While the big stories of 2013 are looming larger than a professional basketball player, we’re still not quite finished looking to the past. We’ve cranked up our DeLorean’s Flux Capacitor and set it on a crash course with the last twelve months, where we’ll be taking a look back at six more of the most scorching PlayStation stories from 2012. Remember, we’re doing this in no particular order, so don’t get your panties in a twist if you’re not feeling the flow.
This week we’ll be casting our minds back to the long awaited revival of Polygon Man, the announcement of the PlayStation 3 Super Slim, and Kaz Hirai’s promotion to the big office at Sony HQ. We’ll even throw in some commentary and giggles – y’know, just for fun.
PlayStation 4 Rumours Enter Orbis
With console sales on a downward trend, and Nintendo’s successor on the horizon, it was always inevitable that we would start to learn about Sony’s next system in 2012. The rumours came in fits and spurts throughout the year, with sources pegging the machine – codenamed Orbis – as a real powerhouse due out at some point towards the end of 2013. Even the platform holder itself jumped aboard the bandwagon at E3, with SCEA executive Scott Rohde outright confirming the system’s existence in a particularly candid interview. “We’re not talking about when the machine is coming out, but I think that everyone on the planet knows that of course games are in development,” he told a shocked GameTrailers reporter.
Meanwhile, publishers spent the year being cagey about next-generation projects. Both Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 were shown at the Los Angeles tradeshow with vague platforms attached to them. The former is apparently set to arrive on the PlayStation 3, even though it looks above and beyond anything that the system has ever rendered before. Yes, even Uncharted 3.
Despite the seeming certainty of a 2013 PlayStation 4 release, though – something that we felt was evidenced by The Last of Us’ mid-year launch date – rumours started to cool on the possibility towards the end of the year. A recent report claimed that the system was likely to miss its Christmas window, shifting into the spring of 2014 instead. In addition, speculation filtering out of the Spike VGAs in early December added that developers have less confidence in the next PlayStation platform than Microsoft’s upcoming successor.
Polygon Man Makes a Comeback in PlayStation All-Stars
Rumours were ripe leading into 2012 that Sony was working on a crossover fighting game named Title Fight, but we had to wait until late April for the confirmation. The platform holder showcased PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale during a special episode of GameTrailers TV, prompting mixed emotions from the gaming stratosphere. Some were outraged that Sony should have the cheek to take on Nintendo’s untouchable Super Smash Bros. series, while others were eager to see the biggest protagonists in the PlayStation world collide.
While developer SuperBot Entertainment clearly intended a steady build up to release, the game’s entire roster leaked in late July, throwing the title’s promotional plans into disarray. Sadly, there was no sign of Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon in the line-up – but at least Sir Daniel Fortesque made the effort to rise from his grave.
One thing that the developer did manage to keep under wraps – despite rampant speculation – was the final boss, which turned out to be failed PlayStation mascot Polygon Man. Legend has it that platform father Ken Kutaragi was furious with the SCEA created mascot’s inclusion at Sony’s 1995 E3 booth, prompting the branch to pull the plug on the promotional character before he’d even got a proper taste of the spotlight. Ouch.
Despite plenty of great ideas – and top marks in our review – PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale struggled to set the sales charts alight, with the title debuting in 38th on the UK sales charts. Sony countered that it was satisfied with the game’s performance, and the year concluded with SuperBot Entertainment staffing up for a sequel.
PlayStation 3 Slims Down for the Festive Season
We first got wind of the PlayStation 3 Super Slim in early July, when manufacturing documents revealed that Sony was working on a mysterious new version of its premium home console. The diagrams showed an existing system side-by-side with its supposed successor, prompting us to coin the redesign’s image conscious moniker.
While we expected that would be the last we’d hear about the hypothetical hardware refresh for some time, photographs of the platform emerged on a Brazilian website ten days later. They ultimately confirmed what the aforementioned production papers had teased: that the system would be significantly smaller and would boast a cheaper, top-loading disc drive.
While we’d expected the PS3 Super Slim to come with a steep price drop, Sony actually raised the cost in some regions
Initially, it appeared that Sony would announce the system at GamesCom – but speculation in late July rained on the new platform’s parade. Apparently, the company had excess inventory of the existing PS3 to shift, meaning that a German announcement was out of the question. At least the Tokyo Game Show was right around the corner, though.
The company eventually revealed the system on 19th September. While we’d expected it to come with a steep price drop, the Japanese giant actually raised the cost in some regions, prompting plenty of raised eyebrows. Ultimately, it didn’t matter much, as the PS3 went on to enjoy a particularly profitable Christmas, selling 525,000 units in North America during Black Friday week alone.
Click through to the next page for more hot PlayStation stories from 2012.