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Reaction: Sony Refreshes PS4 with Indie Vision, Keeps Ammunition Stashed Away

Posted by Sammy Barker

Shots not fired

Covering a press conference really changes your perspective of the content revealed within it. It can be all too easy to gloss over reveals when you’re sitting slumped in front of a laptop computer, but when you have to contend with a barrage of press releases in the early hours of the morning, it tweaks your outlook a little. While we’ve come to expect an onslaught of announcements from all of Sony’s annual showcases, yesterday’s big GamesCom event surpassed our wildest expectations. Ordinarily reserved for just a handful of pleasant, if unspectacular, unveilings, the Japanese giant used its stage time in Cologne to fire off several rounds of noteworthy next generation nuggets. Even more impressively, it did it all without even reaching for the incendiary ammunition fidgeting within its inventory.

At one point during the live stream, Worldwide Studios vice president Michael Denny looked directly into the camera and acknowledged with a wry smile that Media Molecule, Sony Santa Monica, and Naughty Dog are all deep into development on PlayStation 4 games. It’s a testament to the strength of the platform holder’s studio outreach that it still managed to rattle off a dizzying number of reveals without ever really calling upon the firepower of its major first-party studios.

But it’s a move that’s prompted criticism in some circles, as impatient pundits clamour restlessly for the next big PS4 release. The platform holder’s been alarmingly quiet in the blockbuster department, allowing Microsoft to more or less take the lead. The perception’s been twisted a little at GamesCom – the Redmond-based firm only announced Fable Legends, after all – but a quick glimpse at launch lineups shows several more bulletpoints in the North American firm’s favour. Sony, meanwhile, has resisted the urge to compete in a round of list wars, sticking rather rigidly to its launch trifecta of Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, and Knack. There’s still inFAMOUS: Second Son and The Order: 1886 right around the corner, of course, but for some, that’s not enough.

And that’s fine – we can absolutely understand the disappointment if popping Helghast helmets isn’t your preferred pastime of choice – but it overlooks a couple of key points. As hinted by the sharply dressed Denny during the keynote, the big studios aren’t twiddling their thumbs. We know that Stig Asmussen’s team at Sony Santa Monica is collaborating with Battlestar Galactica writer Michael Angelina on a project that’s been in production since 2010, while Naughty Dog has a second team that hasn’t said a word since 2011. Media Molecule, meanwhile, is playing around with puppets, while Japan Studio is hopefully coughing up feathers as we type.

The point is that the big games are coming. Sony probably could have shown a couple of short trailers for its unannounced first-party games – similar, perhaps, to Microsoft’s brief Halo tease at E3 – but it simply doesn’t need to at this stage. The platform has already surpassed a staggering one million pre-orders on the strength of its launch lineup alone, and it’s not like the system’s exactly parched in the software department.

Indeed, when you step back and take a proper look at what the company did announce for the PS4 overnight, it’s breathtaking stuff. Not only does Tequila Works’ gorgeous ICO-esque open world adventure RIME look like one of the most beautiful titles on the platform thus far (and, yes, we’re tossing the big-budget retail games into that), but Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture – produced in partnership between award-winning Dear Esther developer The Chinese Room and Sony Santa Monica – is the kind of collaboration that dreams are made of. Throw in oversaturated shooter ResoGun, steampunk aircraft combat simulator Guns of Icarus Online, and hotly anticipated sequel, er, Hotline Miami 2, and it’s hard not to feel a tingle or two of anticipation. And, incredibly, that’s just a small sample of the sheer number of titles that the platform holder revealed.

Granted, some of these games will launch on the PC – and, eventually, other platforms, too – but the fact that Sony’s associating itself with the releases early is a bold and intelligent move. It’s building an incredibly varied portfolio of software, and forging strong relationships with the developers of tomorrow. We doubt that anyone’s going to purchase a PS4 on the strength of Starbound alone, but the quirky extraterrestrial adventure will add a different dimension – literally – to the next generation system’s software list.

And it’s the sheer depth and diversity of these types of experiences that have provided the PS4 with yet another boost. Sony may not have brought out the big guns during its press conference, but it really didn’t need to; it had more than enough content to fill its hour-long livestream, and keep us up half of the night. Just because it didn’t wheel out its next big blockbuster doesn’t mean that those games don’t exist. If anything, it makes the coming months even more exciting, because in addition to all of the aforementioned indie games, we still haven’t got a proper look at the platform holder’s full hand.

Were you impressed by the sheer array of content announced during Sony’s big GamesCom press conference? Did the lack of blockbuster reveals leave you disappointed? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.

What did you make of the PS4’s presence during Sony’s GamesCom press conference? (58 votes)

I thought it was a really strong showing, and can’t wait to play some of the games


I would have liked to see more blockbuster exclusives, but I know they’re coming


I came away extremely disappointed by the overemphasis on indie software


Please login to vote in this poll.

User Comments (20)



ShogunRok said:

That's the thing with Sony - you know the big games will come on PS4. It's not like huge studios such as Naughty Dog are sitting around twiddling their thumbs.



ThreadShadow said:

RIME makes me want to cry! So beautiful! Reminds me of when they showed ICO for PS2 long ago. Good times.



get2sammyb said:

@ThreadShadow Yeah, it looks absolutely brilliant. Can't wait to find out more. Definitely shades of ICO — perhaps with a touch of Journey and Wind Waker for good measure! Super hyped!



Jaz007 said:

I was kind of disappointed they didn't announce one big title. They only announced one big title (The Order) at E3 so I think they could have announced at least one big game at the conference. Aside from slight feeling of disappointment that left after the conference, I thought it was a good showing. I absolutely loved that Second Son trailer though, the hype was just leaking out of my body while I watched that.



Ginkgo said:

@MaxaMod : That's an amazing pic! It shows what's best about Sony, but also how Move was a little under supported. Still, what I like most about move was never the move specific games, but using it was an alternate control scheme for games like inFamous and Resistance etc. It would be curious to see the list prior to 2010. I am sure MS would do much better, but it does kinda of show that they lose interest after launch.

I would still love to know what Santa Monica, Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream are all doing. There was no really "big reveal" that wowed me. Of the new games shown above, RIME appeals and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture has me intrigued, but they didn't really show much. The other games grabbing my attention are the F2P ones like WarFrame. Seems like there are more and more coming to PS4. Its a pity Diablo III is delayed for PS4.



The_Chenger_123 said:

I have a gut feeling santa monica's game will be huge, cant wait for that! And it shouldnt be long since its been in development since 2010!



Gamer83 said:

"This indie game, that indie game, another indie game... All will make their debuts on PS4 and Vita...' we get it Sony you love f'ing indie games. I did too at one point but through no fault of the indies themselves I'm beginning to get a strong dislike for these games. I know there are many who hate big budget games, that's fine, I don't and there are millions of others just like me who want to see something more than indie games. I get it with PS Vita, the system has virtually no support aside from Japan Studio and a few other Sony outfits, so it needs all the indie games it can get. The same should not be the case for a new console that's about to launch. And I'm not asking Sony to reveal all. I really don't get where people are getting this idea that those of us who hated this conference are suggesting Sony reveal everything it has planned for the PS4's entire life cycle. But why the hell couldn't we get a small teaser for a Naughty Dog game or at the very least something like a sequel to Syphon Filter Logan's Shadow for PS4. I'm sorry, that's not asking too much and Sony just recycling footage of Killzone and inFamous, while both look awesome, doesn't get me too hyped up about the system beyond its first few months. I'm paying $400 for the damn thing and indie games alone are not the reason why.



rawr1234 said:

@Gamer83 Agree 100% its like people shoving politics and religion down your throat.. I expected Sony to go full beast mode at Gamescom.. And that late release date made it even worse for me.



Punished_Boss_84 said:

"I came away extremely disappointed by the overemphasis on indie software" To be fair i'm relived that the emphasis wasn't on just PS Vita for indie games so that relieves my fears they are just focusing on it for PS Vita. But it disappoints that those 20 first year exclusives only 5 have been revealed and none so more above that number.

This indie focus could really hurt Sony if they neglect the one thing people want.



Lionhart said:

I think Sony is playing the Indie Software card far to much now. It was a nice flair at first but now Sony has played the Indie card to the extremity and it's becoming annoying. I don't want the PS Vita or PS4 for a pantheon of Indie games but for a vast selection of high quality triple A and Blockbuster games such as Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Ratchet and Clank, Dragon Age, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars and Mirror's Edge.



MadchesterManc said:

I couldn't care less. A game is a game to me. Big budget blockbusters have started to get really stale of late for me, aside from some notable releases by Sony's first party studios of late. Not everyone wants to see them dominate conferences. If Sony see's the Indies as being the ones who'll provide the artistic creativity and flare, Im fully behind them. Rime looked absaloutely enchanting and was probably the game of the show for me personally and its the type of game I look for. Before I used to have to trudge through tonnes of articles for conferences to find games like this but now Sony shows them center stage. I couldn't be happier. Then again I appear to be a different type of gamer to most lol



-CraZed- said:

Sony is riding the good PR waves at this point. That's okay because with TGS just around the corner there will be more to come...

Even if they don't let a whole lot out there I think they have seen the writing on the wall at this point. There will be a shortage of consoles so those who have a preorder secured won't be switching and risk not getting a console on day one.

The big AAA titles are coming of that we have no doubt but heck there are so many good games already available who cares?



Gamer83 said:


That's exactly what I want, so where are the bigger productions? Just teasing two of God of War, Syphon Filter or Gravity Rush 2 the way MS teases new Halo games would've been enough to keep me hyped through the roof for this system with all these indie games to compliment it. Instead I'm left feeling like all I'll get this first year after inFamous are smaller indie games. Not saying they can't be great but for me they're not replacements for the other games. Sure there's The Order but it's an unknown, I need more than that before Naughty Dog's next game which likely won't come out until late 2014 at the earliest.

Haha, that's the best description for it, very apt. Truth is, I don't mind the indie initiative, in fact, I too love indie games, but there is a complete imbalance right now, if all I wanted was a f'ing indie tv adapter there are far less expensive options. For $400 I expect better than this.

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