Sony @ E3 2016 Preview & Predictions

All this week (except Monday), I’m running through every press conference at E3 2016 and going over what we know, what we can expect, and making my predictions for what we’ll see. Today, we’re wrapping up the last of the console-manufacturer press conference previews (thanks a lot Nintendo) with Sony.

Sony E3 Press Conferences in Years Past 

Sony, to me, is usually where I can expect to watch the most interesting press conference. They have the best of both worlds. They have the kind of third party support that makes Microsoft interesting to watch, and they have the stable of first party studios and IP that draw me to Nintendo’s Digital Events. Atop of all that, they possess the kind of diversity and quirky titles that neither of their competing console manufacturers have truly been able to boast.

And with that comes the fun of predicting what they’ll present at E3. Because not only do they usually have a good lineup of easily predictable, yet exciting first party titles, but they’ll always bring a string of cool third party titles to the table.

Last year, they were undoubtedly the best press conference– at least from a fan perspective– even without thinking about how they came out with the trio of long-awaited announcements in The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter.

Sony’s 2015 press conference pretty much exemplified the rules I laid out for Nintendo for how to produce an engrossing and exciting Digital Event or Press Conference. While the second half of their press conference was a bit lacking in Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Disney Infinity, more Star Wars Battlefront, and maybe a little too much PlayStation VR and Vue, they staged their press conference around three huge pillars in The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VIII Remake, and Uncharted 4: A Theif’s End, and peppered in just enough of the games people wanted to see and a few new IPs, one of which– Horizon: Zero Dawn– still looks like one of the most interesting games coming out in the next few years.

Sony essentially banked on those games and how big of an announcement a few of those were to carry viewers over the rest of the press conference and by all measures it worked.

2014 may not have been as big in its announcements and games, but it actually produced a more announcements than the following year, such as LittleBigPlanet 3, Bloodborne, Dead Island 2, Grim Fandango Remastered, Abzu, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. While a little tiresome in the middle, there was enough interesting games in between to keep people’s attention, such as a great opener in Destiny, as well as Far Cry 4, No Man’s Sky, Mortal Kombat X, Ratchet & Clank, The Last of Us Remastered, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Of course, there’s not much I need to really say about 2013. While there were big hitting announcements like Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III, what everyone remembers the press conference for was how brutally Sony beat the Xbox One’s DRM policies to a pulp, topping it all off by basically replacing a final “one more thing” game with a price point acting as the finishing blow. It wasn’t that great of a press conference for games, but if it proved anything, it’s that Sony really knows how to put on a show.

Known Sony Titles 

Because of how many studios Sony has working under them and how variable their advertising and development cycles can be, Sony has put together quite an impressive list of games that are in development and could show up at E3 2016. It’s one of the main reasons that Sony usually does a second press conference in Europe later in the year, and a third at PlayStation Experience just to make sure they can offer every game in their lineup a fair stage.

On the other hand, if last year’s E3 press conference is anything to go by, there are a good number of games that Sony is just as comfortable in putting in a montage at the beginning and end of their presser and leaving them at that– a fate that was delivered onto Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection last year.

So what can you expect Sony to go headfirst into? The biggest games we still know about are, of course, still, The Last Guardian, Gran Turismo Sport, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Media Molecule’s Dreams, and possibly the David Cage game announced at Paris Games Week last year in Detroit: Become Human. With two hours to spare, it’s hard to believe that Sony won’t at least provide a trailer for each of these games.

With Sport in there, though, a game that would have been easily assured, Gran Turismo 7, is likely going to sit out another year before being shown off at E3. Though it wouldn’t be the first time a company has at least talked about two racing games in the same franchise yet to be released. (looking at you, Microsoft)

The other easy checkmark on the list are most games for PlayStation VR, which hopefully won’t take up too much time but are likely to at least be offhandedly mentioned. Such titles include The Playroom VR, RIGS Mechanized Combat League, PlayStation VR Worlds, and Supermassive Game’s Tumble VR.

So what falls by the wayside for a future press conference? A lot of mid-level games, most likely, although if something is coming out this year, there’s always the chance Sony puts it on the stage in order to give it some more attention. Several games shown at previous Gamescon, Paris Games Week, and PlayStation Experience pressers would fit this bill, such as The Tomorrow Children, Kill Strain, What Remains of Edith Finch, Alienation, Drawn to Death, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood DLC, Gravity Rush 2, and, really just to hope it doesn’t show up in general, New Everybody’s Golf.

The one exception to this rule might actually be Housemarque’s Matterfall. It’s past titles, Super Stardust and Resogun were well received both criticall and commercially and the latter was the first game given away for PS4 on PlayStation Plus. They’ve gotten time at E3 multiple times before, and so far we only have a CG trailer for Matterfall, setting their presser up as a great time to finally show gameplay.

Predicted Sony Games

Let’s just get God of War IV out of the way right now. Almost everyone is expecting a new game in one of Sony’s biggest franchises to come out in the next year and a half, with rumors and Santa Monica Studios’ development cycles offering the idea some real credence. Without being able to lean on Uncharted 4 as their press conference’s pillar, God of War could easily do just that.

After that, we don’t have any rumored titles to get imaginations running, but several Sony studios have their development cycles lining up and there’s a good chance we see them show up to the party.

The most likely of those is bend Studio, known in the past for the Syphon Filter franchise– which has had some grumblings of rebirth– alongside Uncharted: Golden Abyss for PS Vita. Word from the studio is that they’re working on a new PS4 game that is looking absolutely incredible, and with 4 years since their last title from a studio that normally works in development cycles of 2-3, it’d better be.

The studio which definitely has a new game in the work, but is still a definite maybe on showing it off this year is Sucker Punch, creators of Infamous. Their last two games, Infamous: Second Son and the stand-alone expansion First Light, released in 2014, putting Sucker Punch in the position of Guerrila Games last year– which released Killzone Shadow Fall in 2013 and announced Horizon: Zero Dawn this year. While they could wait for a game not likely to release until at least 2017, if Sony wants the added interest of a game announcement, Sucker Punch is likely the first one they’d tap.

The last studio likely developing a game that could be announced at this year’s E3 is the one studio that is the least predictable: Japan Studios. While the studio co-develops multiple projects around the world almost constantly, their own in-house teams have kept up putting out a handful of games about every 3 years. Japan Studio’s last games released in 2013 in Puppeteer, Knack, and The Playroom. The studio is currently working on The Playroom VR, so it’s not much of a stretch to think that perhaps they might be working on another game Sony could show off as a smaller, interesting game like Puppeteer was a few years ago.

Known Exclusive 2nd and 3rd Party Titles

With support from so many developers around the world, it’s almost impossible to predict what exactly it is Sony will bring out at E3. The list is lengthy, and there’s a large number of games that a lot of people would like to see.

VR is likely where quite a number of them will be mentioned or shown in a montage, including Golem, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, Ace Combat 7 and Star Wars Battlefront VR.

Others likely just won’t make the cut for being a little too Japanese, too small or too far away in development to be shown, even though many would love to see them, such as Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, The King of Fighters XIV, Bound, Nier Automata, World of Final Fantasy, Persona 5, Shenmue III, Yakuza 0, and, unfortunately, Rime.

So what might find its way in?

Likely, No Man’s Sky will get some sort of attention as it has every single press conference Sony has had in the last three years, and we’ll likely get another look at Abzu, from some of the people that worked on Journey.

So what about those games on the edge of weird and interesting? We haven’t seen much from Hellblade in a while, and Nioh seems to garner more and more interest every time it’s shown. Tim Schafer seems to sneak in a game or two of his once in a while so we could see Full Throttle Remastered and maybe even another LucasArts adventure game get announced. Finally, the one game that toes this line that I can’t help but want to see more of is Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom. Will any of these actually get in? It will depend on if there’s space– something that is surprisingly hard to come by in Sony’s 2 hour press conference.

The last game that I think has a good chance of being shown is Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Or rather, I think it will be mentioned in conjunction with a multiplayer game that I’ll get to shortly. On the other hand, does Final Fantasy VII Remake get shown off as well? It’s possible, of course, due to how excited everyone was about it last year, but the same could be said of Final Fantasy XV that same year, and it’s hard to imagine Square Enix getting 4 RPGs in Sony’s press conference.

Known Multiplatform Games

Sony might be very smart to come last of all the major press conferences, if only because they can show off new games from EA and Ubisoft without those major publishers losing big reveals at their own press conferences.

Like Microsoft, what games they bring out are very hard to predict, but knowing their track record, it’s not impossible.

For example, with the new multi-year agreement between Sony and Activision, we can safely bet that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare shows up at Sony’s press conference.

Last year Square Enix had their own press conference, and yet they still gave some of their biggest reveals like Hitman and Final Fantasy VII Remake to Sony– essentially making the trailers in their own presser a waste of everyone’s time. If that’s not a sign that they have a good relationship, I’m not sure what does.

With Deus Ex: Manking Divided and Final Fantasy XV coming out in August and September, respectively, it’s not hard to imagine that Square Enix is looking to have a company push them, and it’s very likely that Sony will be that company. But even beyond that, I think if Sony gets either of those games, they’ll also try to get a trailer or gameplay from Kingdom Hearts III as well (wherein comes my assumption that 2.8 will get a mention too).

Generally, it’s a good assumption that EA and Ubisoft will each show one game off at Sony and Microsoft’s press conferences. Last year for Sony it was Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Star Wars Battlefront, the year before it was Battlefield Hardline and Far Cry 4.

The big choice for Sony this year, I feel, will be between Battlefield 1 and putting the money in for Titanfall 2, that many expect EA will announce at E3 this year. While the latter has a connection to Microsoft through the original game, Sony has made a great effort to make sure no multiplatform game series is mainly associated with any system that isn’t PS4.

From Ubisoft, the choice will likely between whatever game they might happen to announce at E3 this year– a tough prediction because of how amoeba-like Ubisoft’s development teams are– For Honor and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands. My bet is on the latter, but if Ubisoft is coming out with something more unique, it’s not far-fetched to think Sony will pull the trigger– especially if they reveal Watch Dogs 2.

The other games that Sony could show off include Dead Island 2, which was announced at Nintendo’s E3 presser in 2014, Dishonored 2, which will likely be Bethesda’s big game this year, Insomniac’s Song of the Deep, and the longest of long shots in Psychonauts 2.

Of course, just like Microsoft, the most interesting thing about third party inclusion in press conferences is that you’re just not sure what to expect, and due to the pure amount of developers out there, it’s almost impossible to predict. It always seems to happen.

Sony E3 2016 Predicted Lineup

The Last Guardian
Gran Turismo Sport
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Dreams
Detroit: Become Human
Matterfall
God of War IV
Unknown bend Studio Project
Unknown Sucker Punch Project
No Man’s Sky
Dead Island 2
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Titanfall 2
Watch Dogs 2
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Unnannounced 3rd Party Title
VR Games Montage

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