Going into their conference this year, Sony had a lot of questions to answer, and these weren’t brought on by anything the company executives said. Rather, Microsoft’s recent comments and lack of clarity regarding the Xbox One’s policies on DRM, used gaming, and “always online” had raised an unnecessary amount of skepticism towards Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4. Not only did Sony have to one-up the competition with a powerful but non-restrictive console, they had to show off a healthy suite of games to prove their commitment to the PlayStation brand.
And did they deliver. In the event you missed it, Sony’s presentation was chock full of announcements, reveals and gameplay, and you can check out a full recap of the conference below, with some trailers sprinkled throughout.
Viva La Vita
Sony kicked off the conference talking about their newest handheld. While it’s been a slow year for the Vita, Sony America President Jack Tretton boasted some impressive numbers, including a healthy 125 Vita games that released during the first year, with that number expanding to over 650 titles when you take into account PSOne and PS Mobile titles. If that wasn’t enough, more than 85 Vita titles are set to launch by the end of the year, including Batman Arkham Origins, CounterSpy, Doki Doki Universe, Killzone Mercenaries, and Tearaway, the upcoming title from LittleBigPlanet creator MediaMolecule.
There are also a handful of remastered games on the way, including God of War 1 and 2, Final Fantasy X and X-2, and flower. To top it all off, Sony announced that a Walking Dead Vita bundle would be available in August, which comes pre-installed with The Walking Dead Season One, and the newly announced 400 Days DLC.
The PS3 Is Here To Stay
Even with the PS4 on the way, Sony is still excited with their lineup for the PS3, starting off with The Last Of Us, which has received universal praise (this is the second PS3 title from Naughty Dog to receive a 96 on Metacritic). Footage for Puppeteer, rain, Beyond: Two Souls was also shown, and you can check out the brand new trailer for Beyond: Two Souls below. The trailer was more action-focused, and didn’t showcase any of the telekenesis or supernatural elements shown off in previous videos, so here’s hoping that hasn’t been removed.
Trailers for Batman Arkham Origins and Gran Turismo 6 were also shown, showcasing some impressive gameplay (in the interest of saving space, you can check those trailers out here and here). Lastly, before shuffling off, Tretton announced a brand new Grand Theft Auto V PS3 bundle, which is set to release on September 17th. The bundle will include a copy of GTA V, and will retail for $299.
Andrew House, the current President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, took the stage to show us what we’ve all been waiting for, the PlayStation 4 console itself. The console itself has a similar look to the Xbox One, with a sleek black finish that looks almost divided right down the middle. You can check out a picture of the console below.
Andrew House then welcomed Michael Lynton, the CEO of Sony Entertainment and Chariman/CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. This marked the beginning of the “media” section of the conference, though it was brief and didn’t drag on like these sections tend to. Lynton talked the audience through the various applications that would launch on the PS4, including Sony’s own Music and Video Unlimited services, along with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Flixster, and a handful of other applications you have come to expect.
Let’s Get To The Games!
And finally, Sony got down to the games. President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment Shuhei Yoshida took the stage, ready to introduce a handful of games for the upcoming PlayStation 4. So without further ado…
The Order 1886
First shown was a brand new IP, developed by Ready at Dawn, the studio the God of War PSP games, which have received critical acclaim, and are two of the best-selling PSP titles. Sony was content with letting the trailer speak for itself, which we have posted below. The Order 1886 doesn’t have a set release date, but it was confirmed as a PS4 exclusive.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Next up was a brand new trailer for Killzone: Shadow Fall, which is being developed by series creator Guerilla Games, and has been confirmed as a PlayStation 4 launch title. The trailer showed off some new forest environments and weapons,which is a nice contrast from the shiny, city environment that was shown off back in February.
inFAMOUS Second Son
Set to launch in Q1 of 2014, inFAMOUS Second Son is set to take place years after the first two inFAMOUS games. Graffiti artist Delsin Rowe (voiced by Troy Baker of Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us fame) discovers his ability to absorb super powers, and the trailer below highlights a few of his… antics.
The Dark Sorcerer
Next up was a tech demo from Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls. The demo, which was not representative of a game in development, showcased the PS4’s hardware, and included the “old man” that was seen back at the PS4 event in February. This time around, the “old man” was actually a sorcerer, and as he began wielding his dark magic, the screen was filled with some great looking particle effects. We should be hearing more about The Dark Sorcerer in the days to come, so keep your eyes peeled.
The Indie Guys
While the AAA, big budget games are always good to have, Adam Boyes, Sony Computer Entertainment America’s vice president of publisher and developer relations, came out on stage to express the company’s ongoing commitment to working with independent and smaller developers. In a direct contrast to Microsoft, indie developers will be able to self-publish titles on the PlayStation 4, and Supergiant Games’ (creator of Bastion) Amir Rao and Greg Kasavin announced that their upcoming title, Transistor, will make its console debut exclusively on the PlayStation 4, early next year.
Aside from Jonathon Blow’s The Witness and Supergiant’s Transistor, Sony announced a handful of other indie titles which will be coming to the PlayStation 4, including: Klei Entertainment’s Don’t Starve, Tribute Games’ Mercenary Kings, Young Horses’ Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Switchblade Monkeys‘ Secret Ponchos, Ragtag Studios’ Ray’s The Dead, Red Barrel’s Outlast, Oddworld Inhabitants’ Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey New N’ Tasty!, and 17-Bit’s Empire. All of these games will be making their exclusive console debut on the PlayStation 4.
Square Enix Redemption
While they didn’t make an actual appearance at the conference, Tetsuya Nomura appeared in a special video to announce that Final Fantasy Versus XIII has now been rebranded as Final Fantasy XV, and a new trailer was shown off that included both pre-rendered cinematics and actual gameplay (which you can check out below, thanks to IGN for the footage). Finally, while it was only teased, Kingdom Hearts III was confirmed to be in development, and you can expect both these titles to release on the PlayStation 4.
There’s A (Third) Party In My Mouth, And Everyone’s Invited
Next up were two highly anticipated titles from Ubisoft: Watch Dogs, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. While these games are not exclusive to the PlayStation 4, Sony and Ubisoft are teaming up to provide console-exclusive content. You can check out both of the gameplay demos below. As an interesting sidenote, it looks like Watch Dogs will be implementing some sort of asynchronous co-operative gameplay with those who have a tablet device, as the end of the trailer sees the player calling in for some assistance.
What was perhaps the biggest surprise was the appearance of Bungie, who showed off the first ever gameplay of their upcoming MMO shooter, Destiny. Sony announced their partnership with both Bungie and Activision to bring exclusive content to the PS4. You can check out the rather lengthy gameplay demo below (footage courtesy of IGN)
Pricing, Used Games, And Release Date
In an obvious attempt to criticize Microsoft’s Xbox One policies and restrictions, Jack Tretton took the stage again to assure the fans that there won’t be any restrictions on used games. You will be able to buy, resell, lend, and borrow games freely, and for those who subscribe to PlayStation Plus, your subscription will carry over to the PS4. While it does look like online play will require a PlayStation Plus subscription, movie apps such as Netflix won’t be locked behind PS+, and PS+ members will receive DriveClub, Don’t Starve, Outlast, and Secret Ponchos, with new games coming every month. Gaikei was also brought up again, though Andrew House clarified that PS3 games will be available for streaming starting in the USA in 2014, with gamers being able to stream to their PS3, PS4, and down the line, the PS Vita.
And last, but certainly not least, the PS4 was announced to release later this year (most likely Q4), with a retail price of $399/€399/£349. While the PlayStation eye will retail separately, the bundle will come with the console and controller, and the PlayStation 4 was confirmed to be region-free.
So what did you guys think? Will you be picking up a PlayStation 4 when it launches? Do you think Sony hit it out of the park with their focus on games? Sound off in the comments below!