E3 2018 is fast approaching, so we’re expecting tons of big announcements during the marquee briefings from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and others. But before that, we’re taking a look back at last year to go over what was announced and determining if each company lived up to its promises. We already broke down Microsoft‘s and Nintendo‘s E3 2017 briefings, and now we’re onto Sony.
Before The Show
Sony used its pre-show stream as a platform to announce details and release dates for its upcoming games, like Knack 2, Gran Turismo Sport, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, and a port of Undertale for both PS4 and Vita. Each managed to launch in 2017 to generally positive critical reception.
In addition, Sony also gave an in-depth look at its roster of PlayLink games, the company’s foray into multiplayer mobile app party games–similar to the incredibly popular Jackbox Games. New games continue to release under the PlayLink umbrella, including Hidden Agenda, Knowledge is Power, and Frantics.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Got A New Gameplay Trailer
Sony opened its press conference with a trailer for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. While audio issues in the livestream dulled the impact of its set-piece action, the game turned out great when it launched later in August. GameSpot said while aspects of it feel like a greatest hits collection of past adventures, it manages to “grow into a more nuanced, clever experience, ranking among the best in the series while also making its own mark as a standalone Uncharted that isn’t anchored to Nathan Drake’s harrowing exploits.”
Horizon Zero Dawn DLC: The Frozen Wilds
After the successful launch of Horizon Zero Dawn February of that year, Sony unveiled a new DLC expansion for the game, entitled The Frozen Wilds. While it felt more like a missing chapter than a revelatory extension, in our review Peter Brown adored the expansion’s riveting battles and ultimately felt that “it’s hard to get too upset at such a captivating experience when it’s all said and done.”
Days Gone Gameplay Showcase
After its surprising debut during E3 2016, Sony finally gave us another glimpse at the upcoming Days Gone, an open-world zombie apocalypse game by Bend Studio. There was more motorcycle driving, stealth action, and a gnarly zombie bear by the trailer’s end. No release date was announced at the time, but Sony Worldwide Studio president Shuhei Yoshida revealed a few months later that the game would release sometime in 2018. Unfortunately, Days Gone ended up getting delayed to 2019.
Despite Sony confirming that it would primarily focus on Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part II at this year’s E3 press conference, we’re still holding out hope for more news on Days Gone–a release date at least.
Monster Hunter World Premiere
Nobody saw Monster Hunter World coming. After all, the fan favorite Capcom franchise had been predominantly released on Nintendo handhelds in recent years. Its reveal on Sony’s E3 2017 press conference stage was a pleasant surprise that captivated audiences with its exciting display of monster fights across a large open environment.
Released in January 2018, Monster Hunter World received positive critical reception, with GameSpot calling it “the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been.” After its successful launch, the game has since garnered a massive following and impressive sales numbers. Along with PS4 Pro enhancements and some exclusive content, Sony ensured that the PS4 is the best console to experience the game.
Shadow of the Colossus Remake
In an unexpected move, Sony revealed that developer Bluepoint Games was working on a remake of the cult favorite Shadow of the Colossus. The footage showcased an awe-inspiring level of detail that far exceeded the previous HD version released on PS3. What we ended up getting when the game launched in February was nothing short of magnificence. In our review Edmond Tran called it “a beautiful reconstruction of an already exceptional title [that] continues to be a modern classic and is an extraordinary game that everyone must experience.”
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite Gets a Story Mode Demo
When Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was first announced during PSX 2016, fighting game fans were eager to try it out. The Sony E3 2017 press conference finally gave us a glimpse of the game’s story mode, and better yet, a demo was released not long after the reveal. However, reception for the demo was mixed. Fans criticized the character models and animations–with Chun-Li being the main offender. To make matters worse, the demo featured bad AI-controlled combatants and no training mode, which made it difficult to get a feel for how the game played. The demo was simply a bad representation for what MvC:I was shaping up be.
Released in September, MvC:I’s critical reception was favorable, but it ultimately failed to gain a solid standing within the fighting game community. Aside from a handful of post-launch DLC characters, support for the game was limited, and it didn’t help that the game’s sales numbers were ultimately below expectations. While a variety of factors contributed to MvC:I’s middling reception, it probably didn’t help that people’s’ earliest impressions of it were colored by the lukewarm demo made available briefly after Sony’s E3 2017 press conference.
Platform Exclusive Content For Destiny 2
In the lead up to E3, Destiny 2 was shaping up to be one of the biggest upcoming shooters. Given Sony’s relationship with Activision, it was no surprise that the PS4 version of the game would receive timed-exclusive content. A new trailer shown at the press conference confirmed that PS4 owners would be getting access to an exclusive gear set, weapon, PvP map, and strike mission. Destiny 2 ultimately performed well both critically and financially, but it has since suffered a dip in its player base. But the timed-exclusive content ensured that the PS4 was the best platform to play the game–at least until it released on PC the following October.
The Latest in PlayStation VR’s Software Lineup
There was a brief section showcasing the upcoming roster of PlayStation VR games, which included, Skyrim VR, Starchild, The Inpatient, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, Bravo Team, and Moss. Not all of these games managed to release in the intermittent months between then and now; the ones that did have varied in quality. Moss and The Inpatient are definite standouts among the roster as some of the best on the platform, but the rest suffered mixed reception. The only game to not release was Starchild, which is expected to launch sometime this summer.
PSVR still does well compared to its competitors mostly due its accessibility as a VR headset. Earlier this year it was reported that Sony has managed to sell over 2 million headset units and 12.2 million PSVR games worldwide. With numbers like these, it looks like Sony will continue to support the platform for years to come.
More God of War
The God of War trailer at the E3 2017 press conference arguably showed less than the previous year’s reveal, but that didn’t diminish the excitement of Kratos’ return. The new look at the game’s combat and story only furthered curiosity towards the game’s inner workings. Sony rarely revealed much about God of War in-between trade shows, so information regarding the game was relatively scarce outside the initial reveal. However, the trailer finally confirmed that God of War was launching in early 2018.
God of War eventually released on April 20 and went on to be a massive critical and financial success. In our review Peter Brown called it “a spectacular action game with epic set pieces, big-budget production values, and hard-hitting combat that grows more feverish and impressive as you progress.” Five years in the making, Sony Santa Monica successfully delivered on its reinvention of the God of War franchise.
More Detroit: Become Human
Detroit: Become Human got another trailer during the show, which showcased a different aspect of its universe: android freedom fighters striving to start an android revolution. Once again the trailer emphasized the various ways a given scenario can play out based on the decisions you make. At the time, Detroit: Become Human had no release date, but it has since been confirmed to release on May 25–a mere two weeks before this year’s E3.
First Spider-Man Gameplay Demo
Out of all the big games in Sony’s lineup of exclusives, it seemed an odd choice to close out the press conference with Spider-Man. While no release date was confirmed during the trailer, it did show off a significant chunk of gameplay featuring stealth, combat, acrobatics, and web-swinging. In addition, the final moments of gameplay confirmed that fan-favorite Marvel character Miles Morales would be appearing in the game.
For a while after Sony’s E3 2017 showcase, Spider-Man didn’t have a release window, but now we know it’s coming on September 7. New details have emerged about the game’s mechanics, but Sony is planning to reveal even more at E3 2018 with it being one of the four games it plans to discuss at this year’s show.
Sony’s E3 217 presentation was packed with tons of trailers for many of its latest first- and third party games. There was little to no time spent talking about hardware, and understandably so. With Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro already out, the company was in a position to focus primarily on software. Despite a strong showing, the absence of games like Death Stranding and Final Fantasy VIII Remake left something to be desired. And compared to past press conferences, Sony’s E3 2017 showing was relatively tame. While an exclusive like Spider-Man is a solid game to showcase, its use as the closer lacked the punch of previous years’ big-name trailer reveals.
Currently, Sony still stands on top thanks to its extensive roster of quality big-name exclusives, but if it intends to stay there, it’s going to need to start talking more in-depth about its next wave of games. With Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part II being the focus of this year’s show, it seems like Sony already knows that. This more focused format is a refreshing change of pace for Sony, but hopefully the presentation will still yield its own share of surprises.