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E3 2016: Sony Press Conference Recap

After the incredible show that was Sony’s E3 Press Conference last year, expectations for Sony this year are at a record high.  Did they do enough to amount the hype?

The answer really depends on what kind of gamer you are.

Sony’s E3 2015 Press Conference was one for the ages, bringing in widespread attention from gamers thanks to announcements of games like the forever craved remake of Final Fantasy VII, a reminder that The Last Guardian was still happening, and the return of a series thought to be forgotten in Shenmue III.

Moving on to the present day, Sony is still sitting pretty at first place as far as PS4’s sold, and it doesn’t look like that’ll change anytime soon.

No, he didn't show up at the press conference.

No, he didn’t show up at the press conference.

Sony’s presser this year had its fair share of surprises, namely in the form of God of War, which kicked the show off with the accompaniment of a live orchestra.  Also making their return were Horizon: Zero Dawn which was confirmed to be delayed to next year more than a week ago, while The Last Guardian finally has a nailed down 2016 release date following its nine years in development.

Perhaps the biggest focus with this year’s press conference is the company’s dedication to PlayStation VR, which has now been confirmed for an October 13 release with a few surprise titles including a new Batman Arkham game as well as Resident Evil VII.

Before capping off the show with a gameplay trailer of Days Gone, which everybody honestly thought was the rumored sequel to The Last of Us people keep talking about, Hideo Kojima shocked the audience with a teaser of his new game Death Stranding starring The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus.

Despite these announcements and reveals, most of SmashPad thought that the presser sort of felt incomplete.  No Kaz Hirai, no mention of any of the upcoming JRPG’s other than FFXV; this sort of brought back images of the “dark days” when Sony was behind in the industry trying to catch up to Microsoft by releasing “Xbox-style” games.  You can check out some of our staff impressions at the bottom of the article.

No, they didn't show up either.

No, they didn’t show up either.

Of course, there’s much to be admired about the fact that the greater majority of everything Sony showed today was first and second party, which shows how far Sony has come not just as a publisher, but as a development team as well.  Even still, this was particularly short for a Sony press conference, and it left much to be desired considering how long both Microsoft and Ubisoft went for.

Now for the good and the bad of Sony’s E3 2016 press conference.

The Good

  • God of War – Release TBD
    We don’t know whether this is a reimagining of the series or this is another chapter in Kratos’ horrible tale, but there’s a lot to like with the game that opened up the press conference.  It looks like a cross between both the traditional God of War games and Naughty Dog’s recent adventures.
  • Days Gone – Release TBD
    We already mentioned that most of us thought this was a follow-up to The Last of Us, but that’s just because it’s so damn beautiful.  At that, it’s also a lot more action-packed.  We just hope that games that take place in these kinds of post-apocalyptic worlds aren’t played out by the time it gets released.
  • The Last Guardian – October 25, 2016
    This is a thing.  We finally have a release date. Enough said.  Here’s to hoping we don’t have another random delay.
  • PlayStation VR – October 13, 2016
    Whether you’re on board with VR or not, you gotta respect Sony’s dedication to the platform.  With a fair share of third party support, there’s definitely a belief in this medium, and if it doesn’t work out, Sony really doesn’t have just themselves to blame.  And if Resident Evil VII wasn’t enough to get anybody interested in VR, you probably never will be.
  • Crash is back.
    Amidst all the rumors, Crash Bandicoot is indeed coming back to the PlayStation… in the form of an HD remaster of the original trilogy thanks to a deal Sony has in place with Activision.  We’re also getting a Skylanders with Crash but hardly anybody cares about that.
  • So is Spidey.
    Insomniac Games is heading development on the latest Spider-Man game.  And while the white spider on his suit is nothing to write home about, we can’t help but feel a little giddy about this announcement.

The Bad

  • If not 2016, or 2017, then when?
    Microsoft had more than its fair share of titles that were announced for a 2017 release.  But not to be outdone, Sony had way more than its fair share of titles that didn’t even list a release window!  A lot of us made investments in these consoles, and we aren’t seeing the return.  If this continues, we won’t return.  The likes of God of War, Days Gone, the remastered Crash games all don’t have a release date or window, and that’s just baffling.
  • Final Fantasy XV – September 30, 2016
    We got a little excited when we heard the Square Enix chime on the screen.  Unfortunately, it was to do some more shameless promotion of Final Fantasy XV.  The game itself made an appearance along with some VR shovelware.  We wanted to see Tokyo RPG Factory.  That didn’t happen.
  • Detroit: Become Human – Release TBD
    David Cage’s games are among our biggest guilty pleasures.   Say what you want about Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.  We loved them, but Detroit just looks plain weird.  I wasn’t in awe with the game’s visuals especially after seeing how good games like Uncharted 4, the new God of War, and Horizon look, and it was making a big deal over a whole bunch of story-changing factors that are hardly unique.  Come on Quantic Dream, Telltale has already handled these kinds of things.
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — November 4, 2016
    My lack of interest in first-person shooters aside, I’m surprised they didn’t allocate the time this got to something more prideful, like indie game development or the Vita.  Oh wait.
  • Viva La Vita?  Nope.
    To go along with the discontinuation of the PlayStation TV, if you didn’t believe the PS Vita is dead, you should now.  They didn’t even mention it in the presser.  This probably means we won’t see I Am Setsuna on it.
  • No Japan?
    Sony is a Japanese company, but you wouldn’t believe that if you saw this press conference.  Aside from Hideo Kojima, there wasn’t a single Japanese person on stage and it was all fairly quiet on the eastern front.
  • No PS4K/.5
    Though Sony confirmed its existence a few days ago and said it wouldn’t be making an appearance at E3, it’s a bit surprising that the platform wasn’t at least mentioned, especially with Microsoft speaking at length about Project Scorpio earlier in the morning.
  • Death Stranding – Release TBD
    How many times did we almost see Norman Reedus’ junk?  Other than that, maybe this should go in The Good…

Staff Impressions

“When you start an E3 conference with live musicians, you usually do it to divert attention away from something you’d rather not have people paying attention to. There were some good games shown, and a nice reveal of KofiPro’s Death Stranding, and of course the news of the Crash remasters. The trouble is, this whole show felt lifeless and phoned in.” — Filippo Dinolfo, Senior Editor

“While it had its share of surprises and I appreciate that we saw game after game, nothing felt very PlayStation about this presser. Titles like the new God of War and Days Gone look fantastic, but I feel like these buddy-buddy games out in the post-apocalyptic woods are becoming too much of a norm. My main highlight was the release date for The Last Guardian, but aside from that I can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed from what I saw this evening.  At least Crash is back.” — Danreb Victorio, Managing Editor

“Sony did have their moments, the pipeline looks decent and the commitment to PlayStation VR is real, which is cause for excitement as October approaches. Still, leaving nearly an hour on the table compared to Microsoft is not okay, especially without addressing some of the highest points of last year’s show. If I were grading their presser, I’d have to give it an incomplete, and put more bluntly it was very disappointing.” — Pat Mifflin, Senior Editor

“Sony took no prisoners that E3.  It was much better than Microsoft’s.” — Josh Schwartzman, Staff Writer

“The thing that stuck out to me the most about this press conference was the big focus on new games over just updates on things we’ve seen a lot before. The new take on God of War, The Last Guardian‘s date, Horizon‘s demo, Insomniac’s Spider-Man, Kojima Production’s Death Stranding, and the slate of interesting PSVR games were the highlights for me. The one knock I have is that it was very short for a Sony press conference at just over an hour long.” — Chris Selogy, Managing Editor

Trailers

God of War

Days Gone

Horizon: Zero Dawn

The Last Guardian

Detroit: Become Human

Resident Evil VII on PlayStation VR

Spider-Man

Death Stranding

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