E3: Sony – The Masters of Crowd Control‏

s1Sony didn’t show a huge number of exclusives and there line-up (for the rest of 2015 at least), remains painfully undernourished, but my God, ask anyone who ‘won’ E3 this year (myself included), and they’ll almost certainly tell you that Sony came out on top. Microsoft have an undeniably stronger line-up for the tail end of 2015, and heck, even there 2016 collection is already looking pretty solid, but despite what are an array of exceptional looking games, they didn’t deliver anything that could match the sheer wow factor, the sheer geek-baiting magnificence of Sony’s big three.

Sure, Uncharted 4 will remain the platform’s poster boy and will most likely shift the largest number of units, but even Mr Drake’s beautifully textured face ultimately paled in comparison to what has to go down as the most unlikely triple-header in video game history. While only one of these is likely to do truly huge business (the one that is actually a timed exclusive), the appearance of these three games once again highlighted Sony’s newfound sense of presentational savvy and their uncanny ability to truly speak to the core gaming community – the community that ultimately drives public opinion on each and every console.

They know they have a weaker line-up right now, but by hitting with those three, they also knew they could steal the show from under the the polished but ultimately comparatively safe noses of their Microsoft-based counterparts. If you break it down, if you look at each presentation constructively then I would argue that Microsoft had the stronger conference thanks to its array of immediate big name releases and solid combination of unique IP, interesting indies and established blockbusters coming down the line – what they didn’t have however was Final Fantasy VII, Shenmue III and The Last Guardian – what they didn’t have was a nostalgiagasm.

s2God, it seems ridiculous even writing those down. Seriously, let me just put that down on paper again – Final Fantasy VII, Shenmue III and The Last Guardian! Are you fuc*ing kidding me!? Did that actually happen? Shenmue III – that’s really a thing. Honestly, as much as I love that series (and I am one of its bigger fans), I had totally given up on ever experiencing Ryu’s ongoing tale of well-mannered vengeance.

Being on the Eastern side of the Atlantic, I didn’t find out about any of this until this morning (my eyes finally gave up after Ubisoft’s conference), but I tell you what, if nothing else, I was certainly sitting in the right place when I finally checked my phone at 6:30am while having my morning…..*ahem*, clearout.

Will Shenmue III live up to expectations? Can The Last Guardian possibly be worth the wait? How about all those years begging Square-Enix for a Final Fantasy VII – will it have the same impact that the original had back in 1997? The answer? Well, right now, the answer is absolutely irrelevant…….and Sony know it. These games are nothing but potential and possibility, and when it comes to games like this, that’s all you need. Even The Last Guardian, which should be ready to go relatively soon is still a somewhat unknown quantity with much of the expectation built upon the reputation of Ico and truly unforgettable, Shadow of the Colossus – and you know what, that’s just fine. Right now, gamers are just happy that they exist, and whether it’s fundamentally true or not, are invariably going to be happy that Sony are bringing them too them.

Shenmue III is to be funded via Kickstarter, but when people think of the project, they will inevitably think of Sony. Final Fantasy VII will almost certainly come to the Xbox One, but again, when people think Final Fantasy VII, they will think of Sony’s miraculous black box. Even The Last Guardian, a game that Sony have been promising for over 6 years, despite the wait, the majority of gamers are just going to be happy that it’s finally here – a victory for art over commercialism and further proof that Sony are willing commit to risky, artisticly unique propositions. Microsoft might have delivered a more tangible, solid line-up of games, but I’ll tell you this much; there is no beating a little romance…….and those three games, well, for lack of a better term – they’re romantic as fu*k.

s3It wasn’t a perfect show from Sony, far from it, but you know what? It doesn’t matter, because come the end of E3, nobody will remember the filler, nobody will remember the host of solid games set-to be released in the months to come. No, what will be remembered is the promise of games that we all thought that we would never get, we will remember that 2015 was the year that Sony gave gamers what they wanted. Now, if that isn’t ‘For the Players’, I don’t know what the hell is.

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Comments (2)

  1. Keith June 17, 2015
  2. Liam Pritchard June 23, 2015

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