We’re onto Sony’s E3 2018 event, it’s the PlayStation Showcase. Somewhere in a parallel universe there’s a bunch of executives watching a video stream of a writer in Honolulu and writing down what he’s talking about.
Shawn Layden’s One-Man Stage Play
“Thank you for making the time tonight to come to Church”
The first portion of their event is indeed in an odd church setting. Layden had a quick spiel before introducing Gustavo Santaolalla, a compser, musician, and producer, who scored The Last of Us. Santaolalla played a banjo for the assembled crowd before the trailer for The Last of Us 2 kicked up:
The Last of Us Part II
The game about choosing to follow your own path breaks a first for trailer history, and then destroys the moment by cutting to one of the most violent scenes I’ve ever seen in a game trailer. Ellie is back, and we don’t see a single Clicker in this trailer. Instead, she’s up against men that hunt through similar ruins to the first game. Some of Ellie’s moves look a little pre-canned, even though this appears to be a pre-recorded gameplay trailer instead of a pre-recorded cinematic trailer.
I’d like to play Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II, but we don’t have any kind of release date yet. It’s an actual exclusive.
Intermission: Sid Shuman & Ryan Clements Interrupt the Showcase Video Feed to Chat With Shawn Layden
Layden says that there’s a new game plus mode coming to God of War (2018).
Intermission: Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
Also on the video feed is a short pre-recorded video for Blops 4, advertising that four old maps are returning to Black Ops 3 for people who pre-order this year’s Call of Duty. You should probably never pre-order any game, because that concept is ridiculous. Nobody is going to have a difficult time finding copies of Blops 4 at launch.
Intermission: Shuman & Clements Are Joined by Meredith Molinari and Ramone Russell
Watching Shuman dance around the advertisement is not fun. He used to be a journalist. Maybe some day he will be one again.
Russell takes his cue to ask what he should do if he doesn’t have Black Ops 3 and we’re told that this game is now free for people who subscribe to the PlayStation Plus subscription service that removed every shred of player-leaning decency Sony had when they didn’t charge for multiplayer on the PlayStation 3.
Shuman finally introduced a highlight reel of game trailers that came out before E3. They were for Tetris Effect, Days Gone, Twin Mirror, Ghost Giant, and Beat Saber.
Intermission: Destiny 2’s Forsaken DLC
Things don’t look for Cayde. It’s a story trailer.
Intermission: Shuman & Clements Are Still With Meredith Molinari and Ramone Russell
Apparently that DLC is out on September 4th. That’s the last useful piece of information these folks have before they finally cut back to the scene in a new auditorium as an unnamed person plays a bamboo flute to introduce…
Ghost of Tsushima
The new game from Sucker Punch takes place in 1274. It looks like a beautiful open-world samurai game. This must be the combat that infomercial sword guys dream about. There’s the tanto stabbing a dude in the throat after the tachi got him in the stomach. It looks like you might be able to assume different stances to change the way you fight. Ghost of Tsushima looks interesting. There’s no release date yet.
About as far away from historical depictions of Japan we have this trailer for Control, from Remedy. Remedy is one of my favorite developers for making Alan Wake and Max Payne, and this game looks like another completely bonkers third-person adventure from them. It’ll be out some time in 2019.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Leon S. Kennedy is back to shoot the crap out of some zombies and I’ve never been less sure if I can take this kind of violence anymore. It’ll be out on January 25th, 2019.
Trover Saves the Universe
Justin Roiland of RIck & Morty is apparently doing a bunch of voices and is involved in this. The small text tells us that Trover is debuting exclusively on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR… which means it’s a timed exclusive.
Kingdom Hearts 3
It’s still Kingdom Hearts, but this time they’re in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. There’s naval combat and Jack Sparrow is there. I’ve never seen those movies. KH 3 is available for Disney action RPG fans on January 29th, 2019. Apparently they’ll have a special PlayStation 4 Pro console with custom artwork and a special controller, and a KH 3 bundle with Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix and 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Otherwise, this game isn’t an exclusive.
Hideo Kojima and his team of unnamed souls working at Kojima Productions still have a weird baby thing going on with Norman Reedus. Sometimes Reedus’ character, Sam Bridges, is carrying an adult on his back, sometimes he’s got a baby. He looks like he delivers a lot. It also appears there is some kind of mechanic around covering your mouth so that whatever monsters there are can’t hear Bridges. Weird as hell. No release date yet, as far as we know it’s an exclusive.
Koei Tecmo has a sequel to Nioh on the way, this trailer has a samurai dude fighting for his life. No release date, yet.
Bryan Intihar’s Spider-Man
The Treyarch Spider-Man games looked like a generational leap ahead of Neversoft’s games. Insomniac’s Spider-Man game looks like another huge leap ahead of Treyarch’s. The thing that worries me about these games, as they do with any game that is so much about a power fantasy in being a super hero, is that they can’t really ever translate the cinematic action into sequences you can control without turning them into quicktime events. Spider-Man is still out on September 7th.
Epilogue: Shuman & Clements Are Still With Meredith Molinari and Ramone Russell
They’ve got a trailer from a new From Software PS VR game, here’s that:
No release date, or really much information at all, about this PlayStation VR game from From Software. It’s amusing that the video description identifies From Software as the Bloodborne developer, which I have to assume is second in popularity to Dark Souls. Of course Dark Souls wasn’t a PlayStation exclusive like Bloodborne was.
Epilogue: Shuman & Clements Joined by The Fragile Eagle, Bryan Intihar, and Adam Coriglione from Insomniac for a Spider-Man Demo
There are all kinds of weird audio issues over this segment, and it doesn’t appear to have been excerpted from the stream, so I have another clip of Spider-Man gameplay embedded above. There’s a neat upgrade to swinging in Spider-Man that you can now see exactly what your web will grab onto if you pull Spider-Man directly onto a surface. The combat otherwise looks very similar to what we had in past web-slinging adventures. This game looks fun, and as far as we know it’s a real exclusive.
Sony’s press conference is a sharp turn from any other, but very similar to last year’s presentation. Outside of the epilogue, which was only on the video stream, there weren’t any live gameplay demonstrations. I know that Sony has had problems with demos in the past, so it isn’t incredibly surprisingly that they would like to avoid them, but their style was so different from Microsoft’s presentation. Microsoft’s Halo announcer rumbling about each “Exclusive” even when the truth was something else entirely felt like watching a commercial for a truck that had so much to convince you of. Sony went a different way, and either had a live musical performance or a small musical interlude made in Media Molecule’s upcoming game and art platform, Dreams. Despite the quieter interlude, the PlayStation show took the award for gruesome violence during the Last of Us 2 trailer.
I’d also like to note here that there’s something ridiculous about watching Sony and Microsoft duke it out in 2018 with console exclusives when a computer could run all of these games perfectly well. That seems to be what Microsoft is gearing towards, and both them and EA want to skip to an entirely streaming future where the processing and graphics rendering isn’t happening locally. I’m sure EA would love to skip out of giving up any cut in revenue from game sales to platform holders like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. They’ve already gotten there on Windows by refusing to ship their games on Steam or on other platforms like Itch. None of this will be good for us as each megagame corp will want us to subscribe to each of their individual streaming services, and we will be entirely giving up on the ability to share our games with future generations, or even play at all after a few years when licensing situations change and companies go out of business or change their business models.
If the situation with music getting pulled from games or GDPR shutting down games entirely scares you, our games will just evaporate from any streaming game libraries on a monthly basis. Sony already has their hands in that pie with their PlayStation Now service, and it is expensive as hell and as far as I know doesn’t work well, but at least Shawn Layden didn’t spend 30 minutes waving his dick around on-stage about how streaming is the future like EA’s Andrew Wilson.