Sony as usual, was one of the most highly anticipated conferences at this year’s E3, with some big titles in the works like God of War, Days Gone, and The Last of Us 2. The last few years however have been a bit befuddling for Sony. There’s been plenty of huge announcements, to be sure, but the problem is that many of those titles haven’t had anything substantial behind them. Announcements like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue III, and God of War create humongous levels of hype, but the fact remains we still don’t have those games, let alone have much information on them outside of a couple trailers.
This creates a problem for Sony, where their conferences almost seem like a vacuum, announcing far off games, while leaving PlayStation owners in the dark. Also keep in mind that with release dates so far off, the games we’re seeing could change significantly, maybe even completely by release.
And so this brings us to E3 2017, a packed conference, but one that feels a bit hollow once again. That’s not to say there isn’t anything promising or well thought out from Sony, of course, especially near the beginning of their conference. Things started out very strong with a lengthy trailer for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and a Horizon: Zero Dawn DLC announcement, both of which are coming during the second half of the year. That was followed by a decent offering for PlayStation VR, showing off a few upcoming titles. The only problem? Every first party title we saw after that is scheduled for Early 2018 and beyond, leaving the latter half of 2017 looking a little sparse.
We got a new trailer for Days Gone, scheduled for 2018, Monster Hunter World was announced for early 2018, the Shadow of the Colossus remake was announced for 2018, God of War got an extensive trailer also scheduled for early 2018, even our new look at Insomniac’s Spider-Man was also scheduled for 2018. There’s an obvious trend here.
Take for example Kingdom Hearts III announced at E3 2013, which still isn’t out, and still has very very little information. At the same time E3 2015 featured a trio of major announcements; Final Fantasy VII Remake, The Last Guardian, and Shenmue III. Only one of these titles has released at this point, and even The Last Guardian was delayed multiple times after that E3.
All of this leads to a feeling of slow, creeping dissatisfaction with Sony, like we’re being led on by a string year by year. Now of course there’s going to be games on PS4 for the second half of 2017, but Sony is leaning on their third party support once again this year. At some point, these long release and development times are going to catch up with Sony. Especially when you consider one of the most disappointing aspects of the conference.
Detroit: Become Human from Quantic Dream, the developer of Heavy Rain, has been one of the most mysterious and interesting looking PlayStation titles for the last few years. Again this is a title that was announced two years ago during 2015, and is no doubt a massive undertaking, but during the conference we didn’t even get so much as a release window. This puts Detroit in dangerous territory, where it feels almost like a vaporware title that’s just going to continuously be teased or delayed.
Third parties certainly have a wealth of titles coming this holiday, but PlayStation’s first party lineup is looking a bit sparse, an interesting fact to consider when looking at the position of both Nintendo and Microsoft. Both of the other companies will be looking to really amp things up this holiday. Microsoft will be launching their brand new 4K console for the holiday, Xbox One X, with support from games like Crackdown 3 and Forza Motorsport 7. Meanwhile, Nintendo has the gargantuan release that is Super Mario Odyssey, along with the likes of Fire Emblem Warriors and anything else they might announce.
The PlayStation lineup this year, even without the games that will be coming out in 2018, is still strong but this act is starting to wear thin. At some point we’ll need firmer dates and longer looks, rather than just a quick teaser or cinematic trailer.