The Last Guardian purportedly set for sometime in 2016, was a bittersweet surprise. Mainly, however artificial, for its lackadaisical technical performance. Although the art design looked expectedly gorgeous (typical of Team Ico), exceptional technical work is also part of the developers precept. It just looks too close to what we saw at E3 way back in 2009 when the game was slated for the PS3. Textures looked bland, the foggy draw distance appeared minimal, it really lacked that wow factor Ico, Shadow Of The Colossus, and The Last Guardian originally had. Despite these gripes, character interaction between the boy and Trico looked wonderfully nuanced and animations had a real weight and life to them. I look forward to whatever Team Ico has in store, no matter the technical finesse.
Horizon: Zero Dawn looks technically stellar, as G.G’s titles often do. It has a great concept, creative weapons, and overall intrigue. I always preferred Killzone’s weighty mechanics to Call of Duty’s paper weight formula. So I’m trusting that they’ll nail the core combat. I’m also hoping they improve upon their pacing, as the Killzone trilogy often suffered from taxing, extended bouts of non-stop bullets. No Mans Sky continues to be vaguely interesting, and consistently confounding in its basic layout. Although the Demo supposedly aimed at telling us what exactly we’d be doing I came out even more dazed. Perhaps it’s part of the marketing model. More confusing is the fact that no release date was announced, and it’s said to release this year. We’ll see. Media Molecule (Little Big Planet) showcased a neat little trailer that promised what LBP did without the limitations of the sack boy universe. However, no release date was announced. And another exciting title to be: Shenmue 3, now the Guinness Book World Record holder for fastest Video Game Crowdfunding, isn’t scheduled until December of 2017!
Hitman and Black Ops 3 do good enough to keep the momentum of a conference going, but they are only content exclusive (though it’s cool to see Sony snag the CoD content from Xbox). And those are two titles luckily coming this winter. These days Sony is no longer the face of Solid Snake or the next Final Fantasy. Times have changed. The next-gen consoles seem to be moving along slowly, at least in terms of games. But perhaps that’s changing soon as hinted by this conference. And in terms of pure E3 conference performance, Sony nailed it. They knew they had a lot to push out, so started out strong with The Last Guardian, and mostly held that momentum to the end. This thing was dense with awesome reveals, new weird franchises, nostalgia, and extensions of some already established franchises (Black Ops 3, Uncharted 4, Hitman). I wish Sony had more of an iconic face to pin to it these days, the way Microsoft has Master Chief, and Nintendo has Mario (and many others), but its current assemblage of exclusives are interesting and assuaging ventures. Even if those games don’t necessarily feel the way we’ve grown to define the console. But what’s important is that they retained that vibe within the conference, in spite of the fact that icons like Cloud’s Buster Sword and Snake’s C-Box are no longer solely theirs.