E3 Sony Recap and impressions.

  • Sigh. I intended to write these post in the same order as the conferences took place. But after Sony's, I can't write about previous ones without comparing them to Sony's event. So, here it comes:!

    Disclaimer: I am writing this after barely any sleep because of E3 and timezones are weird like that, and being pushed forward purely by hype and overdosing with green tea. So expect some mistakes. Also, if you don't agree with something, or want to state your own opinion or highlight, feel free to engage a discussion. :D

    Recap: This is based off my badly made notes that I took during press conference:

    It's hard to start writing about Sony's press conference without being a bit sceptical of the amount of content it presented. Out of 4 conferences that took place at monday (and tuesday morning for me), I have made least notes. But oh, boy was it a masterpiece. So in the same way that Sony went into this with the principle "show don't tell", I'll keep my words to a minimum so you can see exactly what I saw. Every video is worth watching, and then re-watching.
    The visual impressions alone from the great hall that the conference took place in was enough for me to say "Oh, this is gonna be good". And I was not disappointed. Three seconds after the orchestra began to play, there was only one verdict that I could spontaneously give "They have won!". Right after, doubt began to creep in. There was still an entire conference to follow, and it seemed unwise to judge after first impressions. But this time, first impressions were correct.

    The musical score was amazing by itself. Though it may be bad comparison, at that moment I remembered the opening ceremony of the League of Legends world championship 2013 (Please don't judge me), that coincidentally took place at the Staples center, right next to LA convention center, where E3 officially takes place. The thought quickly followed to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Yes! Every conference should do that! Why is no one else doing that!?

    "God of war?" someone of the Allies asked. There were smiles all around. The musical performance escalated from chills, through tension, to hype! And then... the realisation.
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    God of war! In Norse setting with an amazing story intro that renews Kratos and sets the tone, as did the musical piece for the entire conference.
    The gameplay offered "Hubergasm" as Kratos wielded his double-handed axe. It finished with amazing bonding between the two character. So precious. And for the finish... they show dragons. Yes!!!! That was amazing! I was immersed and you left me wanting for more. Sony knows what it's doing and it knows what we want and what we need.

    Shawn Layden then enters the stage. I honestly don't know why I so much liked his speech. I usually hate this, but in my notes, i wrote "Nice speech" AND underlined it. he just did it right. I studied (and still to a certain degree do) the way how presenters, voice actors and especially commentators act and speak. And I simply liked it. That was a personal shock to me. It had simply fit in.

    Next it offered a trailer for Days gone.
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    It was overall great trailer. It offered connection to a world and characters that I haven't seen before. This is the job of announcement trailer: To get you hyped for a thing that you don't know anything about.

    Next it was time for The Last Guardian.
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    Again, it did everything right. We got more environments, more scenes and more questions that we will ask ourselves until the most needed thing: Release date: 25th of october 2016. It comes out this year!

    Next hit: Horizon Zero Dawn.
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    A gameplay video. Exactly what we needed. And it did something that Jones always wants from gameplay promo. Menu navigation. More gameplays should do that! Seriously.

    Next it was another new IP: Detroid become human.
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    Think something like a mixture of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and the movie I, Robot. It looks great and they have presented it great. I am only curious if it will have so much splitting storylines as shown. I have fallen too many times for the "choices that matter" thing, where you pick different answers, but the story still remains mostly the same.

    Then it came "A horror that came before Kitchen".
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    And so it was done...

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    I personally don't really care about the franchise, but seeing how allies reacted and knowing how big it was, made me really happy. And the way they showed it was perfect. A videotape revealing the actual game, in the gameplay. Well trolled, Sony.

    The next announcement was for the PSVR. It didn't offer anything new that we didn't already know from all the leaks, but it was still big. It presented the message that VR is coming. And you should at least try it, because it is really great. Maybe not this yer, maybe not even next year, but soon...

    And so we got some VR examples:
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    Not a bad concept, but the impressiveness of a VR game cannot be identified by a video alone. I must know more to give a better response.

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    Ok. This is big. Really big. Sony practically came to EA, that carefully hid and watched over the most delicious pie that is Star Wars franchise, took the plate with pie on it, grabbed the slice... And then smashed the giant pie into the EA's face. Sony leaves the scene, eating the piece of pie and humming Star wars theme. :clap:

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    Basically the same situation as with Farpoint, but with already recognised franchise.

    Next they showed more Final Fantasy XV. With a twist...
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    I feel like I am repeating myself, but they did everything right here. Enough said.

    Next, it came the biggest shock of an entire conference for me: They show trailer for the new Call of Dutywait, wait, wait. I know tthis may not be surprising, but here is the thing: It was actally good. Like, REALLY good.
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    Maybe it was too long, but I think we needed enough to be shown.

    The next two announcements could be talked about simultaneously: Crash remastered and Lego Star Wars.

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    Two game, showing there mostly because of being purely fun. Why? Because next part cannot be described with words:

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    ..... ok. Now that we went trough that... Another big game for the fans of the franchise. Kojima is not the only one that is back:
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    That was a nice thing. A good change of pace. But not the end. To reach the finish-line, there must be a crunch:
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    A gameplay of a new IP, that was just announced earlier in the conference. Not only is the demo itself a great idea, someone made the decision do separate trailer and put the demo at the end. This decision impresses and confuses me at the same time.

    Bottom line: I honestly think that Ian said everything that needed to be said:
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    It was just undeniably the best conference this year. Sony won! Done! This conference showed that it'doesn't matter how many things you show, but the way you present them.
    5/5 stars

    Personal rant: One of the most interesting things was the way that they finished. They putted the demo at the end, completely away from the trailer. I don't think that was the way they had initially planned. Either there is something really big about this game that I am not seeing, or they've had something else for the end. I don't know why else the would finish with that, just for the sake of separating demo and trailer. Otherwise, there are only two things that were lacking during the press conference:
    Last thing that was shown during the stream of the conference, was a list of upcoming games. Only Horizon zero down had a specific release date, while others read: In development for PS4. This list does not include any exclusives or not, coming in 2016 (Persona 5, Last guardian, FFXV, Call of Duty...). That was a big mistake imo. Microsoft and Ubisoft had tons of games that are coming out this year or early next year. That was one of the best things about Microsoft and Ubisfot that Sony clearly lacked. It is basically saying "We have nothing for you, but please stay excited". Sure, they handled it better than EA with Star Wars, but that was still poorly made.
    They have made no effort to bring new customers to PS4. I myself don't have a PS4, and they haven't showed anything to buy the console. I think it was a good decision to not announce NEO, but in oreder to convince specifically myself to get on PS4 is something like this: They announce Neo and cut the price of original PS4 to 200$ AND they put some sort of a starter bundle, with a game like Bloodborne or something. Or even some currency for PSstore. We'll see.

  • First things first - for the past 4 years I've made attempts to watch the Sony conferences live and each time I've had an exam on at the exact time it was scheduled (curse you Australian timezones).

    This time I got to watch it live, by myself, on a big TV. It might have been the best time of my life, and that's not a joke. I leapt out of my char when RE7 was announced and yelled "Huber!". Needless to say I've watched their reactions to the countless times already.

    The structure of the conference is what I consider to be the thing that highlights it more than the others.
    Think about it all:
    Game with orchestra in the background.
    Layden comes out and welcomes you to the show - says we're gonna show you a bunch of games.
    Game - holy crap it's RE7!
    Layden comes out and says that entire game can be played in VR - here's some more VR games you could play.
    Layden comes out and backdoor shady deals with Activision made Crash happen
    Crash (...skylander :'( )
    "Andy" House shows up, drops the date and price of the VR tech, says we like devs, brings out the king of devs
    Kojima's game
    Cool off with Spiderman
    Thanks for coming, here's a taste of that new game we announced second in the conference so you know what it actually is, see ya.

    Every moment in between people coming out followed a theme, and nothing ever broke the flow.
    It was a showcase of entertainment - they were in a theatre and they put on a theatrical performance.
    It's almost as if they thought the people coming were looking for a good time and not just to extract moments for clickbait news articles - which is even more spectacular because there are some big news articles you can make from the conference;

    New God of War
    New Game "Days Gone"
    Release date, and another beast in The Last Guardian.
    RE7 - Play the demo tonight
    All that VR stuff was new
    Crash Freaking Bandicoot
    Kojima and Norman Reedus

    It was art. 11/10 - Huber/Hype, beyond excellence. This is a show they'll be talking about for years.


    To rebut the "they didn't really sell this year's lineup" thing, I think they're going with a leapfrog strategy and simply trying to market the other "this year" stuff outside of E3. Last year we got a lot of "coming 2016" and this year we got a lot of stuff that's presumably 2017, so hopefully the common thought among consumers is "I'm going to get this console with the safe knowledge that there is indeed a whole bunch of awesome stuff coming down the road" whereas for something like the NX (I really like Nintendo pls don't shoot me, I just don't know enough xbone stuff to make this comparison with them) there's a valid thought process that can just be "I'm getting it for the launch games, but I have no idea what I'll be getting a year down the track and it could potentially be a dust gatherer, so I'm getting a PS4 instead"

    ^This is all assuming Sony can actually market the games that come out for its own consoles. They have been better in the past year or so with it, but - at least in my country - you barely see anything advertised for Sony, and most of the multiplatform games end with the Xbone logo so that is worrying for me since I can fully imagine a mother or father shopping for christmas and just not knowing a thing about the Sony console, especially since the "it's new!" factor of the Xbone stuff that got announced could sway this years holiday sales. Who knows, maybe the Sony VR stuff could blow Scorpio out of the water if the Star Wars stuff breaks the mainstream.

    All in all, no one really thought last year could be topped. This year it was, and that is freaking amazing.

  • I just wanted to throw this here briefly. From the 2015 coverage, I can't watch the FF7 remake announcement trailer reactions from then-GT without sobbing uncontrollably for a few minutes. I have a feeling that the response to RE7 or to Kojima's appearance will spark that same, deep, instinctive reaction from me a year or more down the line. Good vibes with the EZA crew and Sony knocking it out of the park once more.

  • I also want to throw in one thing: I think this conference, from start to finish, was much more solid than last years.

    Last year, we had these huge, earth-shattering announcements: The Last Guardian returns, FFVII gets remastered, Shenmue III gets kickstarted.....but around those three announcements we had huge piles of mediocrity.

    We had, right before FFVII, a lineup of Destiny expansion The Taken King, AC: Syndicate, and World of Final Fantasy. One could argue it was all set up as a calm before the storm. Then, after Shenmue III, you had Andrew (sorry, Andy) House talking about VR and Rigs, and Playstation Vue for what seemed like damned forever. Then you had the most vanilla of CoD stuff ever. Then you had Disney on stage pushing their Boba Fett playset for Disney Infinity (sorry Jones) and then mediocre Battlefront (which even the Allies knew was going to be mediocre, and they tend to be super optimistic, jolly fellows) before ending with pretty good UC4 gameplay.

    This year, they just cut out all the BS, and their low points (Crash Skylander and LEGO TFA) felt more like a welcome space to catch your breath in. The only corporate speak they tried to do was a minute-long pitch of VR which was basically sold by the intense reveal of RE7 right before it. Like I said to a friend of mine, if they had just shown a slide saying "Playstation VR: $399), I would have thought, "Ugh, that seems bad." But they sold it perfectly: by showing what software would be on it, so that by the time they were done with the VR section I was thinking, "Geez, I might actually enjoy that."

  • @Nillend said in E3 Sony Recap and impressions.:

    Personal rant: One of the most interesting things was the way that they finished. They putted the demo at the end, completely away from the trailer. I don't think that was the way they had initially planned. Either there is something really big about this game that I am not seeing, or they've had something else for the end. I don't know why else the would finish with that, just for the sake of separating demo and trailer.

    I actually thought circling back to the Days Gone demo was really clever. I'm not sure I understand how that became a complaint for so many people. They introduced this new title from a long silent team using an evocative, but cryptic trailer. When they didn't follow it up with a demo immediately it let people assume that it would be months if not a year before we'd get to see anyone play it. But once everyone had resigned themselves to that eventuality Shawn came back on stage to say "J/K, here's a bunch of cool gameplay, too!" Felt like a really clever manipulation of expectations.

  • @eschatological
    "I also want to throw in one thing: I think this conference, from start to finish, was much more solid than last years." I definitely agree. Most of the games in Sony presentation are of highest class and the flow of the conference was perfect. There was a lot of time spend for in what order will the games be presented and how they'll be presented.

    "Last year, we had these huge, earth-shattering announcements: The Last Guardian returns, FFVII gets remastered, Shenmue III gets kickstarted.....but around those three announcements we had huge piles of mediocrity."

    I disagree with you there. These franchises have a big playerbase so a lot of people were excited for it. The Taken King really refreshed Destiny and I've heard only good things about it. AC: Syndicate presented great world to play in, and while not an amazing achievement, the game is imo 7/10, which is still a good game. World of Final Fantasy was probably meant more as a troll before FFVII, but the game doesn't look bad. Sure, I doubt it will break any boundaries, but it seems fun and charming, meant for the enormous fanbase of the franchise.
    While I agree that talking about VR and Rigs, and Playstation Vue seemed unnecessary and too long, I understand that they must promote their services as a company and people (myself included) like to see what new technology will they bring. CoD is also one of the biggest franchises ever, so it was needed to be shown. Plus the last CoD seems to be better than the previous couple of them. While Disney Infinity seems the most out of place here, it is still mostly meant for the Joneses of this world. And if you have a name as Disney behind you, it's understandable to show it. And Battlefront was Hype before its release. Everyone, including allies, was really looking forward to it, only to find out after release how bland it was.

    Plus if you look deeper into these earth-shattering announcements, they were not actually that great. FFVII probably had the best presentation of the three, but even it was based on the nostalgia and the legacy of the original. They didn't show us anything specific, but it was an announcement trailer (a great one, for that matter), so it was overall well executed. Shenmue was at its core: "We could potentially make this game, but you need to pay us". And for the Last Guardian, I will only echo the thought of many at that gameplay: It looks exactly the same. But people were happy just by being shown to them.

    Still, Sony can be proud that it actually knows what people want and how to present it. Both, last year's and this year's conference were 10/10.

  • @Brad-Grenz But to end with a gameplay of the same game that they showed earlier in the conference is unusual. This is supposed to be the big crunch, and knowing what Sony is capable of showing and how to do a press event I'm thinking that they had something big to finish on, but called it off for whatever reason.
    The ending was not bad, don't get me wrong, but they didn't finish with a blast that we were expecting.

  • Looking back on this Conference, (rewatching it now) - I think 90% of what Sony did correctly, is emotionally pacing the show.

    Like, compare Sony's emotional "phases" to the Microsoft show.

  • @Stormcrownn Microsoft had "emotional phases"? :confused:

  • @Nillend exactly.