PlayStation fans have had it good these past few years. Between E3 and Sony’s annual PlayStation Experience (PSX) events, they keep the announcements coming all year round. For PlayStation diehards it’s like having two birthdays a year.
Our overriding prediction here is that the same will continue in 2017. Having carved out a successful E3 template, expect Sony to wow with a combination of stage demos, a breathless stream of game announcements and even the odd surprise reveal. While there may be a brief discussion surrounding sales figures and strategies for expanding the PlayStation ecosystem, this has become less and less of a focus over the years. Sony and its rivals are gunning for impact, letting their games do most of the talking instead.
Before we get going, perhaps you think yourself a better soothsayer and crystal ball gazer than us? Try you hand at our annual E3 Bingo!
Days Gone is sure to have a big presence at this year’s E3, what with a release planned for later this year. For us, however, it occupies a somewhat precarious position in Sony’s line up. It seems interesting enough, but its combination of zombie hordes and open-world, third person shooting isn’t exactly unique. At least not when wedged between Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, and The Last of Us Part II.
Still, maybe we’re being a bit unfair? We’ve seen very little of the game so far, and Sony will doubtless blow the doors off with plenty more gameplay and story. The game manages to push some huge zombie hordes, as we saw in the long running battle that featured in its first reveal, but vehicles and bikes in particular look as though they could play an important role in the game. We’d love to see some kind of multiplayer in this as well.
God of War
Having made its debut in last year’s show, God of War seems like a natural candidate to kickstart the press conference once again. With Horizon Zero Dawn having shipped in February, this could easily be viewed as Sony’s next major exclusive, and they’ll certainly want to get the word out that Kratos is back.
Last year’s stage demo was actually a surprising slow-burner, easing fans into Sony Santa Monica’s new vision for the series. This time, however, we’d expect to see something a little more high octane and action packed. At the same time, we’re curious as to how God of War will work in an open world setting and whether elements such as levelling up, crafting, and loot will factor into the game. Whatever Sony decides to show off, we’re confident that some kind of story-focused trailer will follow. After all, we’ve yet to see how Kratos ended up in this frozen Norse kingdom following the world-ending events of God of War III.
That trailer, we hope, will come tagged with a confirmed release date – some time during Q1 2018, if we had to guess. Furthermore, with Sony’s recent love of remasters, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the entire God of War saga making its way to PlayStation 4 in the months leading up to its launch, adding to the God of War 3 remaster from 2015.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
More immediately on the horizon is Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. While not the biggest game on Sony’s slate, this standalone chapter will no doubt be a show stealer for some, and now’s the perfect time for Sony to push it into the spotlight, what with its August release. Naughty Dog will doubtless probe deeper into Chloe and Nadine’s relationship, hopefully demonstrated via gameplay, and it’s here that they could really experiment with Uncharted’s steal and combat systems. While they’re already fantastic in my opinion opening the door to some degree of cooperation between its protagonists. A bonus character reveal would also go down nicely – Charlie’s been mystery MIA since the events of Uncharted 3…
Don’t expect too much The Last of Us Part II, though. When they snuck a teaser trailer for this into PSX last year, it was admitted that this was earlier in development that they’d usually do things. We might see another short teaser, but we wouldn’t expect too much beyond that until PSX 2017.
Third Party Overload
It won’t be long into the presentation before Sony begins carting out representatives from third party publishers. Over the past several years it has looked to strengthen its ties with certain companies, brands, and video game series, and 2017 will be no different. EA will no doubt appear to detail its PlayStation-exclusive content for Star Wars Battlefront II – another X-Wing VR simulation would definitely go down well but we won’t get our hopes up – and Activision and PlayStation currently go hand in hand with their ongoing partnerships for Call of Duty and Destiny.
Expect some bonus content for Far Cry 5 and Assassin’s Creed Origins as well. Both series have appeared on Sony’s stage in the past so it would be no surprise to see them here again in 2017, though the bulk of their announcements will be saved for their own press conference. It won’t be anything too crazy, but maybe an extra chain of side-quests in each game?
In truth, these third party bits can often be a tad dry and corporate. If Activision brings fresh footage of COD WWII to the table, however, things could get interesting. We’ve yet to have a proper in-depth look at gameplay and although COD’s multiplayer reveals are usually done post-E3, they do like to debut a slice of single player action around E3 time.
Death Stranding and… Deep Down?
Elsewhere, we could see announcements from other studios and publishers. With Death Stranding still shrouded in mystery and the seemingly bottomless good will and that Hideo Kojima currently receives, it would make sense that he shows his face once more. Just don’t expect any real clarification as to what Death Stranding actually is about.
Another Japanese name that could make a splash at Sony’s E3 conference is Capcom. According to the publisher, it has one big budget game in the pipeline, set to launch within its next financial year. While there’s some speculate that this could signal Monster Hunter’s long awaited return to PlayStation, we’re not entirely sold after the recent Monster Hunter XX announcement. Deep Down, on the other hand, has been been kept in the shadows for so long we’d expect that instead, if anything.
Once again, Sony will likely look to fill the gaps with a diverse showcase of smaller indie games. Although now largely diminished in presence compared to their AAA counterparts, we could see a handful of them being given a potentially higher status this year for one reason: PlayStation VR.
More than half a year since launch, Sony’s virtual reality headset is still the most affordable, accessible way of exploring one of gaming’s hottest new trends. That said, the software lineup has been a bit hit and miss, in terms of quality, support, and patchy release schedules. While games like Farpoint and Resident Evil VII have managed to sell the concept of big budget VR, smaller titles are just as important to the tech’s long term lifespan, especially when first party titles are so few in numbers.
If Sony can scout out the next Job Simulator, Tethered, or Wayward Sky, it would bring PSVR owners some reassurance. That said, we’d be very surprised if they didn’t also announce their own next big PSVR exclusive.
Even More PS4 Exclusives?
There are also questions marks hanging over other Sony studios at the moment. After years of mesmerising and beguiling fans, it’s time Media Molecule finally slapped a release date on Dreams or at least venture into a more public beta. The same has to be said of Detroit: Become Human and Gran Turismo Sport, both of which feel long overdue. We’re also curious as to what Sucker Punch has been working on since it released inFamous: Second Son and its standalone expansion, First Light. With the Dark Souls series having wrapped up last year, there are murmurs of a potential Bloodborne 2 out of FromSoftware as well.
As touched on before, Sony likes to put on a show for its E3 attendees and the online masses. However, with Tokyo Game Show in September followed by PSX, there are always some surprise reveals that will be held back. For example, with PSX being more celebratory and fan-orientated, that’s where we should expect to hear about new remasters and maybe not at E3. Similarly, a game like PlayStation All-Stars 2 would similarly be better suited for such an event.
Rounding off our Sony E3 predictions, we may as well discuss what definitely won’t be at the show: a new Sony handheld. While not a total flop, the PlayStation Vita didn’t even come close to emulating the success of the PSP. A lack of support combined with the rapid expansion of mobile gaming led to a saddening and rather public downfall. With Nintendo due to gradually peel itself away from the 3DS, the era of traditional handheld games looks to be coming to an end.
If even half of what we predict is true, it’s still going to be a bumper show for PlayStation fans. We’ll find out next week when Sony’s press conference goes live at 6PM local time, which makes for 2AM in the UK. Be sure to check in with TSA for all news, trailers, and announcements.