While never much of a comic book fan, I was nevertheless giddy with anticipation to check out Spider-Man for the Playstation 4. As I walked into my appointment, I saw several DualShock 4 controllers sitting nearby. “This is it“, I thought to myself, “I’m going to finally play Spider-Man and brag to all of my friends”. That giddiness soon changed to a sour taste in my mouth as more members of the press came into the room. Too many for everyone to get a turn. There was only one person who was going to play Spider-Man that day, and it was Insomniac.
After talking to my colleagues and reading impressions from various news outlets, I learned that all of Sony’s biggest games of E3 were not playable: God Of War, Days Gone, even the new standalone Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. While it is understandable that some of these games are still far from completion, Sony’s decision to show-not-tell many of the games announced at last year’s E3 is a little… disappointing.
It is the complete opposite approach as someone like Bethesda, who showcased a solid array of games that are all set to launch this year. If it weren’t for Nintendo’s juggernaut of a Direct yesterday, I would have argued that companies like Bethesda and Ubisoft stole the show. All three of those companies took care to keep their promises grounded in believability. Super Mario Odyssey is a game I can look forward to because a release date is given. It is playable for every attendee lucky (and patient) enough to survive the droves of people flooding Nintendo’s booth. I know that I can walk into South Hall and check out Fallout 4 VR and hopefully not make myself sick.
Last year, Sony (in my not-so-humble opinion) stole the show. They announced sequels to some of their biggest franchises in addition to some very promising new IPs. They took the momentum of the PlayStation 4’s success and turned a hype snowball into a hype avalanche.
Now that the hype avalanche is over, the snow is melting and all we are left with are the same games of last year’s E3 frozen in time. The Last Of Us 2 was a no-show (so early in development it was perhaps announced prematurely). All I saw of Spider-Man was the same thing the public saw on Monday evening, albeit with proof that it was playable. Most disappointing to learn was that Uncharted: Lost Legacy was not playable; a game confirmed for release in August. Sony, why won’t you let me brag to my friends about your games I got to play at E3?
Walking the show floor, there is plenty to play at Sony’s booth. Huge rows of kiosks with the likes of Destiny 2, Knack 2, and Star Wars Battlefront 2 (starting to notice a trend here). Those smart enough to download Sony’s app can RSVP to check out some of the PlayStation VR’s latest offerings (the one thing I was actually surprised to see at Sony’s conference, support for their latest tech experiment). And yes, even those at home were given a sneak peek at Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite in the comfort of their own homes.
There is no doubt that plenty of people are excited for all of these games, hands-on or not. However, it feels like Sony’s biggest promises are just that: promises. Without anything tangible to play, all we’re left with is hoping Sony manages to deliver on these promises. But after two years of hearing many of those same promises (and some of those promises staying awfully quiet after making a splash last year), I’m much more excited for the games I can actually play this year. I just have to wait three hours in line first.