We’re trying a new format out here at Expansive; our Completely Unnecessary Guides are massive, serialised articles intended as a off-beat and irreverent source of all the information you to need about a subject to pass off as being vaguely knowledgeable. Yesterday we looked at the Ubisoft conference, and mastered the correct pronunciation of ‘Yves’. We think.
The Sony Press Conference
When and Where
Monday 9th June, 6:00pm Pacific Time (2am UK Time) at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
The State of Play
It was agreed pretty much universally that Sony ‘won’ E3 2013. Having presumably learned from the disaster that was the launch of the launch of the PS3, Sony designed its next generation beast to be more affordable, less convoluted and more populist than its American competitor. The result was a simple, games-oriented machine with few gimmicks but a lot of raw power, and unlike the Xbox One, very few strings attached. As a result the gaming press were willing to evangelise and praise the PS4, simply for not being the then rather sinister-seeming Xbox One, and the Sony system has sold nearly twice as many units worldwide to date.
Of course, since then Microsoft have been playing some rather impressive catch up. The systems are now much closer in price than they were at launch, Microsoft already has something approaching a killer app in the form of EA’s Titanfall, and most of the initial problems with the One were either abandoned late in development or are being ironed out by Microsoft’s R&D technicians as we speak. Whilst it was easy for Sony to take the initial lead, maintaining it is going to take a lot more effort, investment, and most importantly, a varied catalogue of high quality games.
What to Expect
Sony pressers are generally structured, informative and packed chock-a-block with games regardless of whether they’re already out or not. Expect to have to sit through a heavy use of montages, a section on new (but generally already announced) games for the PS3 and Vita, a boring reminder that Sony has it’s own video on demand service that you’re not using before you see anything at all about the PS4. Also expect all of the Europeans to be extraordinarily cranky, drunk or simply have already buggered off to bed as Sony always schedules these things at stupid-o’clock in the morning our time.
Sony have announced over 70 games that they’ll be exhibiting on the E3 showfloor, but the vast majority of these are either indie games such as the Binding of Isaac remake and Jamestown, or games they or third parties already announced last year. Whilst it seems pretty likely that many of these games will indeed appear onstage in some form or another, most will simply appear as an entry in a colourful and well edited montage. It would seem that the biggest game Sony is planning on showing us (that we already know of) is Uncharted 4, the first next-gen entry in Naughty Dog’s acclaimed action adventure series. It seems likely that we’ll be hearing more about heavily delayed street racing game Driveclub, steampunk third person shooter thingy The Order 1886, and that silly virtual reality headset thing Project Morpheus that they’re working on to compete against Oculus. At the risk of looking silly I’m also going to predict a return for missing-in-action team ico project The Last Guardian, now retooled as a PS4 title (and then as a PS5 title in a few years time as the project continues to spiral through development hell).
Some rather interesting sounding rumours would suggest that the recently trademarked ‘Kill Strain’ relates to an unannounced Syphon Filter game, a brand new RPG franchise from Killzone creators Guerilla Games with a ‘provocative setting’ and new games from Sony Japan (including the elusive Project Beast) and Sony London are also due to be revealed, but as ever take all rumours with a pinch of salt.
Sadly as most of Sony’s major speakers at E3 tend to have their backgrounds in management and marketing, they’re not exactly the most interesting bunch.
- Andrew House: The man with the goatee and the dodgy transatlantic accent, Andy House is currently the top man at PlayStation and has been since Kazuo Hirai (most famous as the Riiiiidge Racerrrrr guy) was promoted to the highest position in the company. This Welsh-born Oxford educated Brit has been at Sony since 1990, and has been marketing the brand since the PS1.
- Shawn Layden: Jack Tretton having stood down in March, Shawn Layden is now the head of Sony Computer Entertainment America. He’s had some history working directly with developers, having run Sony London for eight years in the 2000s, and then taken the helm at Sony Computer Entertainment Japan before becoming one of the founding members of Sony’s networking division SCNI.
- Shuhei Yoshida: If you’ve played a first party Playstation game in the last decade, it’s more than likely that Shuhei Yoshida had his hand in it in some way or another. As the head of Sony Computer Entertainment America he was jointly responsible for overseeing the development of (amongst other games) Legend of Dragoon, Grand Turismo, Ape Escape and (my personal favourite from his tenure) Crash Team Racing. These days he’s the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Studios Worldwide where he oversees both first party and third party development deals. He is an active and popular twitter user, going by the handle @yosp.
Things to Tweet
“Riiiiiiiiidge Racerrrrrrr!”, “Bring back Kevin Butler!”, “Where’s The Last Guardian?”