“Elation and Reservation”

Earlier this week during Paris Games Week 2015, Sony delivered a terrific conference, packed to the brim with a ton of new game announcements and trailers. Aside from a few sections that dragged on, PlayStation gave a fantastic conference that smartly put a focus on what lies ahead for the company and fans alike. The briefing put a solid emphasis on upcoming first and second party titles, along with a huge portion of the show dedicated directly to PlayStation VR. While most announcements hit home in exciting fashion, a few sparked reservation that bring into question what PlayStation’s intentions as a brand moving forward might be. Everything considered, Sony’s Paris Games Week conference successfully made up for skipping Gamescom earlier this year, as both the variety and daringness of the briefing indicated nothing less than an amazing few months ahead for PlayStation.Paris Games Week 1The briefing opened with a stylish montage that didn’t show much of anything new, but gave a great pulse on what to look forward to in the foreseeable future. What followed was the first of many smart moves, as the conference proceeded to get the third-party business out of the way, before jumping into what has defined PlayStation this generation. This helped keep a great momentum throughout the briefing, for what is most important to PlayStation got time to shine. The strongest of the third-party offerings came by way of a terrific Star Wars Battlefront trailer that highlighted Boba Fett, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Emperor Palpatine in action. Moving forward, Sony got right into the next big things ahead for PlayStation. The first of which caught my attention was Boundless, an ambitious PS4 and PC cross-platform game where everyone plays together in one online universe. Said to be completely open-ended, Boundless looks to be an unique, procedurally generated title with an enticing focus on playing with portals.

With nothing big on Sony’s plate for the remainder of 2015, the briefing almost solely consisted of featuring products and titles slated for 2016 and beyond. If everything goes accordingly, Sony has a fantastic few years ahead of them as the PlayStation 4 looks to innovate to heights unlike its competition. Housemarque’s new game Matterfall looks great in concept, and while the debut trailer didn’t show what the actual game will be, it’s safe to assume it will be similar to their past work. Next up, No Man’s Sky finally got a set release window of June, accompanied by a new narrative trailer which opened up all kinds of possibilities for the anticipated space exploration title. Jumping ahead, Horizon: Zero Dawn got an impressive new slice of gameplay footage, that highlighted an encounter between the protagonist and a giant dinosaur-like robot. Guerrilla Games’ shift from the Killzone series to something like Horizon is truly exciting, and the newest stage demo reiterates why everyone should have their eye on this project.

Gravity Rush 2 also got some stage time, with a stylistic gameplay trailer showing off its new mechanics and boss fights. The original presented some really great ideas, and I’m optimistic the sequel will bring them to fruition on the PS4. One of the more polarizing highlights from the briefing was Uncharted 4’s official multiplayer reveal. I thought it look great in concept, and the actual post-conference gameplay I saw looked to mirror The Last of Us’ multiplayer component in some really smart ways. Time will tell if Uncharted 4’s multiplayer mode will surpass that of its predecessors, but we won’t have to wait long as the beta opens in early December. Arguably the most bizarre aspect of the conference came by way of Media Molecule’s new project, Dreams. The mysterious title received a substantial stage demo, in which the game was given a bit more insight along with some information including that a beta for the title is coming next year. Another game long shrouded in mystery that made quite the impact at the conference was Michel Ancel’s Wild. The title got a meaty developer walkthrough on-stage that explained some of the exciting possibilities that await, such as taking control of all sorts of animals. Last, but certainly not least, Quantic Dream revealed its newest project, Detroit: Become Human. Centered around themes of advanced technology and social debacles, Detroit: Become Human looks like a game right up Quantic Dream’s alley and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.Paris Games Week 2What little attention Sony has given PlayStation VR during its more recent conferences, was made up here, as virtual reality was a prominent topic throughout the briefing. In fact, once Shuhei Yoshida took to the stage to show off PlayStation VR, the remainder of the show was almost entirely geared towards what VR will bring to the PlayStation ecosystem. I’m open to PlayStation VR, but I’m also hesitant, especially after seeing a few questionable projects in the works for the innovative piece of tech. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, sparked the most reservation out of all the announcements, as it hit on everything I don’t want VR to be. If Sony wants PlayStation VR to flourish, it needs to have the unique experiences to back it up, and games like Until Dawn: Rush of Blood feel more like an underwhelming tech demo rather than something that will sell a consumer. Fortunately, the rest of the announcements instilled great optimism that PlayStation VR has a future and potential to succeed in the market. Among the stronger offerings were Robinson: The Journey, Battlezone, RIGS, and Gran Turismo Sport, all of which are built to embrace the possibilities of virtual reality. It’s still very up in the air if VR will get legs on the market, but it’s clear Sony believes in the product, and that gives me hope PlayStation VR actually might have a future.Paris Games Week 3Below are the biggest announcements from Sony’s event in Paris.

The Big Announcements

To keep up with my thoughts on all things video games, along with plenty of other nonsense, follow me on Twitter @BraxHaugen.