Sony knows that it’s got a battle on its hands. It may have hogged the limelight ever since its surprise PlayStation 4 announcement earlier in the year, but Microsoft will not allow that to persist. When the next Xbox is finally revealed on 21st May, the companies will at last lock horns – and it’s the outcome of that tussle that will ultimately dictate which next generation platform gets off to the better start. With that in mind, E3 will be an important time for both platform holders. But with the Redmond-based manufacturer’s press conference set to precede its closest competitor, what can the Japanese giant do to ensure that the PS4 exits the Los Angeles event on the front foot?
Box of tricks
Many of the mainstream attendees at Sony’s recent PlayStation Meeting press conference expected an Apple-esque unveiling of the PS4. When the platform holder resisted the urge to reveal everything – the price, the release date, and the hardware itself – the firm faced the full force of a media backlash. But keeping the system’s external appearance under wraps may yet prove a shrewd move, as it has ensured that the company still has a show stopper hidden somewhere up its sleeve.
Considering comments made by Xbox employee Larry Hryb, we can be fairly confident that Microsoft will reveal its own box on 21st May. Having something visual to market its next generation system will reward the firm with a temporary advantage, but it’s not going to last long. Sony will reveal its own console’s shell at E3 – and with the initial excitement of Xbox’s introductory unveiling likely to have died down by that point, the firm should find the media’s attention back on its own machine.
A fantasy to end all fantasies
Something’s going on between Sony and Square Enix. The third-party publisher’s appearance during February’s colossal PlayStation Meeting press conference may have been one of the legitimate low points of the event, but the company did at least confirm that a new Final Fantasy game would debut at E3. Since then, rumours have been rife that the Japanese firm has been working closely with Japan Studio in order to produce a sequel exclusively for the PS4 – and it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.
While much was made of Final Fantasy XIII’s transition to the Xbox 360, the multiplatform release didn’t really do much to expand the franchise’s audience. It still sold best on the PlayStation 3 globally, and Microsoft appeared to have lost interest in the series by the time that Final Fantasy XIII-2 rolled around. As such, we could see Sony teaming up with Square Enix in order to lock down Final Fantasy XV – a release, we hasten to add, that would give the system an enormous amount of clout in the organisation’s native Japan.
Grand theft thunder
Outside of Call of Duty map packs, the timed exclusive Grand Theft Auto IV expansions remain some of the most important add-ons that Microsoft has ever secured for the Xbox 360. We expected the firm to repeat the initiative with the impending Grand Theft Auto V, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely at this point in time. Rockstar Games has been demonstrating the release to the press on the PS3, a trait which is unusual for multiplatform games. Moreover, the company has been posting all of the title’s trailers to the PlayStation Blog, which is not something that ordinarily occurs when the Xbox maker is involved.
As such, it seems possible that Sony may have aligned itself with the controversial developer, meaning that there could be some exciting announcements ahead. With the title not even yet confirmed for impending platforms, it would be a huge coup for the PlayStation maker to break the news – especially if the confirmation came with the promise of some sort of additional content. Furthermore, if the platform holder could lock down the next generation SKU as a timed exclusive to the PS4, there’s no doubt that the reveal would stride into megaton territory.
Tears of joy
The Last Guardian has to be a PS4 game at this point. According to rumours coming out of Japan, developer Team ICO was struggling to realise its vision on current generation hardware. Despite that, creative director Fumito Ueda has confirmed on multiple occasions that the team is still working hard on the game, the most recent acknowledgement coming shortly before the PS4’s reveal. With the PS3 now entering its twilight years, we can’t imagine that the critically acclaimed outfit will have altered its vision in order to squeeze the hotly anticipated exclusive onto a platform that’s on the decline.
As such, we have a strong inkling that the release’s feathered protagonist will rear its head once again on the PS4 at E3. Judging by the timing of Ueda’s previous statement, we get the distinct impression that Sony had planned to re-reveal the game during its PlayStation Meeting press conference, but decided to keep the title concealed until its big event in Los Angeles. If the exclusive does appear during the show, it will make an enormous splash for the platform – after all, the title has been a constant topic of conversation ever since its official announcement in 2009.
Assuming that The Last Guardian doesn’t raise the roof, we reckon that Naughty Dog could quite easily turn up the E3 temperature by announcing Uncharted 4. The studio wouldn’t necessarily need to do much – a blast of the famous theme tune, a few lines of dialogue read by Nolan North, and a logo would be enough to end Sony’s press conference on a serious high, but we suppose that a traditional trailer or even a live gameplay demo would crank up the volume even more.
The most exciting thing is that it could actually happen. While the Crash Bandicoot creator has been hard at work on The Last of Us, it’s now divided into two teams, and the Uncharted segment of its workforce hasn’t been in the spotlight since 2011. While it’s possible that the studio may have turned its attention to a brand new property, we still reckon that there’s a lot of life left in Nathan Drake and crew, and with the franchise representing one of PlayStation’s biggest sellers, a sequel would be a huge announcement for the PS4.
Are there any PS4 reveals in particular that you feel would take the spotlight off the next Xbox? Which of the above suggestions do you most want to come true? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.
Which of the following PS4 reveals do you think would best steal the next Xbox’s thunder? (51 votes)
The console’s actual design
An exclusive Final Fantasy
Some form of Grand Theft Auto V deal
The return of The Last Guardian
Confirmation of Uncharted 4
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