The much awaited press conference from Sony at this year’s Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, was held at 6pm BST yesterday. Apart from Hideo Kojima’s excellent presentation of the best cardboard box-packed trailer for any game ever, the hour dedicated to the near future of Sony seems to have forgotten the existence of Vita, but put the PlayStation 4 in focus with a range of exclusive titles, indie games, and the introduction of PlayStation Now.
Following a few impressive trailers including the first ever taste of the gameplay in PS4 exclusive Bloodborne, European Sony CEO Jim Ryan entered the stage with the rather impressive news that the PlayStation 4 has sold an incredible 10 million copies worldwide since its release in November 2013 – a mere 9 months ago.
A rather peculiar but intriguing trailer introduced The Tomorrow Children. A PS4 exclusive, the game is the result of a collaboration of indie developer Q-Games and Japan Studio. The charming yet disturbing trailer featured a human community in a ‘different future’ with childlike individuals mining and building for survival. Here’s hoping that the game will be just as different and new as the conference hinted at.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, developed by The Astronauts, is coming to the PS4 in 2015 following the PC release this year. “Inspired by the weird fiction stories and other tales of macabre of the early 20th century, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game to be played at night, alone, and with headphones.” It looks like a mystery game to be reckoned with; the trailer providing glimpses of cemeteries and time shifts in it eerie and utterly gorgeous trailer.
Indie developer and loving parent of Thomas Was Alone introduced a new Mike Bithell Games title for the Vita and PS4 next year. Volume is a futuristic retelling of the classic Robin Hood saga, inspired by the stealth elements of Metal Gear Solid 2 and is built around a range of creative choices in order to manipulate the game.
UK-based Ninja Theory announced their new game Hellblade with a short but stunning trailer. The studio is famous for releases such as Heavenly Sword, Enslaved and Devil May Cry. It looks as if the visual style of the game will follow suit of earlier releases, and Ninja Theory’s twitter account mentions the importance of creative games, introducing the concept of “Independent AAA” with further information available at The Official PlayStation blog.
Coupled with the announcement that Destiny is the most pre-ordered IP in history, a brand new trailer for the game’s multiplayer aspect was revealed. The trailer promised variety in the shape of several different multiplayer modes; Sony fans will get timed exclusive access to Exodus Blue, a multiplayer map, and Dustpalace Strike. Bungie’s director of production Jonty Barnes also announced The Dark Below, the first of two planned expansions. The Dark Below will be available in December 2014.
A new trailer for last year’s Gamescom announcement Rime, a PS4 exclusive release from Tequila Works offered an example of in-game exploration of a breathtaking world.
One of this year’s most anticipated releases is Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4. PS4 players will get exclusive access to the keys to Kyrat, allowing players to invite up to ten PSN friends to join them in co-op battles without their friends actually owning the game. For a maximum of two hours, players will be able to explore Kyrat together in a free trial experience. New footage of extreme environments of Himalayan combat areas were shown alongside a taste for the mythical quest for the secrets of Shangri-La.
The title behind the short and mysterious trailers that have circulated online for some time now was finally revealed as spokesman Michael Denny for Worldwide Studios brought back attention to Until Dawn, a title officially revealed way back in August 2012. Originally an exclusive PlayStation 3 title, the developers from Supermassive Games have refocused and rewritten the game, with Until Dawn now being released for Sony’s successor. The game will focus on suspense and choice with dramatic consequences as the player will be responsible for the survival of eight individuals as they are trapped in a murderous nightmare.
2015 release Hollowpoint from Crackdown 2 developers Ruffian Games is a shooter where the player will recruit, train and lead mercenary teams. It can be played solo or, alternatively, in co-op with up to four players.
Representing the ever-popular survival horror genre was former PC-exclusive DayZ from Bohemia Interactive, a console release allowing PS4 users to take part of the unforgiving experience that the game offers.
Hideo Kojima presented a deeper insight into the free world infiltration of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain with some excellent footage of the game’s focus on the multifaceted element of cardboard box interaction.
A new teaser for brand new 7780s Studio showed a few, strange glimpses from interactive horror game P.T. Downloading the interactive teaser from the PlayStation Store revealed the title as being a new Silent Hill instalment. It is definitely something to get excited by seeing as it is being created by cardboard box enthusiast Hideo Kojima and renowned filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Furthermore, P.T was a somewhat misleading title as the game will in fact be called Silent Hills. It will star The Walking Dead favourite Norman Reedus as the main character.
One of the main announcements from the conference was the system software 2.0, an update that will be available this fall and introduce a range of new features such as a worldwide friend finder and the ability to upload shared videos to YouTube, effectively allowing players to capture gameplay and upload it instantly. Emphasis was placed on a new feature called Share Play that will enable PlayStation Plus members to invite friends to join your game session as you will be able to “virtually pass the controller to them no matter where they are”. This means that you can invite your PSN friends to assist you by jumping into the game – without your friend being in possession of their own copy. Other PS Plus subscribers will be able to play with or against you; more information can be found at The Official PlayStation Blog. It was also released that PlayStation Now will be coming to Europe in 2015, with the beta being introduced initially in the UK. A launch date was announced for PlayStation TV, a feature that will function as a gaming console that will give access to most Vita titles and classic releases. The ability to pair your PS4 with a second television in your home will also be available as PlayStation TV launches on November 14th. The feature will cost 99 euros including 3 digital games.
Evolution Studios’ Driveclub will be released on October 8th. The game will allow the player to collaborate with friends as a part of a club. This means that you can share your friends’ success and an efficient app will keep you up to date with your friends and the progress of your club. The app will also allow the player to stream your friends’ gameplay in real time. With the promise of dynamic gameplay emphasis was placed on details such as the influence of extreme weather conditions, the player will have the option to set up a weather scheme prior to each race.
Previous Vita release Tearaway from Medium Molecule has been reinvented and redesigned for a PS4 exclusive release. Tearaway Unfolded focuses on an active response between controller and world with features such as the lightbar on the controller being able to direct light into areas of the screen. The touchpad will allow the player to interact with the surface of the world and the game will also feature an element of connection between the game’s main character and the player outside of the screen. Tearaway Unfolded will present the same overall journey as seen in the Vita but with re-imagined, new environments and controller interaction.
The conference placed a lot of focus on indie releases, introducing a new IP from Housemarque – third person action and fast paced Alienation will be exclusive to the PS4.
Wild Sheep Studio announced a trailer for their new immersive game Wild. Clearly a work of passion, the third person game with the ability to play as either human or animal in an open world featuring a dynamic landscape and mythical elements.
To summarise; despite Sony’s complete rejection of the Vita, the conference provided lots of exciting news surrounding PlayStation 4 releases with an intriguing software update happening soon. Here are the pros and cons from the news-packed hour:
On the positive side of things:
+ It is clear that Sony are investing into more and more independent creations, the conference offering a taste of a wide range of titles that will become available in the future. Many of these titles are not covered in this article as they were only seen or mentioned briefly, so keep an eye out for more information.
+ The effort to create innovative software updates is perhaps long overdue, but the announcement of Share Play is a fresh incentive from the company.
+ Several exclusive releases were presented and many of these will most probably serve to sway console buyers towards Sony products. Again, it’s exciting to see a focus on indie games.
And the negative:
– It appears that Sony will not be investing a whole lot of time into future releases for the Vita.
– The selling point of timed exclusive access is no way near as exciting as developers and Sony are trying to make it sound.
– Bungie announcing two upcoming expansions before the game itself has been released reflects the greedy side of the industry as more and more DLCs enter the market.
What did you think of Sony’s press conference? Let us know in the comments below.