In a normal year, E3 would be winding down following a week of over-produced, hype-building press conferences for the major game publishers and platforms. But with COVID-19 having made large public gatherings impossible, Sony was forced to reveal its lineup for the Playstation 5 via a streamed "Future of Gaming" show.
It was in many ways a surprisingly traditional presentation. It wasn't just that PlayStation was "showing the games" without much fuss, it was that so much of the presentation hearkened to touchstones of the Playstation platform. Pride of place were given to old warhorses like Gran Turismo and Ratchet and Clank, the return of Sackboy, and then more recent hits like Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn.
As much as there was something a bit underwhelming about all the ways the Playstation presentation was playing the hits, they are at least known-quantities. The other trailers, shown one after another, didn't offer many clues about their "elevator pitch". At times the presentation felt like a blur of adjacent aesthetics that didn't quite add up to a clear case for what we'll be doing with our brand new PlayStation 5s.
There were standouts, of course. The Deathloop trailer neatly explained its concept via a great mix of music, motion graphics, and gameplay footage accompanied by a narration that just explained what the game is and it totally worked. We got a glimpse of the Resident Evil VIII: Village that trades the Southern Gothic horror of VII for just… straight Gothic horror.
It's hard to get excited about a console when you're left a little ho hum on the games. While Deathloop remains a high water mark of the presentation, one is left with the impression that Sony is looking to its past for cues on how to move forward. Let's hope the world doesn't pass it by.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
Gran Turismo 7
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Kena Bridge of Spirits
Goodbye Volcano High
Jett: The Far Shore
Little Devil Inside
Resident Evil VIII
Horizon Zero Dawn: Forbidden West
Playstation 5 Hardware