Let's just get one thing out of the way before I get started: this was one of, if not the best PlayStation E3 conferences I have ever seen. This is the first, and only time that there wasn't something that drug, or that I wasn't at least half-way interested in....and it was amazing. It was so strange, as even at their previous heights, say with the announcements of the PS4, or the lead off blitz of amazingness that was last years conference...
There was always a lull--a moment or 15 minutes where there was some corporate things, or some technical chat, something called 'Wonderbook', or whatever would slow the conference down.
This did not happen in 2016. The moment I cared the least about was probably for Skylanders because that's not my bag, but I was still processing the return/remakes of Crash ******* Bandicoot to care. It was strange that there were practically no developers coming out to talk about their games, but at the same time, everything that was shown was so strong that Sony's choice in letting the games speak for themselves turned out to be a stroke of genius.
I've taken a little bit of time to ponder this list, including a re-watch of the entire conference, and a re-watch (with a new audience member) of all of the major trailers and live demos that happened at the conference to get another perspective, and I feel pretty damn comfortable that these were my Top 5 Moments.
Before we get going, I also want to give a massive shoutout to both Gamespot (for breaking things out on YouTube, and their awesome coverage) and Kinda Funny Games (for their awesome pre and post shows, and commentary)
Honorable Mention: The Live Orchestra
As the press conference was starting, I tweeted this:
It continues to blow my mind that there was a live orchestra, in an orchestra pit, at the Sony Press Conference....as the overture continued, I was a) more blown away by the balls this took to lead with, considering it really, really meant that they felt confident that they were going to land, because if it didn't, this would be one of those old school Sony 'alas cruel hubris' moments, and b) oh man, God of War is coming, the rumors are true...because that was the kind of overture it was the more I thought about it.
However, what was absolutely spellbinding to me, and clinched this as my favorite conference was the fact that the orchestra (with chorus, and singers) was there for the whole conference and you know, just scored it. The whole time. Amazingly.
#5- They finally started to get me interested in PSVR
Long time readers of theguysfrom.com will definitely have noticed that while I am part of the hardcore PlayStation community, I have never been too keen on PSVR--as there has never really been any way for me to get my hands on it, I have not experienced it for myself to get the sense of what it is like, so I have only really been able to base my feelings on it on what has been at conferences in videos, which is clearly not the same when it comes to virtual reality. Up until now, most of the VR things seemed to be mini experiences, or strange games like Job Simulator or 100ft Robot Golf...
...but this year they lead with Resident Evil VII as being fully playable in VR from start to finish, and that immediately got my attention: the game looks like a return to the series' roots of survival horror as opposed to being just another action game. Following that up with Farpoint a sci-fi exploration game, and Batman Arkham VR finally, finally, got my attention.
Now is that perhaps mostly out of my curiosity toward Farpoint, and excitement at the prospect of an actual horror return of Resident Evil? Maybe...and RE7 is going to also just be on PS4 (and the other consoles of course too), so it's not necessary, but this is the first time that I, someone who has never demoed a PSVR, sat up and actually took an interest, and that is saying something.
#4- Insomniac Spiderman PS4
Wait so let me get this straight: a great game studio has teamed up with Marvel to make a Spider Man game exclusive to the PS4?
I am not a big fan of Spider-Man comics (like, at all...I find him grating, or downright awful in a lot of them), but I really liked the first trilogy, and I really, really, really want a good game. An open world Spider-Man where I can just web around New York and punch bad guys?
I'll even put up with the awful quips, I just want a good Spider-Man story, and to bang around...give me that, in a way that works, and that doesn't get as repetitive as practically EVERY OTHER SPIDER-MAN GAME....then this will be massive...and one that I look forward to getting my hands on.
#3- God of War is back, and looks different
I'm not just saying that because Kratos has a beard...I'm saying that because it really does seem like God of War is rebooting itself, yet staying tied to the old games as well. I was always a fan of the strange and fantastical, hack and quick-time-event games that were the original Greek God of War trilogy, even though Kratos is not the most interesting of characters, the set pieces were beyond amazing.
This game, however, looks like it's tying a few RPG elements into it, the perspective looks better (vaguely like an Uncharted or Tomb Raider), the fights look a bit more like Bloodborne and less "Ima stand here and mash square until you die", and there's actual depth to Kratos...there's more character to him in this 10 minute demo, than there was in the first three games:
It looks great, I love the transition into Norse mythology (considering we've already killed all the Greek Gods and Titans), I would even be fascinated if it some point, the game transitioned and we play as Kratos' son.
I was not sure that I wanted another God of War game, but seeing what this is, and what it *seems* that Sony Santa Monica is doing with the game, it climbed up my gaming wishlist almost as much as the next game...
#2- DETROIT....David Cage's getting my hopes up
Oh man. This was the trailer of the show for me. I am a big Quantic Dream fan (I loved Indigo Prophecy, and Heavy Rain consistently makes Top 10 Game lists for me), but after Beyond: Two Souls, my faith had cracked...that game was a strange mix of odd plot points, and decisions that felt loose and unnecessary to the story (like I wasn't doing anything)...and after the brilliance that was Until Dawn, I was thinking that maybe the torch in narrative gaming had been passed.
Now I know this is just a trailer, but this is giving me that Heavy Rain feeling again, and it is visually stunning.
I love that it, at least in this section, appears to be taking us back to the investigation awesomeness that Heavy Rain did so well, and the variety in decisions and choices looks fantastic in terms of replay value.
I mean sure, there are always only so many ways that a story can go, but the journey to an outcome looks so, so vast here that it really has me anxiously wanting to get my hands on this game; having Quantic clicking again would be amazing as narrative games gain more and more traction in the gamersphere.
#1- Kojima-san and the announcement of Death Stranding
This was boss. This was so baller of Sony that I actually said that out loud, and I was sitting by myself in my apartment.
Here is the whole thing directly from the conference:
I cannot imagine anyone who has made it this far in this article does not already know the backstory of what went on with Kojima in the last year, but just in case, here is an excellent article from Polygon.com
At the end of the day, there is no designer, writer, director of video games like Kojima-san, and there is an absolutely rabid fan base for his work--while I have never completely invested in Metal Gear Solid (I was late to the party there), I have seen most of all of the games through other people, and can not wait to get my hands on a brand new IP from such a brilliant developer.
That reveal of Norman Reedus? Amazing. Ghost oil baby? Sure. Piles of dead sea creatures with flying sky figures? I'm in...I have no idea what it is about, what we are doing, or really when we will see it (I'd hope 2019...) but that does not matter. Dropping this in near the end of an already stellar conference, was beyond amazing.
There are my top 5 moments of the Sony E3 2016 press conference. What do you think? Are you upset I never talked about Days Gone, or The Last Guardian? Let me know!