E3 is just around the corner. For the fifth year in a row, we're taking a look back at the big three's big E3 promises. What came true and what didn't? First up is Sony, with Nintendo and Microsoft following suit this week.
E3 is fundamentally about video games. Thus, Sony tried really hard to maintain focus on games last year. It mostly succeeded. While there were brief mentions of the esoteric interactive book platform, Wonderbook, and talk of bringing new media channels to the Vita, the presentation was dominated by games, footage of games and discussion related to games.
With that in mind, let's have a look at what Sony promised to give gamers, and what it managed to deliver.
PlayStation 3 Games
The Game: Unfinished Swan. The Promise: Unfinished Swan, an abstract first-person adventure game, will come to the PlayStation Network in 2012. The Verdict: Promise kept. Unfinished Swan was released on October 23, 2012, with Plus subscribers getting it a week early.
The Game: Assassin's Creed III. The Promise: Assassin's Creed III, the next instalment in the Assassin's Creed series of open world historical action games, will be released on October 30, 2012. The Verdict: Promise kept.
The Game: Far Cry 3. The Promise: Open world shooter Far Cry 3 will get exclusive DLC on the PlayStation 3. The Verdict: Promise kept. High Tides, a downloadable co-op pack exclusive to PS3, was released on January 16, 2013.
The Game: God of War: Ascension. The Promise: The God of War series of hack and slash games will get its next instalment with Ascension on March 12, 2013. The Verdict: Promise kept.
PlayStation Vita Games
The Promise: More than 60 completely new titles will be released for the Vita in 2012, among them Guacamelee, Retro City Rampage and When Vikings Attack. The Verdict: Promise not really kept. I've counted 42 Vita games in Sony's database which were released between June 4, 2012 and December 31, 2012, starting with Pulzar on June 12 and ending with Chronovolt on December 31. Furthermore, Guacamelee was only released in 2013.
The Promise: PlayStation One Classics will be made available for the Vita in Q3. The first batch of titles will include the original Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy VII. The Verdict: Promise kept, although the first batch of games was frustratingly small, especially compared to Europe's game list. The following classic PlayStation games were released for the Vita on August 28, 2012:
Arc the Lad Cool Boarders 2 FINAL FANTASY VII Hot Shots Golf 2 Jet Moto Syphon Filter Tomb Raider Twisted Metal 2 Wild Arms
The Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified The Promise: The Vita's version of Call of Duty: Black Ops, the "first Triple-A first-person shooter in the palm of your hand", will be released in the 2012 Christmas holidaysn. The Verdict: Promise kept. Kinda. Declassified was released on November 13, 2012, although it wasn't quite the triple-A FPS people were hoping to get. Not by a long shot.
The Game: Assassin's Creed III: Liberation The Promise: Liberation, dubbed the "complete Assassin's Creed open world experience on the Vita", will be released on October 30, 2012. The Verdict: Promise kept.
The Promise: The PlayStation Network will receive over 200 games in the next 12 months. The Verdict: Promise kept — and how. In Sony's game database, I've counted 362 downloadable titles which were released between now and June 4, 2012, the first one being Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, released on June 5, 2012.
The Promise: PlayStation Plus subscribers will get 12 games for free in June, among them LittleBigPlanet 2, inFamous 2, and Saints Row 2. The Verdict: Promise kept. On June 5, 2012, the following games were made available for Plus subscribers:
Choplifter HD Hard Corps: Uprising inFamous 2 Just Cause 2 Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light LittleBigPlanet 2 Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Saints Row 2 Sideway New York Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone
The Game: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. The Promise: Crossover fighting game Battle Royale will be released for the Vita, and will feature cross-platform multiplayer between PS3 and Vita copies. The Verdict: Promise kept. The game was released for both the PS3 and the Vita on the same day, November 20, 2012. Cross-platform play was an included feature.
The Game: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. The Promise: All-Stars will get two new characters, Mr. Bubbles from BioShock and Nathan Drake from Uncharted. The Verdict: Promise kept. Both characters were included with the game at launch.
The Game: LittleBigPlanet 2. The Promise: LittleBigPlanet 2 will receive the Cross-Controller DLC in 2012. This pack will enable the Vita to be used as an enhanced controller for the game, and will also feature simultaneous Vita-PS3 multiplayer, a new story mode, and new in-game content. The Verdict: Promise kept. The DLC was released to the PlayStation Network on December 18, 2012.
The Promise: Hulu Plus and Crackle TV will be made available for the Vita via dedicated apps. The Verdict: Promise not yet kept. While both services are available on the PS3, at the time of writing neither have apps on the Vita.
The Promise: The Wonderbook, a new platform for interactive stories, will be released in late 2012, with J.K. Rowling's Book of Spells as its launch title. The Verdict: Promise kept. Both the Wonderbook and the Book of Spells were released on November 13, 2012.
The Promise: The PS3 will receive a Wonderbook game called Diggs Nightcrawler. The Verdict: Promise kept, sort of. Diggs Nightcrawler was released on May 31, 2013 in Europe, and is slated to come out this coming holiday season in North America.
The Promise: PlayStation Mobile games will be available on third party Android devices, with HTC devices being the first. The Verdict: Promise kept. The PlayStation Mobile service officially launched on October 3, 2012, and was compatible with three HTC smartphones, the One X, One S and One V.
All in all, Sony did alright. There were slip-ups; missing Vita games, Hulu going MIA, and calling Call of Duty's Vita version "lacklustre" would be putting it lightly. Yet, release dates were met, franchises were continued as planned, and we even got the Wonderbook. Well done!
Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for a similar look at Nintendo's briefing.