PSX 2015 Press Conference | Biding It’s Time
Opening with Uncharted 4 was a portent of things to come. While it might have been due to the fact that the game is set to come out in the not too distant future, as the conference progressed what eventually became clear was that delving more deeply into the relationship between Nathan Drake and his brother Sam was the most impactful thing that Sony could come up with to kick off their PSX press conference. And it set the standard unfairly high for the rest of what Sony had to offer.
Following that up, quite abruptly I might add, was a welcoming overture by Shawn Layden, President of SCEA, who told us two things, that PSX is about the players, and that Sony has more VR content than any time before.
Switching gears, he then showed he showed us how psychotically excited Final Fantasy VII devotees were when we announced we’d be remaking it this past E3. They then proceeded to show the first gameplay trailer of the title, which looked incredible but also reinforced my feeling that I will always feel alienated by the formalized systems of JRPGs, as they wouldn’t be remaking the game if the mechanics themselves weren’t still relevant to player’s interests.
Next up, trumpeting Sony’s victory in nabbing Call of Duty from Microsoft, this time spotlighting their ESPORTS initiative, Call of Duty: World League.
Considering how rampantly popular the series and moderated competitive gaming is, this didn’t come as a huge surprise. But why wasn’t it done before? It’s not as if Call of Duty has become more popular, in fact, year after year the conversation about the game always drifts towards whether its glory days are over. Could Call of Duty: World League be its salvation if it offers everyday players the ability to aspire to professional careers and celebrity? It worked for Starcraft, Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends, maybe Call of Duty could be the first FPS to do the same.
Next up on the mainstream pandering train was an overview about the partnership between Disney and Sony, represented primarily by Disney Infinity 3.0 and Star Wars Battlefront. Battlefront was given the majority of the stage time, some very unexciting ‘Battlefront moments’ from notable Youtubers being shown.
“The force is strong with Playstation this year.”
Cue Facepalm and the realization that this conference, like most in this day and age, was not for me primarily, but for the person that may be hearing about Star Wars Battlefront for the first time.
Randy Pitchford, maker of Brothers in Arms, Borderlands and now Battleborn was up next, and he looked haggard, more than just the usual kind of haggard that intensive game development creates. He introduced us to a new character, Toby, a mech suit wearing Penguin, and revealed that the Beta for the game would be exclusive to PS4 in early 2016, and if you participate in it you can get an additional character for the final game. All predictable, and the entire time I kept thinking that Overwatch, Blizzard’s strikingly similar game was having a very detrimental effect on on his ability to provide convincing reasons for players to care about Battleborn. Its one saving grace could be the fact that unlike Overwatch, Battleborn will have a single player mode, and even allow for couch coop. Besides saying that the game would possess Gearbox’s characteristic sense of humor not much else was revealed about that single player mode, so here’s hoping it’s more like Borderlands than Rainbox Six: Siege or Battlefront’s single player modes.
Another SFV trailer was then shown, introducing us to F.A.N.G, served as the last character trailer for the game.
What Yoshinori Ono, the boisterous Executive Producer of the game was more excited to tell us about were the six post release characters, Alex, Guile, Balrog, Ibuki, Juri and Urien, that were only shown as silhouettes, and the fact that the Season Pass that would give us access to those characters the moment they are released was available right now on the Playstation Store.
Independent game time was nigh, and so one game after another, many of which were available at that very moment. There were a few standout titles, including Deadstar and Rain World. That interest and belief in the excitement over those new titles was lost when Tim Schafer came on stage right after the trailer for Headlander, his new side scrolling Shadow Complex-esque title, to talk about Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle being remastered I threw up my hands and asked the gods of gaming why, why must we be subjected to the constantrecycling of old games because we are too scared to invest the time and effort into new IP?!?! The one interesting thing he discussed was the fact that Psychonauts 2 would feature a mode playable in Virtual Reality, called Rhombus of Ruin.
There was also a significant amount of time spent on Yakuza, as Yakuza 5 was announced as being available on PS3 next week, and Yakuza Zero will be released on the PS4 in the West very shortly.
Another interesting game was Nioh, coming from Team Ninja, it showcased a slower paced combat style than Ninja Gaiden that struck me with some Bushido Blade vibes.
Proceedings then continued along a pretty rote path, Nuclear Throne, the cult classic and the Bit.Trip collection, titled “The Bit.Trip” were shown off, and given away to attendees of the conference.
MLB 2016 was next, and yup,it looked like a prettier game of baseball than last year’s with a great emphasis on smooth transitional animations that would give Assassins Creed a run for its money.
But where my ears perked up, past the coop Fat Princess sequel, and yet another demo of the Ratchet and Clank remake, was when Playstation VR was trotted out again, and I thought maybe this will be the time where more than tech demos were shown off. My wish was granted, but what I got was stunningly disappointing:
Besides Modern Zombie Taxi Co, Ubisoft and Highwire games also had interesting trailers for Eagle Flight and Golem respectively, but I don’t think I want to see another VR demo or trailer ever again. Unless I can experience it myself the simplified graphics will be the only thing that sticks out of any promotional footage I see.
From the last quarter of the conference I would say two announcements were notable:
- Destiny: The Taken King will bring the fantasy of racing Sparrows to the game for 3 weeks starting on December 8th.
2) Epic is making a MOBA called Paragon
Sigh…I wish I could drum up more enthusiasm for the games and announcements made at this year’s Playstation Experience, but throughout it all the impression I had was that all of the big stuff was saved for Paris Games Week and Sony didn’t have anything left to get people excited about.
Feel free to sound off in the comments section with your own opinions and impressions of the conference, we’d love to hear from you.