Attempting to predict PlayStation's annual E3 press conference is one of the highlights of the year here at Push Square Towers, and we have a relatively decent track record when it comes to the convention. Sure, we never saw last year's Holy Trinity™ coming, but we got a lot of the other big bullet points bang on.
Serious silence on the platform holder's part makes this year's article the hardest that we've ever had to write, however. While you'll find some sure bets below – like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's campaign putting in an appearance – we've struggled with some of the finer details of Sony's agenda. The strongly rumoured PlayStation 4K is almost certainly real, for example, but will it be on display?
As is the case every year, we've tried to keep our predictions level-headed and realistic. That's not to say that we've excluded wild speculation entirely – it's always more fun when you go all in – but we've tried to justify each and every bullet point with facts and common sense. So without further ado, here's how we reckon Sony's show is going to play out.
Time to go
We often open these articles with a "jab" at the platform holder's poor time keeping, but it has to be said that it's been pretty good the past few years. As a result, we reckon that its E3 2016 press conference will begin on the dot. Phones off, ladies and gentleman – it's montage time. Greatness awaits.
Gone are the days when we used to complain about poor presser pacing, too; Sony's got the art of showmanship down these days. We're expecting it to get right into the action: a panning shot of gaming's most famous marsupial, an iconic soundtrack – and a Crash Bandicoot 4 logo. Amid rapturous applause, we anticipate that an increasingly confident SIEA president Shawn Layden will walk out on stage with that t-shirt beneath his suit jacket to confirm that the character's been returned to the Japanese giant's IP stable, and that a new game is in active development for the PS4. Can't wait for that? We reckon that emulated versions of the original PSone trilogy as well Crash Team Racing will be "available now" on the PS4 – with full Trophy support.
First-party comes first
We expect Shuhei Yoshida to be the link between the next big announcements, but he'll have a moment to reminisce about Crash Bandicoot and how great it is to have the character back. PlayStation is all about big personalities after all, and while the maniacal marsupial is practically bursting with baditude, another character in Sony's stable is simply bad.
Norse to see you, Kratos
Sony started last year's E3 press conference like a bullet train, and we expect it to go hard early doors this year, too. While it was Horizon: Zero Dawn that raised the roof early on during 2015's show, we think that God of War IV will take the responsibility this time. We know that this game has been in development for many years now under the careful leadership of God of War II director Cory Barlog, and is likely to represent the switch to a new mythology. We're expecting this showcase to not only set the scene on the story, but also show off one set-piece laden sequence of gameplay, which will likely include Kratos battling against one of Norse legend's most famous Gods. We're expecting the footage to conclude with a 2017 timeframe stamp.
The Last Guardian lives
It was a beautiful moment when The Last Guardian was re-introduced to the world last year, and it remains this author's personal most anticipated game. However, the Team ICO developed exclusive has had its time in the sun already via a round of preview coverage prior to the show. There'll still be room for one more trailer – perhaps showing off some new locations from later in the game – but it's the release date that will be most important here. Our money's on 30th August.
The dead don't ride
Sony Bend's the only studio left in the Japanese giant's portfolio that's yet to really touch or talk about the PS4. It's been rumoured to be working on an open world horror game for eons now, and we reckon that the team will be pulled on stage to showcase just what it's been keeping secret for so long. From what we've heard, Dead Don't Ride is a vehicular-based behead-'em-up, where you'll be riding choppers to navigate its sandbox, slaughtering the undead as you go. There are huge question marks hanging over this one – especially seeing as Sony Bend's being working with other devs' IP for a while now. However it's received, though, we're not anticipating it until 2017.
And much more
First-party's a big commitment for Sony, of course, but it'll have three more conferences to populate in 2016, so don't expect a whole lot more. We expect the platform holder to reiterate Uncharted 4: A Thief's End's outstanding retail success, and perhaps talk about No Man's Sky's impending release. But we reckon that it'll close this segment with a montage, pointing out that the likes of New Hot Shots Golf, Gravity Rush 2, and Drawn to Death can all be played at E3 2016 in the PlayStation booth.
The co-marketing collection
With the likes of Shawn Layden and Shuhei Yoshida done talking about first-party games, the stage will inevitably be handed over to Adam Boyes and Asad Qizilbash to talk third-party titles. We know that people dislike this segment sometimes, but Sony's the market leader these days, and it has a lot of partners to please. Expect it to spotlight the titles that it will be co-marketing over the coming 12 months – this stuff tends to be all contractual anyway.
Rise of Iron
It's destiny for Destiny to feature during, well, all PlayStation press conferences, and while we're not expecting a particularly laboured presentation on this occasion, we do reckon that Sony and Activision will have a thing or two to say about the Rise of Iron expansion, which is rumoured to release for Destiny later this year. Presumably the platform holder will have some new exclusive DLC items to peddle, which will probably be demonstrated in short trailer form.
War is infinite
And sticking with the Activision theme, expect Infinity Ward to take to the stage to show off some campaign footage from the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. It'll probably want to showcase exactly what will set this year's adventure apart, so expect the demo to start on Earth before heading into outer space and continuing on another planet of some kind. There'll also be re-iteration that all of the game's DLC packs will launch first on the PS4.
Who's watching Watch Dogs 2?
Sony partnered really hard with the original Watch Dogs, and we expect that alliance to continue with Watch Dogs 2. It's likely that this game will get a big demo during the Ubisoft press conference, so we're certainly not expecting it to re-tread old ground. A trailer seems more likely – perhaps showcasing some exclusive content that PS4 owners can expect.
How do, Ken?
Street Fighter V may not have been the rosy success that Sony and Capcom anticipated, but it's still a big game in the platform holder's portfolio, and it will be mentioned again. We expect it to talk about some of the game's upcoming content, perhaps dating the free cinematic story expansion which is due out in June.
Back to the roots of Resident Evil
But Capcom's presence probably won't end there, as we're fully expecting the next mainline Resident Evil game to be announced. While we don't think that this will be exclusive, we suspect that it may be a reboot – and thus partnering with the brand that started the series' two decade long survival horror dominance makes a lot of sense. Looking at the publisher's financials, this game may not be all that far away, so we're expecting an on-stage demo, showcasing the franchise's long overdue return to its roots.
A final fantasy
Sticking with the classic PlayStation properties theme, we'd expect Sony to remind consumers that Final Fantasy XV is forthcoming by showing off a new trailer for the game. But could there be an extra incentive for purchasing the PS4 version? Inclusion of a Final Fantasy VII Remake demo exclusively with the PlayStation edition would be a real feather in Sony's cap – and would skew sales in favour of the PS4 release even harder than they're already likely to be.
After that little succession of trailers and demos, Sony may want to give the audience a bit of breather before it wraps up the third-party segment. Indie montages always make for great buffers, and we'd expect it to spotlight several of the smaller games that it's lined up for its platform here. We wouldn't be surprised if it snuck some new announcements in, too: Her Story, Stardew Valley, and Undertale all seem like the type of reveals that would draw applause.
Straight to the Wild, Wild West
Sony has a long-lasting relationship with Rockstar Games, and it's been working particularly closely with the label since the release of Grand Theft Auto V. It seems right, then, that it would be the one to reveal Red Dead Redemption 2 for the PS4. We're only anticipating a trailer and a vague 2017 release date, but this has been in development for half a decade now, so surely it's time to put it out in the open?
You know a press conference is about to get serious when Wales' most well-spoken executive takes to the stage, and we're expecting group overlord Andrew House to wrap up Sony's E3 2016 press conference with a couple of hardware initiatives on the platform holder's plate. Of course, he'll have to ad-lib some superlatives about the Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer that's preceded his entrance first. "Wow, simply incredible," is the cliché that we're putting money on.
A virtual reality
PlayStation VR is due out in October for $399.99, so Sony's already got that announcement out of the way. Pre-orders are looking healthy, but the platform holder still needs to attach a firmer release date to the hardware. We expect it to do that, before showing a montage of the launch games. Of course, there'll be a little more to the VR segment than that. We anticipate the platform holder will focus on two big titles: the Star Wars Battlefront experience that was revealed earlier in the year, and a Spider-Man game. And yes, to confirm: we don't think that Sucker Punch is making a Spider-Man game – we believe that it'll be some kind of VR thing.
Neo or never
The hardest part of the show to predict: will PS4K (or Neo, as its codenamed) put in an appearance? We reckon that the platform holder probably would have preferred to wait until later in the year to announce this, but with Microsoft likely to pounce and the rumours so revealing, it's probably going to have to discuss it now. We suspect that Mark Cerny may be pulled back onto the podium to talk about the device's features and functions, but he's also going to have to reassure existing owners. We think that the system will launch in September – a month before PlayStation VR – and we expect that it will promise to share more at Gamescom a little later in the year.
What's that on the Horizon?
But there'll still be time for one more demo, and perhaps a controversial one; we think that Hermen Hulst, the managing director at Guerrilla Games, will be introduced to firstly talk about how easy PS4K development is – and then show a new demo of Horizon: Zero Dawn running in real-time on the souped up hardware. Again, this will need to be very delicately handled, with Hulst ensuring that existing PS4 owners will still get the complete experience – but he'll also need point to the extra bells and whistles made possible by Sony's new hardware. And that should be the end of the show.
Have these press conference predictions got you a little hot under the collar, or do you reckon that this show sounds dangerously dull? All aboard the hype train in the comments section below.
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