What To Expect From Sony’s Big Not-E3 Press Conference

What To Expect From Sony’s Big Not-E3 Press Conference
Screenshot: Square Enix

This year’s not-E3-but-basically-E3 kicks off on Thursday with Sony’s big summer State of Play showcase. PlayStation has already had a pretty banner year, thanks to a number of exclusives (Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, Ghostwire: Tokyo) and a forthcoming revamp of its subscription services. But there’s a lot more in the pipe.

Where to watch

Sony will stream the event on YouTube and Twitch. It starts at 6:00 p.m. ET and runs for about half an hour. Fun fact: As of this writing, more than 100 people are already waiting for the YouTube event to start. C’mon, folks, it’s two days away. Just reload the page on Thursday! Your Chrome browser is begging you.

What to expect

Recently, Sony has tended to show off its first-party games in dedicated State of Play events where the main games of interest are telegraphed beforehand, so don’t hold your breath for anything about God of War Ragnarök or DLC for Horizon Forbidden West. Sony says this event will feature “exciting reveals from our third-party partners, plus a sneak peek at several games in development for PlayStation VR2.”

The surest thing from Sony’s third-party partners right now is Square Enix’s Forspoken, which is currently slated for PS5 (and PC) on October 11. In 2020, back when the not-yet-final fantasy action game was still known as Project Athia, Square Enix said it’d remain “console exclusive” to PS5 for at least two years. It’s a safe bet we’ll get yet another trailer. These are marketing events, after all.

Forspoken. (Screenshot: Square Enix)Forspoken. (Screenshot: Square Enix)

Also in Square Enix’s pipeline is the PS5-exclusive Final Fantasy XVI, announced back in 2020 and delayed last year, a result of production woes stemming from the ongoing pandemic. Its producer recently indicated the game was basically done. At the moment, Square Enix hasn’t scheduled its own not-E3 presser, so Sony’s event seems as good a place as any to reveal a release date. Less likely, but not totally impossible, is an official reveal for the follow-up to Final Fantasy VII Remake. In January, one of the game’s creative leads said info was TBA some time this year. It’s gonna be really cool to play as Cloud Strife again in 2027!

Capcom also doesn’t currently have its own presser scheduled for 2022’s conference vacuum. The least-known quantity here is Pragmata, a game about…I am not sure. Pragmata was shown at Sony’s State of Play in summer 2020, and is among the crop of big-budget next-gen-only games in the works. Initially aiming for 2022, Capcom recently delayed it to next year. Maybe we’ll finally learn what the heck it is at this year’s event. Or, hey, what’s the deal with that long-rumoured Resident Evil 4 remake?

It is extremely unlikely that Sony will drop any hardware details about the PSVR2, like a release date or a price point, during a live-streamed showcase that shares a spotlight with a bunch of third-party developers. According to a recent investor briefing, the thing will launch with 20 games out of the gate. The buzziest PSVR2 game in development right now is Horizon Call of the Mountain, a spin-off of Guerrilla’s dazzlingly colourful foray into open-world post-apocalyptic canon. Sony’s marquee event seems like a good place to show off some gameplay.

What to hope (but not hold your breath) for

Remember how, in God of War (2018), Kratos is all, like, “Don’t get your hopes up, boy, but also be ready for anything”? Yes, I too love conflicting advice! And while Sony’s descriptive text of the event seems designed to set expectations for a State of Play that isn’t focusing on first-party exclusives, hey, you never know.

The obvious one is God of War Ragnarök. Not that it’s an ironclad confirmation of anything at all, but the game was recently rated by a ratings agency in South Korea. Typically, that step only happens once a game is far along in production. (It’s 18+, by the way.) Last fall, PlayStation first-party heroes Insomniac revealed two superhero games in the works: Marvel’s Wolverine and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. The studio did not show off gameplay for either.

Then there’s the big one. Over the weekend, a joke tweet set off a firestorm of enthusiasm about a Bloodborne remake for PS5 and PC, developed by Bluepoint, the makers of 2020’s luxuriously produced Demon’s Souls remake. To be crystal clear, the announcement was 100 per cent a spoof; there is no public confirmation about a Bloodborne remake or PC release. But people bought into the hoax in part because of how believable the context around it was: FromSoftware, the developer of the original, is kind of having a moment, and Bluepoint, now a first-party PlayStation studio, is ramping up hiring but hasn’t announced its next project. Plus, Sony recently stated an intention to ramp up its footprint on PC. As Kratos says, be ready for anything.

 

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