This week in Los Angeles, gamers from across the globe converged for the most magical time of the year in the gaming world. E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the most important gaming event of the year, was the talk of the nerd world and gave developers like Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, and Bethesda a chance to show off their upcoming titles. Most of the talk was around continuing franchises. Microsoft announced the return of their biggest franchise with a trailer for Halo: Infinite, Nintendo showed off the latest in their crossover hit Super Smash Brothers series, EA built on the trailer release of Battlefield V, and Bethesda gave us just a hint at the next installment of the Elder Scrolls series. As exciting as all of those announcements were, as a lifelong Playstation fan, I tuned in live to the Sony conference to see what my favorite game company had in store.
As E3 has become a more mainstream event, the displays have become more and more theatrical, and Sony’s this year was no exception. Starting off with a small crowd at a secondary stage, the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America Shawn Layden gave a short intro before handing off to...a banjo soloist. A confusing start, but the banjo player led in nicely to the centerpiece of Sony’s announcement, The Last of Us Part II. The first title in the series was a post-apocalyptic zombie-survival game, and a landmark title from studio Naughty Dog that released near the end of the PS3’s run, and enjoyed a remastered release on the PS4. All told, 17 million copies of The Last of Us have been sold to date, and fans have been holding their breath for the next chapter. The trailer debuted at this event did not disappoint. Starting off with a group of survivors at some sort of community reception/dance (hence the banjo intro), one of the main protagonists from the first game, Ellie, is given a nice character introduction before quickly giving way to a gameplay demo. And man, was this pretty. The visuals were an instant highlight, with Ellie navigating an abandoned city-scape stealthily dispatching human enemies from a faction we don’t know much about just yet. She’s soon spotted and chased down by a group of enemies, and we got to see a display of absolutely brutal combat, mixing in gunplay, Ellie showing off her bow skills, and some deadly hand-to-hand encounters. You can check out the trailer for yourself here, but believe me, if you were a fan of the first game, or of any of Naughty Dog’s recent titles, you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for a release date to be announced.
After that presentation for The Last of Us Part II, we were sent over to the main stage for the rest of the show. Running quickly through the rest of the lineup, we had a samurai game which looked gorgeous called Ghost of Tsushima, which also had a live musical lead-in. Next was a futuristic shooter called Control, clearly taking some inspiration from the movie Inception. Then Sony gave viewers trailers for a Resident Evil 2 reboot, a game from TV writer Justin Roiland called Trover Saves the Universe, Kingdom Hearts 3, the Disney-Final Fantasy crossover, a new look at Death Stranding from the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, and then a look at Nioh 2, which, to be honest, I lost interest in.
That takes us up to the last game from the Sony event, and the one I’m maybe the most excited about, Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man. Insomniac has released a couple of trailers and demos to this point, but had a brand new one for E3. The trailer showed us a mix of gameplay and cinematics, this time with Spidey chasing the villian Electro through a supermax prison, encountering some other familiar enemies along the way. Spider-Man continues to look brilliant, and will feature an open-world map of Manhattan for Spidey to explore. This concept was first introduced in Spider-Man 2 for the PS2 way back in 2004, which I consider to be one of my favorite games of all time. Back to the E3 trailer, though, we saw Spidey doing all of the Spidey things we’ve come to expect. Webbing up bad guys, swinging at an insane pace through the map, and of course, spouting sarcastic remarks all the while. After the trailer, which also gave us some new looks for villians Electro, Rhino, and the Vulture, two of the developers talked and played through an actual in-game mission to demonstrate the movement and combat a bit more. The mission had the player swinging through the city to find and destroy a series of bombs before a timer ran out, and also showcased the combat, with Spidey taking on a huge group of enemies on a rooftop, quickly jumping around between bad guys toting guns and rocket launchers, and basically turning all of them into big balls of webbing. To me this game is drawing quite a bit from the Batman Arkham series, and even though that sounds like they’re just copying a popular game’s style, the Batman games were hugely successful for both the story and gameplay, so really not a bad way to go in my opinion. With Spider-Man’s movement and combat abilities, I look for this game to build off of that success and make its own mark. I’m very excited about the game, and can’t wait for the release in September.
Spider-Man wrapped up Sony’s presentation, and overall, I’m very happy with the what Sony showed us this year. While all of the games looked promising for the most part, I’m most excited of course for The Last of Us Part II and Spider-Man. As these games get closer to release, I’ll have more updates and, of course, gameplay reviews once they’re released. Stay tuned to the blog and the podcast for more gaming news and notes.
Check out the full show from Sony here and let us know what games you’re looking forward to the most.