So, if you didn’t already hear, the Playstation 4 is officially a go, and Sony know how to let the world know about it!
The first part of the event actually had me a little worried. It was the specs of the PS4 as a machine, and it was like they were launching a new PC. Supercharged PC architecture, X86 CPU, a second, advanced PC CPU, 8GB Unififed Memory and local storage. This just made me think that a) this was going to be a boring presentation on the consoles power, and b) that they were abandoning the concept of the Playstation as a console. I was wrong on both counts. This was the only tech-heavy part of the evening, and thankfully, it was only used so that they could justify the information they were about to present to us.
Mark Cerny began the demonstrations with a talk about how the power of the console offers so much more options to developers in terms of what they can do with their game. From graphical power to interactions between the joypad, the game and the console, games are becoming more of an experience than ever. He revealed the Dualshock 4 (pictured, left), which actually looks rather nice, and surprisingly close to rumors and predictions. The design is the familiar dualshock standard, but with an added touchpad, headphone jack and share button. The share button proved an integral part of the presentation, allowing players to instantly share any footage and screenshot from any game on the system on their PSN profile. With live game streaming and let’s play videos on the up and up, this is a very welcome and smart move on Sony’s part. The graphical power looked very impressive, with more activity than ever possible on screen. Cerny showed some footage from a probable launch title called Knack. It looked very fun, and he also used it demonstrate the PS Vita working with the PS4. Basically, if someone is playing a game on their PS4, you can play a different game from the console on your PS Vita. The PS4 will be a server to several different clients at once. Very, very cool.
The information on the additions to the actual console in terms of making gaming easier and more accessible are what truly got me excited though. For one reason. You can suspend your game, turn the console off, and the RAM will remember your place for the next time you turn it on. I’ve been waiting since playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive for this to be an option. FINAL-FUCKING-LY. Other welcome additions include playing a download title as it downloads. The game will literally be unfolding before your eyes as your console downloads and installs it. The Playstation 4’s new PSN will be more customizable than ever, and will feature services such as Netflix and Amazon instant. The PSN will feature a lot more interaction between players, with other players being able to leave you helpful items on your play-through in the game if they are ahead of you, as well that they can take over your game as you’re playing it and complete parts of it for you. You can get live demonstrations off more experienced friends. Sounds great in theory, but I foresee this being a touch messy. Advanced Cloud Storage technology being added means the probable ability to play ANY Playstation title on the PS4. One of my biggest gripes with the Playstation 3 being totally fixed makes me very happy.
Game announcements were hot and heavy. New Killzone and Infamous titles looked great and very promising. Good to see these franchises surviving onto another generation. Drive club is the first to provide real interest, as it’s a community based racing game. Players can set challenges remotely from their tabelts, and tournaments and challenges can be held in real time. I’m not a huge fan of realistic racing games, but this looks interesting, and the graphics were absolutely awesome. Ubisoft revealed some more Watch Dogs gameplay, which looks as seamless as ever. Capcom revealed a new engine that looked spectacular as well as a Fantasy game code named Deep Down that was literally the most realistic piece of graphical technology I’ve ever seen. The devleopers of Braid announced they have a new studio, and showed some gameplay from their newest title, The Witness (pictured, right). It’s like a free roam puzzle game of sorts, think Braid meets Portal. Looks really interesting, and was my personal favorite, apart from one other game announcement I will be talking about shortly. Quantum Dream showed off some serious graphical power, and Media Molecule showed the new Playstation Move capabilities. 3D sculpting. I don’t think it will garner a big casual audience, but the 3D sculpting could be a very cool tool for actual artists to try and get a rough idea of how they would approach a new piece. Square Enix’s announcement was a big fail in my opinion, the tech demo is almost a year old and they merely announced that they will be announcing a Final Fantasy title at E3. They added nothing. I want to care about you, Square Enix, I really do, but you’re making it difficult.
The two biggest game announcements in my opinion however, were Blizzard announcing Diablo 3 to PS3 and 4 with added local multiplayer, which I’m not very pushed about but it does offer a huge community, and Bungie (whose stunning presentation is pictured above) announcing Destiny for the PS4. Yup. You read that correctly. The developer that started X-Box’s flagship franchise, are now working for the enemy on their biggest project to date. The last time Sony did this was with Final Fantasy 7 on the Playstation after Nintendo. If Destiny proves to be as ground-breaking as they are promising and is anyway as successful as Final Fantasy 7, which the gaming industry is due, then Sony will be absolutely unstoppable for this generation.
Overall, I was very impressed with the event. Lots of big words and videos, certainly, but the games and features speak for themselves. Sony are promising a very immense experience with the PS4. Will it deliver at launch? This writer says no. Will it deliver in the coming months an experience that ages like a fine wine? This writers says yes, but only if Sony play their cards right. I was very impressed with the fact the event was centered on the games, and not tech demos. Sony are acknowledging that gamers play games consoles, and that they are purpose built for a gaming experience, not a multimedia experience. I was frankly utterly disappointed in this generation of consoles, but this event has subdued the cynic in me and colored me very interested. Thankfully I don’t have long to wait!
The ball is in Microsoft’s court now. Do you think they have a chance against the PS4? What do you think they will reveal? Leave a comment below or on Facebook and let us know!
Bonus question: Any faith in what Square Enix will announce? Come onnnnnnn Kingdom Hearts 3!!