What to Expect from Sony at E3 | E3 Pregame
Sony's had a fantastic run this generation, entering with strong momentum across both hardware and first-party exclusive sales. But at the tail end of the console generation, Sony has seemingly no intention of slowing down. The company's signature "Third-person-cinematic" style has reaped huge rewards, not as a formula, but for the exact opposite reason: its versatility.
Just over the last few months, we've seen God of War and Detroit: Become Human come from this style as vastly different games. Yet both were met with uniform critical acclaim. Sony's lineup of exclusive games is an advantage the company has every intention of pushing.
This year, Sony promises E3 viewers will witness their 'Big 4.' Not new games, but more of games they've promised for quite some time: Spiderman, The Last of Us Part II, Ghosts of Tsushima and Death Stranding. Each are tentpole games in their own right, titles that Microsoft or Nintendo would space out over a few years. In abundance, Sony delivers generously.
But beyond the 'Big 4,' it's a fair bet we'll see games beyond the PlayStation maker's own first-party titles. Here are our bets for Sony's E3 Press Conference, from obvious, to apparent, to possible surprises.
Insomniac Games helped kick off the console generation with their delightfully excellent 'Sunset Overdrive.' The sheer freedom and exhilaration from off-the-rails gameplay, colorful environments and rewarding combat pushed the game to great success. With their upcoming Spiderman title, Insomniac promises to push all that into a superhero game. Looking back at Sunset Overdrive, it's not hard to see exactly what you'd want to see in a Spiderman game. We saw gameplay last year and it looks as good as it sounds on paper. I'd expect to see the title this Winter.
Ghosts of Tsushima
Sucker Punch Studios took a drastic thematic turn with, 'Ghosts of Tsushima.' Far from the superpowered action of Infamous' colorful worlds, the upcoming PlayStation exclusive promises a gritty, realistic warfare in the Japanese Kamakura period. It's a revenge tale, soaked in style, and ingested through Sony's trademarked cinematic perspective. It's a unique game, and one that many eagerly anticipate. Given that we haven't seen much of the game, it seems like a possible 2019 title.
Hideo Kojima's first post-Konami game is taking its time. He's built his own home at Kojima Studios,' under the wing of Sony. The first fruit of this partnership looks to be 'Death Stranding.' Last seen at PSX in a truly weird and fascinating cinematic, the game follows Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead through a post-apocalyptic Earth, inhabited by monsters that are equal parts Lovecraft and Geiger. There's Mads Mikkelsen's creepy military character, Guillermo Del Toro and his baby-in-a-jar, and a lot of tentacle-like cables to let players know that something just might be awry in this otherwise utopian existence. When can we expect this? The last person to give Hideo Kojima a deadline is now ruling the burnt husk of Konami, so I'm going lean on the safe side and expect it any time before the PlayStation 5.
The Last of Us Part II
For those who doubted the versatility of Naughty Dog's range after the Uncharted trilogy (myself included), and those who felt Uncharted 3 was a bit sloppy and underwhelming (also me), The Last of Us was a stunning realization that the studio's just getting started. Their trademark cinematic style from Drake's blockbuster exploits was now trained with steadier hands on far more artistic subjects. The Last of Us delivered compelling characters, a gorgeous setting and gameplay that properly complemented the experience.
With the sequel said to be focused on 'revenge,' according to Neal Druckman, and the game's most recent PSX trailer delivering shocking amounts of violence and gore, that experience is headed in a much darker direction. After the last game, I trust them to take it any direction they please, and will patiently wait for the finished product. I expect the game to release this Fall.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Activision's made it clear that their tent is pitched in Sony's camp during this console generation, and the PlayStation brand has treated them pretty well thus far. As such, it's a near certainty we'll see the latest Call of Duty game make an appearance. We already had a proper reveal at Activision's own event, but I'll warrant that they plan on showing us a bit more at E3. With the game's own spin on Battle Royale coming with the yet unseen 'Blackout,' this is probably where we'll see it. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 releases on October 12.
Bungie promises that Destiny 2's Fall DLC will right many of the larger missteps the game took in its sequel. Those fixes will come in a much grander package than an update however. The game's Fall DLC is most likely a massive 'Taken King' size expansion. What should we expect? With the Cabal, Vex and Hive given their respective releases in the base game and DLC, it seems fair that The Fallen take the stage. Bungie's latest roadmap has the release pegged for September, and will include gear collections, weapon randomization, new gameplay modes and a new weapon slot system.
From Software took a break from their Dark Souls series to bring PS4 players the terrifyingly terrific Bloodborne. Victorian streets plus Lovecraftian horror made an excellent mix in a game that subverted much of what players expected from a Souls game, while delivering the series' famously bonecrushingly difficult gameplay. We recently got a brief teaser with the cryptic promise, 'Shadows Die Twice.' It's not confirmed to be Bloodborne 2, despite the thematically similar tone, but it probably is. Given the welcome surprise the first Bloodborne was, however, a new IP would also prove a welcome surprise.
Sony's always had a lot going for it this generation, and it's not an advantage they've wasted. The 'Big 4' alone will let them cruise comfortably through the end of the generation. With additional partners such as Activision and From Software, PlayStation is a platform that's going to see a lot of love at E3.