Sony E3 2014: Sony Brings Its A-Game

Sony E3 2014: Sony Brings Its A-Game

Not resting on its laurels after last year’s triumphant E3, Sony brings it again to E3 2014.

Okay, so I actually did end up watching Microsoft’s E3 press conference, although I said I wouldn’t. I was curious if they’d recover from last year. And although they did, and focused exclusively on games, I was still unimpressed. It seems they’re focusing on the same game genres they’ve always focused on, relying too heavily on existing IP’s and franchises. If I had to sum up the press conference, I’d say it felt old and tired.

So Sony didn’t have to do much to impress gamers this year, especially after knocking it out of the park last year. But they brought their A-Game anyway, and you could tell from the enthusiasm in their audience (and on Twitter) that they were impressing the people who mattered: gamers. Their conference was full of thrills, chills and some awesome surprises, so shall we get to the sum-up?

Games, Games, and More Games

Sony opened with one of its most-anticipated titles yet: Destiny. I really want to play this game, except that it’s co-op (a disturbing trend that seems to keep popping up at this year’s E3). I may even bite the bullet if there’s an option to play with computer-created and played characters, though, because this game looks absolutely stunning.

But the trailer wasn’t all that Sony was giving to gamers. The company also announced a white (!) Destiny Playstation 4 bundle coming out this fall. WHITE! I almost wished I’d waited to buy a PS4 now. Almost. And oh yeah, Destiny is a PS4 exclusive.

But Sony focused even more on exclusive titles (something which Microsoft seemed to lack this year) by showing off the new trailer for 1886: The Order. I’m so psyched about this game that I pre-purchased it back in 2013. Yes, I pre-purchased a game two years before it’s supposed to be released. You’ll understand why if you watch this trailer.

But Sony STILL wasn’t done showing off its mad gaming library. They also introduced indie title Entwined. But this announcement wasn’t just a trailer. Because Sony announced that Entwined is available NOW on PS4 for just $9.99. How’s that for instant gratification. The trailer sold me on it:

But wait, there’s more. Just when you thought Sony would switch over the conference to talk about entertainment or Project Morpheus (and there was a little mention of that), they kept the games coming. This one turned out to be one of the big surprises of the night. For those who have played Infamous: Second Son, you’ll have already fallen in love with a character (a female, I might add) called Fetch. Well, a new standalone game (as in, you don’t need to have Infamous: Second Son to play it) is being released with Fetch as the playable character.

The biggest and most impressive surprise of the evening, though? The official announcement and an on-stage demo of Little Big Planet 3. I squealed like a 10-year-old Bieber fan, no lie. And the audience at the conference went crazy. Twitter blew up and the world was fangirling. It was awesome. No one expected Media Molecule to even be at E3 this year, so kudos to Sony for keeping this a secret. Check out some actual gameplay from the new game:

At this point, Sony won the E3 conference of the year award. But they still weren’t finished throwing exclusive titles at us. They showed a trailer that with two simple words had the audience nearly on their feet: Hidetaka Miyazaki. This is the man that gave us Demon Souls, Dark Souls and Armored Core and gamers adore him. His latest project is Bloodborne, which as you’ll see from this trailer is full of horrific, gothic and wonderful awesomeness.

Two other games followed, both not titles I’m incredibly interested in, but definitely pleasing to a lot of gamers: Far Cry 4 and Dead Island 2. Both trailers are available on YouTube via the PlayStation channel. The company also announced that Battlefield: Hardline beta is now available on the PS4.

Exclusive PS4 Content

PlayStation 4 doesn’t just have some awesome exclusive games coming up, though. There’s also a lot of great exclusive content on its way. For starters, the Battlefield: Hardline beta is now open to any PS4 player who wants to play it.

There’s also a Dead Island 2 expansion, a themed dungeon, exclusive to PS4, for the new Diablo game. Which is all kinds of crazy.

Sony is also partnering with Disney Infinity to bring certain characters, including the Hulk, only to PS4.

The previously-mentioned Destiny will have exclusive content that will be available the first day on PS4.

Magicka 2 will be an exclusive PS4 title.

The most exciting bit of this part of the conference, though? The announcement that Doublefine is working on remastering Grim Fandango. This was another moment where the audience went nuts.

There were also a slew of exclusive indie titles for PS4, including the very awesome looking Let It Die. This one is a must on my now-growing PS4 wishlist:

Giant Squid, the developers behind Journey, are also releasing a PS4-exclusive called ABZU.

An awesome new science fiction indie game will see its debut on PS4, No Man’s Sky. This one is also on my new wishlist.

Sony mentioned the camera jokingly, before talking briefly about Project Morpheus. They’re demoing it with several games at the conference this week. WHY CAN’T I BE THERE?

Socializing Gaming

The PlayStation4 has some nice social features, some of which I actually use. I adore the “Share” button and often post screenshots and the occasional video of me dying in some funny way to Twitter and Facebook. This year, though, Sony talked about its plans to enhance and improve how we share our gaming experiences, including the ability to post video to YouTube. This is a HUGE deal because YouTube is huge and that’s the video sharing site most gamers would prefer to use.

Spectating sessions is already a part of PS4, but it’s becoming interactive. You can now watch someone play a game, anywhere in the world, and jump in to give advice or screw up their gameplay. PS4 will also get broadcasting capabilities that allow you to create your own little broadcasting set. Not a lot of detail was given about that, but it sounds cool, right?

There will also be more than 25 Free To Play (truly free, according to Sony) coming up on PS4 in the next year or so. Some of the titles mentioned were Kingdom Under Fire 2, Planetside 2 and Guns Up.

We’ve already heard a lot about PlayStation Now, but we finally have a release date and it’s much closer than expected: open beta begins next month, July 21st on PS4. PS3 and PS Vita will get it later on. There will be more than 100 games available on launch, including Dead Space 3, God Of War: Ascension, Metal Gear Solid 5, Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus and Ultra Street Fighter 4. But PS Now isn’t just for consoles: select Sony television sets will come equipped for it, no console required (although you will need to get a controller).

Sony didn’t spend a lot of time on Vita, but did brag that it has the best catalog of games available on a mobile device and that they’re working on evolving integration with PS4. There are more than 100 Vita-specific titles in development right now and one of those is, yes, Minecraft.

Finally, a new sort of console thing will launch this fall called PlayStation TV. This will allow you to use Remote Play to play any of your PS4 games on any TV in your house. Sony says that over 1,000 games will be available at launch. The price point had everyone cheering: it’s a very reasonable $99.

Sony took a break to show off some gameplay footage of Mortal Kombat X. I’m not a fighter fan, but there were some fanboys and fangirls in that audience going crazy.

PS4 Entertainment

In an odd move that felt off, especially after someone said “It’s all about the games,” Sony went into its entertainment options on PlayStation 4. They announced that the Powers series has been greenlit (based on the popular graphic novel) and that PS Plus members will get that, plus other exclusive TV series, for free (although it’s not really free if you’ve paid for a Plus membership).

Oh, and there’s also a Ratchet & Clank movie in the works. The trailer said “In Theatres,” so I guess it will be a worldwide release. I’m not really feeling it.

Remastered Classics

Sony already mentioned its remastering of Grim Fandango, but that isn’t the only classic game that’s getting an update for the PS4. Other titles include The Last Of Us and the original Ratchet & Clank.

More Games

Sony showed off trailers for more games, including Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. I’m not a MGS fan, but that trailer was awesome. Also, Grand Theft Auto V is coming to PS4, but even better, you can port your save, from ANY console (Xbox included) to the PS4 game. That’s bloody brilliant, isn’t it?

How about some more gameplay? Sony decided to show off what Arkham Knight looks like. Most people drooled at the quality of the gameplay footage because it looks much better than anything we’ve seen so far. Check it out:

It was time to end the conference, and Sony had to go out on a “throw the mike on the floor and swagger off” note. So what did they do? They pulled out all the stops and gave us what we wanted: the first trailer for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Seriously, folks, it doesn’t get better than this.

I felt excited and energized after the conference and felt Sony really knocked out of the park again this year. But I’d love to hear what you think: what did you like (or not like) about Sony’s press conference? Leave me a note in the comments.

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