it has me incredibly excited, especially Horizon Zero Dawn and WiLD, and there is nothing I wouldn’t like to at least try. More so, I am finally getting excited for VR thanks to Robinson: The Journey. 2015 may have been a bit thin on marquee release, but 2016 looks to be a pretty stacked year for PlayStation fans. If you’d like to watch the press conference for yourself it is provided below.