E3 2015: Sony’s E3 Media Briefing Impressions

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Sony, once again hosting the final press conference on the first “official” night of E3, continued their recent trend of announcing ground-breaking news and shocking the industry as a whole.

Sony’s press conference started off with a bang when Shawn Layden, President & CEO of SCEA, walked out on stage and said, “Our first game tonight has been a long anticipated title…” At this point the crowd started to cheer, with most people knowing exactly what he was talking about. “It is conceived as a poetic story of adventure and friendship; heroism and companionship.”

The room fell dark and silent, waiting for what about to appear. Then it happened…

As the trailer ended Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony‘s Worldwide Studios, took to the stage to reveal what we all have been hearing for quite some time, that The Last Guardian has moved on to be a PlayStation 4 title.

While we all knew that The Last Guardian was going to be at Sony’s press conference this year, and we all knew it would be given some form of a release date, it was nice, and exciting, to see it be the first thing shown. In a way, it was Sony acknowledging that every surprise they had about The Last Guardian – potential release date and platform – was already out in public and they just wanted to get it over and done with. So if the announcement of a game, which has been in development hell for multiple years and has had many documented development challenges, is the first thing you lead off with… what the hell could you have in store to follow that up with? Well… we soon found out.

Next up was Guerrilla Games’ chance to show exactly what they have been up to since Killzone: Shadow Fall. For the last year to two years, there have been small leaks pertaining to what exactly their next title would be. We heard about it being set sometime in the future. We heard about it being an RPG. We even heard that it would have robotic dinosaurs.

Well, now we know what happens when you combine those three topics into one game – Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Set in the far distant future, nature has already re-taken the world from us. Our cities lie dormant, more as ancient monuments than anything else, and the few humans that roam the world tell stories of these great cities, though no one knows anything about them.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is the new franchise from Guerrilla Games, the main studio. Little is actually known right now about the nature of the game, and the trailer above really only shows the action part of the game. We are promised that it is indeed an Action-RPG like the rumors told, but that portion is not ready to be shown.

As the trailer progresses we begin to see the robotic dinosaurs and in a strange way, they have nods back to Guerrilla Games’ last franchise, Killzone. Now, don’t take this as anything more than my own opinion , but the armor, the glowing eyes, and really just the overall look of most of the dinosaurs shown game me a strange, strong impression of the Helghast. I’m not getting my hopes up that in some way these two franchises are connected, so I’ll stop here with that little prediction.

Next up we see a trailer as the camera flies over a forest in the dead of winter. Slowly, a Square Enix logo appears on screen as we hear a woman’s voice begin talking and she says a famous name; “Agent 47”.

Welcome to the next Hitman game.

The trailer itself shows, well, almost nothing about what the game might entail, just that Agent 47 is back. Once the trailer ends, Asad Qizilbash takes the stage to give us a little bit more detail on the new Hitman game, revealing that the title will be coming to consoles and PC with a digital release first (so maybe no physical version at all? We’ll see). The new Hitman game will continue to evolve, deepen, and grow as time progresses. Mr. Qizilbash also announced that the beta for this new Hitman game will be exclusive to PlayStation and when the game releases and PlayStation 4 gamers will receive six exclusive contracts throughout the year.

Making quite a decent transition from the Hitman game into the PlayStation 4 console exclusive Street Fighter V, we are shown a brand new trailer which introduces us to two new characters that will be coming in the game: Birdie and Cammy. The trailer focuses on these two new characters which will be Street Fighter V, showcasing their moves and fighting styles.

After the trailer we learn that the beta will be coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 on July 23rd, so go on and pre-order the game to get in it!

Continuing the onslaught of fantastic announcements one right after the other, No Man’s Sky‘s Shawn Murray was brought out on stage to give us another take of his game. Though we have seen this same game multiple times already, what I witnessed still sent a bolt of excitement through my body.

Murray took hold of a Dualshock 4 and played a demo of No Man’s Sky right in front of our eyes. The demo kicked off with Murray controlling his character and moving him towards a nearby ship within the hangar that the demo started in. Within seconds of jumping into the cockpit, we were out in space, flying among the stars and a nearby space battle between two massive ships.

With what seemed like relative ease, Murray maneuvered his ship through the chaos, and even engaged in a bit of combat himself, shooting at the enemy. There was a ton of action happening on scene during this combat section and we finally got to see how space combat would work in No Man’s Sky. Hint: It looked awesome. Murray game us a glimpse at just how big No Man’s Sky universe actually is.

He pulled up a map of the solar system that his ship was now in. With another action on the controller, he then showed us the surround solar systems that could be reachable by the basic rocket that your ship can have. Yet, that even wasn’t the tip of an iceberg for Murray continued to pull the camera back, revealing literally millions of other stars that could be traveled to, all with their own unique solar system in tow. Without really knowing how big the universe in No Man’s Sky is, Murray wanted to show that indeed all stars have a solar system built around them. He then randomly clicked on a star, revealing that it was over 200 light years away from the original solar system that he started the demo in. With the click of a button, his ship was traveling through space at light speed and ended in this new destination.

Um, Mr. Murray, hurry up and give me this goodness! I WANT IT NOW!

Media Molecule came out on stage next to showcase their new… erm… game? Yeah, I guess you could call it a game… but it also doesn’t resemble any game I’ve ever seen before. So their new “project” is called Dreams.

What is this Dreams? I am not really sure honestly, but all I know is that I am interested and intrigued.

From what Alex Evans, from Media Molecule, explained Dreams is attempting to allow people to create their dreams in a video game world. By using a unique set of newly created tools players will be able to create… well, anything really. In the demo shown we see someone creating an older gentleman sitting on a chair. After the creation of this man is done, we then learn that with a click of a button and movement of the controller, you can animate your object to make it come to life. With this tool you’ll be able to create stories that play out in each of your creations. Then, once you’re done with your creation, you can upload it for the world to see. Each creation will be connected to other creations, yours or other people’s, through a seamless transition.

If you can’t tell, even trying to explain Dreams to you is hard, for I don’t even really understand it too much. Just watch the video above to get an idea.

Oh man, I am 1,423 words into this impressions piece, and I’m not even really at the half way point of Sony’s press conference.

Anyway, after we learned about Dreams from Media Molecule, we were re-introduced to Firewatch, a little indie title from Capo Santo.

Firewatch is a first-person mystery action game set in a park within Wyoming. Before the trailer, which is above, began to play, we learned that Firewatch will be making its console debut on the PlayStation 4.

Adam Boyes, VP of Publisher and Developer Relations, came on stage to talk a bit about Destiny and its next expansion pack, The Taken King.

The Taken King brings a new threat to not only earth, but to our solar system, in the form of a god. Oryx, father of Crota (hint: the big baddie at the end of The Dark Below) has come seeking revenge against the guardians who have killed his son.

This new expansion pack for Destiny marks the year anniversary of the game’s launch last September, and will be coming out on September 15, 2015. The Taken King expansion will come with a bunch of new content; a new raid, new strike missions, new gear and weapons, and a lot more. Additionally, PlayStation guardians will be receiving new, exclusive content that will be exclusive at least until Fall of 2016. This exclusive content contains a new strike, new crucible maps, new legendary armor for each class and a new exotic pulse rifle.

Oh, and did I mention new sub-classes for each class? That’s right, each class will be receiving a new sub-class which will fill out the elemental void that they do not have. As an example, the Titan currently does not have a supercharged move that does solar damage. Once The Take King releases, the Titan will now have a mighty hammer that he can use to smack the crap out of him enemies with that does do solar damage. A. FREAKING. HAMMER. Awesome!

Next up we got a new trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.

The new trailer focuses on the female protagonist for the new Assassin’s Creed game, Evie. We watch as Evie roams the streets all stealthily, then we see her fight. And boy, can she fight! Taking on multiple enemies at once, or just in single one-on-one combat, Evie can handle her own in combat. During her many fight scenes, we see her use a varying array of weapons from the assassin’s hidden blade, to throwing knives, to a case sword; each one used with deadly precision and grace.

Before we moved on to other games, we learned that PlayStation 4 gamers will be able to play  exclusive missions called ‘The Dreadful Crimes’.

Then Mr. Boyes decided to be funny and get everyone’s hopes up. This is what he said next:

Final Fantasy has a long history on PlayStation.

If you didn’t hear before the conference started, there were numerous rumors that a certain, asked for, Final Fantasy game would be making a return at the conference. This one though, was not it. As the trailer played, though it wasn’t what most people thought we would see, it turned out to be quite a cute and charming new Final Fantasy title, World of Final Fantasy.

We then learned that this new Final Fantasy game will be a console exclusive for the PlayStation 4 & PlayStation Vita.

Then it happened… the moment that we all had heard about, but didn’t really want to believe. It was the moment I eluded to just a few paragraphs ago. We finally got the announcement that thousands of gamers have been asking for since, well, forever it seems.

That’s right, Final Fantasy VII is getting a remake. Yes, you read my words correctly, a REMAKE!

Now, while no more details have been revealed about this remake, we do know that it is currently being developed for PlayStation 4 and PC, but that it may come to other systems in the future.

My only wish is that this does not become the next The Last Guardian and in seven years we are still waiting for it. Please Square Enix, don’t let that happen. Pretty please, with sugar on top?

Following that massive announcement, we got to check out four small indie titles from Devolver Digital that will be making their console debut on PlayStation 4 in the future.

Nothing else was said about any of these four games, but here is a rundown of what they are;

RoninRonin is an action turn-based platformer in which  a vengeful woman is set on taking out five high-ranking people of a nasty, power organization. Each move you make can be carefully, and purposefully mapped out before actually taking the move, this will allow our heroin to jump out from the shows, strike, and jump back into the darkness for safety. Ronin features 15 complex missions that will have you stalk, and strike, down those five individuals.

Eitr – Etir follows the store of The Sword Maiden as she battles against the Norse god Loki who has released a mysterious and dangerous substance, called Eitr, throughout the world. In order for her to set things right, The Sword Maiden must go against her destiny to bring about Loki’s demise.

Mother Russia BleedsMother Russia Bleeds is an ultra-volient Beat ‘Em Up that will allow you to play with up to 3 other players to beat the game. Set in an alternate U.S.S.R., the story features an antihero who is thrown into a journey of hate-filled vengeance while also dealing with his crippling drug addition.

Crossing Souls – Crousing Souls is an old-school action adventure that has RPG DNA throughout it. Explore, solve puzzles and fight against an evil army to prevent war between two worlds.

During this year’s press conference Sony pulled out a ton of fan-requested games, and this next one is another one of those.

So, there you have it, Shenmue III is happening. And now, seeing as how it is the 17th, we know now for sure that Shenmue III will be happening because it has indeed met its funding goal, and then we heard that Sony has agreed to fund the rest of the game. So, Shenmue III will be PlayStation exclusive.

Awesome, right?

Taking a turn toward a darker note, it was now time for The Dark Knight to take the screen in the form of a new trailer.

The trailer above was half a spoiler for the last game, and in-game gameplay of the additional, exclusive content coming to the PlayStation 4 version.

At the end of the trailer, it was revealed that Batman: Arkham Knight on the PlayStation 4 will be receiving exclusive content, called the Scarecrow Missions. As a person who loved the first Arkham game, I am really excited to see the Scarecrow is back, and that single fact has made this game a far more appealing prospect to buy.

At this point in Sony’s press conference it was almost assumed that the ball would keep on rolling. We had been witness to one of the best first halves of an E3 press conference ever. The “winner of E3” was basically already decided upon, all Sony needed to do was continue what they had been doing for the previous hour; keep making amazing, mind blowing, announcements. So, I bet you’re thinking what was their next move?

Morpheus! They decided to talk about Morpheus. Those awesome announcements just kept on coming, right?

Wrong.

In what was by far the weakest section of their presser, Sony dropped the ball big time when it came to Morpheus. Yes, we all knew they would talk about. Yes, we all knew they needed to talk about. Yet, what did they do? Instead of talking, they did little more than let out a tiny murmur about Morpheus. No, not even a murmur really, it was more like the smallest of whispers imaginable.

But, with that being said, we did get to see a couple of VR games that will be making their way to Morpheus, so let’s check them out.

See what I mean, there wasn’t really anything said about Morpheus itself, just that it is a thing and people can play it on the show floor. No pricing? No release date, or at least a window? Come on Sony, spill the beans!

From bad, to not-as-bad but still bad, we next were given more details on PlayStation Vue, Sony’s online TV streaming service. During the press conference we learned that the PlayStation Vue test area now has added San Francisco and Los Angeles. Beginning in July we learned that PlayStation Vue will go nationwide and begin offering subscription services that will allow subscribing to individual channels, without the need to purchase a multi-channel bundle. When the nationwide service launches in July, three new channels will be added; Showtime, Fox Soccer Channel, and a channel from Machinima. Finally, all PlayStation Plus members will be able to subscribe to PlayStation Vue at a discount.

Then, like a shot of Red Bull to perk you up, Sony dropped another bomb on the gaming world, with the unveil of a partnership with Activision for the single biggest franchise in the gaming industry.

That’s right, I’m talking about Call of Duty. In an amazing reveal, Sony revealed that starting with Call of Duty: Black Ops III, PlayStation 4 gamers will get all of the DLC map packs before Xbox. On top of that, we got to watch the reveal gameplay of the new multiplayer for Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

Being the number one console in the world comes with some perks, apparently.

Disney Infinity 3.0 was then revealed and will come with Star Wars characters.

John Vignocchi, from Disney Interactive, went on to promote Disney 3.0 with the Star Wars characters is the perfect way for families to introduce the Star Wars universe to their children. Disney Infinity 3.0 will feature three packs revolving around Star Wars: 

  • Twilight of the Republic pack will be set during episodes 1 – 3, The Clone Wars, where gamers will be able to participate in all of the iconic moments from the first three movies. Twilight of the Republic will launch alongside Disney Infinity 3.0 this fall.
  • Rise Against the Empire, which will release a month later, takes places during episodes 4 – 6, and just as the previous pack, will allow you to play through all of the iconic moments of the original three Star Wars movies.

Finally, we learned that PlayStation will receive an exclusive bundle for Disney Infinity 3.0 that will include the Twilight of the Republic play set, and the Rise Against the Empire play set one month earlier than anyone else.

The second to last announcement at the presser was Star Wars: Battlefront single player missions. These single player missions can be played alone, or with a friend via the PlayStation Network or split-screen; and can be played multiple times. We learned about the various different types of missions that will be available;

  • Battles – You and a friend will be supported by a team of AI to face off against some of Star Wars’ iconic characters like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader.
  • Trials – Pushes you to learn the skills needed on the battlefront (what this means…I haven’t a clue)
  • Survival – Which pits you against wave after wave of enemies as you attempt to reach a final checkpoint

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, the final topic for Sony’s 2015 E3 press conference.

The next game didn’t need an introduction. It didn’t need someone coming out on stage to talk about how many pixels make up the trees in the background. No one spoke about the feeling of scale, or the number of enemies on screen at once. Instead, we were just shown this…

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Do I need say any more? I think not.

Overall, Sony provided another fantastic E3 press conference. They provided an absolute TON of fan service announcements; like the remake of Final Fantasy VII to Shenmue III. They unveiled a couple of new franchises from their first-party teams; Horizon and Dreams. They even scored one of the biggest wins of this E3, announcing DLC first for future Call of Duty games, starting with Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Sony kept throwing out one show stopper after the other; if you disregard about 10 minutes in the middle of their conference.

As a PlayStation gamer, they cemented my excitement for the PlayStation ecosystem for another year. I couldn’t be happier.

Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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  • himdeel

    I think out was a good call to not focus on Morpheus. Especially since there is no good way to demo it to the masses.

    • While I agree with your point, they needed to still talk, and show, about it more. Show us that Morpheus isn’t just a second thought and that it truly is something Sony wants to support and be successful.

      • himdeel

        True but I don’t trust Sony to support any peripherals that aren’t their main console. So I don’t believe Sony or any company can successfully demo this tech. Besides until a price is announced or they share what else their VR does my experience is Sony won’t market this well. VR will be niche.