Poor Microsoft. I really thought it had done everything right this year to bring home the gold. It announced a new franchise from the creator of Mega Man. It showed nothing but wonderful games and acknowledged the importance of backwards compatibility. It even had that mind-melting Hololens demonstration, which is admittedly the coolest thing we’ve still seen over the last two days.
However, in regards to the actual games we’ll be able to play on our PlayStation 4s, Sony dismantled Microsoft’s impressive show piece by piece and proved to the world once again why it has the number one selling console.
“This is why we’re number one,” could have been the presser’s tagline.
What? What! WHAT! WHAT!!!!
I mean, who could have guessed at half of the games in this line-up? The biggest announcements weren’t ones that gamers have been expecting to be rolled out every holiday season. The biggest announcements were projects we’ve been begging for over a long period of time, some even for over a decade!
When Sony started off with The Last Guardian, you knew it wasn’t messing around with the announcements. Admittedly, the trailer wasn’t that impressive, but judging this game by its gameplay merits anymore is kind of missing the point. Merely existing is enough to make this announcement seem like a victory in and of itself.
A few announcements later, what comes out on stage but a remake of Final Fantasy VII! I mean, talk about earth shattering. I’ll expand my various thoughts on this in a separate article, but this has been one fans have wanted since it was teased as a tech demo back before the PlayStation 3 launched.
And if those two reveals weren’t big enough, Sony pulled up former SEGA developer Yu Suzuki on stage and announced to the world that it is throwing its backing behind a Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3. And now we’ve come into territory where Sony is fulfilling promises that are over fifteen years old.
Remember when I said all the apologies at E3 were going to feel awkward this year? Well, Sony found a way to make apologizing feel like a victory for everybody.
Other expected hits
Of course, prying on the nostalgia of wistful fanboys wasn’t the only plan Sony had in store for the remainder of its show. It brought a long a lot of guaranteed hits we were expecting or pretty much assumed would be there. Hello Games finally showed off No Man’s Sky’s gameplay, elaborating on space combat, planetary combat, and the genuine vastness of its universe. Again, it seems like aimless exploration, but that’s all I want these days.
Don’t need a plot getting in my way anymore. Just set me loose, and I’ll find my own fun. No Man’s Sky is about to redefine how we view exploration, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Both Microsoft and Sony started off with a game everyone wanted to see, and both followed with an original franchise that had miraculously managed to remain a secret. On this battlefield, Microsoft still holds the upper hand. If we’re talking Keiji Inafune vs Guerilla Games on the AAA scale, then I am going with the Mega Man co-creator every time. Horizon Zero Dawn looked like a solid game, but I walked away wanting to find out more about ReCore.
Plus, Horizon Zero Dawn desperately needs a new title. I’ve never seen three buzzwords combine to make such a brilliant “buzz title.” Is that even a thing because Horizon Zero Dawn could make it so.
Street Fighter V showed up with Cammy and the revival of Birdie. Star Wars Battlefront showed off well, even though I think I am slipping into the uncanny valley a bit with this one. Batman Arkham Knight teased the death of Batman and the return of the Joker.
Timed exclusive Call of Duty DLC, robbed from Microsoft, and timed exclusive Disney Infinity 3.0 characters both fell into Sony’s lap. A helping of indies from Digital Devolver delivered on the indie cred. Even the PS Vita got a montage! Everything just seemed to fall into place for Sony throughout a perfectly paced two hours.
It even closed out with Uncharted 4, which I know a lot of people want to play a whole lot more than I do. That gameplay demonstration is exactly what fans of the series were hoping for, but trailers don’t do it anymore justice. Each passing year it looks the same. It just needs to be released now.
I’m not throwing the book at Microsoft because I thought it had a wonderful show, much better than the last two years. ReCore is in my top three games of E3 2015, and Microsoft still had the best individual moment with the Hololens presentation. In fact, both conferences played out almost exactly alike with exclusives, special deals with publishers, pacing, lighting, the whole nine yards.
Sony just seems to get its audience a little bit better though, and it can use an x-factor that the Xbox brand simply can never beat it at: age. Sony has the ability to tap into nostalgia that Microsoft hasn’t really established yet. Fan-service titles like Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue 3 go further back than even the lifespan of the entire Xbox brand, and it was these kinds of titles which will ultimately make Sony’s show more memorable.
I didn’t see anybody getting misty-eyed over Gears of War or Halo 5, did I?
Sentimentality is still strong for that pre-AAA age of gaming, back before the goofy hobby from the late-80s to mid-90s became the beast it is today. Don’t ever let anybody dismiss that as silly feelings from the hearts of 30+ nerds all over the country because it just won Sony grand prize during the second day of E3.