To really understand Sony’s conference this year at E3, we need to look at the pillars holding them together.
Marvel’s Spider-Man, The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, and Ghost of Tsushima. The four major games that we know will have a massive showcase at E3 this year. The four major games that are pretty much propping Sony up now. The four games that, as of right now, are the only exclusives Sony must show.
The Obvious – It’d be more surprising if these didn’t show up
The big focus will be the four pillars of Sony above, and who knows what we will see of them. Make no mistake, these four games will be the major showcases on the show floor, and during the press conference.
The easiest to get into will likely be Marvel’s Spider-Man, since out of all the pillars it is the most relatable. Last year’s presentation was an impressive showcase of Spider-Man, and subsequent footage has shown that Spider-Man has the makings of an excellent comic book game in it. This year I hope Sony takes it a step further and offers some in-depth gameplay mechanics outside of the chase and trailers showcased. If it feels too much like last year, which is very well possible, it will fall flat on its face before it gets out of the starting gate.
It is still the most relatable title out of the bunch, and the one that will likely be the biggest hit, considering the general love for Spider-Man as a game franchise. Outside of Batman, Spider-Man titles are often hot sellers, and Sony is keen on making sure this one is a sure bet for their system. It’s unlikely that we will see much out of place for the title at E3 this year, but Spider-Man doesn’t have to do much to be popular, it just doesn’t have to feel boring.
The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II has been hotly anticipated for a while now, and seeing the older Ellie taking the helm will be a treat to watch for sure. The hope is, again, that the trailer is effective in showing the brutality of the gameplay we have become accustomed to. The darker, melancholy tones of the original teaser were a good start, but now it needs to be combined with a demo of play that can capture the magic even further.
In truth, there is not much to say about The Last of Us Part II at this point, other than the continuing story from the first game is going to be a big showcase this year. The real question is how much has the gameplay been tweaked and how will the older, more cynical-sounding Ellie fare as the leading woman? Hardcore Sony fans have been looking forward to a sequel for some time now, and E3 this year is just the first taste of what to expect from what is almost assuredly a release this far.
The other two pillars are a bit more mysterious in comparison. Death Standing will be making its second E3 appearance in three years and so far, all is known is that Norman Reedus is carrying a baby of impressionistic horror inspired world of madness and death. It’s hard to pin down what Death Stranding will be; Hideo Kojima claims it will be an open world action game of some kind, and the themes will have something to do with life and death. And babies.
The extended trailer last year that didn’t show up at E3 pretty much showed how crazy the game can be, and the further showcase of Death Stranding at The Game Awards last year was a 10-minute expose of eldritch insanity. Death Stranding is such a huge question mark it is hard to properly predict what we will even see. The hope is that Kojima will finally give us something to sink our teeth into, perhaps a demo of actual gameplay vs pre-made trailers. That lack of … well, anything about the game hasn’t soured the hype train through at all. Kojima is always cagey when it comes to his titles, and however it plays, people are already enticed to buy it when it eventually does release.
Ghost of Tsushima
The last pillar is perhaps the most unknown of the bunch, but also one of the purest games out there. Ghost of Tsushima is by developer Sucker Punch Studios, the team behind the Infamous and Sly Cooper games. The games setting is Tsushima island in 1274, where the player takes the roles of a samurai turned assassin driving out an invading Mongol army. Thus far, all that has been seen is a short teaser trailer showcasing a bit of the games story and set pieces, but the promise, and presentation, oozes personality in a way that is not purposefully obtuse like Death Stranding.
In terms of what the game can be, the biggest hope is an action game playing the role of a samurai, and considering the track record of Sucker Punch, will likely incorporate an open-world action style focused heavily melee combat that is befitting a samurai. The promise of becoming an assassin also implies a heavy dose of stealth and preparation as well, so Ghost of Tsushima might be a sort of spiritual successor to the Metal Gear franchise in terms of its gameplay at the very least.
Whatever is shown at E3, Ghost of Tsushima has been the one game flying under the radar when compared to the other three pillars. It is also the one with the most explosive potential, as it is as fresh of a take on an action game you can get. Whereas an open world title like Days Gone leaned too heavily on the zombie craze, Ghost of Tsushima is harkening back to Japanese history and will likely make a major impression on players and, in my view, steal the show as a massive surprise once we get to the in-depth look of the title on the Sony room floor.
The Maybes – High risk, potentially high reward
Sony is hitching its bets on its four pillars, but all four games are primed to be major hits for the company. Rumors abound of the PlayStation 4 being at the end of its life cycle aside, Sony is playing it safe this year and letting their games do the talking for them. They thankfully have four big games to focus on this time around that, if played right, will be massive successes at E3 this year.
Make no mistake though, we will see them at E3 here too. Personally, I am hoping big titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty, and others make an appearance as well. The problem with big third party games is they can literally go anywhere at E3, but showcasing some of the big games coming this fall, even if its a short trailer reminding players of what it is, is probably a safe bet. The question’s simple though: what are they going to actually show?
Concrete Genie and PSVR
Concrete Genie is one of those games flying under the radar. While not confirmed as one of the four pillars, it is one of the more interesting shown last year. A cross between De Blob and Epic Mickey, it is an action-adventure game where players will literally use magical paint to bring your drawings to life in a sprawling urban environment. Visually interesting and with a very colorful theme, Concrete Genie has already raised some eyebrows for players out there, and more info on this title is a possibility from Sony this year.
Other games from Sony outside of Concrete Genie would likely come from their PSVR line. There is a decent amount of smaller games that will get some form of a showcase for sure. In fact a focus on the PSVR is almost certainly in the cards for a small showcase or bumper reel of upcoming PSVR titles. What will we see? The Persistence and Ace Combat 7 are both likely, and first party published title Dreams by Media Molecule is also a major candidate to show off. Aspyr’s Torn might also show up, but the truth is it’s totally up in the air at this point when it comes to what can make an appearance.
The Don’t Hold Your Breaths – Better grab your good luck charm
Days Gone has been officially delayed to 2019, and while it may get some love at E3 this year, after two showcases, the excitement for it seems to be stagnant to the point where it might not even show up on the stage floor. The open-world zombie game has promise, but the delay has not instilled confidence in the title at this point. Whether or not Days Gone will deliver is a whole other question, but the question mark now is will we get anything new or will it go dormant for the rest of the year? My guess is dormant, mostly due to how chock full the rest of the conference can be.
What are your thoughts on this? Will Sony show a lot more than just their four pillars? Leave your comments below and be sure to check out the rest of our E3 coverage here.