We’re on the home straight. The world’s gaming media is descending on Los Angeles as we type, a city that’s slowly being transformed into a haven for interactive entertainment. Posters are being erected, laptops are being charged, and publishers are transporting secretive packages containing builds of unannounced games. Somewhere, hidden inside a wooden crate, is the chassis of the PlayStation 4 that will be revealed live during Sony’s press conference on Monday night. In short, the stage is set for an exciting week – and that makes it ripe for speculation. As such, we’ve pulled together the Push Square team to talk about our hopes, fears, and expectations for the Japanese giant’s impending E3 2013 showcase.
Sammy Barker, Associate Editor
As someone that’s covered the PlayStation brand through some of the lowest lows, the fan boy buried deep inside of me is screaming for the company to smash this year’s press conference for six. For a while, it felt like the platform holder would never escape from the arrogance that soured the early years of the PlayStation 3, but it’s riding on a high of goodwill among both consumers and developers at the moment, and I’m really eager for it to capitalise on that. Show some incredible games, confirm that the PS4’s launching globally this year, and get the DRM issue right.
Of course, I’m anxious that it won’t. Sony’s been on the right path for a while now, but it’s always been a case of two steps forward and three steps back. Remember how great the PlayStation Vita sounded at first? That soon evaporated the more that it communicated about the machine. And I feel like the PS4’s in the same spot right now. Everything that we’ve heard about the system is awesome, but it could all collapse in a matter of minutes if it follows in Microsoft’s footsteps. Don’t do it.
I’m also a little worried that the platform holder’s going to spend too long on the games from February’s PlayStation Meeting. One advantage that Microsoft has coming into this year’s event is that it’s barely said anything about software, so virtually everything that it reveals will be fresh. Sony on the other hand will definitely want to trot out Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, DriveClub, and inFAMOUS: Second Son again – and while I’m really excited to see the new title from Sucker Punch, I can’t help but feel that that’s going to kill the pace of its press conference.
Of course, it can easily counter that by trotting out some big new announcements as well – and this is what I’m most excited about. I really want to know what the remainder of its first-party studios are up to. The likes of Sony Santa Monica, Naughty Dog, San Diego, Studio London, Guerrilla Games, and more are all working on unannounced content, so let’s see it. I’m also hopeful that The Last Guardian will put in an appearance, and while I’ve never been a big JRPG fan, I’m fascinated to see if the rumoured Final Fantasy XV pops up.
Mike Mason, Assistant Editor
Okay Sony, show us what the PS4 can do. The first presentation of the upcoming home console was an exciting tease – though no particular game stood out for me back then, Media Molecule's bizarre puppet show excepted, there was clear ambition to push gaming first and foremost. As such, I'm hoping for a basket full of delicious new titles, from franchises familiar and completely fresh. Especially the fresh.
I don't want to be shown first-person shooter after first-person shooter. I want fun new things; I want some big exclusives; I want to be convinced to throw my money down near launch. I really feel that now is the time that the PlayStation Vita needs to be reignited, too – Sony has a tough job ahead of it, launching a brand new console at the same time as proving that its existing handheld can still be viable. The worst thing that could happen, for me, is to see the Vita go ignored yet again.
And come on, it's got to be about time we get to see The Last Guardian by now, right? Right?
Greg Giddens, Reviews Editor
Now that a new Legacy of Kain appears to have been outed, the announcement that I'm dying to see is a new Mass Effect title. I’d love to experience a story about the First Contact War with the Turians – you can have that idea for free, BioWare. I just want to immerse myself in that magnificent universe once again.
My only real fear is what Sony will do regarding pre-owned games for the PS4. The speculation is that it'll be something similar to what Microsoft are doing with the Xbox One. For me, the worst part about this is the not knowing, so I'm eager (and a little bit frightened) to learn what Sony's policies will be.
Katy Ellis, Events Correspondent
Don't worry Sony, it really won't take too much to impress me at E3. While the February PS4 'sans box' reveal may have seemed disappointing at the time, the PlayStation maker is now in the amazing position of being the only company with a console reveal still up its sleeve. That alone is exciting, isn’t it?
If the Japanese giant has learned anything from Microsoft's underwhelming Xbox One unveiling, then it’s that it really needs to pull out all of the stops with brand new games (of the action adventure genre, please), and focus on as little TV functionality and sports as possible. If Sony really wants to secure my personal PS4 pre-order (which I’m sure it does), then a re-reveal of Team ICO’s mythical The Last Guardian would go a long way, as well as a new gaming collaboration with Level-5 and Studio Ghibli.
Lastly, it would be really nice if the PS4 didn’t copy the Xbox One’s aggravating online and pre-owned policies. I live in an area with a very unstable connection, so having to connect to the Internet every 24 hours simply to play an offline single player game really wouldn’t sit well with me. I’m also a huge advocate of pre-owned gaming, so I’m counting on Sony to do the right thing.
Ben Potter, Staff Writer
After the white-knuckle ride that was the PlayStation Meeting, this E3 is shaping up to be the most important of the last few years, and with Nintendo doing its own thing, the spotlight falls upon the industry's biggest rivals.
This E3 may be all about social integration, games, release dates, prices, and the physical look of the PS4, but I’m far more interested in the future of PlayStation Plus. I, along with countless others, have made my money back from Plus ten times over, and it’s got me thinking: how can Sony possibly continue that with the PS4? Maybe it won't introduce it initially, the concern being that, with a limited catalogue of games, people simply won't be interested in purchasing anything – as seems to be the case with the Vita. Or perhaps it will do something else entirely.
Sony has never charged for any element of online play this generation, but the quality and reliability of its servers have suffered as a result. As such, I’m pondering whether Plus may be upgraded, given a new name, and transformed into something akin to the Xbox Live Gold subscription, whereby extra features and streaming opportunities are granted to subscribers, but basic online facets like online play will remain free.
Ben Tarrant, Staff Writer
It’s the Vita that’s got me most excited for E3. I’m personally hoping for some more grizzly details on Killzone: Mercenary and some innovative new indie titles. I’m also eager to learn what the PS4 will actually look like, and I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed for some more information on The Last Guardian. I absolutely loved Shadow of the Colossus, so it’s about time that we got something new from Team ICO.
To be honest, it’s the inevitable waves of press surrounding games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts that I’m not really looking forward to. After numerous annual iterations of these franchises, I’m really bored to tears with them. Maybe I’m too cynical for my own good, but I can’t help but roll my eyes when the words “new” and “exciting” are attached to these brands.
Robert Ramsey, Staff Writer
I’m hoping for Sony to solidify the PS4 more than anything. Of course show us the games, of course show us the machine – but don’t forget about the finer details. It’s important that the firm demonstrates the UI, giving us a taste of what to expect – how the friends list works, how navigation works, those kinds of things. We also need clear messaging when it comes to the company’s stance on controversial topics like DRM, if only to settle the speculation once and for all. The sooner we get over these hurdles, the sooner we can get excited for the next generation without having to ask questions.
What I don’t want to see is Sony wasting time. They have a lot to get through, and bogging down the conference with sales spiel and casual title demonstrations will only damage the pace of what should be one of the most content-heavy pressers of recent times. On a more personal note, I’m really hoping that Square Enix’s rumoured appearance isn’t a bad one. After the mess that was and still is Final Fantasy XIII, the company really needs to give fans a reason to believe in the franchise again – and one pretentious CG teaser trailer just won’t be enough. I’m remaining sceptical, but a good reveal from the Japanese publisher would certainly help to restore some faith in the firm.
Simon Thornton, Staff Writer
So, what games am I hoping to be announced at E3? Dark Souls II would be a welcome addition to the next generation lineup; we've already seen that it’s expected to be released during March 2014, and the new consoles will already be out at that point. I honestly can't think of a game that would take advantage of the PS4’s social features more successfully than Dark Souls – being able to guide someone as you watch them play, or even having the ability to take control of their soldier to help them with a section that they're struggling with. Other than that, a new SOCOM game (or other tactical online shooter) would be nice to see, but after the failure of SOCOM 4, it doesn't look likely.
As with any new Sony product, my main concern is that it doesn’t price itself out of the market. I’m also worried that it’s going to waste too much of its conference on the hardware. The company needs to come out swinging, or it could easily lose ground to Microsoft. We don’t need a demonstration on the DualShock 4’s touchpad, for example – let’s not have another Wonderbook fiasco. I think that it needs to get the right balance between new software and previously revealed titles, too. If it focuses on the titles from the PlayStation Meeting, I’m anxious that it will be sending the wrong message.
What are your hopes and fears for PlayStation at E3 2013? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.