“The reception I think has been mixed.”
While Sony showed off some truly spectacular games during their E3 show this year – apart from Death Stranding, The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, and Spider-Man, they also debuted footage of Resident Evil 2‘s long awaited remake on their stage, for example – their show was widely deemed to be suboptimal.
A lot of this had to do with their bizarre format- it was a deep dive into the four first party games mentioned above, involving two live venues, with the audience having to switch from one to the other partway into the show (and an awkward, brief interlude for everyone at home), one that added, well, nothing of note to the proceedings- especially if you were not actually attending the show in person, which most PlayStation fans around the world were not.
Speaking to The Guardian, Simon Rutter, Sony Europe’s chief operating officer explained that the intention had been to create some “drama” during the show, and to try and recapture the spirit of the games for the live audience via the elaborate sets they had constructed.
“The reception I think has been mixed,” he said. “People have really enjoyed the games themselves, and appreciated the quality of what we showed. There was also some appreciation of what we were trying to do with the construction of the event, with some criticism as to how that actually flowed, the pacing and the logistics. For the last three years, we’ve been trying to inject a bit of drama and theatrics into the proceedings, to make it more than a simple presentation. We tried to evoke the spirit of the games.”
He also talked about the criticisms thrown Sony’s way for not having anything new to show, pointing out that games take a long time to develop, and it is not always possible to have a surprise or a megaton up the sleeves to surprise fans every year.
“Some of the coverage this year has been a bit critical of the lack of new stuff, probably a consequence of people announcing things when they are early in production. Some of that is to do with the fear of leaks, of not being able to present the title in the way that the creator wants it to be presented. But the desire [for new announcements] is met with the reality of the production timescale: how long it actually takes you to release a game.”
That last part, at least, is fair- I agree games take a long time to make, and that that is definitely a reality Sony must contend with, which is why new game announcement surprises aren’t always possible. But I disagree with their new format for their E3 show entirely- I disagreed with it back at E3, and I do so even more vehemently now. I can only hope Sony goes back to the traditional stage show next year, a format they have already mastered at this point- at least they seem to be aware of the criticisms generated by their showing this year, if nothing else.