No matter how you slice it, Sony rocked their conference this E3. They pulled out not one, not two, but three incredible surprises, any one of which could send the internet into an overdrive state all by itself. And that’s just the stuff we didn’t know about! Both the games we already knew about and the games we didn’t coalesced into one hell of a show, and is quite possibly the most brilliant press conference they’ve ever done.
But their real brilliance was distracting us from the present.
Once the adrenaline wears off from the flurry of seemingly impossible announcements, and the amazing Uncharted 4 is committed to memory, one thing becomes clear: The PS4 has very little for the rest of the year. All of their exclusives are coming next year, if they’re even given a date at all.
Take a look at the big three surprises. The Last Guardian was dated for 2016. A date is good, especially for a game that’s been in development for so long, but at the same it’s not exactly something we can look forward to playing this year. And that’s assuming, of course, that the game doesn’t get pushed back at all, which is a possible (but hopefully not probable) scenario.
The Final Fantasy VII remake was presented without any actual gameplay footage. It was an entirely pre-rendered trailer, and a release wasn’t even hinted at. Since Tetsuya Nomrua is directing the game, it’s likely that it’s own been in development since he stopped working on Final Fantasy XIV last September. These facts suggest a date that’s very far away from today. The best case scenario is that we’ll see some information and footage trickle out over the next year and we’ll get the game sometime in 2017 (A game of this magnitude takes time, after all). The worst case scenario is… well, let’s just say that Final Fantasy Versus XIII was announced ten years ago and it’s still not finished.
Finally, we have Shenmue 3. The announcement of the Kickstarter campaign came as a big surprise to most of us, and the incredible rate at which it’s garnered donations proves that a lot of people want this game very, very badly. But if the game is just beginning a Kickstarter campaign today, that means that development hasn’t even started and the game is still years away. Early information points to this as well: according to the Kickstart page, the game is not expected to ship to backers until 2017.
It’s not just the big three suprirse games, either. Uncharted 4, perhaps the PS4’s most anticipated game, won’t be shipping until 2016. Nor will indie darling No Man’s Sky be playable this year. Nor will you be playing Horizon, Street Fighter V, Hitman, or Media Molecule’s new game. In a way, with all the 2016 and betond games, this press conference was almost more suited to being held at E3 2016.
Of course, saying that Playstation 4 has nothing for the rest of the year isn’t quite the whole truth. It certainly does have games coming, and quite a few of them at that, but what really lacking is something to draw players in that can’t be found on others platforms. Aside from a few smaller titles that are launching on Playstation first, every game the PS4 is getting this year will also be available on 1 or 2 additional platforms. For those who primarily play on another platform, or even those who are deciding which platform will become their primary, the rest of the year is not making a compelling case for the PS4.
Will this matter in the end? Unlikely, since the PS4 has a great momentum behind it. The exclusives are coming eventually, and Sony has done an incredible job of distracting us from the truth that they’re not going to be here for a while.