We’re not going to lie to you: Sony’s attendance at Paris Games Week this year has taken us by surprise. The platform holder appears to be plotting a bumper press conference with a pre-show and traditional media briefing – but we’re not sure how the event slots into the organisation’s plans. Earlier this year we suggested that PSX may be slowly becoming the premier venue for PlayStation announcements – especially after E3 2017 fell short of expectations – but with the organisation set to descend on Anaheim little over a month after its jaunt in the French capital, it makes predictions very difficult indeed.
Historically, the Japanese giant’s European briefings have spotlighted the less-publicised parts of its Worldwide Studios, while also emphasising indie content and experimental initiatives, such as PlayStation Move. As such, we’re betting on this show revealing the broader aspects of the PS4, with PlayStation VR, indie titles, and other projects like PlayLink taking centre stage. Now it’s perfectly possible that the manufacturer may throw a curveball and bring out its big guns like God of War and The Last of Us: Part II, but – in our opinion – such colossus titles would probably fit the PSX 2017 stage better.
That said, earlier today the manufacturer announced that it will be providing updates on a whopping 21 titles during the presser's pre-show alone – and seven of them will be all-new announcements. It's also been spouting hype-inducing phrases such as "E3 was only half the story". What follows are our (somewhat conservative) predictions for PlayStation at PGW 2017 – but it's starting to sound like we may have been a little too reserved with our speculation.
The big plunge
Everything about this press conference screams price drop to us. The timing is perfect: the busy holiday shopping is about to get underway, and it’s been a while since Sony re-evaluated the MSRP of its flagship machines. There’s also the small matter of the Xbox One X releasing a week or so after the press conference itself – an event unlikely to concern the PlayStation maker, but something that could work in its favour.
So realistically, how low will it go? We could see the base PS4 Slim dropping from $299.99 to $249.99, giving it room to hit the all-important $199.99 target on Black Friday. And we also suspect the manufacturer will want to keep that $100 differential with the PS4 Pro, so we imagine the premium model will plunge from $399.99 to $349.99. It’s worth noting that we’re talking specifically about MSRP prices here: retailers will likely have promotions that push prices even lower as we head into the holidays.
Quantic Dream is based in Paris, so we reckon it’s just about as likely as the sun rising that David Cage and crew will take Detroit: Become Human to the PGW 2017 stage at some point. We’ve seen a handful of scenarios from the ambitious sci-fi story thus far, but with the project surely nearing completion, there’s always opportunity for one more. And could we get a release date? It seems like a long-shot, but it depends how early in 2018 the title’s due.
Dreams a little dream for me
It’s been almost a year since we got an update on Dreams, the bizarre imagination simulation from Media Molecule. It’s become clear that this game was simply announced too early: the Guildford-based developer has built an impressive toolset, but it’s yet to effectively communicate what can be done with said interactive instruments.
We know that, about 18 months ago, the studio started work on a single player campaign created entirely within its own engine. In our opinion, PGW 2017 is the venue where it will reveal what it’s been up to, and essentially re-introduce the game. Such outlandish concepts like this will always take time and effort to effectively communicate, but Sony has had plenty of time to plan out exactly how it intends to market this game – and an effective re-reveal will likely be the first step on that roadmap.
Born to be WiLD
Beyond Good & Evil 2 is in development (apparently), but Michel Ancel has repeatedly reiterated that WiLD is not dead. This game has been a constant at various European PlayStation press conferences for many years, despite never appearing to really make much progress. But it’s shown real promise with each new trailer, and given that it’s in production in Montpellier, a Paris Games Week appearance seems inevitable, doesn’t it?
PlayStation VR is going nowhere. Sony has laid to rest any concerns regarding its commitment to virtual reality, and PGW 2017 seems like another venue for it to double down on support for the system. We expect to see several new announcements from partners all over Europe, but wouldn’t be surprised if it also took the opportunity to reveal some first-party projects, too.
We already know that the likes of London Studio and the newly established Manchester Studio are beavering away on new projects for the peripheral, and PGW 2017 would probably represent a good place to debut them, ahead of a public hands on sessions at PSX 2017 later in the year. Exactly what these games will be about is anyone’s guess.
We’ve seen practically nothing of Guerrilla Games’ first Horizon: Zero Dawn expansion, The Frozen Wilds. As such, it simply has to make its debut at some point, and what better way to reveal Aloy’s latest adventure than on stage a week ahead of release?
Sony was roundly criticised at E3 2017 for relegating indie announcements to its pre-show, and some even moved to question the platform holder’s commitment to smaller studios in the wake of ill-advised comments from bigwig Jim Ryan. But despite all of this, the PS4 remains a haven for great indie content, and amid mounting enthusiasm for the Switch, we reckon it’ll want to reiterate that mantra at PGW 2017.
So what games could we see shown off? Golf Story would certainly be a good get, although the extent of its relationship with Nintendo remains unclear at the time of typing. A Hat in Time is already confirmed for the PS4, but a re-commitment to its console release would also be welcome. Outside of that? Your guess is as good as ours.
This is one of those strange months where the November PlayStation Plus update won’t technically be announced until Wednesday, 1st November if the platform holder follows its usual schedule. But if it’s got a big month lined up, why wait until the middle of the week? It could just reveal the Instant Game Collection on stage. It’s done this at Gamescom before, so we could certainly see history repeat itself – but only if the selection is strong.
Ah, the constant that you can count on at every PlayStation press conference: third-party marketing deals. At this point it’s pretty obvious that Sony is contractually obliged to promote titles like Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Call of Duty: WWII wherever it can, so you can bank on new trailers and reveals for both titles.
We’d also expect to see more of Monster Hunter: World during the Japanese giant’s PGW 2017 briefing. While the game has been shown off quite a lot of late, it’s worth remembering that it’s due out in January, so any opportunities for new trailers are going to be part of Capcom’s promotional plan. Don’t be surprised if that lovely limited edition PS4 Pro gets revealed for the West.
Wander what’s next?
Last but not least, Shadow of the Colossus has been popping up on a fair few ratings boards of late, suggesting that the title is further along than many think. We actually reckon this will release in early January, and PGW 2017 seems like the right venue to confirm that tidbit, but for unleashing the remake on the masses at PSX 2017 later in the year.
What do you think of our PGW 2017 predictions? Have we played it too safe, or are we right to align expectations this way? Do you think there’ll be more to the press conference than what we’ve outlined above, and have we missed off anything big? Sucker punch us in the comments section below.