Sony’s Future of Gaming event put on quite the show, to say the least. The show easily stood out from the rest of the recent digital events. And there are quite a few reasons for it.
The primary reason being the reveal of the PS5. While the show will be remembered for the reveal of the PS5 in the future, it was a lot more than a console reveals event. This was a well thought out and well-produced event, that very carefully avoided certain reveal event tropes such as focusing on games that make use of the console’s newest gimmick.
Although the DualSense’s haptic feedback and the immersion of 3D audio were discussed, the show did not spend too much time leaning on those functionalities. Instead what we got was a great mix of games from all genres and sizes, to the point that it left some viewers puzzled as to why such games need to have been in a next-gen reveal event.
Clearly, Sony’s messaging was that their new console is going to continue supporting big and smaller scale games alike, which is great for everyone. Let’s talk about those games now, shall we? There were well over 20 games showcased in various category.
And category does not mean genre, it is what your gut says about the game when you first see it. So, without further ado, let’s start with……..
The Gorgeous Ones
A console’s reveal event will no doubt have games that showcase their visual fidelity. And Sony’s show was no exception. Games like Gran Turismo 7, and Resident Evil 8 certainly looked their part. However, for this category, we are looking at games that go a step beyond just good graphics.
So, we have Project Athia one of the first games to catch my attention, mainly due to its close to photo realistic visuals. Much of this game is a mystery, including its name so it might be quite a while before we get to see this game in action. Next, we have Kena – Bridge of Spirits.
If Project Athia was gorgeous with its photorealism, Kena feels like a Pixar movie, with beautiful visuals and cutesy characters.
What’s on display in its gameplay trailer is something that has to be seen to be believed. We certainly have come a long way with visuals, and Kena felt like we have finally reached a point where one cannot distinguish between an animated movie and gameplay from a videogame.
The last one that looked distinctly gorgeous was Little Devil Inside. This is a game that, once again, is reminiscent of an animated movie. The visual styles easily stands out and commands your attention. Not much else is known about the game, except that it has been in the works for a very long time and that it will also be available on the PS4.
The Head Turners
From a catchy song with cute looking creatures to a cat navigating through a world populated by robots, this next group of games certainly did turn some heads. These games go on to show what the art of video games can convey and how effortlessly the events on screen can get you intrigued.
Stray, Jett: The far shore, Pragmata, Returnal and Bugsnax are all games that invoke a sense of awe and curiosity in their own quirky ways. Each game is a different flavour and although we know little to nothing about these games and how the end product is going to look or feel, the bits that were shown in the event certainly looked intriguing.
The Eyebrow Raisers
Well, not all games are going to catch your curiosity. Goodbye Volcano High, Oddworld Soulstorm and Sackboy: A Big Adventure are games that in no means look like they are lacking in creativity or quality. But the issue is that these games come with a sense of Déjà vu, as they do remind us something that we have seen before.
Goodbye Volcano High reminds us of a story-driven Telltale game, while Sackboy was just impersonating the 3D version of Mario. And Oddworld, well this was a game which was revealed just over a year back, with a somewhat similar-looking trailer.
All of these games look good. It’s just that they did make me ask if they really have to be in an event like this. From a creator’s perspective, the worst thing that could happen to a game is if it is labelled as “padding” in a major event and these games felt just like that.
The Usual Suspects
Every console reveal comes accompanied with a set of games that you were prepared for right from when the concept of the console was discussed. Astro’s Playroom, Gran Turismo 7 and NBA 2K21 are the ones that take this coveted mantle. Astro bot was a great PSVR game.
One of the first VR titles to incorporate third-person perspective in a meaningful way, thus showcasing the quirks of the VR platform in ways other games couldn’t. So, it is only logical that Astro made a comeback on Sony’s new console, this time serving as a showcase that highlights the DualSense’s capabilities and the 3D audio for the PS5, alongside being a fun game. Astro’s playroom will be a free game and will come pre-installed on all PS5s at launch.
Then we have Gran Turismo, a franchise that has been a PlayStation staple since its inception. It has been 3 years since the release of Gran Turismo sport, so what better time for the next instalment than a console reveal event. A console-specific racing game can now be checked off the list.
Then, the event needs to have a sports game. Since EA has its own event, it will be up to one of the 2K games to appear on the show. So, bring the best selling 2K Sports franchise on, in the form of NBA 2K21.
Having these games in the show isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and each of these could very well turn out to be great experiences. I do still scratch my head over the absence of this years Call of Duty though. Where did that go, I wonder.
Solar Ash, Destruction All-stars and Godfall are not your run of the mill games by any measure. But they found themselves in the unfortunate place of being in an event that was crowded by games that tried to one-up each other (in a good way).
Solar Ash is a game from the makers of Hyperlight Drifter. Its gameplay trailer was very minimal and did not have much to warrant players’ attention. The same can be said about Destruction All-Stars. A game that looks like the offspring of Twisted Metal and Fortnite.
Yes, the trailer looked cool and all, but Destruction All-Stars and Solar Ash, unfortunately, are games that I instantly forgot after the show.
Then we have Godfall. The first-ever PS5 game revealed during a major gaming event, Godfall had everyone’s attention by default, thanks to the sheer scarcity of “anything” related to the PS5 at the time. But in a pool of great games, Godfall failed to impress. And that “Make way for the King” soundtrack in the gameplay trailer did not help one bit.
Alongside Pragmata, Capcom also chose the PS5 event to reveal Resident Evil 8: Village. Resident Evil 7 was one of the best games in the franchise and was a key player in Capcom’s resurgence to success. The first-person aspect of RE7, which was initially questioned by many, only added to the strength of the game. Resident Evil 8 stays with the first-person perspective and this time looks even more gorgeous and haunting.
Bethesda showcased their already revealed Ghostwire Tokyo and Deathloop, but this time with a good chunk of gameplay in both games. Deathloop looks like tongue in cheek fun in all the right ways and Ghostwire Tokyo looks very slick, to say the least.
What is worrying though is the visible shift in tone and aesthetics between the gameplay trailers shown in this event and the original cinematic trailers during E3 last year. That said, both games do look like a lot of fun.
Not to be outdone, Square Enix gave us a look at the next chapter of Agent 47’s story in Hitman 3. The minuscule gameplay footage featuring Dubai and the Burj Khalifa was enough to reassure that the next game will be just as, if not more, expansive than the rebooted Hitman 1 and 2. Personally, for me, that is more than enough.
What is a Sony event without its first-party exclusives? (Well, the answer is its GDC talk, but that’s not the point here) Sony delivered just the right amount of goods to show that their in-house studios and their close partners are committed to making great single-player games for the PS5.
Bluepoint games which is not owned by Sony (Yet), finally had their moment to unveil “Their biggest project yet” and as many speculated it was the remaster of Demon’s Souls, the OG souls game that seemingly popularised a whole new genre. It looked rather impressive and based on Bluepoint’s track record, it should play just as good.
As good as all the games in today’s list looked, none showcased the capabilities of the PS5 as Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart did. The next game in the beloved franchise from Insomniac features multiple gameworlds within the same scene as the titular characters jump through rifts from different dimensions.
This was an excellent display of raw power as gameworlds that typically take one whole sit through of a typical loading screen to render, were made available within a matter of seconds. What impressed me most though was how the developers executed this feature, so it makes sense contextually and not just shoehorned to highlight the console’s power. Kudos to Insomniac on that.
But Ratchet and Clank wasn’t the only game Insomniac showcased. Spiderman: Miles Morales was revealed as an expansion, and later clarified as a stand-alone game that is made for the PS5. This is a big deal, as Spiderman is one of the biggest games of PS4 era, and to have a new Spidey game supposedly release alongside the PS5 will be a PlayStation fan’s dream come true.
The game is reported to be smaller in scope, something in the lines of Uncharted: Lost legacy, which is fine for a stand-alone game. What isn’t smaller in scope though is Horizon: Forbidden West. Sony capped off the show with the trailer of Horizon: Forbidden West.
The game is set to continue Aloy’s story and feature a denser, more immersive world, complete with new types of robot animals to kill. The game will likely take a good year and half or two to hit shelves, but what was shown looked very promising.
So, those were all the games from the Sony event. It was quite the mix, one that the company had been carefully picking and curating in light of the event. And it paid off well. Sony has promised more news will be revealed before launch, and it will be interesting to see how they approach it. Right now though, we just need to sit back and watch what Microsoft has in store in reply to Sony’s event. This is going to be very interesting indeed.