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E3 2014: Sony Press Conference Preview

The biggest gaming event of the year is just around the corner. In under three weeks, Sony will be taking to the stage at 6pm PT to talk about all things Playstation. While the PS3 is coming to the end of it’s lifecycle and probably won’t be focused on too heavily, their other two systems both have many questions that need to be answered. The Vita has struggled since launch and unless Sony can bring the first party support in full, the system could be destined for another underwhelming year.

The Playstation 4 launch so far has gone better than Sony could have ever imagined. But that doesn’t mean they can rest on their laurels. Microsoft seem to be hitting back with a vengeance on the heels of both the Halo 5 and Kinect less bundle announcements before E3 and must be keeping other big tricks up their sleeve. While the PS4 launch has gone great, the list of upcoming exclusives for the system is surprisingly bare. With more first party studios than any other console manufacturer, hopefully a bunch of new game announcements are just around the corner. Let’s discuss each of their studios and speculate on what we might be seeing on June 9th.



Naughty Dog

Without a doubt Sony’s biggest trump card at this point, coming off the incredible success of the Uncharted trilogy and The Last of Us on Playstation 3. We know that a new Uncharted game is coming after it was revealed late last year but we are yet to see it in play yet or know much about it. Recently the studio has had an unusually large amount of departures, most of whom were working on this game. I think most people will like some assurance on how this game is shaping up, even though it’s release I will wager isn’t coming until Fall 2015 at the very earliest. I could imagine Sony may open or close the conference with a CGI trailer of the game, perhaps confirming the setting or protagonist. Though I doubt we will get any gameplay from this one just yet.

The other project the team has already announced is The Last of Us: Remastered. This seems also guaranteed to make an appearance and with it’s release hopefully coming this summer we should get either a live demo or at worst a gameplay trailer. The biggest surprise Naughty Dog and maybe Sony could bring would be a fully fledged sequel to the multiple game of the year winner. I highly doubt this as with two projects already announced, multiple studio departures and many of the lead designers from TLoU working on either the next Uncharted or the film adaption it just seems too soon for me. Though just a logo right at the end wouldn’t do any harm I guess.



Ready at Dawn

We already know that Ready at Dawn’s next title is The Order: 1886 and is scheduled for release later this year. This is the biggest exclusive title the PS4 has this fall and is almost guaranteed to have a big presence at the conference. An extended live stage demo would make perfect sense as Sony really need to start building hype for this new IP if they want it to see them sell lots of consoles at the end of the year. It’s also highly unlikely that Ready at Dawn will show off anything else right now as they must give full priority to making this title one of the best this year has to offer.

Media Molecule

Having finished development of one of last year’s best (and only) Vita titles in the form of Tearaway, Media Molecule’s attention has now moved to the Playstation 4. Having stopped making LittleBigPlanet games, we don’t really know anything about what they have next in store. During the PS4 announcement they were present with a demo that involved Move controllers creating and animating 3D models. It’s unclear whether this will be the basis of their new game or if they are working on something entirely new. They could even be working on a game for Project Morpheus, which I will touch on more later. It’s exciting to know nothing about what Media Molecule have up their sleeve and with their history of interesting and innovative ideas I hope they make an appearance and wow us all once again.



Polyphony Digital

Once again this studio seems to be heading in a pretty obvious direction if history tells us anything. The studio have long developed the uber successful Gran Turismo series and that looks to continue. With Gran Turismo 6 releasing on PS3 after the PS4 had launched it did seem slightly strange but considering the huge install base the reasoning suddenly becomes more clear. Plus now they can port the game to PS4 and have the best of both worlds. Doubtful it will come out before DriveClub but a PS4 version of Gran Turismo 6 to at least be announced seems certain given it’s huge draw in Europe.

Evolution

Speaking of driving games, the previously announced launch game that is now coming in October known as DriveClub should be a strong focus of Sony’s at this year’s press conference. Reception was mixed after it’s initial announcement and a near year delay certainly hasn’t helped things. If Sony want to convince potential buyers that this is a reason to buy a PS4 along with The Order: 1886, then this game will need a very strong showing. Expect a new demo at some point during the conference.



Sony Santa Monica

This one is very interesting. Other than helping development on a few other Sony developed games, Sony Santa Monica don’t have their next big game announced just yet. Perhaps this E3 will see that game teased in the form of a short trailer but anything more would be surprising at this point. God of War 4 seems to be the obvious choice but with the lukewarm reception of GoW: Ascensionthis may not be the case. They recently had a new unannounced IP they were working on cancelled and multiple studio layoffs so my best bet would be we won’t be seeing anything from Sony Santa Monica at this year’s E3.

Sucker Punch

Having just released the biggest PS4 exclusive of the year, I doubt Sucker Punch have another project ready to talk about just yet. Given the game has sold well, working on single player DLC would make the most sense. We could get some new powers teased in a short trailer and that will attract more eyeballs to the original game which Sony will want to keep promoting to sell consoles before any other big first party releases come out.



Sony Japan Studio

The Last Guardian. What hasn’t been said about this game at this point? Announced at E3 2009, not much has been heard of this lately but Sony have confirmed as recently as this year that the game is still in development. Rumors are that the game has switched development and will be released on PS4. Even just a confirmation of this would be great news for many but I have a feeling that another E3 will go by without so much as a whisper from this game.

Another heavily rumored title is Project Beast, supposedly From Software’s next game to be released as a PS4 exclusive alongside Sony Japan. With many screenshots surfacing it definitely seems to be real but whether it’s a Sony exclusive and potentially a sequel to the Sony owned IP Demon’s Souls, we shall see.

Guerrilla Games

Guerrilla Games have been working on the Killzone series for ten years across five different platforms. It would make sense that they want to try something new and after Shadow Fall was received well, perhaps setting aside from that franchise for this next project would be best. It’s rumored they are working on a new RPG but considering Shadow Fall only just released I doubt they have anything ready to show off beyond a logo or teaser trailer.



Sony Bend

Sony Bend are most well known for the Syphon Filter series but most recently have developed the portable versions of both Resistance and Uncharted. With it being seven years since the last game, bringing back Syphon Filter for the PS4 is long overdue. The recently trademarked “Kill Strain” has been linked with Sony Bend and could even be a code name for a Syphon Filter reboot or something entirely new completely.

Sony London Studio

Sony London have recently worked on PlayStation Move titles such as Wonderbook and The Playroom as well as the money making franchise SingStar. Previously they created The Getaway franchise which had a third major installment in development on PS3 but was subsequently put on hold. The chances of this title being shown off on PS4 are almost non existent but as the original game is one of my all time favorites in the genre, I really hope and pray that it someday sees the light of day



Quantic Dream

While not strictly a first party studio, Quantic Dream are known for developing Playstation exclusives after Heavy Rain and last year’s Beyond: Two Souls. E3 2013 saw Quantic Dream release a 12 minute tech demo showing off what the PS4 is capable of. It doesn’t take much to guess that they are working on a new PS4 title but whether we will see this is up in the air. With Beyond: Two Souls only just releasing last year this could perhaps be too soon for the next full game to be announced. Though another new tech demo would be pretty interesting.

Project Morpheus

Having just announced Project Morpheus at GDC 2014, Sony’s VR headset is sure to feature prominently during their E3 press conference. While it is still in early development and won’t release until late 2015, VR is very fashionable right now after Facebook’s recent acquisition of Oculus so Sony will want to continue to be a part of this conversation. A live stage demo should take place with a first party studio developed new demo to show off, Media Molecule perhaps. Albeit brief, I’m sure Sony will want to get people excited for what is right now the only console VR option on the market.



Continue the success?

PlayStation Now is guaranteed to be mentioned with it’s beta ongoing currently before a full release in North America later this year. A stage demo once again would make sense to show how easy it will be to stream PS3 games on your PS4 in the future. I can’t see any major price drops or revisions to any of their consoles at this point as the PS4 seems to be selling very well and the Vita only recently had both of these last year. A brief mention to new apps coming to the PS4 (YouTube please!) and perhaps more updates to it’s streaming and other current services are expected.

If Sony discuss even half of the games I have talked about then we should be in for a fantastic press conference on June 9th. Last year Sony unequivocally “won” E3 with it’s promise to continue to make games for the players and care about what they want in a new system. It clearly worked after a successful launch, but the worst thing they can do is sit back when they are in the lead. They have to announce multiple new exclusives as the current lineup is extremely bare and continue to provide the right message to it’s customers. I for one cannot wait to see what they have in store for us.

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