Fighting for Supremacy – Sony's Press Conference At E3

By Phil Harris

Opening with a trailer for Destiny, Sony's Andrew House quickly took the stage, replacing the much loved Jack Trenton as Sony's lead speaker. House confirmed the beta was coming to Playstation first, and suggesting this represented a great example of what the future holds for the console, its online facilities and group play. Pushing on the exclusivity of everything the viewers would see during their hour, it was clear Sony didn't plan to sit on their laurels following the mauling they had given Microsoft's Xbox One the previous year.

In fact the pace and style of Sony's offering was to do them credit for the early stages with the next game, The Order: 1886, providing some exciting visuals with its steam punk adventures against demonic monsters in London.

Entwined was next, an incredible visual journey with two characters which were controlled by the single player and were seen playing across the screen, producing dancing patterns of light as the player "painted the screen." the conference then moving seamlessly to new Downloadable Content for Infamous: Second Son.

Little Big Planet 3

The pace wasn't going to stop though, as the first surprise of the night came, with Media Molecule and Little Big Planet 3. A vast array of new characters with new abilities showed that a good deal of thought and development had gone into this game. The attention to detail and adaptable gameplay went down well with the audience and this outing already looked like it would entertain the imagination of young and old alike.

Horror was next, From Software's Bloodborne looked to be taking the Demon Souls/Dark Souls formula into a disturbing gothic world and then the first game play footage of Far Cry 4 showed the series continuing versatility and graphical superiority on the new console, as well as opening up the co-operative possibilities, including the exclusive possibility of allowing friends to join you in a game even if they don't own it.

Keeping to the horror theme the amusing trailer for Dead Island 2 got the crowd going and Diablo 3's special level featuring monsters from The Last of Us also was well received, allowing a neat segue into new footage of Battlefield: Frontline and more exclusives with Disney Infinity and Destiny.

Paradox Interactive's amusing trailer led to the announcement of Magicka 2, for some top down team based magic casting, but this was nothing when they announced a fully reworked version of Grim Fandango, a PC classic, and a significant sample of the indie games Sony are supporting.

Where other press conferences seemed to have ignored the beat 'em up genre, Let It Die looked to have made significant leaps to cover this ground, with grimy combatants squeezing the life out of each other in hardcore action.

Giant Squid's ABZU from the art direction and sound of That Game Company's Journey looked beautiful, as you would expect but, gave little information to make a true judgement of how it would play, completely unlike No Man's Sky which was, my personal hit of the whole conference.

No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky is a cell shaded, procedurally generated infinite universe… yeah we really do mean infinite. Looking stylised and incredible on the screen as the player went seamlessly from planet side research to flying a space fighter in battle with the developers promise that every player would start on their own new planet. The scope at hand was potentially incredible.

Following this staccato burst of games, games, games Sony moved on to technology and whilst interesting their conference faltered for it, losing momentum as we went from Project Morpheus, their Virtual Reality headset, to discussing the way the console would change social gaming, free to play games, using micro-transaction models and the added features PS Now would grant the user, especially when linked to PS TV, a streaming project which sits in the same field as Apple's outing.

In the midst of this, as if sensing that people were getting bored, they announced Mortal Kombat X, with its vibrant and gory beat 'em up action before speaking to Brian Michael Bendis about Sony's exclusive Powers series, an adaptation of his own comics series and exclusive to PS Now users.

Metal Gear Solid 5

Brushing past the Ratchet and Clank movie we got back to games; Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain promising much following its previous, disappointing outing and Grand Theft Auto V being updated for the PS4 console, with PS3 players who purchased the game able to upload their previous save and simply play on.

To end, Sony showed game play footage of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight, which was well received but needs to do something new for the franchise, for fear it will simply get dull and then a tantalizing teaser trailer for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and we were done.

At the end of the day, when considering Sony versus Microsoft, the innovation boot was still on Sony's foot but, with Xbox One needing to do a lot more confidence building, following a rocky start, Microsoft had the better of it. By ignoring talking about technology and concentrating purely on the games, as well as far more franchises for release in 2014 they did what most attendees of E3 clearly feel is most important.

Phil Harris (@PhilipGHarris) is a games developer who is currently working with One Thumb Mobile on their MMORPG Celtic Heroes. He also writes for Pixels for Breakfast.

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Hannah Means ShannonAbout Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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