PlayStation E3 2018 Showcase Notes

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.

Control
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.

Death Stranding
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.

Nioh 2
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:

Epilogue: Déraciné
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.

Overall:
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.

It’s 2017 and Windjammers is Available Again

Speaking of games that have left a void and been inexpertly filled by well-intentioned developers. The Neo Geo classic disc tossing game that’s basically pong if it involved a gruff euro beach 90’s future aesthetic,  Windjammers, has been riffed on so many times. It’s actually been thrilling to see who gets the closest to surpassing the original game because it was so difficult to get a hold on many Neo Geo games legitimately.

Those days are over, as long as you have a PlayStation 4 or (surprisingly) a PlayStation Vita. DotEmu has brought the original game back out on these Sony platforms for $15, with some pretty big updates to multiplayer and leaderboards that go beyond your typical ROM-in-an-emulator package but don’t seem to change the art or gameplay. Buying one version also nets you the other with Sony’s cross-buy promotion.

PlayStation E3 2017 Media Showcase Notes

Sony has a Sid Shuman pre-game before the press event this year, so you can skip to about one hour in if you want to get to the event.

One of the trailers they opened the show with features a hideous gold PlayStation 4 that’s $249 for a few days. Get it while it’s tacky and cheap?

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

A new Uncharted game coming out just a year after the last. I had fun with Uncharted 4 last year, and this time we’ve got no Nathan Drake. Instead it’s Chloe and Nadine’s adventure in India and it’ll be out on August 22nd. At least Sony doesn’t feel the need to have some deep voiced “exclusive” before every trailer, even when this is.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds DLC

It’s DLC for a game I haven’t played yet. The Frozen Wilds will be out some time later this year.

Days Gone

This post-apocalyptic zombie game was announced last year. The gameplay in the trailer is pretty interesting if the game actually gives you different options for getting stuff done. No release date yet. Another exclusive.

Monster Hunter World

Capcom’s been making Monster Hunter games for a long time, but I don’t ever remember them looking like this. It’ll have four-player co-op online early next year on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows. They actually had pyrotechnics on stage at the end of the trailer.

Shadow of the Colossus Remaster/Remake

Hell yes I’d play Shadow again. It’s kind of a surprise Sony are doing this after doing an HD remaster on PlayStation 3, but this looks more like a remake than a remaster. It’ll be out some time next year on PS4.

Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite

September 19th for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. The art is real weird on some of these characters. There’s a story demo out now. I think I’d rather play Ultimate MvC 3.

Call of Duty: WW2

Last year’s Infinite Warfare was an unexpected delight, and I was surprised at how little the other journalists I follow enjoyed it. Some still thought that Advanced Warfare was the best game from the triad of developers switching off on the game every year. I felt that going back to the same ship between missions in IW added a slice of life that I hadn’t seen in other Call of Duty games. If WW2 is as far back to its roots as it appears, it won’t be much like Infinite and even though I am sure I could still enjoy playing through it and some multiplayer, it’ll be worse for it. Call of Duty: WW2 is due out on November 3rd for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Skyrim VR

It’s Skyrim VR’s trailer for PlayStation VR. While I’m sure it will be a very different experience, and it’s good that VR is getting more full games, I’m not that psyched to replay it. Still no release date, and it’s going to be on Windows as well.

Star Child

A curious kind of sci-fi side-scroller for PSVR without much other information. No release date given.

The Inpatient

The idea of playing a horror game in VR is particularly terrifying. According to the game’s description The Inpatient is a prequel for another Playstation exclusive game, Until Dawn. No release date.

Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is a strange RPG. This fishing spin-off is hilarious and will be out this September. It isn’t clear if this will be exclusive to PlayStation 4 and its VR platform or not, but until there’s an official VR solution for the Xbox One it’ll probably be exclusive by default.

Bravo Team

Another PlayStation VR exclusive. This looks totally unremarkable. No release date.

Moss

The thing I like about Sony is their tendency towards the weird. That PlayStation VR gets a solid shot of that weird is good, too. I’m a little concerned about the collectible card images depicted on the game’s website, but Moss looks good and weird and the developer promises it’ll be out late this year.

God of War

God of War is a series that I spent the most time with on the PlayStation Portable, but adding Kratos’ son to the game could convince me to try playing more of it on a console. This dadventure is due out on the PlayStation 4 next year.

Detroit: Become Human

Quantic Dream’s games are amazing. Sometimes the gameplay is awful, sometimes it’s the terrible voice acting, sometimes the story is atrocious like a bad TV movie on the Syfy channel, but I enjoy going wherever David Cage takes me whenever I play these games. I look forward to whatever Detroit has in store as it liberates androids. No release date yet.

Destiny 2

I used to wonder if Bungie was disappointed about losing the Halo games to Microsoft, and I bet they are, but Destiny is clearly their own thing and it’s good that they had the opportunity to leave Halo behind and do something different. Destiny 2 will be out on September 6th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and on October 24th for Windows through Blizzard’s Launcher. That delay for Windows kind of sucks, and it looks like Sony’s PlayStation 4 will have a bunch of exclusive stuff.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man has a very long history with games and I’m looking forward to see Insomniac’s take on the wallcrawler. The combat looks fun and watching Spider-Man take out guys with guns feels like a refreshing change from so many shooter games. He’ll be on the PlayStation 4 next year.

Overall
This event was strange because Sony didn’t have a presenter to give context between the trailers, only bringing out Shawn Layton sparingly at the beginning and end. There was spectacle in the live music and pyrotechnics, but people clearly didn’t know when to leave after the show was over.

I am happy that Sony hasn’t abandoned virtual reality. For some of 2017 it has felt like the air around VR got stale without more hardware updates and fresh software, but there is clearly still interest and development going on for most VR platforms.

Ben Heck Got That Nintendo Playstation Working

Last year Ben Heck attempted to repair a Nintendo Playstation prototype. It was a console developed in partnership between Sony and Nintendo during the Super Nintendo era. Before Sony decided to go their own way and the project was scuttled, this prototype was developed and made its way into the world.

Last year Heck managed to get the unit loading regular Super Nintendo games. He now has the prototype loading homebrew games off of the disc drive.

Ben Heck’s Hands-On With The Nintendo Playstation Prototype

Ben Heck met with and interviewed the people who found a prototype of the original Playstation. That was actually going to be a joint project between Sony and Nintendo where Sony would develop the hardware and Nintendo the software for a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo. The partnership didn’t work out between the two companies, which is why we have Sony’s Playstation competing with Nintendo’s consoles today. Heck tears down the Nintendo Playstation prototype in this video, and in the next part he’ll attempt to repair it.

Sony’s E3 2015 News

The Playstation press conference starts now:

  • Some dude with a shitty beard is yakking it up about how awesome gaming and Playstation are.
  • The Last Guardian, the next game from the developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus is still on. They’re playing a trailer now. It comes out in 2016.
  • Guerrilla Games the developers of the most creatively named game since BonestormKillzone, are making something new. It has some kind of crossover between tree creatures and robot dinosaurs, looks a bit Turok-y and Heavenly Sword-y. There’s a stealth system similar to the one in Assassin’s Creed where you can crawl through bushes to keep awareness down. The protagonist lady has a laser bow that shoots rocket arrows. Also, a gun that binds the giant robot dinosaurs to the ground.  It’s called Horizon: Zero Dawn.
  • From IO Interactive, a new Hitman, seemingly just called Hitman with no colon or subtitle. No gameplay footage, just a new trailer. Playstation beta is exclusive for pre-orderers. Don’t pre-order games.
  • Street Fighter V. Exclusive to Playstation and Windows. Beta starts July.
  • Hello Games is back with more No Man’s Sky. Which predictably still looks amazing. The unpredicted is that they started off with space combat which hasn’t been shown before. I can picture the mythical publisher boss sitting in front of his desk, smashing down papers and shouting IF THIS DEMO DOESN’T START WITH GUNS YOUR GAME IS CANCELLED!  After the space combat, we go to a random planet. “Every planet in every solar system is fully destructible.” This demo is amazing. There are NPC guardians who protect the planets from being destroyed. Release date will be announced soon, but not today. Ends with a Carl Sagan quote.
  • Media Molecule is here to tell us about our dreams. You can sculpt in 3D with your regular Dualshock 4 controller and animate short films as well. It’s just called Dreams.
  • Firewatch from Campo Santo. Some kind of timed exclusive for Playstation. Still looks great. No release date.
  • Destiny: The Taken King. Another expansion for Destiny. If we don’t see Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 before the end of this press conference I will be surprised.
  • More Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Exclusive missions on Playstation 4.
  • Final Fantasy has gone super-chibi in World of Final Fantasy. Timed exclusive for PS4 and Vita. 2016. No real information as to what it is.
  • Final Fantasy 7 remake trailer. Timed exclusive for Playstation 4. Not even a year for a release.
  • A montage trailer from Devolver Digital for a bunch of games, Ronin, Eitr, Mother Russia Bleeds, Crossing Souls.
  • Shenmue III is going to be crowd funded. It’s already on Kickstarter. 2 Million goal for the project. It’s very strange since this isn’t from Sega, instead it’s Shenmue’s creator, Yu Suzuki with a company called Ys Net. $29 for a digital copy for PS4 or Windows. Estimated release is in December of 2017.
  • We’re on to some Batman-related thing. Oh it’s just Batman: Arkham Knight with some very strange exclusive Scarecrow missions for Playstation 4. 
  • Guerrilla Games Cambridge is working on a VR game called Rigs that will work with Sony’s Morpheus VR Headset. They said IP. Stop saying IP. There were a few other games in a montage.
  • Sony’s TV subscription package, Vue, is expanding to more places and will go a-la-carte. I don’t care.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Treyarch’s Mark Lamia is on stage to tell us about it. He looks and sounds like a car salesman who got hired to tell us about Call of Duty. Four player campaign co-op depicted in the trailer. It looks like you’ll have Bees instead of or in addition to attack dogs. Next up we’ve got some multiplayer. You can shoot people online. It comes out November 6th, 2015. Map packs come out first for Playstation this time instead of the Xbox. Pre-orderers get a beta. i made a mistake last time by getting it on Windows which was a horrible experience. Treyarch does typically do better on Windows than the other Call of Duty developers.
  • Shenmue 3 is now at $294,035 of its $2,000,000 goal. Kickstarter is going to get at least $100,000 for hosting a website if this project is fully funded.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars Rise Against the Empire Playset. One month exclusive on Playstation 4. The voice actor for Darth Vader sounds terrible. The Boba Fett toy is also exclusive.
  • More Star Wars: Battlefront. Nothing exclusive.
  • Awkward pause between the room going dark and the start of the Uncharted trailer. I need to go back and finish Uncharted 3. More techincal difficulties.They restarted and things are working now. The graphics look so good, but the gameplay looks like exactly what you would expect from a new Uncharted game.

That’s it for today.

GDC 09: TimeDoctor Wins Resistance Retribution!

muniThanks to Sony for hosting the excellent Playstation Blog meetup at GDC 2009!

The evening started out with a journey via the strange public transportation system known only to denizens of San Francisco’s knowledge underground as “The Muni“!

After many stops and about 45 minutes worth of insane ramblings from the drunken creatures who inhabit this above-ground septic system our “N-Line” “train” moved underground.

Some time later I was able to find an exit from this disturbing cacophony of subterranean lost souls onto Montgomery Street in downtown SF whereupon I journed into the hipster grotto of the W Hotel.

Continue reading “GDC 09: TimeDoctor Wins Resistance Retribution!”