Roundtable: Expectations of Sony’s E3

Much like Microsoft, Sony are also in a bit of a weird place for me. I’ve enjoyed everything that’s come and gone so far – including both the Outlast experiences as well as the exclusives like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son. But these experiences were pretty, well, by-the-numbers. As such, I’d like to see Sony announce more exclusives for their console but ones that are much more unique and interesting than what has been previously offered up. The Order looks great visually, but it’s nothing more than a Victorian-era melding of Van Helsing and Gears of War. I want new and exciting. I also can’t get too excited right now about anything that isn’t coming out this year, so call me whatever you will.

I’d love to see Sony really bring it this year with a slew of announcements. Their efforts with indie developers have been commendable and much more approachable than what Microsoft have been doing with their [email protected] program. (Although Microsoft’s offerings are also fantastic in this department too.) I’d expect such an effort to continue. But I want Sony to dig into their vault and pull out the franchises that really made me a fan of the PlayStation brand. The most obvious one, for me, would be Syphon Filter, a game we haven’t had a proper sequel to since 2001 (honestly, the PlayStation 2 and PSP games just weren’t the same).

Of course, there’s the elephant in the room that is The Last Guardian.

Shadow of the Colossus and Ico were both fantastic and unique games, and I’m eager to see if the team behind their third title will be able to deliver, or if it even still exists at all. This is one of the games I’m truly interested in and cannot wait to play. Hopefully it’ll make an appearance this year. Rime is another game I can’t wait to see more of. And while I hated Uncharted 3 and its writing, I’m keen to see what Naughty Dog have been up to with the newest game in the franchise.

Sony’s position in this “console war” is the complete opposite of Microsoft, they have the lead in sales, they know their hardcore demographic, and they have the faith of many people that they will treat consumers right. All they need to do is show games that will get people excited to prove that their purchase was the right one. The seemingly huge amounts of support from both triple-A developers and indies means that alongside exclusive games, Sony is going to get a lot of big multi-platform titles being shown at their conference as well. Titles like both upcoming games in the Assassin’s Creed series, Far Cry 4, Destiny and Jonathan Blow’s The Witness are all likely to make appearances.

Then you have the exclusives, I think that Uncharted will show so Naughty Dog can reassure people that everything is going smoothly, despite several key staff members leaving. Apparently God of War 4 has been teased recently leading to a possible reveal? I didn’t finish Ascension, so I can’t speak on where they are going to take the story, which is probably is what is causing my apprehension to the announcement, but God of War is an important franchise so it wouldn’t surprise me that something might be on the way. The Order: 1886 is a no-brainer for this conference, even though the game has been delayed into 2015. The Order is quickly being labelled the PlayStation 4’s Gears of War, plus the teaser stream of the game via Twitch cements it’s showing at E3, in my mind at least.

Then there is DriveClub, and that’s not hard to predict seeing as the game is launching in October and E3 will be the biggest chance to show off the game at such a large scale before its release.

The last thing I personally want to address is the topic on PlayStation Now and The PS Vita.

PlayStation Now, from what I understand, will be undergoing a wide spread beta phase in the upcoming months, and that’s fine and dandy for those in the US. Little to nothing has been explained about how the service will work, or if it is even coming, to the Oceanic region, or in Europe. That said, PlayStation Now speed requirement is 5mb/s down. That may not sound like much, and with the NBN rolling out every so slowly, that is becoming a smaller issue by the day. That being said it’s still an issue. In regard to pricing, I imagine we will get the more finer details on how streaming PlayStation 3 games will work, or even what the launch line up will be for the service.

Now last, and hopefully not the least, time for more PS Vita news, Sony.

With the PSP now being discontinued the issue of making the Vita an enticing handheld is now more important. Last year was a good step in the right direction, but not enough has been done yet. I agree that the Vita is heaven for those who indulge in the niche market, and it’s a great platform for indie games; Guacamelee is the perfect example of that. The problem being that there is nothing for the core market to enjoy that isn’t just a port of a game that’s better played on a console. So I’m hoping that they have something exciting in store. I will always keep my fingers crossed for a new Final Fantasy: Dissidia or Type-0 being reworked for the platform, though.

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As we all know, Sony has been living in the sunshine this past year. It seems that almost everything they have done up until now has worked in some way, shape or form.

I’m expecting to see great things from Sony this E3. The fact they have a pretty big lead means that they have a much bigger leeway to take risks with. I want to see Sony push the envelope this year. I’d love to see what they have to offer with PlayStation Now as well, even though it’s not going to be very useful here in Australia, I’m still curious to see how they will implement the service, so hopefully they will have an update on that front.

As far as games go, Sony seems to be doing alright in terms of first-party exclusives and third-party support alike. A must see for me, if it’s present at the Sony conference, is Project Beast. I want an official reveal of the game, being the avid Souls fan that I have become, you can probably understand why I’m so excited to see if that game will appear, or not. Another title that I would love to see, that seems to be an even less likely chance of appearing, is The Last Guardian. That game has been in some sort of limbo for too long, and if it’s still alive, it needs to be shown again. I can feel it though, it will finally appear, and I’m all too expectant for it.

One final thing that I really want to see this year is further support for the Vita. I still don’t own one, but I will be getting one eventually. I’m an avid believer in console-like experiences in a portable manner. The PSP was a masterpiece for its time, and even though it was vastly beaten by the DS, it had its own respectable market that kept it relevant all those years. The Vita is so much more, and I really wish to see Sony push more for it, even if it’s just more games that make their way from the East to the West. Perhaps the rumoured PlayStation 4 and PS Vita bundle that’s been creeping up on the net might do the trick.

I’m expecting a much more conservative conference from Sony this year around. I expect Uncharted to be further teased, as well as something from Guerrilla, but I’m not expecting too many new announcements. I believe that they’ll really spread it out over to Gamescom as they did last year. It’s already been confirmed that The Order has slipped to 2015, so I think that they’ll probably show a little bit more of the game to tide fans over.

It’s quite an interesting time for Sony. Obviously they’re selling consoles with ease, but there is almost nothing coming out for the rest of the year. They have a huge indie presence so I’m sure that they’ll put some new indie games in the spotlight and keep driving that message home.

I’m expecting them to possibly bring the Vita TV to the West. Whilst the Vita has been a tiny success, I believe that the functionality to bring your PlayStation 4 and stream it to another TV through the use of the Vita TV is something that’ll appeal to a lot of gamers for a smaller price. I know that I’d kill to be able to play my PS4 in bed without having to fork out money for another system.

I really hope that Sony intertwine the PlayStation 4 and Vita more than they have in the past.

Remote Play has proven to be a feature that works incredibly well, however there just aren’t enough buttons on the system to make it a viable option for most games. I’d love for them to release a cradle, or something similar, that allows you to attach the Vita to the DualShock 4.

I expect there to be one smaller announcement for the PlayStation 3. Sony have said that they plan to support the console and there is still a ton of people who are buying the console, so a first-party release from a smaller developer might not be out of the question.

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