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5 Things Learned from the PlayStation Conference at Paris Games Week


5 Things Learned from the PlayStation Conference at Paris Games Week

Shaun Cordingley

Having chosen to skip Gamescom this year, PlayStation fans have been waiting for Paris Games Week with baited breath. There are a slough of big, first-party (and second-party) studios which we the PlayStation fans (which I am unabashedly one) are waiting to hear from, and see what they are developing for the current generation of consoles.

PlayStation's press conference was this Tuesday, clocking in at over an hour and a half, and was something of an odd experience; more reminiscent of PlayStation press conferences of the past, rather than their more recent E3 offerings. Having considered what I saw, and thought about things, here are 5 things we learned from the PlayStation press conference:

1) PlayStation VR is hard to sell, and I for one am feeling cautious

There was a heavy presence in the press conference of PSVR (as opposed to the PlayStation Vita, which should appreciate that I at least mentioned its' existence), and it once again demonstrated that virtual reality is next to impossible to sell at a press conference. I get that Sony is very excited about the possibilities of what VR can do, and it is interesting sounding tech, however it is nearly impossible to portray that on a television/projection screen:

This guy seems to be having a lot of fun with his superimposed white line mask  Photo:

This guy seems to be having a lot of fun with his superimposed white line mask


This is something that people clearly need to get their hands on to get a sense of what it is like, however there is no way that a video of other people enjoying something that I cannot really see is not going to work.

I have been cautious when it comes to PSVR since the beginning, as I lived through whatever PlayStation Move was, and while this does have a few interesting titles coming to it (that Valkyrie game looks interesting, as well as Robinson: The Journey that was announced today), but to me I am starting to wonder if this will be another neat, but rather unsupported peripheral that costs more than I am willing to shell out for it--look, giving a thumbs up to a robot orb and running around dinosaur legs is cool, as are the 15 minute 'be in a movie' experiences...but that is not necessarily something that I feel I absolutely need or that is the beacon of the future of gaming.

Perhaps with eSports and racing titles, being two genres I could not care less about, seemingly being the ideal for this hardware, that PSVR is not for me, but I will continue to keep my eye on it, with a cautious 'wait and see' approach.

2) Cavemen are in

We got to see more of Guerrilla Games' Horizon Zero Dawn at PGW, which is awesome, as it is an intriguing game set in the distant, distant future, where humanity has gone back into a more tribal form, and our hero has to hunt giant mechanimals (if they are not called that, they should be, dang it) in order to get materials so she can craft things in an Action RPG setting. 

Far Cry Primal was announced.

Then, near the end of the press conference, Sony gave us another glimpse at Michel Ancel's (creator of Rayman) game WiLD; a title that we have not heard about since GamesCom 2014, and it did not disappoint. A survival adventure game where you are playing a shaman who can posses and control animals, ride a bear, and talk to giant snake goddesses?

I'm going to let the gameplay trailer do the rest of the speaking for me:

All kinds of yes for me here; I love where PS4 is going, and I hope that WiLD can be as amazing as it looks, because an exclusive like this could be really, really wonderful. Now we have no idea when it is coming, but that is fine by me, the look of this game, and the pedigree of the designer has me willing to wait.

Plus I can be a swimming rabbit. A SWIMMING. RABBIT. Open world, shaman-based Toyko Jungle isounds like a dream game for me

3) Speaking of Dreams...

We got another look at Media Molecules' upcoming Dreams game, which continues to show a great deal of potential as something that could be fascinating, but...I cannot say I'm sure I know what it is.

MM built it's name on the LittleBigPlanet franchise, a wonderful (if slightly floaty) platforming system where the community of players were able to build amazing levels that anyone could play...this meant, however, that each LBP game required an active and engaged community, and a bit of time to let the community levels flesh out the game (there were levels in the game, teaching you the mechanics and giving you supplies to build with, but let's face it, the game shone in the user worlds). 

This worked, as there is a gaming foundation there.

MM has moved on to Dreams which seems to be a culmination of everything the developers learned from making LittleBigPlanet and using it to create beautiful and weird dream worlds, that will then be opened to the community to create their own

The ambition in this game is palpable, and this potentially could be absolutely amazing, but I am still having a hard time figuring out what actually you do. You have an imp, who can move stuff, and possess avatars like puppets to interact with the is Dreams primarily going to be a bunch of 3d dream-art puzzles?  Yet they continue to tell us that there is the ability to make anything (and the first trailer has a zombie sequence in it that looks like an action game)...and then for those of us who do not have the time/patience to build 'dreams'...the world will build levels for us...and hmmm.

I want this game to be everything it says, and to work the way they suggest it will...there's just that part of me that still is not sure what Dreams is. If it is a 3D LBP with full, actual levels to play (and mold, even maybe build if I get ambitious and rich enough to have free time), then I'm interested...if it is an amorphous PS4 art-maker...not so I have a rabbit to swim.

4) Quantic Dream is going to Detroit

Full disclosure: I love Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy...Beyond: Two Souls...fell flat for me, but the pedigree of David Cage's work is high enough that I have been eagerly anticipating what he is doing next.

We found out, and Detroit: Become Human is something that I just...I want to be as great as it looks; I want a return to form from this studio in the worst way, because the cinematic, interactive storytelling that Quantic Dream can do with how gorgeous their games are is another PlayStation exclusive that would further solidify why I have always preferred the system:

This is a story, and a genre that I personally find fascinating, and the way that Quantic Dream can tell a story, when they are firing on all cylinders, makes them the studio that I want to try and handle a game like this.

I hope I am not disappointed, but at least we will always have this spectacular trailer.

5) No Man's Sky has a release date

No Man's Sky finally has a release date: June 2016.

That is...easily the best news of the day for me.

I understand that there were other things that perhaps other gamers' would be excited about: a look at CoD Zombies, Street Fighter V news, Tekken 7, Grand Turismo Sport, Bloodborne Old Hunters, and even the Driveclub expansion, but for the most part (Bloodborne excluded) these are all titles that do not interest me as a gamer.

No Man's Sky has been near the top of my most anticipated games list for years, and now that there is a target date, I could not be happier.

Could it be delayed? Sure, if they need more time to make sure what they are trying to do works, as far as I am concerned, they are welcome to it...but to see that actual time frame, something that makes the game palpable...that is superbly exciting.

Let me know what you learned, what you are excited about, or call me crazy for not loving on CoD in the comments below.

And a shoutout to the wonderful gaming website Eurogamer for breaking out all of those press conference videos; check them out if you are looking for a more in-depth look at anything I discussed here.

-S (@Shauncord)