Sony knows spectacle, that’s for sure. Where EA and Ubisoft’s E3 press conferences always feel pretty safe and reserved, and Microsoft and Bethesda feel bombastic, Sony once again proved Monday night that it’s the best at balancing over-the-top artistry with a laser-focus on the games themselves.
Opening with a live music demonstration and an onstage waterfall was an ambitious setpiece, and the perfect lead-in for Sony’s first game, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. And things went from there, with the night including everything from bubbles filling the Shrine Auditorium to birch trees and “corpses” being lowered on-stage during the Days Gone demo, to fog and pyrotechnics during Call of Duty: WWII.
It was probably the craziest press conference I’ve ever seen—and that’s before we even talk about the games themselves. Check out the trailers below for a rundown of the most important announcements.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was already announced shortly after Uncharted 4’s release, but up until now I don’t think we’ve gotten a good look at the new standalone adventure. Starring former antagonist/love interest Chloe, the game takes the Uncharted universe away from Nathan Drake for the first time while keeping the over-the-top action and tomb raiding the series is known for.
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
Sony kept up its first-party presence, leading next into an expansion for March’s surprise hit Horizon: Zero Dawn, subtitled The Frozen Wilds. Things look...cold. Other than that the trailer’s pretty sparse though, showing off a forbidding mountain Aloy will inevitably have to scale, some more ambling machine-creatures, and that’s about it.
Another first-party game, and another look at Days Gone. It’s been a while—I think the last time Days Gone showed up was actually E3 2016, so we’ve had a solid twelve months without news about the game. I might be mistaken though.
In any case, the demo gave us a look at the game’s motorcycle handling, as well as a good look at why you should always wear a motorcycle helmet. An extended stealth sequence followed: sneaking into the woods, through an outlaw camp, and then past a massive horde of zombies… before blowing a hole in a defensive wall and letting those zombies overrun everything. It’s like Sony’s more serious answer to Dead Rising, or like another take on The Last of Us’s quiet post-apocalypse.
Shadow of the Colossus
Maybe the biggest surprise of the night, and we were only 20 minutes in, was Shadow of the Colossus—apparently a remake of the PlayStation 2 classic, done with modern visuals and (maybe) modern scope. It looks absolutely incredible, and I hope we hear more details soon about how it relates to the original.
The trailer also claims we’ll see it in 2018, though uh...well, after The Last Guardian I won’t be holding my breath.
Call of Duty WWII multiplayer
As per usual, Activision brought its Call of Duty demo to Sony’s press conference. No lengthy in-game demonstration this year though. Instead we got a raucous Call of Duty: WWII multiplayer trailer spanning multiple battlefields, all explosions and strafing planes and piled bodies as American soldiers once again trudge through Normandy towards Berlin. World War II looks quite a bit grittier now than it did in World of War, the last Call of Duty to tackle the Nazi threat, but hopefully it’s more than just a new coat of paint.
We’ll have hands-on impressions of the game later this week, so keep an eye out for that.
God of War
Another Sony exclusive we saw at E3 2016 before it disappeared for an entire year, the God of War sequel...reboot...thing showed off some actual in-game footage this time around. If you placed a bet on Kratos still kicking the tar out of a million-and-one baddies, come collect your winnings because yeah, Kratos-the-Dad splits a lot of heads in this trailer.
Exploration looks a lot smoother though too, taking cues from both Uncharted and the modern Tomb Raider games. It’s the most serious a God of War game’s ever looked, and the climactic scene alone is worth getting excited for. Look for it in early 2018—apparently Sony’s new favorite release window.
Detroit: Become Human
David Cage continues his journey to blend film and games together, showing off the distinctly Bladerunner-esque Detroit: Become Human again. You play as an android named Marcus, trying to free other androids from the tyranny of human society—from being used as machines, basically.
Like Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit and Cage’s other games, you’ll be making dozens or even hundreds of small choices over the course of the story, affecting how events play out, who lives and dies, and what have you. And for the first time, I feel like Cage’s ambitions are finally in-line with the technology on hand, as Detroit: Become Human looks quite a bit smoother than his previous efforts. We’ll see.
Oh hey, Destiny 2 is coming to PC. I’ll be honest: Today’s trailer is basically nonsense to me, because I didn’t bother putting much time into the original Destiny. Shooters on a console? No thanks. Not for me.
I’m curious to see how Bungie gets over that hurdle and brings in skeptical PC players with this sequel, but the trailer itself piques my interest. Big ol’ space marines, angry monster-alien-guy kicking people off a cliff. Thrilling stuff.
We’ll have some hands-on time with the PC version on Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Bungie’s translated a built-for-console shooter over to mouse and keyboard. Stay tuned.
Sony promised a look at Insomniac’s Spider-Man game this year, and a look is what we got. Presentation-wise it looks absolutely incredible. Combat is the most fluid I’ve seen in a Spider-Man game...maybe ever. Certainly since the days of Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3. Your arsenal of web tricks also looks great, with Spidey using webs to slam enemies into the ground, hit them with I-beams, trap them against walls, blind them, throw cinderblocks at their face, and so-on. The supernatural speed at which he moves during fights is also pretty thrilling.
It’s hard to tell from this trailer what’s really in the player’s control and what’s not though, with the action continually swapping between what looks like actual game footage and pre-rendered scenes with button-press events. Open-world? Railroaded experience? I don’t...really know.
And if it’s open-world, the main question then is: “How’s the web swinging?” That single mechanic’s what every Spider-Man game inevitably hinges on, and the age-old PS2 classic Spider-Man 2 is still the reigning champion. Hopefully Insomniac can work miracles and finally recreate the feeling of being Spider-Man once again. It’s a beautiful trailer, regardless.