by Carl Cottingham
Games (In Order of Appearance):
The Last Guardian
Talk about starting with a bang. Long-awaited, and long-thought to be vaporware, The Last Guardian was shown running smoothly on the PS4 hardware. The demo was run in realtime, showing the audience the familiar young boy interacting with the griffin-like creature as he explored ruins and solved puzzles. The game was announced in 2007 but it will finally see the light of day sometime in 2016.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
The newest franchise from Guerrilla Games, the creators of the Killzone series, Horizon takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where society has returned to a tribe-like mentality while the planet has overrun by robotic dinosaurs. In a complete 180 from the FPS gameplay of Killzone, we are shown a female archer from a third person perspective as she hunts the robotic dinosaurs, culminating in a massive fight against a cybernetic T-Rex. Horizon is promoted as an open-world action RPG and will release sometime in 2016.
No details or gameplay were shown besides a CGI trailer showcasing what Agent 47 does best. However, Square Enix is calling this new entry in the series “the most ambitious Hitman ever created.” Hitman will have a console exclusive beta on Playstation 4 if you preorder and will be released on December 8, 2015 for all systems.
Street Fighter V
The next entry in the acclaimed fighting game series will be available exclusively for Playstation 4 and PC. Along with a brand new trailer announcing the addition of two new fighters, Cammy and Birdie. The beta for the game will begin on July 23rd, exclusively for PS4.
No Man’s Sky
Hello Games developer Sean Murray was on hand to demo the ambitious sci-fi adventure for the audience, showing off the enormous world that players can navigate. Elements of flight simulator, exploration, and even first-person shooter were brought together for us to see in a rich, colorful environment. No release date was announced though Murray said that this would be revealed “soon”.
The newest game from Little Big Planet developer Media Molecule, Dreams has you use your controller to “paint” a “dream” and share your “dreams” with other players. No release date was given.
Another indie game, Firewatch is a first person adventure game set in the Wyoming wilderness, combining elements of mystery and drama. It will make its console debut on the Playstation before arriving on other platforms.
Destiny: The Taken King
In addition to the release date of September 15, 2015, The Taken King will also be bundled in a new legendary edition of the main Destiny game. This ‘game of the year’-esque release will also include previous expansion packs and will release on the same date as the expansion.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
No actual gameplay from the latest in the Assassin’s Creed series was demoed onstage but a CG trailer was shown, focusing on Evie Frye, Jacob Frye’s twin sister and the playable female protagonist of Syndicate. In addition, The Dreadful Crimes pack, allowing players to solve murder mysteries in 1868 London, was announced for Playstation owners. The game will be released on October 23, 2015.
World of Final Fantasy
Utilizing super-deformed version of famous Final Fantasy characters, World of Final Fantasy will be a Playstation 4/Vita exclusive set for release in 2016. No actual gameplay was showcased.
Final Fantasy VII (Remake)
As if the internet had enough to worry about with The Last Guardian being revived! The long fan-requested remake of the most famous entry in the Final Fantasy series was announced with an atmospheric trailer culminating at a look at protagonist Cloud Strife. Production for the game has begun and it will arrive first on Playstation at an unannounced date.
Four new games from the indie publisher will make their console debut on Playstation 4: Ronin, Eitr, Mother Russia Bleeds, and Crossing Souls. No release dates for the listed games were given.
The long-awaited third entry in the groundbreaking series has been announced and a Kickstarter has launched for a goal of $2 million. As of this writing, Shenmue III has amassed $1.5 million dollars and will no doubt meet its funding by the time this article is published. When developed, it will release on Playstation 4 and PC sometime in 2017.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Teasing “how the Batman died,” a trailer showed the cremation of the Joker and the outbreak of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin attack on Gotham City. The final installment in the Arkham series will be released on June 23, 2015!
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
The tables have turned! With a proclamation that “Playstation is the new home of Call of Duty,” a demo was shown that featured very fluid animation and the type of action one associates with the brand. There will be Titanfall-esque parkour movement with an optional four-player cooperative mode for the story campaign. Multiplayer was also shown off, showcasing the different player class play styles and weapons. In addition to multiplayer beta access upon preordering, Playstation owners will now get all Black Ops III DLC first before other systems.
2015 is proving to be the year of Star Wars as two brand-related games were shown on the Sony stage. First, Disney Infinity 3.0 was presented, promising family-friendly Star Wars action. Playstation owners will be able to order a limited edition Star Wars Saga starter pack featuring a Boba Fett figure, allowing you to get the Rise Against the Empire playset a month early before other systems.
The main attraction, however, was the highly-anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront. Showcasing the lush Frostbite 3 engine graphics, the cooperative player component of the game was briefly demoed as two players fought off wave after wave of Stormtroopers in the canyons of Tatooine. The in-game footage was directly captured off the PS4 system, touted as “the definitive console destination for Star Wars.” The game will be released on November 17, 2015.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The crown jewel of Sony’s first-party line-up, Uncharted 4 closed off the conference with a brief technical mishap before showing us what the hardware can do. The witty banter between series mainstays Nathan Drake and Sully was in full-force as the treasure hunters fought off mercenaries in a South American city. The demo gave us massive amounts of detail, beautiful visuals, and destructible cover, culminating in a destructive car chase across the city. Uncharted 4 will release sometime in early 2016.
Sony has continued to surprise players with a doubling down on an extensive and wide variety of genres, both from the big publishers and the indie developers. Genuine surprises, gorgeous demos, and a general focus on what sells Playstations kept the evening very fresh despite the occasional hiccup here or there. While some will chide the company for relying too much on third-party games and DLC deals for the 2015 calendar, it appears Sony will more than make up for it in early 2016 with Horizon and Uncharted.