A montage, a monologue, and Sony was off to the races by starting off big with The Last Guardian gameplay trailer. A boy and his pet monster jump from platform to platform in what seems to be a stone path suspended so high the ground isn’t visible. The pillars supporting the path plus the wooden contraptions littering the space appear architecturally designed from an ancient fantasy; none of it is practical, yet somehow maintains an aura of realism. The ambience captured is calming, yet still maintains a sense of urgency, as the young boy protagonist leaps from certain doom into the calm embrace of his monstrous, yet somehow adorable, animal hybrid companion. The relationship between the boy and his monster is mesmerizing, the monster has an irrational fear of an eccentrically designed contraption, so you, playing as the boy would have to move it out of the way to ease your companions anxiety. The game has been in development limbo for years and finally looks like its piecing together. Fans of previous games by Team Ico are sure to be blown away, and newcomers get a taste of this unbelievably gorgeous title. I haven’t played Shadow of the Colossus or ICO, but before, they had my curiosity, now they have my attention.
After a brief reprieve, the makers of Killzone revealed a new IP; a third-person action/adventure called Horizon: Zero Dawn. The game features a female protagonist hunting mechanical animals in a post-apocalyptic, tribe-ruled dystopian future. The protagonist hails from the first tribe to pick up the bow and start hunting after the fall of modern civilization. Although only a small portion of gameplay was revealed, it seems as though Guerrilla Studios is hard at work on their own adventure in the vein of Monster Hunter. Harpooning your prey and tying it down to slow its movement as you close in for the kill, stealthily avoiding unnecessary confrontation, and a couple of unique weapons along with a variety of arrowheads at your disposal. What’s intriguing about the title is it seems to be open-world, a feature permeating the AAA game industry as of late. I look forward to exploring the world and meeting the many tribes of this new age (and a welcome change from constant Killzone sequels).
Without wasting any time we were treated to a cinematic Hitman trailer which seems to be a reboot of the franchise for the new generation of consoles, upping the scale of the story, gameplay and the environments while utilizing sweet graphics. Some exclusive content will be available on PS4 first along with beta access with the purchase of a pre-order. Also, a small trailer for the PS4 exclusive Street Fighter V was shown showcasing Cammy and Birdie returning to the fight. The art looks like Street Fighter 4, but the game looks like it plays similar to Third Strike.
Then we got some very ambitious titles from Hello Games and Media Molecule: No Mans Sky and Dreams, respectively. One is a procedural generated space exploration first person game where the universe is limitless and some areas of the game will never be explored; the other is what I can only describe as a user generated acid trip, crafting your dreams into reality. One thing is certain, the possibilities are endless in the realms of these two genuinely desirous games. Cut to a brief glimpse into Firewatch, a Far Cry-esque, survival open-world game with a unique art style. It looks promising but, there wasn’t enough in the trailer to get a lasting impression.
There was the obligatory Destiny DLC trailer, and we all know how we feel about that already so if you’re excited, kudos, but if you’re like me, you’re steering clear of this shameless cash grab. On the flip side, there was an Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate gameplay trailer showcasing the second playable protagonist Evie, the twin sister of the male hero Jacob. Highlighting the specific changes to Evie’s gameplay, Ubisoft seems to have subtly split the game into two sections, action-oriented Jacob missions, and stealth-oriented Evie levels. Not bad, Assassin’s Creed. I like the Victorian London setting; I like the dual protagonists; I’m optimistic.
Moving forward, Square-Enix took to the screen and unveiled a brand new, cute and fluffy chibi Final Fantasy game by the name of World of Final Fantasy. Their portion was anti-climactic until they unveiled the trailer for the Final Fantasy 7 remake, which I’m sure ruptured the internet accordingly. There wasn’t much shown except a teaser, but that is more than enough for fans to be excited about, I for one am ecstatic that they are finally giving the fans(me) what they want.
After the FF7 reveal, the E3 conference petered out quickly. They touched on four Devolver Digital games, announced a kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3(whatever that is) and we got ANOTHER Batman: Arkham Knight trailer, dealing with the outbreak of Scarecrow’s fear toxin and its effects on a police officer. They talked a bit about Project Morpheus, but showed nothing new, and rambled about their television streaming service PlayStation Vue. Turns out Call of Duty is getting the same treatment it did on the 360 with the PS4, which merely means maps and other expansions will be out first on PS4, yada-yada, explosions, yada-yada, Michael Bay style action. Pre-order for beta access. Montage. PS Vita Montage. Star Wars in Disney Infinity. Battlefront survival mode. Obligatory new Uncharted 4 gameplay featuring Drake and Sulley tearing up a rural village with a 4×4. Fin.
Predictable and absent announcements aside, at the end of it all I thoroughly enjoyed the press conference. I’m a huge sucker for Final Fantasy 7, and there are more than a few new IP’s that have me excited, namely Horizon: Zero Dawn. I only wish they showed some of that juicy Phantom Pain.