E3 2016 Preview: Sony

With Nintendo and Square both dropping out this year, Sony gets the final word on Monday at 6 PM.  Regardless of what you think of the games they announced last year, there is no denying that their conference got people excited.  The long awaited Last Guardian, Shenmue 3, and Final Fantasy VII Remake along with the reveal of Horizon Zero Dawn and a fantastic Uncharted 4 demo made for a fantastic show.  And it’s a show that will be hard to top.  But Sony does have a potentially interesting lineup of first party games, second party games, and exclusive third party games.  In fact, they have so many games that it is hard to predict what will be here and what will be saved for Europe, Tokyo, and PSX.  But they also have a lot of time to spend on hardware.  PSVR launches this fall, and they will probably talk about the rumored PlayStation Neo as well.  2016 has been very kind to Sony with both Ratchet & Clank and Uncharted 4 coming out to critical acclaim and great sales.  They have also had games like The Witness and Firewatch be successful on the downloadable side of things.  The only sore spot is Street Fighter V, which both reviewed and sold way below what Sony’s expectations probably were.  But with all that out of the way, let’s get into the show.

Horizon Zero Dawn

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Horizon recently got a trailer.  Along with that trailer came the news that the game is being delayed until February 28, 2017.  I don’t think this will affect its showing at the conference though.  In fact, I imagine Horizon will open the conference with a lengthy gameplay demo.  Last year’s surprise reveal focused on pitching the premise of Horizon to people.  I expect that this year they will go more into the details about how some of the systems work.  Maybe they will complete a quest or something like that.  They should also show that dinosaur riding mechanic in the trailer because that looks awesome.

The Last Guardian

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After years of silence, The Last Guardian made a triumphant return last year.  Then it went silent again.  This led some people to worry about the games status, but a recent round of previews seem to have quelled these fears.  There is still some worry about the game being delayed, but I don’t think that is likely.  They wouldn’t reveal this game again without being sure that it would hit its target.  Therefore I’m expecting a release date sometime in August or September.  In terms of what they show, I think that’s a little tricky.  I loved the demo last year, but some people weren’t too impressed.  So a demo that really knocked the socks off people would be a good idea.  However, this is also a game that you don’t want to show too much of, meaning that a trailer might be the better way to go.  I think they will settle on a demo though.

Gran Turismo Sport

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Gran Turismo 5 was the best selling PlayStation 3 exclusive.  Gran Turismo 6 was… not.  Gran Turismo Sport shocked everybody recently with the announcement that it is coming out this November.  I think this is a make or break point for the future of the franchise.  In the past decade, Forza has come along and eaten Gran Turismo’s lunch.  Now is the time for Polyphony to prove that they are the same great racing studio they once were.  That being said, I can’t see Sony spending a ton of time on Gran Turismo at E3.  It is a game big enough to get its own events, and it appeals more to the European audience.  We will definitely get a trailer for what might be their big fall title, but we won’t get anything else.

Dreams

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Dreams was announced at E3 last year, and I think that a lot of people still don’t know what the game is.  It is a creation game, which fits Media Molecule’s pedigree.  I think it will be interesting to see what Sony does with this game going forward.  In my mind, this could either get a long demo or a brief mention at the conference.  If it does get a demo, I imagine it will be of one of the developers creating something.  I just hope that it is more directly explained than what they have done in the past.  This game probably won’t launch this year, but there has been talk of a beta.  I could see Sony announcing a date for that at the show.

Gravity Rush 2

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I hope that Gravity Rush 2 gets stage time at E3.  I think the game looks cool, but the Paris Games Week demo really didn’t do it justice.  I wouldn’t expect more than a trailer though.  Gravity Rush is probably not a game that is big enough to get a stage demo.  It is also probably coming out soon.  The game is scheduled for 2016, and unless that changes, I would expect to see it before the big fall rush.  That means that this might be the last chance they get to show it off and give it a release date at one of their big conferences.

RIGS

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VR is probably going to be big at the Sony conference this year.  But RIGS is the only VR game I have on this list.  That’s mainly because I have no idea what other VR games they would show, and I’m not expecting a lot of lengthy VR demos.  RIGS has been shown a lot, but it’s never been properly shown.  It’s been mentioned a lot.  But the game is kind of cool from all accounts, and I think having six people on stage playing a match in RIGS would be a great way to show what the game and try to position it as a must have launch title for PlayStation VR.  I don’t necessarily think that will happen, but I think it should.

God of War

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Moving on to first party games that are not yet announced, a new God of War will be at this press conference.  There are too many leaks, and it makes too much sense for me to assume otherwise.  The game supposedly still stars Kratos but will be set in Norse mythology as opposed to Greek.  I imagine that it will be their headlining title for next fall and will probably end the press conference this year.  What they show is still a question.  I would typically say a short teaser given that the game is still probably over a year out.  However, rumor has it that it is supposed to be billed as a game that is going to be taking full advantage of the PS4K.  Therefore, at least something in engine is in order to show people what the extra power looks like.

New Sony Bend Game

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Sony Bend hasn’t released a game since 2012, and they are going to be making their return to consoles with their next title.  Some rumors broke about the game recently, specifically that it is called Dead Don’t Ride and that it involves the apocalypse and motor cycles.  I’m getting the image of Mad Max with zombies in my head.  I have no idea what the time table will be on this game.  If it will be out within the next nine months, it will probably get a demo.  If it will be longer then that, it might just be a trailer.  And if the game is further off than I expect it to be, it could be saved for PSX.

New Sucker Punch Game

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Infamous Second Son released in early 2014.  I don’t think it’s inconceivable that Sucker Punch’s new game would be at E3, but I also don’t expect it to be there.  There are also rumors that Sony is working on a Spiderman game.  A lot of people have started to connect the dots and assume that Sucker Punch is working on a Spiderman game.  I don’t think this is unlikely, and I definitely don’t think they are working on another Infamous.  But I also wouldn’t bet on them making Spiderman.  If either of these games get announced at E3, they would probably be so far off that we only get a trailer.

Detroit: Become Human

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Moving on to second party games, the big one is the next game from David Cage and Quantic Dream.  Detroit was the big reveal at the end of Paris Games Week last year, so Sony clearly still thinks of the studio as a big deal despite the underwhelming reception to Beyond Two Souls.  They also gave plenty of time at E3 to Beyond.  That being said, I could see this game skipping the show in favor of Sony’s European show this year.  This is especially true if the game won’t be out until later next year.

Wild

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Wild also made a splash at Paris Games Week last year, and much like Detroit I think it will be saved for there again.  The game looked impressive, but I don’t know if it is big enough for E3 considering how far out is probably is.  However, having Michel Ancel on stage could be a good way to make Beyond Good and Evil fans happy after the sequel isn’t announced at Ubisoft’s press conference.

Matterfall

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Sticking with the Paris Games Week theme, the next Houesmarque game was announced their last year.  I don’t expect this game to get its own demo, unless I have drastically undercut what the game’s scope is going to be.  I do expect to see it in some manner though, probably through some sort of game reel that Sony loves to do.  I also imagine it will be on the show floor, allowing us to see the first gameplay of a game that I am very excited for.

No Man’s Sky

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I had to throw this game back on the list after its delay.  In all honesty, I think No Man’s Sky will be mentioned, shown in reels, but won’t get its own demo.  It may get a short trailer to hype people up two months before launch.  However, I don’t think they want people thinking about a game that just got delayed by two months only a month before it was supposed to launch.  But since this game has seemingly been shown at every Sony conference over the last two years, I figured I had to put it on here.

Persona 5

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Moving on to third party exclusives, the biggest one that is slightly imminent is Persona 5.  The game is launching in September in Japan, and we recently got news that it won’t be here until February of 2017.  I think Sony will show a trailer and possibly announce the exact American release date.  I’m not sure about this though.  This is Persona’s chance to be big in the west, and I hope Sony and Atlus don’t pass it up.  Atlus has told people to get excited for E3, but that could easily be just for their show floor demos.  But I want to believe that Persona 5 will get its due.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

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But the actual biggest third party exclusive Sony has is the Final Fantasy VII Remake.  The game was announced at last year’s conference to huge fanfare and got a surprise demo at PSX.  Sony and Square clearly believe in this project, and I can’t blame them.  The game (or games) is probably going to sell a lot of copies.  While I think another demo might be a little too much too fast for a game that isn’t coming out until next year at the earliest, I do think we will see at least a trailer.  I imagine that the trailer will show some more of the combat and Tifa’s design in the remake.

Shenmue 3

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The other surprise announcement last year was the Shenmue 3 kickstarter.  It was a great announcement for fans of the series, but ultimately that’s the only people the announcement was for.  When the audience for this game will seek out any and all information on it, I don’t think it makes sense to devote time to it at E3.  The only way I see them doing this is if they also announce a Shenmue 1 and 2 HD remaster for the PS4 as an attempt to bring new fans aboard.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

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Ni No Kuni II is probably too small for an E3 conference, but I could see us getting at least a trailer.  It was revealed at PSX with a trailer, but that one didn’t contain any gameplay.  I think if Sony wants to do a big push on Japanese games, a Ni No Kuni gameplay trailer would be a good way to do so.  The game looks beautiful, so even people not interested in the game will probably still be entertained by the trailer.

Nier: Automata

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Rounding out the niche Japanese games that probably won’t be shown is Nier 2.  I almost left this off the list completely, but here’s my logic behind keeping it on.  Square Enix isn’t hosting a press conference, Platinum Games is a name that gets people excited, and the game is supposedly coming out this year but doesn’t have a release date.  All of this means that while a Nier sequel would normally not get time at a Sony press conference, this is the time where it would make sense.  A trailer with a release date would be all it would get, but it would at least be something.  I’m not saying it will happen, but I am saying it’s a possibility.

Deep Down

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I could have sworn this game was dead, but a recent leak makes me think otherwise.  The game is apparently still in development and is being made with the intention of being a showcase for the PS4K.  This fact, along with the fact that it was first shown at the PS4 reveal event makes me think that if it is in fact in a state where it is ready to be shown, then it will be at E3 this year.  I’m not confident that it will be in that state, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it.  It would be a nice reveal of a game that people were once excited for.

Abzu

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These next two games fill the role of “Games that I wish Sony would give time to but probably won’t”.  Abzu was revealed at E3 two years ago, and the game sounds super cool.  A game from the art director of Journey where you can interact with hundreds of different forms of sea life sounds rad.  It’s also supposed to come out this year.  If Sony wants to have a segment of the show where they get all artsy, Abzu would be a perfect game to headline it.

Hellblade

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I will say a million times that Sony should be pushing Hellblade hard.  I will admit that the game looks sort of rough, but it is an example of what indie games can be.  If Ninja Theory pulls it off, they will be looked upon as the innovators of the “Independent AAA” business model.  A game with all of the technical prowess of a AAA game but the budget of an indie game could be a huge success.  If Sony is still trying to convince people that indie games can be awesome, they need to start showing Hellblade everywhere they go.

 

Crash Bandicoot

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At this point, the Crash Bandicoot teasing is out of control.  Sony has to be doing something with the IP.  Whether this means a collection, a new game by Activision, or that they bought the rights to the franchise, something is going to be announced.  I have no idea what it will be, and I don’t really think it will make as big of a splash as some people seem to, but something will be announced.  Whether it is at E3 or a later date, there will be a Crash Bandicoot game sold on the PlayStation 4.

Of course, not all of these games will be at Sony’s conference, and these won’t be the only games there.  Being the console of choice this generation, Sony will definitely have multiplatform games from Ubisoft, Square, Warner Bros, Activision, and probably EA at their conference.  Sony also has three more conference to spread out announcements, trailers, and demos.  It will be hard to top what they did last year, but the Sony conference is always the one that I look forward to the most.

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