E3 Show Daily
Sony Celebrates Creativity, Diversity
The Sony Interactive Entertainment America E3 press event, held Monday night, went out of its way to demonstrate the company’s penchant for artistry, creativity, and diversity.
Sony kicked off the festivities with the appearance of composer Bear McCreary. McCreary—known for his work on The Walking Dead and Battlestar Galactica—began the show by conducting a live orchestra. In one of the most dramatic intros in E3 history, goosebump-inducing vocals and pounding drums preceded a stellar re-envisioning of the legendary God of War. Blazing onto the big screen, a painted, massive Kratos (the series' protagonist) appeared to enthusiastic cheers. A live demo then showed a bearded, more realistic Kratos in an epic third-person action presentation. This reimagining of the series promises a stunning level of realism and depth to the character of Kratos, not to mention a winter setting filled with fabulous monsters and a new beginning for the iconic series.
The fantasy continued with a trailer for the much-anticipated action-adventure game The Last Guardian (which is set for an October 25 PlayStation 4 release), but fantasy quickly turned to horror with a live demo of apocalyptic zombie game Days Gone. In it, gamers play a biker bounty hunter fighting to survive in a devastated world packed with raving zombies. The demo showed the hero relentlessly pursued by a torrent of undead, with nothing to defend himself except his rifle and his wits. Despite his best efforts, he was cornered atop a water tower, as zombies flooded the ground below—leaving the audience wondering how he would ever escape.
With its innovative use of virtual reality (VR), Sony is cranking the horror-gaming factor even higher. Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, said of Sony’s VR plans: "2016 is a seminal moment in virtual reality. The time has finally come for everyone to enjoy VR in their own homes. At PlayStation, we have a combination of the necessary processing and graphics power already built inside 40 million PS4s already sold worldwide."
Leveraging this massive audience, Sony is working alongside publisher Capcom on survival-horror game Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. A brief demo of the game showed a first-person view of an unknown hero creeping through a filthy, abandoned house—and coming across a video tape filled with disturbing imagery. Since the game will be compatible with Sony’s PlayStation VR headset, the scares are bound to be huge. Beginning January 24, 2017, brave gamers can come face-to-face with their darkest, most visceral fears.
Sony’s VR lineup covers all the emotional bases, from exhilaration to horror and everything in between. After announcing the Sony PlayStation VR headset’s $399 price point, Layden revealed that gamers will have 50 games available by the end of the year. He briefly touched upon these games, starting with a list of PlayStation exclusives: action game Farpoint, space battler Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission, third-person action game Batman: Arkham VR, role-playing game Final Fantasy XV VR Experience, futuristic FPS Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and its much-beloved forerunner Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.
Layden went on to demonstrate Sony’s diverse approach to video game heroes. The first such hero was the young tribal huntress from third-person action game Horizon: Zero Dawn. This genre-defying RPG arrives February 28, 2017, and puts gamers in the shoes of a fearless woman determined to defend her land and her village from monstrous robo-mechs.
Sony next showcased something very different: a cerebral android detective. In sci-fi action game Detroit: Become Human, developer Quantic Dream lets gamers find out how it feels like to be less—or more—than human. As android detective Connor, gamers gather clues, make life-or-death decisions, and address the moral and ethical questions raised by the concept of artificial intelligence. The demo promised complex dialog puzzles and a compelling process of event re-enactment that allows gamers to alter undesirable outcomes. Though the release date for the game has yet to be announced, it will no doubt offer an unforgettable interactive experience.
Speaking of unforgettable interactive experiences, who better to help Sony create such a thing but legendary video game director Hideo Kojima? Kojima himself appeared on-stage, and—after greeting the cheering crowd with an understated "I'm back!"—Kojima gave fans a brief introduction to his latest project, Death Stranding. The game stars Norman Reedus (of AMC’s The Walking Dead), and the announcement trailer showed Reedus awakening, naked and vulnerable on a deserted beach, alongside a newborn baby. Standing to scan the horizon, he was menaced by five floating, anonymous figures. The mysterious trailer was only a brief tease for what to except, but gamers can surely look forward to the kind of tantalizing and deeply emotional experience that only Kojima can provide.
Layden rounded out Sony’s event by showcasing some quick peeks at upcoming games. The first was LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens—and fans only have two more weeks to wait for its release. Teenage superhero Spider-Man also returns in an all-new adventure developed by Insomniac, and a brief trailer suggested that the upcoming game will have all the high-flying acrobatic action that gamers expect. Furry daredevil Crash Bandicoot makes his return this October in Activision's Skylanders: Imaginators, an RPG that lets players create their own characters. Crash will also reappear next year, in reissues of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
Sony’s E3 press event made it clear that the company attributes its success not only to its innovative use of the latest gaming and VR technologies, but more importantly, to the artistry of its developers and the integrity of its community.