If there’s a gaming battleground for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, there’s no bigger arena than the E3 stage. The annual face-off sees the big three names in game development puff their chests out (even if Nintendo does so from the comfort of its ‘Direct’ YouTube studio), showing off the wares it’s hoping to win you over with in time for populating those Christmas wishlists.
Sony has had a stonking few years singing the praises of its leading PlayStation 4 console, and has managed to bag a number of great exclusive third-party reveals (Shenmue 3, Final Fantasy VII Remake) as well as showing off its own internal big hitters (PlayStation VR and God of War among many others) in recent times.
This year could be different though – with its PS4 Pro already out on shelves, and reported to be less powerful than the Project Scorpio console hardware that Microsoft is slated to reveal, it’ll have to work very hard to keep its enviable lead over the competition.
But, if it delivers even just a few of our six most-wanted things at this year’s show, it’ll be in with chance. Here’s what we want to see from Sony and PlayStation at E3 2017.
What the hell even is Death Stranding? We’ve had Hideo Kojima waxing lyrical over his new title for some time now, but a handful of trailers later we still don’t know what it’s going to be like. It’ll have an open world, it’ll have Norman Reedus in it, and Mads Mikkelsen. Director Guillermo Del Toro’s likeness will also be used. Apart from that (and a nudey Reedus crying over a baby and some…dead whales?)
So E3 2017 is definitely the time to finally reveal some actual Death Stranding gameplay. Safe money’s on it being a quest to find Reedus some new underpants, with his previous mucky pair having caused an ecological beach disaster. At least that’s what we’ve pulled from that crazy first trailer…
It launched to great fanfare, was priced sensibly and delivered a virtual reality experience that felt leagues ahead of what its price tag would suggest it should have been capable of (while not feeling too far behind the more expensive competition), but it’s starting to feel a little bit like Sony has fell out of love with its PlayStation VR headset.
Though releasing alongside a solid launch line-up that included big names like Eve: Valkyrie and a short but oh-so-sweet Batman Arkham experience, there’s not been much to write home about since. Farpoint VR was great, and Resident Evil 7 was a brave whole-hearted attempt at re-imagining the series for virtual reality. But, for key mid-cycle hardware, there’s not been a flood of AAA titles to accompany the headset.
We love the PS VR headset, but if it’s going to have a long term life, Sony needs to put a big push behind it at this year’s E3. We’re craving a full-length Star Wars X-Wing VR game after the Battlefront tease – Sony would have us screaming with joy if this one made an appearance. A look at the VR mode of Gran Turismo Sport, or something from Sony’s Manchester Studio (which was specifically built for VR) would be reassuring, too.
This year marks 20 years since the launch of Final Fantasy VII, the most-highly revered classic JRPG of all time. It stole the show at 2015’s Sony E3 event once again, when developers Square Enix announced that the long-awaited remake was indeed in development.
Never committing to a firm release date (made even more wooly by its episodic nature) we’ve had a drip feed of info ever since. But there’s been recent warning signs to suggest that all may not be well surrounding the development of the game, with Square putting out an unusually-widely broadcast request for new staff to work on the game. It’s a massively ambitious project, and while we don’t expect to see much more on it for a long time to come, some words of reassurance that all is well would soothe our fears.
Whether you thought the first Last of Us game was the single greatest moment in all gaming history – the promise of ‘games as art’ come good – or a self-important slog through a dreary stealth apocalypse, there’s no denying the impact it made.
And, likewise, the announcement of a follow up from super-developers Naughty Dog sent the gaming world into meltdown. It showed off an (apparently-in-engine) cinematic trailer for the game, revealing you’d now play as an older Ellie, child star of the first game. But as for actual gameplay footage? None has emerged. So here’s hoping someone at Sony can click their fingers (or their fungus-infected mandibles) and get some on show at E3.
Sony’s first-party dev team at Media Molecule have made some of PlayStation’s most distinctive games, including Little Big Planet and Tearaway. The titles have often focussed around user-generated content, and their next game, Dreams, looks to do the same, on an epic scale.
Giving the player the freedom to create ‘dreams’ for other gamers to play, it takes the level-building ideas of LBP, and expands them to a grand canvas.
But will its ambition be its downfall? We’ve heard little from the super-promising game in the last 12 months, so some concrete release details would make our dreams come true, as would a glimpse at its touted PS VR mode.
The studio behind the Infamous and Sly Cooper series, Sucker Punch is another first-party PlayStation dev team that have been suspiciously quiet recently. We’ve not heard of any new project details, with the company keeping their heads down since launching the PS4 Pro remasters of InFamous Second Son and First Light back in November 2016.
So, with no new title since the First Light spin-off in two and a half years ago, they’re well overdue a comeback. Having made a spectacular entrance on the PS4 Pro, they’re obviously masters of Sony’s latest hardware, so we’d expect something special when they do show their hand.
By Gerald Lynch
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