Sony’s press conference once again rounded off the E3 run-in with a bang – quite literally, as pyrotechnics shook the Shrine Auditorium to accompany Call of Duty WWII. Other games were accompanied by snow effects, a waterfall, and even ‘dead’ bodies being lowered from the vertiginous heights of the stage.
All of that couldn’t hide the fact that this year’s showcase couldn’t quite live up to recent outings – either in content or execution – though that can be a problem when you set such a high bar.
The only person to talk on stage was Sony Interactive America CEO Shawn Layden, in two brief appearances. That was a marked departure from the kind of hands-on, developer-led demos we’ve enjoyed in recent years. It made Microsoft’s marathon effort look positively personality-packed – and it certainly wasn’t looked at in isolation.
After last year’s double hardware launch, and again in contrast to the Xbox event, Shawn Layden said in 2017 it was all about the games."
CONTENT IS KING
Sony then proved that point by going on to show a wide range of sumptuous, narrative-driven titles. We got to see more of God of War, plus Lost Legacy and Frozen Wilds, spin-offs of Uncharted and Horizon: Zero Dawn respectively.
There was more from Days Gone as well – which is shaping up nicely, but still sits a little too close to The Last of Us in terms of tone and graphical style for our liking. While android-thriller Detroit: Become Human is an intriguing title with numerous moral choices to make, and live with. While Spider-man rounded things off, displaying varied and slick web-spinning action.
Despite Layden’s assurance that: The future is here and is now,” many of the bigger titles will not be appearing until 2018.
However, with content-first deals with Activision on both Destiny 2 and Call of Duty WWII, there’s still plenty of big titles on that will sell well on the console this year. Both games were rolled out to support this fact, but neither trailer told us anything new.
The now traditional attendee crowd-pleaser came in the form of a remaster of cult-classic Shadow of the Colossus, though again that’s a 2018 release.
There was also a raft of VR titles, showing that Sony is committed to supporting its headset first-party, which alongside Skyrim VR from Bethesda and titles from Ubisoft, is a great boon both to owners and to further headset sales.
A solid show, though a little light on personality. There’s plenty to look forward to on PlayStation, though this year looks to be dominated by chunky additions to existing franchises and cross-platform titles, rather than huge first-party goliaths.