Sony has now completed their Countdown to E3 2018. Showing us titles like Tetris Effect for PS4 and PSVR, Twin Mirror for PS4, and even dropping a Feb. 22 2019 release date for Days Gone. But weeks earlier Shawn Layden, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, discussed how this year’s E3 conference will center around just four major AAA exclusives: Spider-Man, The Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, and Death Stranding. I thought it would be fun to talk about what we think or hope to see from each.
As the most likely game to actually drop in 2018, let’s start with the amazing Spider-Man himself. Developed for Sony by Insomniac, the people behind Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive, we know it’s in fantastic hands. The main concern I see on the interwebs is if Quick Time Events will ruin the experience or if there is a current lack of making use of an extensive rogue’s gallery.
Taking into account past Insomniac games, I am not worried in the least about a lack of gameplay. Sunset Overdrive is a cult hit exclusive for Xbox and Ratchet & Clank games have always had great gameplay mechanics. However, put me in the camp that I want to see that Insomniac will make use of Spider-Man’s fantastic villain library, much like how was done with Batman in his Arkham series. We have seen Wilson Fisk, Mr. Negative and the Demons. We have heard mention of Osborne and even seen a brief second of what looks like it could Shocker, but there is so much more. My personal prediction is that they will reveal the big villain and the full image of the Collector’s Edition statue.
Being so close to launch, I am not too certain that I want to see much more, though. I am ready to play this game. However, if they did come out with a Naughty Dog style, narrative centric trailer, I would’t complain.
I am completely convinced that Ghost of Tsushima is further along than The Last of Us 2 so I am putting it next. My reason is with the release of Infamous: First Light in 2014, that means Sucker Punch has been working on this title since the beginning of 2015 at latest. Michael Denny also mentioned last year how the release is playable.
What can I really go off of from here? A CGI trailer? An article or two? This skyrocketed to many people’s “Most Anticipated” from Sony after PSX and with good reason. What we do know is that it is an action stealth adventure game and deals with the mongol invasion of the island of Tsushima in 1274. The game looks unique and original and is made by Sucker Punch, a studio with a fantastic pedigree. But with as good as the Infamous series is, Ghost of Tsushima needs to show us all the ways it is different. Although fantastic, Infamous games just feel dated and that they belong on a PS3. Caught in an era passed. Infamous: Second Son and Infamous: First Light are gorgeous but I don’t want to collect 999 throwing stars and liberate sections on a map by repeating the same five missions. Also avoid the cut and dry Good/Bad choices where we either pick 100% of the good or 100% of the bad options. Moral ambiguity is what makes player choice so interesting.
I think Sony will show off a lot about Ghost of Tsushima. I think we’ll see gameplay and we some new characters. I think we’ll get a look at the menu or map, as well as a good look at in-game mechanics. But I don’t think we’ll get a definitive release date; possibly a release window highlighting a release quarter, but nothing too much more specific.
The Last of Us 2 is probably the next of these games that will release but even after two trailers, we still know so little about it. Pending dramatic changes, we already know what to expect in terms of gameplay. We know that Naughty Dog is proficient in storytelling and character development, but what they have shown so far has been vague at best. A girl playing a guitar, dead figures on the floor, and a silhouette. Another that showed a woman being taken, tortured, until being saved by two others. Both trailers giving the internet just enough to form as many rumors and opinions as possible.
I fully expect Naughty Dog to follow form and put out a gameplay to cut scene trailer showcasing beautiful environments and textures. Focusing on both humans and Clickers this time, but most importantly, starring the actual protagonists of the game. I want to see something with meat on it, something other than the tease and the carrot to cause rumor gossip.
The only complaint I truly hear about what is shown so far is that it is torture porn. That Naughty dog does not need to show them how miserable and deadly the world is. Why? Every Uncharted game shows me it is going to be a fun and beautiful but action filled setting. They show me it will have great banter between Sully and Nathan. The world of The Last of Us world is a character in itself
Everything out of Sony’s camp is that Death Stranding is much further along than anyone could have anticipated. But with how long Kojima’s games usually take, with how crazy everything we have already seen is, and with Kojima just plain being a rock star and can do what he wants, this part of the conference could be anything.
I half expect it to be a slowly spinning staircase that reveals Kojima sitting on a throne. As it comes to rest, he rises, then makes his way down lit steps. At the same time, a Dualshock slowly lowers from the ceiling. They both arrive together as he reaches up and grasps the controller. Suddenly the background lights up with game play as Kojima, himself, is the first to play in front of the world. Ok, that isn’t going to happen but it would be god tier if it did.
But what I would love to see that is slightly more realistic is a reveal of a P.T. style playable demo that is available that day. I don’t think the game is as far along as Sony heads would like us to believe, but I do think the best way to continue the hype on this game right now is to give the world what Konami took away from us.
Let us know what you think Sony is planning for their PlayStation stage. Or just let us know what you would like them to show. This E3 has already been all about Sony and I don’t see it slowing down come Monday.