PlayStation Experience returns this weekend, and Sony's lined up one final keynote to celebrate. Last year's press conference was a real laid-back affair, with fans invited into the arena to cheer on each announcement. We're expecting this year's show to hit a similar tone, with branded Christmas sweaters and some really niche reveals all likely to be takeaways. The cool thing about PSX is that it's for the fans, so there's no need for the firm to check the blockbuster boxes like it has to at more traditional conferences. Having said that, we're expecting a decent mix from the manufacturer as always, so here are our predictions.
All hail the God of War
Re-employed God of War II director Cory Barlog "accidentally" let slip last year that Sony Santa Monica is making a new God of War game, and it seems like the right time for a reveal. We don't reckon that the release will be ready until 2017, so this will probably be a short teaser trailer to set the mood ahead of subsequent showings at the major press conferences in 2016. We're personally hoping for a new protagonist and mythology, with Egyptian legend sitting right at the top of this author's most wanted list. Imagine battling hordes of enemies atop the Sphynx as it sprints through the desert – amazing.
Bend over for Sony Bend
Another developer that's been radio silent for way too long is Sony Bend, with the studio apparently beavering away on its biggest endeavour yet. Rumours suggest that it's working on some kind of open world horror game for the PS4, which is being built using Unreal Engine 4. If there's ever been a venue for a team like Sony Bend, then PlayStation Experience is it. To be honest, we fully expect whatever it's been working on to be playable on the show floor as well, as it's been in development for nearing four years now.
Uncharted 4 territory
While we're still enormously excited for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, it's rapidly reaching that point where it's becoming a little overexposed. With the beta set to kick off this week, we reckon that a full single player gameplay demonstration would be mistake. We'd rather see a story trailer instead, introducing some new characters and leaving more questions than it answers. We could also see Sony announcing some kind of limited edition hardware bundle with pre-orders going live the very same day. Whatever is revealed, this game needs to be handled with care, because we've already seen way too much.
The latest from The Last Guardian
We haven't heard a peep about The Last Guardian since it was re-revealed at E3 2015 earlier in the year, but Sony's stated that it doesn't want to show too much for fear of spoilers. This is fair enough, but it can't afford for the game to go dark all over again, so we reckon that a new trailer and an update on its progress would go down well at PSX 2015 – especially seeing as the majority of attendees will have been waiting over a decade to play it.
This isn't a traditional prediction, but E3 2015 has got us believing in the impossible again. Sony's been playing the nostalgia card hard since the PS4 was announced, and Crash Bandicoot is the franchise that everyone wants to make a comeback. The platform holder and Activision are closer than ever, so we're sure that meetings have taken place. But could the 'Coot get his big comeback at PSX 2015? It seems unlikely, but no other announcement would bring down the roof quite like this. Everyone said that Shenmue III was impossible, too, so we'll see.
The digital collection
There's a wealth of smaller games that are in the pipeline for the PS4 that all need updates. The likes of Wattam, What Remains of Edith Finch, and Fat Princess Adventures were all announced at PSX last year, so expect new trailers for all of them – and perhaps even dates for a few. And while director David Jaffe denies it, we still have the sneaking suspicion that free-to-play shooter Drawn to Death will release on the PS4 before Christmas. Heck, it could even secure its very own "out now" moment.
The third place
We know that PlayStation 2 emulation is already working on the PS4, and Sony hasn't been shy confirming that classic games are coming to the new-gen console. We reckon that it'll probably outline the functionality during its PSX 2015 press conference, as well as confirm the first batch of titles that will support it. The likes of Ape Escape 2 and Twisted Metal Black were recently rated in Europe, so expect those to be part of the initial roster. We suspect that a handful of hits will be available before Christmas as well.
Free festive gifts
At last year's PlayStation Experience, Peter Moore took to the stage to announce that a handful of freebies would be available for everyone on the PlayStation Store over the course of the show. We suspect that the platform holder will do something similar this year as a reward for fans. Whether it's a theme, avatar, or a full game, we're sure that it'll make something available over the weekend for fans to download during the event.
Firm up the firmware
Firmware update announcements don't typically seem press conference worthy – but this is PlayStation Experience, and fans will want to know what's in the pipeline for PS4. We could see the manufacturer outlining system software v3.50, which will hopefully include oft-requested features such as folders and PSN name changes. We anticipate that the organisation will also outline the recently announced Remote Play functionality for PC and Mac, which is sure to be of interest to attendees.
The co-marketing collection
Did you think that you'd get through a PlayStation presser without Destiny and Call of Duty? No chance. We're predicting that new content will be announced for both titles, with Destiny: The Taken King due an expansion in early 2016, while Call of Duty: Black Ops III's content will be exclusive to the PS4 for 30 days. This segment may cause you to roll your eyes, but it's like we've said in the past: Sony signs big co-marketing contracts with publishers like Activision, and it's likely legally obliged to spotlight its games at every given opportunity.
Here comes a new challenger
The big PS4 exclusive announcement at last year's PlayStation Experience, Capcom is almost ready to release Street Fighter V. We're fully anticipating one last character announcement during Sony's press conference, as well as information pertaining to the brawler's final beta test. Speculation suggests that the Japanese publisher may not be done there either: Dragon's Dogma and Resident Evil 6 are both rumoured to be getting new-gen remasters, so we wouldn't be surprised if they were announced as well.
A Final Fantasy
Few brands embody PlayStation better than Final Fantasy, so we're expecting Square Enix to have a full segment at PSX 2015. First up, we wouldn't be surprised if Final Fantasy XV got a new trailer – especially if it's still lining up a 2016 release. Next, we reckon that it's likely that Dissidia Final Fantasy's arcade revival will be officially revealed for the PS4; it's being built using Sony's hardware and is a franchise that's looked upon fondly by PlayStation fans. Finally, we're hopeful that we'll see a few more seconds of Final Fantasy VII Remake, with the PS4 port of the original wrapping things up with an "out now" announcement.
We're still not confident that Sony's ready to date or price PlayStation VR, but the headset is too big a deal to skip PlayStation Experience entirely. We reckon that the platform holder will have a couple of big announcements for the peripheral, including confirmation that No Man's Sky will support the headset at launch. Rumours suggest that Ace Combat 7 is also being lined up for the press conference, and with Bandai Namco backing the Japanese giant's new initiative big, we'd be shocked if it wasn't the flight sim didn't support the ambitious accessory.
Gio Corsi bringing the heat
As we've iterated a dozen or so times already, PlayStation Experience is for the fans – and Gio Corsi emphasised that by taking to the stage and talking about the PlayStation Vita at last year's show. We honestly think that he'll do something similar this weekend, while also dating Yakuza 5 and potentially announcing that Yakuza Zero will make its way overseas in 2016. And could Shenmue HD also happen? SEGA's said that it wants to win back fans and Sony already has a vested interest in the success of Shenmue III. It's a long shot, but stranger things have happened.
The biggest indie games
There are no shortage of indie announcements on the PlayStation Blog every day, so Sony will need to have signed some big games if it's going to give them stage time. Seeing as the platform holder's been amazing in this area over the years, though, we're fully expecting cult 2015 hits like Her Story, Undertale, and Downwell to all make their console debuts on PlayStation platforms next year.
Writing this article has succeeded in hyping us for Sony's final show of 2015, but would this little selection have you jumping for joy? What are you most hoping for at PlayStation Experience, and what could you live without? Climb aboard in the comments section below.