6/17/2015

Sony unloads at E3 2015 with new franchises and The Last Guardian

Before Sony took to the stage late Monday night, rumors hinted at the company officially unveiling an extended look at the long-awaited follow up to 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian. Though like every E3 conference since 2007, gamers figured the rumors to be a ruse, distracting those looking forward to the show from figuring out the true big reveal before the event even began.
But unlike every one of those E3 showings over the last eight years, Sony’s Japan Studio came to this year’s presser armed with a nearly seven-minute video showing off actual gameplay from The Last Guardian. As hoots and hollars rang out from the attending crowd, it became clear Sony desired to pull no punches for its 2015 keynote.
Related: Check out all of the latest news and coverage coming out of E3
Ninety minutes after that big reveal — right around the time Nathan Drake appeared headed for his painful fate in the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gameplay demo — Sony’s E3 event came to an official close. Over the course of the hour and a half show, Sony treated gamers to a slew of exciting announcements and reveal trailers, each of which flanked by more gaming news than anyone knew what to do with. Now with the dust completely settled, we’ve compiled all of the sights, sounds, and otherwise which came out of Sony’s impressive E3 briefing; check out our complete recap below.

The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian was a game that many believed would never come to fruition, especially since it was announced more than six years ago for the PlayStation 3. However, that all changed when Sony revealed the long-in-development adventure title and showcased a lengthy game trailer during its press conference at E3 2015.
The in-game footage followed the character and a massive, dog-like guardian named Tico, as they progressed through a puzzle-riddled level, engaging in all manners of teamwork as they moved about the crumbling environment. Director Fumito Ueda and Sony have claimed the forthcoming title is all about friendship and companionship, and as seen in the latest gameplay reveal, it looks to be the case. Let’s just hope new developer Gen Design can keep the ambitious title on schedule.

The Last Guardian is slated for release sometime in 2016 as a PS4 exclusive.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

The video game industry is largely based around sequels and long-running franchises. It is an industry that runs on nostalgia and familiarity. But video game fans want variety and new experiences, too. Of all the games shown at Sony’s E3 2015 press conference, Horizon: Zero Dawn may be one of the most exciting because it’s something entirely new. This IP comes from Sony’s first-party development studio, Guerrilla Games, which is previously responsible for the long-running, Sony-exclusive FPS series, Killzone. But Horizon: Zero Dawn’s beautiful world and methodical hunting gameplay are much different from a drab and gritty sci-fi shooter.
The player assumes the role of a female huntress, stalking strange mechanical beasts in a world where humans have begun to rebuild after an apocalyptic event. This far flung future looks more like a second Ice Age — one dominated by massive dinosaur-like robots. Despite its combat focus, there’s something quiet and contemplative about the world and atmosphere of Horizon: Zero Dawn, and its protagonist that has us eager to learn more about the game.
Horizon: Zero Dawn will launch on the PlayStation 4 sometime in 2016.

Hitman

Sony officially unveiled the next chapter of Square Enix’s Hitman franchise — simply titled Hitman — during its 90 minute press conference Monday, showing off a nearly three-minute cinematic trailer. In the trailer, viewers see Agent 47 running through a particularly snowy patch of woods, with club music serving as the only audio (aside from a voice which appears to be 47’s handler). Though little was actually revealed during Sony’s time on stage, it appears the beloved assassin will once again travel to colorful locales to knock off the world’s most morally corrupt citizens, donning his signature bald head and finely pressed Italian suits.
Hitman will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 8.

Street Fighter V

Few fighting games are as iconic as those comprising the Street Fighter franchise. Sony used its E3 2015 conference to shed a little more light regarding the newest edition to the lineup, appropriately dubbed Street Fighter V, quickly announcing that two new fighters are joining the fray when the title launches next year. A scantily-clad Cammy will make an appearance alongside a chain-wielding Birdie, the latter character of which hasn’t been seen since the days of Street Fighter Alpha 3.
Sony also showed a high-adrenaline trailer for the title during its briefing — complete with cannon spikes, larger-than-life hair, and hot peppers — and announced that the beta will be available beginning July 23 to those who pre-order the title in advance. An additional beta window for PC users has yet to be announced.
Street Fighter V is currently scheduled for release in Spring 2016 as a PS4 and PC exclusive.

No Man’s Sky

The procedurally-generated galaxy of No Man’s Sky is ambitious — perhaps that’s why we haven’t seen much from developer Hello Games since the game’s big reveal last year. However, studio co-founder Sean Murray was on hand at Sony’s press conference to debut some new in-game footage of the forthcoming title, providing audiences with a quick glimpse of just how vast it’s pet project has become.
The brief demo saw Murray traversing a galaxy brimming with vivid colors and warring factions, before he wandered a foreign planet and obliterated the destructible environment aside hostile, sentinel robots and bizarre fauna. He described it all as a “universe-size sandbox,” and frankly, the game’s sheer size is nearly as difficult to comprehend as our own place in the universe. Now, if only we could get Carl Sagan on the line.
No Man’s Sky is coming first to the PS4 at an undisclosed date in the future, with a PC version of the game expected to land shortly thereafter.

Dreams

To be honest, I don’t think Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans can accurately describe just what Dreams is going to entail, even if his studio is creating the game. Announced during Sony’s E3 briefing via an onstage demo, the title is seemingly a cooperative canvas for expression that will work to create the sensation of lucid dreaming without sleep.
Players will create and share surreal, interconnected worlds known as the “Dreamverse,” which players will build using the motion capabilities on the PS4’s DualShock controller. They will design the painting-esque works on their own, and once done, grab their creations and bring them to life using motion capture animation. Evans was beyond vague during the presentation for the new IP, but he did offer a video teeming with polar bears, zombies, and high-flying space encounters.
Dreams will arrive on the PS4 at an undisclosed date in the future, though Evans said more will be revealed during Paris Games Week in October.

Destiny: The Taken King

Destiny didn’t exactly launch to rave reviews, but that hasn’t stopped Bungie from releasing a venerable swath of content since the games initial release last fall. Announced via new trailer shown during Sony’s E3 conference, The Taken King will greatly expand upon previous expansions with a host of new content.
It’s not a sequel to the original title, per se, but it’s more robust than past expansions. The Taken King will feature a string of content exclusive to PlayStation platforms, too, while adding a new raid, additional gear, and a new subclass to all existing main character classes. The gameplay trailer laid out the surrounding narrative, which revolves around a celestial being known as Oryx who’s hellbent on eradicating the universe after the demise of his son, Crota, at the hands of the Guardians. Revenge is rarely as appealing.
Destiny: The Taken King is scheduled for release on the PS4 on Sept. 15, 2015.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

The latest installment of the oft-polarizing Assassin’s Creed received its fair share of airtime at this year’s E3. Such being the case, Sony used its press briefing to announce the breadth of exclusive content that’s to be bundled with PS4 iteration of the game when it ships in the fall.
The PS4 version of the game will offer exclusive content in the form of the Dreadful Crimes missions, which will see gamers solving a bevy of “Dreadful Crimes,” a la Sherlock Holmes. Sony also revealed a new gameplay trailer for the upcoming title, showcasing just what the stealthy Evie Frye — playable sister to protagonist Jacob Frye — is capable of when armed with the elegant Cane-Sword, a hidden blade, and an onslaught of throwing knives. The Rooks would be proud.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is slated for release on the PS4 on Oct. 23, 2015.

Firewatch

Firewatch is the first game from Campo Santo, a development studio made up of game creators from Irrational, Telltale, and Fullbright, the studios that brought us the Bioshock series, The Walking Dead, and Gone Home, respectively — an impressive pedigree. Set in in 1989 in the wilderness of Wyoming, players will take on the role of Henry, a man who has left the world behind to work as a Firewatch for a summer.
According to the trailer shown, one strange day pushes Henry out of his lookout post and into the wilderness, where he encounters a mystery. As he wanders deeper into the woods his only point of contact is his supervisor Delilah, at the other end of his walkie talkie. The game focuses on communication between Henry and Delilah and how the player’s actions affect their relationship. Firewatch was one of the more interesting titles shown, as it is a very different type of game than the action-oriented blockbusters that dominate the current gaming landscape. We’re excited to finally play Firewatch later this year.