Pound for pound, this was comfortably the best multi-game State of Play to date. No doubt. The content does the heavy lifting, of course – there won’t always be multiple titles with mass appeal to reveal – but this broadcast, modestly anticipated after past disappointments, was a handful of PS Studios additions away from being classic E3 calibre. It was that good.
The presentation was sharp and snappy: an acute injection of hype-inducing reveals and updates. Yes, at less than 30 minutes this broadcast was on the short side, but it never overstayed its welcome or lingered on a title for too long – it was a wall-to-wall fiesta of exciting announcements. The variety was good as well, perhaps a teensy bit heavy-handed on the horror, but still spanning a spectrum of themes and development budgets.
As opening salvos go, Resident Evil 4 – with confirmation of PSVR2 features – was just about as strong as one could reasonably imagine. But unlike past events, the livestream remained at a consistent level – there was no drop-off after the shock-and-awe reveal of Capcom’s remake. The virtual reality segment, while brief and in need of expansion later on, focused on big games like Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky – a reminder that Sony is eager to move beyond the shorter, proof-of-concept style “experiences” with its new headset.
And while it didn’t necessarily translate in a flat-screen, compressed trailer, the jaw-dropping Horizon Call of the Mountain demonstrated outstanding scale. For those who aren’t familiar with VR and the “feel” of existing inside a virtual world – make no mistake, this game will be an unrivalled spectacle that looks to squeeze every drop of juice out of Sony’s new hardware. We simply haven’t seen investment quite like this into the medium outside of perhaps Half-Life Alyx.
Sony even handled its new PS Plus subscription tiers confidently. We know that the platform holder’s being a little less aggressive with its service than Microsoft, which has plunged deep into its trillion dollar pockets to grow Game Pass. But confirmation that Stray – one of the most anticipated indies for PS5 and PS4 – will be included day one with the higher tiers sets a good expectation for the service moving forwards.
It’s important to remember that this wasn’t all AAA content either: PlayStation selected and spotlighted indie content carefully. The likes of Rollerdrome, Season: A Letter to the Future, and Eternights all had impressive showings that actually raised their profiles rather than prompted impatient fans to tune out – this is an example of a State of Play working as intended, by actually selling players on games they may have otherwise overlooked.
Of course, the post-show discussion will be centred on the likes of Street Fighter 6, The Callisto Protocol, and Final Fantasy 16 – all of which had superb showings – but this was a showcase where pretty much every title showed well. It was the definition of all killer and no filler, and it’s not often we ever say that about a video game broadcast – let alone a State of Play.
It’s also important to remember that all this was achieved with basically zero input from PS Studios. Pedants will point to the inclusion of the aforementioned Horizon Call of the Mountain and the PC ports of Marvel’s Spider-Man – but you know what we mean. God of War Ragnarok remains a mystery, while Sony’s first-party release schedule outside of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Marvel’s Wolverine is practically non-existent.
That means we’ll surely hear more from the platform holder throughout the summer at events like Summer Game Fest, or later in the year with a proper, fully-focused PS Showcase. All in all, though, for what Sony advertised ahead of time, this State of Play fired on all cylinders. It’s hard to imagine the manufacturer being able to repeat this feat on the regular – but this is now the bar that all future broadcasts in the series will be compared to.
Were you impressed by the latest State of Play? Are you hoping to hear more from PlayStation throughout the summer, and what do you expect? What was your favourite reveal during the livestream? Let us know below.