Going into this conference, Sony was already ahead of both of its competitors. There was no black cloud over their heads that they had to clear up, and all they really had to do was share a few more things to really make the system a must-have. After watching the conference live, I can now easily say that PS4 is the clear front-runner in the next generation of gaming.
They began the conference talking about their current-gen systems. PS Vita got some love as they talked bout how games like God of War 1 & 2, Final Fantasy X and X-2, and Flower are all coming to the system. They also talked about the amazing success of The Walking Dead game series, and that the next installment, 400 days, will be coming to Vita this summer. A montage of upcoming PS3 games was then shown, which featured games like Beyond: Two Souls (which looked fantastic and showed off some gameplay of combat training), Gran Turismo 6 and Batman: Arkham Origins.
This was all just a warm-up, as the real show was just about to begin. The PS4 segment kicked off with the reveal of the actual system… which is pictured below!
Sony has rightfully stuck with a similar design that has worked for years, although this system definitely has a unique look to it. The actual system kind of has this wavy look to it, with the middle section being indented. It is very sleek, like all Sony systems have been, and the controller is relatively the same layout with a few tweaks to the size and interface. I really like this new design, as it’s both familiar yet different enough to look interesting in this upcoming generation of consoles.
They briefly went into other entertainment services like a programming plan for movies and TV, the music unlimited service and netflix. However, they ended it by saying that PS4 is a gaming console first and foremost, and that is the main selling point of the system (hear that, Microsoft?).
This kicked kicked off a slew of different gaming presentations, many of which will be exclusive to PS4. I have listed them below with descriptions of what they looked like.
- The Order 1886 – This game had a very interesting look to it. It obviously takes place in the late 1800’s, but it had a pretty big sci-fi element to it and some amazing looking shooter action. It has a very unique blend of an older era and modern sci-fi elements.
- Killzone: Shadowfall – The next installment in the Killzone series looks a little different this time around. It takes place in a futuristic setting within a huge city. Then… you shoot things… BOOM!
- Drive Club – A racing game. Ya know… with cars and stuff that go zoom zoom.
- Infamous: Second Son – This one looked really interesting, especially in the story department. The main character has powers that he is just learning, and it is getting him into a lot trouble. His brother is a cop and has had to continually arrest him for causing trouble with his new powers. Both of the characters were very real and well-written, and it looked like the story might have more depth to it than previous installments in the series. Watch the video for this below.
They then did a little section where they talked about how PS4 will be embracing independent developers, and they showed off many indie games that are in the works for the system. Transistor was the first one shown, which had a very artistic visual style and some impressive action. There were many others shown as well, but the one that really stuck out to me and I wanted to mention the most was the remake of the PSone classic Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. This game originally came out in 1997, and it is now getting a complete remake that is being called Oddworld: New and Tasty. I never got around to playing this game back in the day, but the cover of the game always intrigued me. Even PSone got some love at the conference!
Up next was a quick mention that Diablo III is coming to both PS3 and PS4. Cool. Awesome. Next!
This next part was easily one of the highlights of the entire event, and it is when they showed a video about two upcoming Square Enix games. The first one was Final Fantasy XV, which was originally the long in development game called Finally Fantasy Versus XIII. I’m glad they changed the name to not have XIII in the title, because this game looks far more interesting and I don’t think this new direction for the series should have any ties to the previous (disappointing) game. What amazed me the most was how much more action-oriented the game seemed. It looked more like a third-person action game, but there was no denying the look of the Final Fantasy world all over it. The best thing about it, though, is that it had a darker theme and the protagonist actually looked really interesting, which is something that has been missing from Final Fantasy for years. He looks like a cross between Cloud and Squall, which would be freakin’ amazing. This has me very excited for the future of Final Fantasy, and hopefully this game gets the series back on track.
Still, what surprised me the most was the next little snippet of another game that is currently in development: Kingdom Hearts III! I was not expecting this game at all, and I actually wasn’t even sure that there was ever going to be a III. The first two were on PS2 for crying out loud! An entire system came and went and never got a direct sequel. From what they did show, it looks amazing and I can’t wait to dive back into the Kingdom Hearts world. I absolutely adore the first two, and it has taken way too long for this third game to be made.
Watch the video presentation of both games below:
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was up next, and showed off some great pirate-y swashbuckling action. I think this a great new setting for the series to take place in, looking more like a Pirates of the Caribbean movie than anything else, and how the Assassin’s Creed engine will work out at sea has me very excited. Check out the presentation below.
The next gameplay demo was for Watchdogs, which continues to look very impressive. It has an open-world environment that takes place in the middle of a big city, and the main character is a hacker who can control nearly every technological element in the city. It showed off a lot of stealth action, with one instance having the main character hack the lights so they all go out when he got surrounded by the cops. There was also a great sequence that showed the man running down the street and using his smart phone to raise the road barriers so that the cop cars would crash into them. It’s a very interesting new take on these sandbox-style games, and hopefully it lives up to its potential. Check out the video for that below.
The next installment in the Elder Scrolls franchise looks to shake things up a lot with Elder Scrolls: Online. As you may have guessed, this will be an online experience, in which the world you traverse through can be experienced with others.
A brief cinematic was shown for a Mad Max game, which included a man begging for death in the middle of some kind of desert. Max only had one bullet left so he didn’t shoot him, and he drives away. Then, he comes speeding back and runs the man over, and as he makes impact the Mad Max logo appears on the screen. That was all they showed, so who knows when or how it will turn out. There is a Mad Max movie coming out this year, so maybe this will tie into that somehow.
This next section of the conference was probably the highlight of the entire conference, as nearly everything they said got a rousing round of applause. The speaker came out and said that PS4 supports used games, with no restrictions being put on how you play it or who you can lend it to.
This received a HUGE round of applause.
He then said that the system DOES NOT need to be connected online to play it, and no authentication is required to play the system. If you want to play your games offline, you go right ahead.
He then said that you DO NOT need to check in with it every 24 hours, and it WILL NOT stop working if you do not check in.
Watch the video for this segment below.
Then the awesome jabs at Microsoft came to an end, and he talked about PlayStation Plus on PS4. There will now be a paid subscription to play games online on PS4, which is something that everyone knew was coming sooner or later. However, the price is $4.99 a month, and will include all of the perks that PlayStation Plus has always had, like free games and advance access to betas. You are getting a lot more than just online gaming, and even though it isn’t free anymore it still puts them ahead of Microsoft in terms of what they offer.
To drive the nail even deeper into Microsoft’s head, they then showed the world premier gameplay footage for the upcoming game from Bungie game: Destiny. The game has an amazing atmosphere, taking place in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic world in which many environments are ghost towns. The gameplay showed the multiplayer element of the game, with two friends meeting up and going through an unknown area and discovering the evils inside.The environments are absolutely huge and looked stunning. From the gameplay I saw, it also looks like it will be mixing both FPS and RPG elements, which I thought was awesome. It’s like Borderlands but a lot more mature and bad-ass. They ended the presentation on the game saying that the game will evolve over the years, which has me really interested on what that means exactly. Watch the video for this below.
They then talked about the cloud service that is coming in 2014, in which games will be able to be streamed through what is called the Gaikai system.
The whole conference ended with very important information, which was how much the PS4 will cost. The PS4 is going to cost $399, and will be coming out at the end of this year. This puts the system $100 cheaper than Xbox One.
Sony absolutely hit a home run with this conference, making themselves look awesome and Microsoft look like fools at the same time. They showed off some amazing games that are in development, the system looks great, and best of all there are no stupid restrictions on what you do with your games or having to be always online or having the system spying on you. They did everything right in this conference, and this has put PS4 way ahead of any competitors. And… that’s a wrap!