After a show stopping conference during E3 all eyes were focused on Sony at Gamescom, as they embarked upon their conference ready for round two. Overall the show was a huge success, despite its slightly bloated nature. The biggest announcements throughout the presentation were mainly placed on the company’s newest love – indie titles. Though Sony have always had a particularly good relationship with its independent developers, the entertainment giant seems to be pushing with full force into a scene which Microsoft are seeking to gain back.
To open the show, President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida confidently took to the stage and sat back for a relaxed session of gaming. As Yoshida-San basked in the purple glow of the spotlights, he immediately started up a Playstation 4, logged into his account and showcased the new user interface. The new UI eased the minds of gamers’ frustrated with the XMB interface, elegantly showing something visually appealing and simple. In next to no time Yoshida spectated his friend playing Killzone Shadow Fall, before jumping in to join the fight, which was done almost instantly, bar a ‘surprise’ loading screen. This showed a bold move by Sony who intended to prove to the world that they’re entirely focused on games. Sony showed confidence and most importantly, quality.
What followed was a far more ‘chronological’ turn of events, as Sony tossed up the topic of Playstation 3 and the Vita, insisting that they still intend to develop for the PS3 for many more years. Next to unveiling the impending release of the next Gran Turismo with a date of December 6th, they also revealed their plans for the Little Big Planet series. Unfortunately putting aside an official ‘third’ entry to bed, Little Big Planet Hub was announced. Aiming to give the creative tools necessary for creating, the Hub will be released for every Playstation 3 player for free. It might be a bit disappointing that the next official entry won’t be coming to PS4, yet, but it’s reassuring to know that everyone will have access to tools that will let people be as creative as they like. I guess we’ll just have to wait a little longer until we get the ultimate precision in physics on a next-gen console.
Amongst numerous other announcements and a slight price cut of the PS3 in the US and Europe, a much anticipated Vita price cut was announced. It’s been no secret that the Vita has been struggling, so the decision was a welcome announcement. To pad the announcement furthermore, numerous Indie titles were announced for the Vita with one title called Murasaki Baby taking center stage. From the creator of Shadows of the Damned, Murasaki Baby focuses on a young girl who has just lost her mother. Through the use of only the touch controls (you can’t play the game with the joy sticks) you must hold her hand and help her though each level. At first I didn’t quite know what I was watching, but after managing to play some of the game and have a chat with its creator I’m glad to say its potential is high. Look out for my impressions soon.
Many other titles were announced besides Murasaki, including the spiritual successor to Super Start Dust HD, named Resogun. Also worth mentioning is that among the slew of Indie titles, near enough every game after Murasaki Baby was revealed to be coming to Vita as well as PS4 and PS3. Although there were many titles offside the big first party games such as Killzone and Infamous, there were many updates on all these too. Arguably the more interesting part was the first public demonstration of the remote play function in operation. The title being used for the worlds’ first public showcase was Assassin’s Creed 4 and after a slightly difficult presentation at E3, went off without a hitch. More importantly though was the fact that switching from the quality of the title on PS4 seemed entirely intact once it made the transition to Vita. Plus with the hope that every PS4 game will support the feature, it looks like the PS Vita has a bright future ahead of it.
Rounding out the conference were updates on numerous first party Sony titles and the much anticipated release date of the PS4 itself. The biggest fact of the day was that Microsoft didn’t give the Xbox One a release date, which gave Sony a prime position to deliver its message first. As CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Andrew House came to the stage, the crowd anxiously anticipated the news. After taking a few jabs at Microsoft for their constant reversal in their policies, House made it clear that they were sticking to their message; seeking to give their loyal consumers the quality they deserve as well as the trust they’ve come to expect. The Sony Playstation 4 will arrive in North America on November 15th, while Europe will receive it two weeks later on the 29th.
A revolution is coming and regardless of the fact that I’m a self proclaimed Sony fan boy, I’m just happy we have new hardware! Look out for some special video content planned for the launch of both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 later this fall.
Have Sony managed persuade you to buy a PS4 at launch? Or are you heading off to Xbox camp? Let us know in the box below!