This year’s E3 was interesting, because Microsoft actually brought their A game with them, while Sony appeared to largely flounder (and was saved by the footage of some great games thrown together near the end of the conference). A lot of people felt Sony was saving things up- maybe stuff wasn’t ready at E3. Maybe they were trying to make an impression by showing off footage that was polished and actually near completion. Hell, maybe they felt they could ease off the pedal for a while, and just gauge what the competition was doing, before they decided how to proceed.
As it turns out, all of these were excuses. Sony has absolutely nothing to show. It’s all fluff, all hype. It’s a $400 high end premium console, billed as the most powerful console in the world, being used to… play indie games. While, indie games are great, but an eleven year old laptop could (and does) run them, so why am I supposed to care that they are coming on the $400 console or the $250 handheld that I bought on the promise of untold power, and games that utilize this power?
I understand that games take time to be produced… but why is it that every other publisher on the market has been able to show titles far out from release right now, while with Sony, we’ve been stuck with DriveClub for eighteen months now?
But you know what, let’s try to assess the conference on its own merits. Let’s try to see what Sony had on show. So… if you have any interest in indie games at all, you’ll like what Sony had to show. There were a lot of them. No, really, there were at least a dozen, and I am not going to list all of them here, except to say that The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks great, DayZ is coming to PS4, and Ninja Theory’s new game is an independent PS4 exclusive that is a spiritual successor to Heavenly Sword titled, I kid you not, Hellblade.
In addition, Sony also touched briefly on some third party content- Far Cry 4, Shadow of Mordor, Metal Gear Solid V, Destiny, some games by Paradox- and also showcased some of their own first party games, including LittleBigPlanet 3, Bloodborne, DriveClub. Oh, and then, in what must be the most royal and contemptuous F YOU to the Vita that they have given yet, they also announced that Tearaway that lovely, charming, gorgeous PS Vita exclusive platformer that was built from the ground up for that system around its capabilities, that thing, is coming to the PS4.
It won’t be a straight port, because that would be impossible, so they went to the trouble of reimagining and redoing the entire game to make it work on the PS4. In the process, they also basically negated one of the last reasons to actually own a Vita.
Actually, this entire conference may well have been called the ‘Let’s Shit on Vita’ hour, because that was a running theme. Second to only indie games, Sony made it a point to neglect and ignore the Vita. The system was mentioned on two separate occasions by them, total: one, when Media Molecule was explaining how they managed to get Tearaway working logically and coherently on the PS4 at all; and then the second time was when they mentioned the PlayStation TV, where the order in which they approached its list of features was telling: it plays PS Vita games, it plays PS1 classics, but ‘most importantly, it acts as a Remote Play extender for your PS4.’ Yeah, Sony. That tells us everything about where your priorities lie with this device.
Sony had two apparent ‘megatons’ for the entire conference- one was WiLD, a pretty cool game being worked on by Michel Ancel’s team that looked pretty damn cool. The other was a segment dedicated to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Now this would ordinarily be a cause for excitement. It was not one here. The entire segment was a joke, and Hideo Kojima messed around a little, showing off two features that were obviously meant to be gags, and… that was it. Less than five minutes later, we were done.
I don’t know what to make of it. I guess it’s early days for PS4, so that one is excusable, even though I still wish Sony had actually bothered showing something for it. Microsoft at least very clearly tried. Sony did not.
But even more than that, the Vita is just gone and buried, and we might as well just give up on that one now.
That was a poor showing, Sony. I really wish you’d stop coasting.
THE VERDICT: Missing first party games, missing true big announcements, missing mostly anything of substance beyond a whole lot of indie games and a complete neglect of Vita, this conference goes down as Sony’s worst in a while.
THE SCORE: 4.5/10