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Opinion

Sony's E3 Conference Brought The Games Of 2018, But Forgot About The Present

The calm before the storm.

Breathless. That’s Sony’s 2017 E3 conference wrapped up for you in a single word. In recent years they’ve been quick to get to the games, and that was the same last night, but without context and without those stilted game developers being dragged up on stage, there were few moments of clarity to be found.

Firstly there were definite highlights, and some will readily argue that Insomniac’s Spider-Man is liable to be the game of the conference. Channelling plenty of Arkham Asylum, as well as the spirit of Treyarch’s and Beenox’s webslinger offerings, here is a game that is really making the most of its host console’s power, with some incredible environmental interactions tied to some of the slickest visuals we’ve seen this generation. And it’s not even finished!

Besides that, Monster Hunter World is finally bringing the franchise back to where it all began – as well as Xbox One and PC – and in spectacular fashion, with various new monster hunting abilities that look as though they’re going to add more depth to one of the most commitment-heavy franchises out there. It’s interesting what this will mean for the Switch/3DS games going forward as well – does this signal the end of Nintendo and Capcom’s ‘special relationship’?

Perhaps the most surprising announcement of a show oddly lacking in big new announcements and reveals, was that we’re getting a Shadow of the Colussus remake to go on top of last gen’s remaster. While this is landmark game, haven’t we probably had enough of it, at least for now? It certainly didn’t have the wow factor of a Shenmue or Final Fantasy VII announcement, and I can’t imagine there are many Sony faithful clamouring for it when they would have torn the roof off with something like Crash Team Racing. The last few years have seen Sony rely heavily on wish fulfilment, but Shadow of the Colossus was as close they came to this in 2017.

We got a brief glimpse of a number of interesting PSVR titles, which should reassure those who’ve invested in Sony’s headset that it remains a part of Sony’s current plans. Having fully expected software to dry up in the same way support for the Vita died off, it was definitely a pleasant surprise to see Supermassive Games’s psychological horror game The Inpatient and a handful of other that included Skyrim VR.

Beyond that, this press conference almost felt like a replay of 2016, with many of the games shown simply solidifying a 2018 release date. God of War, Detroit Become Human and Spider-Man, all looked excellent, capable of being real system sellers with huge ambition, but they simply went from being “TBC” to “2018”, and that leaves us wondering about the end of this year. Days Gone made a fresh appearance, with its gameplay reveal from last year replaced by something a little more story driven, but still with some impressive zombie horde action. The one fly in the ointment is that where this was previously penned in for a 2017 release and would give Sony a big action game to close out the year, any mention of a release date was missing. Not 2017, not 2018, nothing.

Funnily enough, this means that Sony’s conference actually put them on a fairly even keel with Microsoft’s in terms of first party exclusives. There’s a little more breadth and diversity to what Sony themselves are offering over the next six months, with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Knack 2, Everybody’s Golf and GT Sport due to arrive this year – oddly, only Uncharted got to take to the main stage, the others being relegated to trailers and release date announcements during the pre-show.

Besides other high profile third party exclusives like Ni No Kuni II, the near future brings the triple remaster threat of Final Fantasy XII, Patapon and Crash N.Sane Trilogy. Still, this isn’t the the cutting edge first party experience we always hope for.

Seemingly we’re at the mercy of the third parties for big action game releases, with cross-platform titles that will suddenly perform better on their competitor’s console come 7th November. Perhaps it’s Sony deftly avoiding the crush of games in October and November to let their own efforts breath, or maybe the release of the Xbox One X that is making them hold off, coupled with a spot of nonchalant assurance that there’s very little damage that a £450 console can do to their hold on this generation.

Whether coincidental or by design, can you blame Sony if they’re coasting a little in the second half of year? Vastly ahead in sales, which have just passed the 60 million mark, they can afford to wait and see while Microsoft has to go on a major offensive. As it turned out, Sony don’t really have much else for this year either, spinning their wheels while they prepare for the future. What it does do is give some breathing room to games that perhaps wouldn’t have had the immediate success they deserve, and Ni No Kuni II and Everybody’s Golf might get a well deserved bump.

Whatever the case, the future of PlayStation is looking phenomenal, it’s just a shame the present is feeling a bit drab.

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25 Comments
  1. Tomhlord
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Apr 2009

    Yeh, it was odd GT Sport was only in the pre-show stream but still set to sell very well later this year.

    I was expecting a 2017 Detroit release. Perhaps not now. Although they didn’t say it was 2018 either?

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 11:54.
    • Avenger
      Member
      Since: Oct 2012

      I got to be honest though, I’ve lost faith in GTS (admittedly a big thing to say as a sponge for racing games). It’s not going to be that good a racing game. It’ll sell well in name, but Polyphony have lost their way. I hope they don’t delay again, their best bet is too release GTS and get a move on with the next game.

      Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 12:11.
      • Tomhlord
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Apr 2009

        ‘It’s not going to be that good a racing game’ – Based on an early closed beta? Let’s wait and see.

        Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 14:04.
      • Avenger
        Member
        Since: Oct 2012

        Mate, the game isn’t going to fundamentally change in handling, listed content, or graphics between now and Autumn. I’ve played enough alphas and betas to know that. If it was pre-alpha, fair enough, we couldn’t assume too much, but we have a master copy beta (not in an early stage), and quite a bit of gameplay footage.

        Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 14:36.
      • Tomhlord
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Apr 2009

        Still too early to write off an entire game, when the career and private lobbies haven’t been tried. The physics are significantly different too as they patch it along, which shows things can change.

        Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 14:59.
      • Blayney
        Member
        Since: Sep 2009

        I’m with Avenger on this one. On console Project CARS and Assetto Corsa have moved the game on massively for driving physics. Gran Turismo feels arcade in comparison. Still failing to develop in so many areas. It’s a shame as Gran Turismo was a huge part of my childhood.

        Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 18:54.
      • Tomhlord
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Apr 2009

        I really enjoy AC, it’s definitely the best game to drive ever. It’s also a deeply flawed video game with a terrible single player component.

        Comment posted on 14/06/2017 at 09:39.
      • Avenger
        Member
        Since: Oct 2012

        Whoa, flawed, steady on! The single player is a bit more fun now they’ve enhanced the AI you know.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’ll buy GT sport for the meets, but I doubt it will hold me attention for long outside of those meets. So many other more exciting racing games, I don’t think it’s been this jam packed in the market in the last few years. Such good variety.

        Comment posted on 14/06/2017 at 12:14.
  2. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    I just watched the conference this morning, and I’m so glad I didn’t stay up for it. Very lackluster imo, I would have liked to have seen a few more developers introducing their games. Instead it was just trailer after trailer, and as you say, everything was hyping up 2018, even though we all know half of them will be delayed until 2019!

    Biggest disappointment for me was not one conference showing off Red Dead 2! :(

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 12:06.
  3. Avenger
    Member
    Since: Oct 2012

    Sony are coasting, but then they’ve nothing really much new to release in hardware or in any initiatives. I really think they should have included the Pro in last year’s E3, MS showed how much momentum they can rack up in third party-support with the One X at E3, while Pro still languishes in a sea of confusion about which games benefit in which ways.

    I’d have liked for them to push the Pro and VR aspects further, maybe announcing stuff to get the momentum going and sharing their vision a bit on stage. I can’t blame Sony for just leaving the hardware out there in the blue and just leaving devs to do the work they can, but it pays not to be complacent.

    At the moment it’s all about 2018 for the games, a shame really as it means another dull fall/holiday release schedule, not too different from last year. 2018 will be a big ‘un though.

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 12:07.
  4. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I normally stay up until 2am so it was easy to stay up for the conference. It did feel a bit hands-off overall but i was relieved that i could get to bed an hour later. Not too sleepy today at work. :)
    I would have liked a sooner release date for Detroit and some more news on Dreams. But what i saw was loads of exciting games that i’m going to be able to enjoy without forking out 500 quid for a new console – not that i’d be able to afford a new console anyway when i’ll need to pay for all of the games i’m interested in!

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 12:27.
  5. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    Maybe Sony are saving themselves for Tokyo this year? The colossal success and lack of competition Horizon enjoyed could point to announcements later in the year for games releasing late winter (or late summer if you’re an upside down person).

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 13:19.
  6. cam_manutd
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    I enjoyed the conference and Sony is big enough at the moment to have two ‘E3’ conferences each year with the PS experience to come.

    Talking of the present;

    Horizon
    Persona 4
    Yakuza 0
    Nier Automata
    Wipeout Remastered
    Crash Remastered
    Final Fantasy 12 Remastered
    Uncharted Lost Legacy
    GT Sport

    Imo it has been an immense year so far for PlayStation and will continue to do so. Lots of games to come :)

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 13:27.
    • cam_manutd
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      Also as you have written this, Ni No Kuni confirmed for later this year. Mental.

      Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 13:38.
  7. tactical20
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    It’s been another very average year for me. Assassin’s Creed, Spiderman and Wolfenstein all look fantastic, but nothing else really grabbed my attention tbh.

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 14:28.
  8. JR.
    Member
    Since: Apr 2013

    It’s a smart move IMO. The second half of the year is usually the busiest and a time when some great games have failed because there’s too much competition from the big multi-platform games.

    Sony tend to spread their exclusive games out throughout the year, unlike Microsoft who usually throw out the 2 or 3 exclusives they do have, all at once, during the Christmas period.

    I prefer Sony’s approach by far and as disappointing as it may be that we aren’t getting Spiderman or God of War before Christmas, we are still getting a shit tone of other games to play, be they multiplat or exclusives.

    Lots of people acting like Sony’s conference was disappointing because they just can’t stand how hard they are pulverising the competition. It so obvious and somewhat satisfying to see how laughably ridiculous they all are.

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 14:29.
  9. Starman
    Member
    Since: Jul 2011

    So they won E3 with remasters, 3rd party paid exclusives and some actual first party exclusives that we won’t see for a year at least. Ok.

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 15:39.
    • JR.
      Member
      Since: Apr 2013

      As opposed to 4K gaming which currently, most people care even less about than backwards compatibility. Zing.

      Anyway it’s not about winning, it’s the talking part that counts. At least that’s what Phil’s mom told him after MS’s lacklustre conference LOL. Yes, I am 9 years old! :D

      So let’s just accept that some people preferred Sony’s conference, some people preferred Microsoft’s conference and overall Sony won E3.

      Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 16:02.
      • Starman
        Member
        Since: Jul 2011

        Ha ha, I’ll remind you again of that survey where PS4 owners stated resolution as the main reason they chose the console. Seems they do care about it. Zing indeed!

        Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 16:55.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Disappointed by both MS and Sony’s conferences. Not angry or upset but just a bit “meh” about them – for different reasons. Fascinating to see other people’s reactions to them. Makes you think “are we watching the same thing?!”. :D

      Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 16:08.
      • cam_manutd
        Member
        Since: May 2010

        Bunimomike being the wise one of the TSA comments as always. To be fair, the Xbox conference was sweet for Xbox owners. Xbox originals and a beast of a console which will be the benchmark for future ones. Water cooling is awesome. Just hoping that they get more first party games than Sony to help level the playing field.

        Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 17:28.
  10. aerobes
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    My backlog is so big this doesn’t really apply to me. Maybe if I played games all day instead of working then it might possibly be an issue.

    Then again, while PlayStation is my preferred console of choice I’ve never been a huge fan of Sony’s biggest IP’s.

    Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 16:15.
    • Andrewww
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      ‘Maybe if I played games all day instead of working’… good idea actually… ;o)

      Same here, I can hardly cope with my backlog, and there’s tons of interesting games which I’ll only ever manage to play a fraction of.
      But, there’s worse problems than that. :o)

      Comment posted on 13/06/2017 at 20:40.

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