When I think of Sony press conferences I recall orchestras, and props hanging from the ceilings. I think tons of games that hit with some impact, and a pace that keeps you excited throughout. They did not quite deliver on all fronts this time. This year Sony really changed up the format though. First they announced the 4 games the show would focus on far in advance. Then put out small announcement trailers all week long leading up to the conference.
Let’s start with the pacing. What the fuck was this start? A small room meant mirror the setting of the Last of Us Part II trailer. It was a neat effect, but strange to watch Shawn Layden speaking to a room 1/4th the size of normal, followed by a one man musical performance. The trailer was pretty good, not that Naughty Dog putting together an effective trailer is surprising or anything. It was a big improvement over last year though, when it felt more like a torture porn short film. This one showcased tone and gameplay together really effectively. I expect with the cinematic nature of some of that combat it was likely a more scripted scene compared to some of the other encounters throughout the game.
But then they needed to move their audience to a normal theater to finish the show. It was almost 20 minutes before getting set up for the main stage. Some spent showing the small trailers they had been putting out ahead of E3, like Tetris Effect, but much of it with just a few talking heads that weren’t really giving us anything interesting. No developer to talk about what we had scene, just a plug for Call of Duty maps and stilted banter.
Once we returned they put up the Ghosts of Tsushima trailer though… That one blew it out of the park. The visuals were stunning, and the trailer gave us a pretty good idea of what to expect. A Samurai action game with the narrative beats echoing cinema from the same genre. I want to see more of this game, and that is the kind of showing I wish I had gotten more of.
I was surprised by Kojima Productions’ showing for Death Stranding. Not because it hooked me any more than the other trailers had, but because it looked like something outside of cutscenes were displayed. I really expected at least one more year of completely confusing CG trailers before seeing anything concrete. That said, the little bit of what looked like gameplay was predominantly walking places carrying different sizes of backpack, one definitely in the shape of a person. However there was an escape sequence where it appeared like a stealth/horror game.
Before ending with Spider-Man, which looks good even though it’s bit of a known quantity, they did sneak a few extra announcements in there. There was a kind of insane telekinetic powers game titled Control being put out by the same people who did Quantum Break a few years ago. This looks like they took that tech and tried to fix it up into a better game. Then there was the Resident Evil 2 Remake. This is looking like a hell of a lot more than the various RE1 remasters. This is fully rebuilt from the ground up, including new voice over and cinematics. But they started this project before finding out the risk they took on RE7 paid off. Because of that, I’m really curious if this project is remaking it in the action style that got so popular from RE4.