By Julian Benson and Matt Wales
This year's final major E3 conference is upon us (excluding Nintendo's pre-recorded show tomorrow, of course) and then it's sleep, sleep, lovely sleep. We’re not too sure what to expect from Sony this time; PlayStation is clearly winning the console race and so it could quite happily rest on its laurels. Will we just get updates on the games we already know about, or could it use its position of strength to announce something radical, like new hardware, a new service, or even (gasp) Parappa the Rapper 3?
The show opens with an Indian quintet playing music in front of a wall of falling sand. The sand is lit from below by coloured lights that highlight the hypnotic falling patterns. It’s deeply impressive and it’s all a tease to introduce the expansion for Uncharted 4.
And next up we a bit more Horizon Zero Dawn, with Sony announcing an expansion to everyone’s favourite open world robot dinosaur simulator. From the name, The Frozen Wastes, I get the sense it will be a little on the chilly side.
From there we go straight into Days Gone, Bend Studio’s luscious-looking zombie game starring a Hell’s Angel in a world overrun by zombies. The latest video shows that it’s not just zombies you’ll have to contend with but other bands of survivors and even zombie bears.
Shawn Layden arrives on stage now, sharply dressed as ever, and explains that in 2017 it’s all about the games — a slight kick to the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch, there, with Sony being the only company not releasing hardware this year. And without further ado he talks about a new “strategic partnership”. It’s only bloody Monster Hunter on PS4, looking all snazzy and high-res.
And now we've got something very familiar, very Shadow of the Colossus - but much fancier than anything on PS2. Ah, that's because it IS Shadow of the Colossus. It’s a remake for PS4, and it certainly looks better than the PS3 remaster. New lighting, new textures, and new character models certainly. I wonder how much of the original game remains?
Naturally, after a video about a game concerned with the preciousness of life, we have an explosive new trailer for Call of Duty: WW2 — Boots on the Ground. It looks fine:
Next up, Sony’s showing us the delicious secrets it’s got tucked away in its VR bag. There’s a bunch of stuff incoming: Skyrim VR (wow, Bethesda really is trying to get its money's worth on this one, eh?), sinister asylum horror Inpatient, some kind of Final Fantasy VR fishing experience, a new shooter from Supermassive Games, mouse adventure Moss, and After Star. Not really blockbuster stuff then, but a few interesting things, nonetheless.
And now we’re back onto the blockbusters, with a surprisingly extensive look at the new God of War. There’s a lot to take in here, but the two key points seem to be that it’s as beautiful and as bloodthirsty as you’d expect - nay, demand - from a God of War game. Oh, and Kratos’ hipster beard is a beautifully rendered marvel. A quick summary of the trailer: Kratos Jr, a magical axe, and a behemoth sea serpent - also with a beard. BEARD-OFF LADS, LET’S GO!
David Cage’s Detroit: Become Human is getting another look-in now. This time, we begin with a singing robot — something we can all get behind, I think — but quickly opens up to show some of the large-scale environments you'll be exploring. It looks very pretty, if a little bland sci-fi. Honestly, I preferred the first trailer, the one that showed the myriad of ways to approach the same scene. I’d happily play a game that was just about discovering every single way to solve the same problem.
Destiny 2 is a thing that’s coming, as we well know, and there’s a brand-new trailer to celebrate. The key thing to take away here though seems to be that PlayStation 4 is getting some exclusive content in the form of a new Strike called Lake of Shadows, exotic weapon Borealis, new gear, and a PvP map Retribution.
Finally for the night it seems, we get a long-awaited look at Sony’s exclusive Spider-Man game. It’s being developed by Insomniac and it looks bloody lovely. It’s as glitzy as hell, and seems like a return to Spidey’s web-slinging PS2 heyday. He’s a nimble fellow, scampering across walls, swinging through the gorgeously rendered city, and generally doing all the things that a spidey can (like springing through a burning building and mounting a helicopter, albeit not in a sexy way), so we’re well up for this one. It’s due out on PS4 next year.
And that’s it. Odd. For a show that was so full of games, it felt like quite an underwhelming affair. Everything we saw looked at least fine (and often good!) but there wasn't much in there that I felt we could grab onto and get excited about. We were either seeing more of games we already knew about or all-too-brief looks at small games that we hadn’t seen before. Still, you can't complain too much when a show serves you up a zombie bear.