This weekend brings us the PlayStation Experience, the annual convention that brings together players, developers, and publishers to celebrate the lineage of PlayStation gaming throughout the years. The event kicked off with a live keynote presentation full of surprises, new reveals, and updates on some of the most anticipated games for the system.
Sony Interactive Entertainment America President and CEO Shawn Layden and Social Media Director Sid Shuman hosted the conference and started by reminiscing over some of the year’s successes, such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and Persona 5. After a brief rundown of the weekend’s festivities, the reveals and updates began.
The first of the new announcements came for PlayStation VR. Firewall: Zero Hour was revealed first, a “team-based, 4v4 tactical shooter” from developer First Contact, followed immediately by a new VR experience for The Last Guardian, available next week. However, the crowd really came alive for a WipEout VR reveal, which will be a free update for any owners of the base game.
The first guest to join the stage was Herman Hulst, Managing Director & Co-Founder of Guerrilla Games, to talk about 2017 as “the year of Horizon: Zero Dawn.” The three particularly discussed their love of single-player games, taking a subtle shot at EA and their abandonment of the genre.
This segued nicely into an update on the upcoming God of War from Sony Santa Monica Creative Director Cory Barlog. The team is apparently in the “final phases” of play-testing, an announcement that caused several audience members to shout their praises at the stage—quickly dampened by the lack of a release date. However, he made sure to announce that the game will run about 25-30 hours, a robust figure for the series. To end the block, Barlog took the audience through a new bit of gameplay footage, explaining some of the new systems such as “banter” between the characters and a more open, rewarding world to explore.
On the heels of the announcement of Dreams at The Game Awards, Siobhan Reddy of Media Molecule stopped by for an additional look at the new IP. An evolution of the developer’s “play, create, share” philosophy that began with LittleBigPlanet, Dreams comes with a toybox of tools that will allow players to create their own levels, games, movies, and so on, freed from the constraints of just platforming. The game also has a single-player mode, interweaving three different narratives—all created with the tools available in-game.
To break up the interviews, Guillaume de Fondaumière of Quantic Dream dropped in for a live demo of the intriguing cyber-cop drama Detroit: Become Human—where the audience was allowed to make the decisions by shouting out. Though things quickly devolved into a cacophony, Fondaumière showed off many of the unique systems at play, such as crime scene reconstruction and the effect different choices have on the chance of mission success.
Next up was a slew of new trailers. Annapurna Interactive revealed an offbeat puzzler named Donut County, Tiger Tron introduced a bizarre yet beautiful VR title Jupiter & Mars, and ArcSystem Works surprised the crowd with the new BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, out next year. Bandai Namco also showed off new footage from Soul Calibur VI, and Capcom came through with a new teaser for Monster Hunter: World—now apparently featuring Mega Man.
PS4 architect Mark Cerny and Sony Interactive Chairman Andy House joined the presentation next, bringing the biggest surprise of the night: an interview with Hideo Kojima, following up the mesmerizing and mystifying Death Stranding trailer from The Game Awards. Kojima and House reminisced about the rebirth of Kojima Productions under Sony Interactive, and revealed that the trailer, which most assumed was CG, was actually run in real-time and in-engine—and the bizarre underwater scene with Norman Reedus will be playable. The theme of Death Stranding, Kojima says, is “connections”—which he says started with the connections between himself, House, Cerny, and Guerrilla Games, who graciously provided their engine for the project.
Layden took care of the final reveal of the night: that the PS1 classic MediEval, will be coming to PS4. Printed on his t-shirt, the announcement was a reference to Layden wearing a Crash Bandicoot shirt at the 2015 PSX—which inspired the series reboot.
The convention will last throughout the weekend, with most of the festivities scheduled for Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10. There is an immense list of exhibitors, with a host of developers exhibiting and playable floor demos for upcoming titles like Far Cry 5 and Guacamelee! 2, Shadow of the Colossus, and Monster Hunter: World. Also taking place all weekend is Capcom Cup 2017, a premier Street Fighter V tournament with over $370,000 in prize money up for grabs.