For a lot of you, our dear readers, Sony’s the main attraction at E3, and as they ride high on record-breaking sales, what they announce will affect an awful lot of people. So what can we expect to see at E3 from the team in blue?
It turns out that there’s no smoke without fire, and just within the last few hours Andrew House, head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, has confirmed the existence of a “high-end PS4”. This is the PlayStation 4 “Neo” that has been rumoured, leaked and reported on incessantly for the last few months, with a solid performance improvement centred around a smaller die process allowing them to have the eight core CPU clocked much higher, and a newer generation of GPU from AMD’s impending Polaris architecture.
But it won’t be at E3 – this rumour round up would have been quite different, even just two hours ago. It’s always been a matter of when and where Sony will announce it, and a lot of that hinges on when they want to release it. If it were to coincide with the release of the PlayStation VR, with the faster hardware allowing developers to push the virtual reality experience just that bit further, then announcing at their press conference on Monday would have made sense. That said, there’s still plenty of time between now and the PSVR’s October release in which they can announce. Gamescom in August springs to mind.
Not announcing Neo next week makes a lot of sense in letting the focus remain on what the existing PS4 can do with PSVR. Sony still need to give potential buyers reasons to get onboard, and though they had a PSVR press event back in March, they will undoubtedly devote a sizeable chunk of their E3 showcase to the system as well. Though they’ve been able to show a list of 230 developers and publishers who are working on games for the system they really need to back that up with some compelling demonstrations of new and interesting titles. In fact, I feel that Sony’s first party efforts have been somewhat lacking, with the biggest of these being Guerrilla Cambridge’s RIGS.
One last piece to the VR puzzle is the date. The price of the PlayStation VR headset was already announced back in March, and we were told that October was the month of release, but we’re still waiting on a specific date.
But VR at the expense of everything else would be sheer folly on Sony’s part. VR will remain a niche for quite some time to come, even with more than 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles out in the wild. So what will we see in terms of games for playing on a TV screen?
The Last Guardian, Detroit: Become Human and Horizon: Zero Dawn are all safe bets for some stage time, while Media Molecule might make an appearance to talk about Dreams’ open beta, ahead of the game’s release next year. Gran Turismo Sport was covered in detail at its own event though, so might largely skip E3.
The trick is to look at who doesn’t have currently announced games for the surprises, though. It’s been an age since we had a Studio Santa Monica game, and rumours are abound that God of War will return at E3 this year. Similarly, it’s been two years since inFamous Second Son, so Sucker Punch’s next game is going to be at quite an advanced stage. Oh, and if Knack is to ever receive a sequel, three years on from the original makes quite a bit of sense, as well.
A hardware manufacturer’s stage is often handed over to second and third parties, and Sony’s established ties in this regard will continue. Activision will showcase Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s single player on stage, we’ll see Modern Warfare’s remaster in action, and even with last night’s reveal, they’ll want to hammer home that Destiny: Rise of Iron is on the way in September. Those are practivally guaranteed to appear.
Elsewhere, it’s all about sifting through the rumours and announcements of the last week, to see who offers the best fit between Microsoft and Sony. For example, chances are that Capcom’s Dead Rising 4 will align with Xbox once more, but rumour has it that Resident Evil 7 will be announced, and that’s a franchise more traditionally associated with Sony. If there’s a Final Fantasy announcement, that’s bound to appear on Sony’s stage as well, and I’d imagine that Deep Silver and Volition will back the market leader, when it comes to unveiling Agents of Mayhem’s gameplay.
Those are our best (informed) guesses as to what’s going to appear at Sony’s press conference. Last year was a spectacular showcase of wish fulfilment, from The Last Guardian’s revival to Shenmue 3 and Final Fantasy VII Remake, most of which caught people by surprise. That’s going to be a tough act to follow, but I’m sure that Sony have something up their sleeves that we’ve not thought of…