File this one under opinion, but so far the online commentary that didn’t think Sony had the best presentation at Day One of E3 includes the lifelong Microsoft fans who couldn’t resist trashing their longtime console rivals. Sony had a big night at E3 with some surprising reveals, some expected reveals, and some really pretty things. There were games, hardware promises, services, and even television shows—all featured by the company that has diversified its efforts under a banner of exclusivity and social connectivity.
Sony at E3: The Games
Among the games revealed to E3 participants and online viewers, one of the prettiest was No Man’s Sky, a diversified planetary exploration game that seems to be some weird amalgamation of Spore and Star Wars, but somehow works. The creators promised an infinite universe, one where no two players would start their adventures on the same planet. It’s a big promise, though seemingly doable in this advanced recent generation of gaming.
Entwined, a much simpler game focused on making use of both controller joysticks as the player commands two souls in love that are destined never to become one, was just as pretty. The lovers’ dance through the scenery provided by the game was definitely one that was pleasing to the eye, but to those that lack decent coordination (like me), it may serve to be a pointless venture or an exercise to make oneself better.
Though not as pretty, the cuteness factor was dialed to 11 with the unveiling of Little Big Planet 3, in which your favorite little sack person returns for more adventure. This time with friends.
Grim Fandango is returning, and that sound you heard during the Sony Conference was the gasp of people who forgot it existed but thought it was totally rad. This exclusive remake was one of the highlights for those who love nostalgia. Zombie lovers were also treated to a tease of Dead Island 2, which was announced via a possible Trailer of the Year. Keep an eye out for Bloodborne, as well, which seems to be only describable as a Victorian Era Resident Evil.
Far Cry 4 and Batman: Arkham Knight were both expected titles, especially since Far Cry 4 got some airtime during the Ubisoft conference. Though expected, E3 nonetheless displayed some good gameplay footage that showed the power of the PlayStation 4. The footage was very much aimed at grabbing attention via action. The E3 videos of Far Cry 4 showed the player blowing up a convoy and “liberating” a fortress (destroying it). (Also, an elephant totally jacked up a Jeep.) Arkham Knight showed two things for the first time: Batmobile play and a close-up of Scarecrow, who is currently being billed as the game’s lead villain. (Though, given the nature of the Arkham games, that is bound to change).
Finally, inFamous: Second Son is getting standalone DLC. This time, Fetch, the neon power user from Second Son, is being featured. It looks like a possible origin story for her, but I’d much rather see Eugene’s. Also, more about The Order: 1886 was unveiled, and you apparently get to fight a werewolf, among other monsters. That, along with Destiny in the opening of the conference, solidified Sony’s spot as a good place for exclusive gaming, which was very much a focus throughout the first night at E3.
Sony unveiled some pretty nifty hardware in the form of PlayStation TV, which allows remote play on a second TV in your home. It will be available for $99, or as a bundle with a controller, memory card, and a game for just a bit more. There was also a brief mention of Project Morpheus, Sony’s answer to the Oculus technology recently purchased by Facebook. It drew some oohs and aahs, but the gaming community still seems hesitant when it comes to virtual reality goggles.
Sony finally spoke up a bit more about PlayStation Now, a service currently in closed beta that will transfer to open beta soon. The service offers live streaming, rather than downloading, of the games you want to play. The current beta is PS4 only, but will become available on PS3 and PS Vita later. The company also alluded to more exclusive television shows, like Powers, a gritty detective show based on a comic series by the same name.
The company also announced that its gameplay streaming was about to get more involved by way of YouTube video capture, for players who don’t have or want Twitch or Ustream accounts.
It’s difficult to rank shows because of the vast differences. Microsoft and Sony were the only two console developers presenting at E3 today, but of the two, Sony’s presentation offered more excitement. The one thing that bothers me on a personal level is the focus on social connectivity. I’m not a fan of multiplayer (because I am too stubborn to listen to anyone else and prefer to go it alone), and the idea of social gatherings centered around my video game habits also doesn’t appeal to me.
However, try as I might to shut it out, the truth is that people love social connectivity in gaming, and Twitch/Ustream/YouTube/etc. provides the ability for players and fans to gather around their TVs around the world and give thanks to the gods of video gaming. Sony, more so than the other companies, it seems, has picked up on that, and is putting it to good use.