I am honestly still recovering from what we just saw. In all the annals of gaming history, I don’t think we have ever seen anything like it, and I don’t think we ever will either. People like to point to Sony’s 2013 E3 presser as a smackdown victory, but trash talking the competition never appealed to me much- I get excited by substance, not style. And when it comes to E3 conferences, the only substance that appeals to me is games, games, and more games.
Everyone always says that they will focus on games going into E3, each year. Hell, Microsoft have made it sort of a running joke at this point. But I don’t think we have ever seen as tight of a focus on games as we saw at Sony’s conference tonight. Even better, I don’t think the games in question were ever expected by anyone to ever truly exist- and be confirmed at the same conference all at once. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you why I thought Sony’s E3 press conference just now might have been the greatest conference of all time (a veritable 10/10 in my opinion).
THE LAST GUARDIAN, FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE, AND SHENMUE 3… ALL REAL, ALL CONFIRMED, ALL IN THE SAME CONFERENCE
At this point this conference became brutal. Sony started out with The Last Guardian, a game that until a few hours ago lived on in infamy next to only Duke Nukem Forever or Half Life 3, a game perennially in development hell, long rumored, but never quire materializing. But Sony showed it off, with a brand new gameplay section, and then confirmed that it would be launching in 2016.
That would have been enough to gain their E3 presser some major points all by itself. But no, Sony was not done yet- next up was a project that people have been waiting for since 2005, with so many teases, rumors, speculations, and dashed hopes since. Final Fantasy VII’s modern HD remaster is real, it exists, and it is coming. Sony confirmed that it would be hitting the PS4 first next year.
But wait! Are you already out of breath? Don’t worry, Sony had more! Shenmue 3, the long awaited conclusion to the saga that began and abruptly ended fifteen years ago, was announced with a Kickstarter for PS4.
The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Shenmue III- if you had told me all three would appear in the same conference a week ago, I would have laughed, and dismissed your fantasy as fan fiction. But it really happened, all three of them are real, and all three of them were confirmed at the same conference, and PS4 will be the only system where you will be able to play all of them.
This alone was enough to win Sony E3, and put this conference down in the history books.
SONY DELIVERS MICROSOFT SOME SMACKDOWNS WITHOUT ANY TRASH TALK
This pleased me greatly- as I said above, I have never been one who gets won over by trash talk. You want to deliver some smackdown to your competition, you do in a classy way, with style, with substance. And that is just what Sony did this year- with the news that Call of Duty, long a Microsoft and Xbox stronghold, will be co-branded with PlayStation going forwards, and that the PlayStation versions of the game will be getting all DLC first – the exact same deal that Microsoft has had for Xbox for almost a decade now – it was the kind of stinging smackdown for Microsoft that words cannot ever replicate. That has gotta hurt.
FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS
Remember last year, when Sony decided to talk about their upcoming TV show Powers for about 20 minutes for no reason? Or that time that they decided to focus on the Wonderbook of all things in the middle of their showing? Or how about that time they decided to show us how great the Move really was? E3 2015 for Sony could have been just like that- they had a brand new accessory waiting in the wings to be introduced, and they also had some new media services, such as PlayStation Vue, they could have spent time on. And yes, they did give both of these lipservice. But that is all that it was- lipservice. It was touch and go, and for the rest of the conference, we got a tight, single minded focus on just what mattered- games, games, and more games.
AMAZING NEW IPs
To be fair to Microsoft, they, too, debuted new IPs today- there was Recore, and there was also Rare’s Sea of Thieves. And both look good, both look intriguing. But none of them looked anything like the new IPs Sony delivered today, which included Guerrilla’s Horizon, a pre-historic open world action RPG with mecha dinosaurs, and Media Molecule’s Dreams, a surreal, bizarre dreamscape that lets users create, navigate, manipulate, and share their own dreamscapes with each other. New IPs are in the DNA of Sony more than any of the other platform holders, and it was good to see them debut some new ones again, after venturing into the haven of established franchises for the last few years.
THE PACING WAS JUST RIGHT
Sony is notorious for long, boring press conferences, where they often meander off topic, with overly technical or complicated financial talk that, frankly, no one in the audience actually cares about.
Thankfully, this conference was not like that at all. We already talked about how Sony kept the filler talk to a minimum above, but even more than that, they ensured that we would not linger on any one announcement for too long. A game came in, got shown off for about 3-5 minutes, and then it was on to the next thing. Games, games, games. That’s what we were promised. That’s what we got, in a tight, fast package as well.
The presentation and structure of the conference alone makes it better than most other E3 conferences, which usually fall victim to self indulgence or bloat, but the actual content of the conference, which delivered upon every fanboy’s wet dream over the last decade or so, was so completely staggeringly amazing, that there was not a single doubt ever that Sony won this E3. They won, they delivered a 10/10 conference, and in the process, they gave us a presser that will go down in the history books as the greatest one of all time.