The future is now. It’s been a mere two days since Sony gave what so many of us had been beyond eager to see, the presentation finally revealing more about the Playstation 5 as well as a multitude of upcoming game titles. It feels crazy to think it’s been seven years since I was sitting watching Sony’s E3 conference where they delivered the now-famous reveal of the PS4’s $399 MSRP after Microsoft had announced the Xbox One would be launching for $499. It’s also crazy to think of how different the gaming landscape was seven years ago – the Wii U, pre-Fortnite, and Knack being one of the “big” launch titles for the PS4. With the COVID-19 pandemic postponing many things indefinitely, including E3 2020, Sony staged an online presentation to show off their newest console and billed it as “The future of gaming”. The event lasted for over an hour and covered quite the range of both indie and AAA games, as well as providing more details about the PS5. Here’s a quick(ish) rundown of some of my thoughts on the presentation…
There were 21 different games shown during the presentation, ranging from quirky indie to epic AAA titles. There really wasn’t any games shown that to which I said “meh” and waited for the next video; here’s just a few of the games that stood out to me…
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales – Early on, we were given a trailer confirming that we are getting a follow up to Insomniac Games’ Playstation-exclusive Marvel’s Spider-Man with Miles Morales as the game’s main playable character and announcing a release scheduled for Holiday 2020. There was some confusion the morning after the presentation as a headline stated the game will not be a standalone title, but rather an expansion to a ‘definitive edition’ of the PS4 game being released on the PS5. This was corrected later in the day by Insomniac, stating it WILL be a standalone title. The confusion around this leads me to assume Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be a standalone game, much the same way Uncharted: Lost Legacy is its own entry into the series. Spider-Man was not only one of my favorite games of 2018, but of ANY superhero game, right up there with the Batman Arkham games(from which Insomniac borrowed plenty). I cannot wait to play more on the PS5 when it releases later this year.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – Shortly after announcing their follow-up to Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac revealed the next game in the long-running Ratchet & Clank series. The trailer for the next installment – Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart shows our favorite Lombax/robot duo investigating a series of interdimensional rifts that have appeared around the galaxy. The trailer shows Ratchet & Clank as they fall into the rifts and instantly switch between dimensions, reminiscent of the phase shifting sequences in Titanfall 2. The impressive thing about the Rift Apart trailer is how the game can seamlessly jump between two entirely different dimensions, which would be an interesting feature in a game to show off the PS5’s onboard SSD. Ratchet & Clank games have always been one of the most satisfying action/platformer games to play since their days on the PS2 and I’m completely onboard for the next one.
Gran Tourismo 7 – Another one of Playstation’s long-running franchises is the popular driving-sim Gran Tourismo. Shortly into the Sony presentation, Kazunori Yamauchi from Polyphony Digital introduced the trailer for the upcoming Gran Tourismo 7, showing some of the game’s campaign mode. Admittedly, I’ve never been very good at racing games, especially racing sims, but there’s always been something about the Gran Tourismo games in their polish and attention to detail that keeps them on my radar. A release date was not announced, but I’m going to be pretty interested to see more.
Bugsnax – I’m not gonna lie, even after watching the trailer for this strange game a couple times I don’t even know what it is, but there’s still something intriguing about the humor and creativity. I’m also glad to know I’m not the only one who laughed at the mention of ‘weenie hands’ along with having the song from the trailer stuck in their head the rest of the day(included below…you’re welcome AND I’m sorry).
Demon’s Souls Remake – I had read the rumors of a remaster or full-on remake of Demon’s Souls – the From Software’s 2009 PS3-exclusive that spawned a sub-genre that we now refer to as “Souls-type” games. I didn’t attempt to play Demon’s Souls until a few years after its US release, and despite really enjoying the game, have never completed it(as with all From Software games). Bluepoint Games teased the fact they were working on something big several months ago and their remake of Demon’s Souls looks absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to play it…well, attempt to anyways.
Resident Evil 8: Village – Of all the announcement trailers during Sony’s presentation, this one may have surprised me the most. It jumped between shots of an eerie village in the snowy countryside, a gothic castle residing over the village, a werewolf(?), and a very burly Chris Redfield. The game looks like a direct continuation of the story and first-person gameplay in RE7. No other information was provided at the time, but hinted at being the close of Chris'(or Ethan’s?) story through the Resident Evil games.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits – A brand new IP from Ember Lab, Kena: Bridge of Spirits was a pleasant surprise during the livestream. The little fuzzy spirits that seem to serve as your companions/weapons are adorable and reminded me at first of the little soot sprites in My Neighbor Totoro. The game looks like an adventure game reminiscent of Zelda or Horizon: Zero Dawn, but with a soft, colorful animation style that reminded me a bit of Ori and the Blind Forest.
Horizon: Forbidden West – It was no secret that a sequel to Horizon: Zero Dawn, one of my current-gen favorites, was in the works at Guerilla Games. The final game announced during Sony’s presentation was indeed the much-awaited sequel. One of my not-so-professional predictions on Twitter prior to the event was a formal announcement of a Horizon sequel(I went 1 for 4), but I still found myself going “Oh my god!” out loud the moment when Aloy quickly rides across the scene on the back of a strider. The announcement trailer showed that near future-Earth was still very much dominated by vegetation and wildlife, natural and robotic. We got to see Aloy using a mechanical mask to breath while swimming, indicating the sequel will include underwater areas for exploration. In addition to this, the video gave us glimpses of the wide range of terrain featured in the upcoming game. I could go on and on about how much I love Horizon: Zero Dawn or how excited I am for the next game so, to simply summarize – Giant robot turtles. Day 1 Puchase.
For the time spent during the event showcasing 21 different upcoming games, not very much time was spent on the Playstation 5 itself. About halfway through the presentation, we got to see a short video showing some of the new functions and features of the DualSense controller that Sony unveiled a couple months ago. The controller includes features like adaptive triggers and haptic feedback which, Sony hasn’t completely shown everything these features are capable of outside of a “variety of powerful sensations”. My initial assumption is this would be similar to the way Nintendo wanted to implement the HD Rumble ability in the Switch Joycons, remember feeling the ice cubes in your water glass? Other features of the DualSense controller that Sony has announced are things like alterations to the familiar form and light bar placement of the Dualshock 4. The DualSense also features a built-in microphone which Sony has stated will allow you to communicate with others without a traditional headset(interesting, but mildly skeptical). There’s also a Create button which ALSO has not been completely explained, but sounds as if it will be a further iteration of the PS4 controller’s Share button.
To cap off the event, Sony finally unveiled the Playstation 5 itself. The console is matching white/black to go with the DualSense controller and designed with a “skyscraper meets Space X” modern aesthetic. The design was met with a mix of applause and criticism afterwards, but was also memed endlessly on social media by pointing out how much it looked like the WiFi router to the Xbox Series X’s mini-fridge. Sony also revealed that not one, but two models of the PS5 will be available: standard and digital edition; the latter being disc drive-less for those who prefer to download their library of games. The Playstation 5 will also boast ray tracing, along with an SSD over a traditional hard drive. For everything that Sony revealed about the PS5, there’s still a few things that I really would have liked to see like…
More info on backwards compatibility – Sony confirmed several months ago the PS5 will feature backwards compatibility, but it was specifically stated that the “top 100 PS4 games” will be backwards compatible. Sony has not said anything else regarding which PS4 games will be able to be played on the PS5 or if it will allow play of older-gen games i.e. Playstation 2 or 3.
Pricing – Nothing was said during the presentation about the MSRP of the PS5, though several reports have come out in the past months speculating that Sony has been struggling to keep the price point as low as they can for the upcoming console. One of the elements that set the PS3 behind the Xbox 360 was the hefty $599 price tag at launch for the 60gb edition, something Sony made up for with the PS4’s reveal price of $399. Many have simply gone under the assumption that given the impressive specs the console is boasting, it’s unlikely it will be less than $499. The fact there are two separate versions of the PS5 does lead me to wonder if Sony will be aiming for something like a $499 price tag for the standard edition, and something like $399-449 for the digital edition. Perhaps the standard edition will allow for greater backwards compatibility as it’s equipped with a disc drive and those who would prefer to get ahold of a Playstation 5 for the lowest price possible could opt for the digital edition? Given the choice, I would be completely fine with paying a little bit more for the ability to play some of my old PS2 or PS3 games.
Release date – There was no specific release date given for the Playstation 5 during the presentation. Sony had previously announced they are aiming for a Holiday 2020 release, only five months away. The Sony livestream was in lieu of the usual E3 conference when such things are traditionally announced, so I would have loved to see a set release date.
Regardless of the questions that were left unanswered, I still felt it was a pretty strong showing for Sony as they revealed the “future of gaming” not as much in shiny new hardware, but giving us a taste of an interesting assortment of games we can (hopefully)expect to see in the next year or so. What were your thoughts on the Sony event? Do you plan on picking up a PS5?
I’m saving my pennies for later this year….thanks for reading!