An evening press conference was headlined by Sony at Gamescom, outlining the future of PlayStation and unveiling the release date for the long awaited PlayStation 4. A spectacular event which showed off upcoming games, enhanced the forgotten Vita and showed Sony’s respect towards Indie games, covering a whole new Indie line-up for users in 2014.
Sony begins by presenting the interface for PS4. Very clever, seeing as this was a function that didn’t come up to scratch on the PS3, but was raved about regarding the Xbox 360. The interface is now suave, tidy and clear. It suits the audience, projecting professionalism and style. The interface has come on leaps and bounds from its predecessor.
Jim Ryan, President and CEO took to the stage and the audience watched Grand Turismo 6 flash up behind him. Another smart move by Sony, a popular game that is only available on PlayStation. This is what Sony has to offer and they want everyone to know about it. The Grand Turismo video footage is a showcase for the motor industry, a reel of car manufactures that sizzle on our finger tips. I can already hear the tires screeching. Grand Turismo 6 is impressive and I have no doubt it will continue to be popular among motor fanatics. Jim Ryan also announces a new collaboration – on a Grand Turismo film. I cannot be the only one that thinks games made into films do not work. Halo 4, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, to name a few. This is the first of two announcements for future film releases, the second is Watch Dogs. This doesn’t seem as worrying, it is plot driven and focuses on a lead and is a terrific story; let’s hope it has a Bourne charm about it.
Sony wants to showcase what they have to offer, they want to browse over the games that they share with their enemies Microsoft. Instead they focus on the exclusiveness of Sony games and after their Grand Tursimo sale, they move on to the fantastic Little Big Planet. This game is truly extraordinary and gives the audience a remarkable amount of creative freedom. Little Big Planet introduces Little Big Planet Hub, a new service launching this year. It allows LBP lovers to share their wardrobe, stickers, collections and creations between friends. A new platform for an ever growing game and with the narration of Stephen King and the playful creativeness in LBP, it spreads across all devices including PSP, PS Vita and of course the PS console.
The PS Vita seems to be the highlight and most talked about at the conference. As Sony express their love towards giving Indie games a chance, they rave about how PS Vita is the best platform to make this possible. A price cut is announced in both Europe and US, bringing the Vita down to $199 and €199. A number of new games to appear on Vita include Murasaki Baby, which looks incredibly dark (reminds me of a Tim Burton dream) and Big Fest. Big Fest allows consumers to create their own festival and rise to the top as the biggest music producer, pretty cool and extremely relevant. This game would suit the Theme Hospital and Transport Tycoon fans.
Sony leave the best till last, the anticipated release date, but all that wouldn’t be complete without a dig at the Xbox and another show case of what they have to offer above other consoles. So after a speech on what we’ve heard before cramming our brains with how amazing the PS4 is, Sony skim over the release of GTA 5 and home in on the exciting new games released at the end of the year. Although game-play footage is scarce, there is a fair share of teaser trailers including another apocalypse game, Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture from UK Studio The Chinese Room and built on Cry Engine. The teaser shows a desolate town and dead crows masking the pavements, eerie. Another game, Rime from Tequila Works graces the screen showing a fantasy adventure. Sony is showing their diversity.
The biggest launch line-up is left till last, Assassins Creed 4, Call of Duty Ghosts and Watch Dogs. Call of Duty Ghosts will no doubt prove popular, although the controversy of women appearing in the game has yet to simmer down, it will be another success story for the franchise. Watch Dogs looks surreal, mental graphics and a relevant, hopeful story line teamed with a rogue main character makes this game look like it will win the wallets of all PS4 purchasers. However, Assassins Creed 4 struck me as odd, its evolution has included a pirate ship and array of characters that speak in that annoying ‘aye aye’ voice that grinds against the galleys. Not what you would aspect from Assassins Creed and the game-play proved unsuccessful in showing a game that had little to offer.
However, the main event, the reveal of the PS4 release date. November 29 in Europe, a staggering 2 weeks after the 15 November US release date. After a million pre-orders, I would hurry making the decision between the Xbox One and PS4, as PS4 pre-orders are going quickly at $399, €399 and £349.
Watch the Playstation Conference at Gamescom here: