Sony came out fighting at last year's E3, determined to capitalise upon mixed messages from their competitors, and to solidify a lead as the new console generation dawned. They made their presser all about two things: games and undermining Microsoft, and they rather succeeded on both fronts. But fast forward six months and the PS4 release slate is fairly bare, with a paucity of concrete announcements and a slew of untimely delays. Put simply, Sony need a big E3 -- they talked the talk and it paid dividends, but now they need to walk the walk and unleash the exclusive talent that they've been building up for the past two decades.
Sony need to come out swinging in order to keep momentum going into the second half of 2014, and with delay after delay for their already-revealed big hitters, it's time to crack out the big guns.
The trouble is that although appearances from the likes of Sony Santa Monica, Naughty Dog, and possibly even Quantic Dream are expected, nothing they're peddling is likely to emerge ahead of next year. All of Sony's first and second-party partners have been keeping very quiet indeed since the PS4's launch, so there are bound to be a bunch of surprises, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Sony Japan bring to the party, having given us some fantastically bonkers titles in the last couple of years.
There won't be a price cut for the PS4, that much is almost certain. Consoles don't get price cuts in the first year unless they're sinking like the Titanic. The Vita, however, may see its price point drop a little closer to the £100 mark. There'll be changes to PlayStation Plus too, in order to incorporate PS Now.
There'll be more indie stuff, but as we can see from the announced list there'll be a fair bit of repetition from last year given the meagre release slate we've endured thus far in 2014. If Sony can deliver some dates over the next few months, then that'll be awesome. They have an audience hungry for content.
Media Molecule have said that they won't be bringing anything new to this year's show, which is a shame, but doesn't rule out LittleBigPlanet 3 as the studio have already stated that LBP is out of their hands now. Sumo Digital's Vita effort was absolutely outstanding, and the PS4 could really use a game of that ilk to not only provide an ageless exclusive that isn't Knack, but also to present a game (or even a service) that revolves around user-generated content and takes full advantage of the PS4's sharing capabilities. Microsoft's Project Spark has come on in leaps and bounds, and this year's E3 should hopefully see Sony wheel out the mantra of Play Create Share for their new console.
Anticipated Highlight - Andrew House delivers an aggressively impassioned speech about how Sony are teaming up with Google to deliver straight-to-YouTube sharing on PS4 before dropping the mic and peeing on a sign that reads "Skydrive".
Considering the Playstation 4 launch period hasn’t exactly had the wealth of games we were told it would have, this E3 is especially important for Sony. Infamous: Second Son may have been fun, but it certainly wasn’t a system seller. What the Playstation 4 needs is Media Molecule, Naughty Dog, and Quantic Dream to tease us with their (almost certainly) 2015-bound titles, although in all honesty we could do with some games this year.
You know, besides Destiny and its exclusive DLC.
The Indie brigade will no doubt have their chance to shine, and I’m interested to see what progress Jonathan Blow has made on The Witness. That said, it’s down to titles such as Project Beast to kindle my desire of buying a PS4 over the XO first. Seeing PlanetSide 2 in action will also help matters, as I feel the F2P shooter has potential to achieve the success Dust 514 always wanted, but in reality it will be the unannounced titles that will almost definitely be the talking points after the show is over. I’m not expecting a sequel to The Last of Us just yet (especially with the news Neil Druckmann has jumped over to U4) but it would certainly be welcome surprise.
Anticipated Highlight – Sony show off an updated version of that FF7 remake trailer, before once again stating it’s just a tech demo, raising the anger levels of the internet. Straight after that, Gabe Newell appears on stage, for no reason, and then wanders off. He then returns at the end of the show, and states “you know, this is the third time I’ve been on a Sony stage now…” before scampering off into the back knowing he has just trolled the entire internet, which then implodes with rage.
You might think that Sony's triumphant PS4 sales and emphatic performance last year means that they can coast through E3 2014 without breaking a sweat. You'd be wrong. Sony may have sold their vision of a next-gen future to millions of gamers, but now they have to fill in the missing piece of the puzzle: exclusive games to play on their slanted black beast.
They'll probably keep us waiting, though. We can expect some back-patting and game montages, maybe a few more entertainment providers, followed by a little love for the PS3 and Vita. A handful of games for both platforms, reassuring us that they haven't taken their eye off the ball in that regard. The Vita will almost certainly receive a PS4 bundle too.
However, the Vita might play second fiddle to another device: Morpheus. It's unlikely that they'll share anything concrete about release dates and prices for the VR peripheral just yet, but they could well bring along a massive killer app designed specifically for the system and whet our appetite. I can't help but feel that Media Molecule would be the right team for that particular job (was their recent tweet a red herring?), but whether we'll have to wait for Gamescom and 2015 for the Morpheus hype train to start picking up serious steam remains to be seen.
Third parties will come to heel and pay homage. Ubisoft will almost certainly swing by flanked by Bungie (is Destiny still on course , perhaps EA's no-longer-timed-exclusives and Activision Blizzard. On the first-party front we'll see more Driveclub footage (yawn), The Order 1886 gameplay (ooh) and -- if they have any sense -- SOE with Planetside 2 and H1Z1. Expect the latter to bring the house down! There will naturally be lots of brilliant indie love in the room, hopefully fronted by legendary fixer Shahid Ahmad.
PlayStation Now will also get some serious attention, explanations of its pricing and rollout. Groovy. Choice is good, but when it comes right down to it, we're not tuning in at two in the bloody morning to learn about new ways to play old games. We're here to learn about new games.
We expect God Of War - preferably in an awesome new setting with an exciting new protagonist. An emphatic Uncharted 4 reveal. Project Beast. Guerilla Games' mysterious RPG project. I suspect that we'll hear "2015" a depressing amount, though, so they'll need some Christmas games to stop the Xbox One gaining a little ground.
How about... I dunno... The Last Guardian? Come on Sony, save it for last and bring it home.
Anticipated Highlight – Seasoned videogame journalists hugging each other, high-fiving and dancing around the arena as Last Guardian gets a concrete November release date. In my dreams.