Sony E3 2015 Review: Last Guardian, FF7 Remake and Shenmue III Rocking From 2016, Won't Fix "Sparse" 2015 Lineup
Sony press conference at E3 2015 was all about nostalgia and 2016. The show has been literally stolen by three announcements, that were both long requested and unexpected at the very same time: The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue III. Let's take a look at what value these games will have for PlayStation platforms.
First of all, The Last Guardian. I have been a bit disappointed by learning that the demo showcased during the press conference was taken from the same level we have seen in the original presentation: could this mean there won't be enough variety of locations? With that said, the game is still directed by Fumito Ueda (who was in the audience) and retains its tone, mood, atmosphere. In that regard, nothing changed since 2009. Coming in 2016 was both a good and a bad news: good because it can still be improved to be a true PlayStation 4 title and not a "Duke Nukem Forever 2"; bad because, after so many years in the works, it was legit to expect a release already in fall 2015. Anyway, The Last Guardian is alive and this is all that matters, at the end of the day.
Going on, we have Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue III. People went literally crazy for these new projects by Square Enix and Yu Suzuki, even though neither of them is a PS4 exclusive: FFVIII Remake will be out "first" on PlayStation 4 but not "only", while Shenmue III is beginning with Sony's current-gen console and PC, but Xbox and even Wii U are not excluded at this moment. Probably it will depend on how good the crowdfunding campaign will proceed on Kickstarter, but consider that the first milestone of $2 million has been reached in just a matter of hours.
All in all, having both of them on stage has been a great move by Sony, that acting this way has somehow managed to hide from everyone's eyes the fact that there won't be any major release for PlayStation 4 in 2015. 2016 will also be the year of the long rumored Horizon: Zero Dawn by Guerrilla Games. The game is an RPG where you play as Aloy, among the few survivors of humankind in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunky setting – she will remember you of Heavenly Sword's Nariko. Being powered by some of the developers who have worked on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, this is the PlayStation 4 game I expect most for next year, together with The Last Guardian.
The only other first party games announced at the press conference have been Rigs, a multiplayer arena shooter for Project Morpheus playable on the booth at E3, and Media Molecule's Dreams, which we will learn more about at the Paris Games Week. The title is substantially a powerful tool to create whatever players want, essentially their "dreams", using the DualShock 4 and its back colored light.
Among other announcements, there's been space for the next episode in the Hitman saga, which promises to be a reboot releasing digitally on December 8 for PS4 (beta first and exclusive contracts), PC and Xbox One, and an exclusive new take on the Final Fantasy series, called World of Fantasy. It's coming next year for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, other than PC and/or mobile devices.
Activision has also been a guest for PlayStation E3 2015 press conference, delivering two news: The Taken King is the new expansion by Bungie for Destiny, introducing new contents on September 15, and Call of Duty Black Ops III's add-ons will debut earlier on PlayStation platforms, for the first time ever, thanks to an agreement of exclusivity. "PlayStation is the new home of Call of Duty", said CEO Andrew House, underlining the fact that Xbox has finally lost its ius primae noctis on the shooting series. In terms of third-party relationships, in addition to exclusive Scarecrow missions for Batman: Arkham Knight and Dreadful Crimes DLC for Assassin's Creed Syndicate, it's a good move by Sony for covering up its "sparse" 2015 lineup.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End closed the press conference with a great gameplay trailer, which freezed twice on the start-up, but then recovered pretty well. Graphics don't look a great leap forward, at least judging from online compressed-quality we've been looking at, but what's surprising is the size of the map: you could almost look at an entire city while running wild with a car and trying to shake off pursuers. The entire scene was pretty spectacular and somehow made Uncharted 4 return to the series' roots, making a step back from the initial, darker presentation at PlayStation Experience; I actually enjoyed it, but I am still curious to learn more about that mood.
The Last Guardian is alive and kicking. Horizon: Zero Dawn looks as good as we were expecting from Guerrilla Games.
Final Fantasy VII is a great news for series' fans and those who have never played it willing to recover a masterpiece from the past. Shemnue III on Kickstarter was shockingly surprising.
Third-party support, culminating in the Call of Duty deal, has been huge.
First party games announced on stage failed to catch interest, still too few and inconsistent, apart from Horizon: Zero Dawn.
The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy VII are expected in 2016, while Shenmue will need at least a three year development cycle.
Sony has completely given up on 2015, shifting people's focus on next year or even 2017.