“Rising Victorious”

Bringing a packed day of press conferences to a close, ripe with announcements, the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles was filled for one final briefing this evening. Tonight, Sony put on a historic show that quickly climbed its way to the top of the E3 record books. It was a special night that gamers will likely never forget, as Sony triumphantly reinforced why they’re on top this generation. Firing on all cylinders in regards to games, as well as hardware, there was no stopping Sony’s monumentally impressive momentum. I continually voiced my verbal amazement throughout the immaculate briefing, repeating phrases along the lines of, “How is this happening?” and “No way, no way!” Coming into this year’s conference, I figured it would be nearly impossible to reach the prestigious highs of the company’s previous E3 briefing, but boy was I wrong. Not only did Sony quickly surpass the level of brilliance present during last E3’s show, they set an industry standard that will be aspired to in years to come. This is how you do a press conference. This is why E3 is special.E3 2016 Sony's Briefing Impressions (Braxton Haugen) Days GoneQuite possibly the key reason Sony found such dominant success this evening was due to the fact they let the games talk for themselves. Aside from a few interjections from the recognizable faces of Shawn Layden and Andrew House, tonight’s conference was all about the games. Opening with the new God of War, Sony immediately set the pace of what was about to go down. The chill-inducing, on stage gameplay reveal was a perfect way to open the show, and gave us an extensive look at what the next God of War is all about. To the surprise of many, the title’s showcase was quite the tonal departure from where we last left Kratos. There was room to breathe and hints of maturity not previously seen in the series; a welcome complexity that launched the game to the top of my list for the best of E3. Rather than stopping there to give a prolonged spiel regarding the future of PlayStation, Sony kept the pacing going with a fantastic reveal of Studio Bend’s new game, Days Gone. Previously known as its rumored title of Dead Don’t Ride, Days Gone is a new IP set in an apocalyptic world where players must fight to survive. The reveal gracefully avoided feeling like yet another mindless zombie murder action game, placing an emphasis on human emotions and evocative world building. 

Proceeding to touch on a few projects we’ve seen in years past, Sony gave the stage to The Last Guardian and Horizon: Zero Dawn to show a compelling trailer and impressive gameplay demo, respectively. Detroit Become Human was among the titles we’d previously heard from as well, this time showcasing an emotionally powerful trailer that painted the kind of world we can expect to immerse ourselves in. Following that, it was right back into the surprises with an announcement of Resident Evil 7. Led into by a creepy trailer, the reveal of RE7 had me whooping in excitement. Better yet, the game was confirmed to be playable on PlayStation VR in its entirety, marking one of the first enormous AAA games to be compatible on the platform. E3 2016 Sony's Briefing Impressions (Braxton Haugen) RESIDENT EVIL 7 biohazardThis incredible moment was just the tip of the iceberg for VR this evening, as Sony delivered a wonderful set of compelling announcements regarding the upcoming hardware. After Microsoft’s great hardware-heavy conference in the morning, Sony was left with the ball in their court. Luckily for them, they were prepared. While Project NEO didn’t make an appearance at the briefing, despite my aggressive predictions, PlayStation VR played a substantial role that filled whatever void NEO’s absence may have left. Thanks to a meaty lineup of titles coming exclusively to PSVR, Sony gave the consumer a justifiable reason to become an early adopter of the new platform. As someone who had already preordered a unit when they went live for purchase earlier this year, tonight Sony reinforced why I so eagerly put my money down in advance. As Shawn Layden put it during last year’s show, we’re witnessing a historic evolution in gaming, and VR plays an integral part of that. After this evening’s briefing you can’t say Sony isn’t committed to VR, and as a consumer that makes me very excited. 

Concluding the presser’s VR portion, the show led into a solid gameplay demo of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. It kept to a concise pace and fit immaculately into the cadence of the show as a whole. Shortly after, the legend himself Hideo Kojima, took the stage to reveal his upcoming project. Titled Death Stranding, the game’s announce trailer was heavily coated in mystery and featured the acting talent of Norman Redus as its big punch. This provoked an enormous sea of understandable applause for those in attendance and brought a tear of excitement to my eye. This tumultuous story of restricted freedom positively coming full circle was powerful to see, and will stick with me for sometime to come. However, for as great as a moment this made, if we’re being realistic, the earliest we’ll likely see this game is 2019, and even that might be generous. Keeping the excitement at fever pitch, Sony steered the briefing right into an announcement of a PlayStation 4 exclusive Spider-Man project in development by Insomniac Games. Looking phenomenal, the iconic web slinger’s reveal had me clasping my hands over my mouth in disbelief. Wrapping up the masterclass of a briefing, Sony closed with a heart-pounding, lengthy gameplay reveal of Days Gone, one that rocketed the game to the top of my most anticipated list.E3 2016 Sony's Briefing Impressions (Braxton Haugen) Spider-ManBelow is the biggest news from Sony’s E3 2016 press conference.

The Big Announcements

Sony’s briefing was a juggernaut of success, reaffirming both the power of their current position this generation and the importance of E3 as an expo on a grander scale. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of watching a game that has been kept in the dark for years, see the light of day. It’s a powerful emotion that transcends the hard work of the creative minds behind the project. Full of jaw-dropping surprises and goosebumps brought on by worthy returns of iconic characters, it’s safe to say there was never a dull moment this evening. Impressively, nothing about Sony’s conference overstayed its welcome. The balance of reveals, speeches, plays on nostalgia and transitions were immaculate through and through, creating a spectacle of a briefing to appreciate. The emotions Sony’s conference pulled from me were rare. Covered in full body chills on multiple occasions, I watched in awe as their presser, one by one, surpassed my favorite E3 conferences in history. When the riveting closing gameplay demo of Days Gone, wrapped up, I was left with a humongous grin and shaky hands. Bravo Sony. Bravo.

Note: Be sure to check back everyday for continually updated and exciting content surrounding this year’s show.

To keep up with my thoughts on all things E3 2016 as they go down live, connect with me on Twitter @BraxHaugen.