Category Archives: News

PlayStation E3 2015 Recap

PlayStation E3 2015

Sony this year came out with some heat. We all thought most of it would just be rumors because—let’s face it—a lot of it sounded absurd. A comeback? A remake? Oh come on. We should know better by now. Go back to your village and take your pipe dreams with you.

But wham, bam, holy shit. We really shouldn’t be calling out “winners” for this sort of thing, but this press conference did actually bring down the Internet. Feel free to read on or rewatch the entire thing.

The Last Guardian

Ummm, what? I guess sometimes vaporware comes back from the dead. After being in and out of development and existence for the past 2007, it was pretty safe to assume the long awaited project was simply dead and buried. After the trauma of numerous rumors, the latest rumblings that we’d see The Last Guardian at this E3 seemed to only freshen up old wounds.

But it’s all true. Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida confirmed it would release for PlayStation 4 in 2016. Coming from Team Ico and director Fumito Ueda, the same combo that brought you Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, its expectations were high. After all these delays, are they just as lofty?

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Guerrilla Games, developer of the Killzone series, is throwing quite the delicious curveball here. Going from a stock FPS to this is rather incredible. Perhaps filling the PlayStation 4’s required space marine quota earned them some laterality.

But Horizon: Zero Dawn has a fascinating premise. Something along the course of humanity’s development caused them to plunge back into a pre-civilization structure except machines are still rampant and necessary. So instead of hunting for food, they hunt for parts. Sure, the gameplay looks fun enough, but that setup is incredible.

Hitman

Even if you don’t care for the Hitman games, this is a well put together trailer. It finely composes the idea that he’s a killer of tactics, brutality, and skill. Also, the backing track that surreptitiously features ragged breathing slowly sinks in and is reinforced by the kill shot.

The trailer itself, however, doesn’t reveal much except that the series still animates people a bit too cartoonishly. I guess Square Enix assumes we already know what to expect from the game, which is kind of a sad notion anyway. Hitman lands on PlayStation 4 and PC on December 8. (Franchise reboots that simply start off with the same name is an organizational nightmare, by the way.)

Dreams

Media Molecule is still very much about games in which you create, if you were wondering. The latest is Dreams, and while the trailer is very obtuse about what you’ll actually be doing, you’ll definitely be creating…something.

It looks like you’ll be using your controller to sculpt out characters inside of scenes. The “dreams” motif comes in where everything is fast and impressionistic rather than details and builds upon a previously known (read: made) lexicon of items. You can then grab your creations and puppeteer them to life. (The short demo preceding the trailer shows more than anyone could ever say with words.)

Destiny: The Taken King

While I found Destiny to be somewhat lacking in its original release, the more that Bungie puts out for the game, the more I want to go back and play it. It seems like they’re solving the two biggest problems simultaneously with each DLC, being the lack of content for a massive world and a refinement of how to use that world in interesting ways.

Coming September 15, The Taken King will cost $39.99 for the regular edition and $79.99 for the collector’s edition, both of which will also include Destiny itself. The expansion will include new Guardian subclasses and super moves.

Final Fantasy VII

Part of the crazy heat Sony threw around yesterday. Even more dubious than The Last Guardian comeback rumors, we heard voices on the wind talk of a Final Fantasy VII remake, something fans have been clamoring for since dinosaurs walked the Earth.

And now it’s happening. This isn’t a tech demo or a PC version or an upgraded PC version for PlayStation 4, but this is a remake. At this point, it’s unclear as to what that means. This could end up just an HD remaster for all we know, but hopefully they’re not just misleading us with the word “remake.”

The bigger question, however, is if anyone still cares. Tetsuya Nomura is coming on as director after guiding the Kingdom Hearts series (and directing Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) while Yoshinori Kitase, original director of Final Fantasy VII, will be returning to produce. Is that enough to garner interest beyond the 18-year-old fan base?

No Man’s Sky

This is the first lengthy gameplay demo anyone outside of the press has seen from No Man’s Sky. Hello Games co-founder Sean Murray hopefully imparted upon the audience the sheer size of what they’re attempting with this procedurally generated universe simulator. (If you still don’t get it, read this piece over at The New Yorker.)

Still no release date, but we do learn that every world is fully destructible. Plus there are fish!

Shenmue III

And here’s the real surprise of the event. No one was even expecting this, but Yu Suzuki, creator of an immense number of classics like Space Harrier, Out Run, After Burner, and Virtua Fighter, came out on stage to announce that he’d like to revitalize the Shenmue franchise through Kickstarter.

And then everyone lost their god damn minds. Which is the appropriate response, I might add. It brought down Kickstarter itself for a brief time as it rocketed up hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes. It’s already hit its $2 million goal in its first day. If you’re not jacked for this, then you’re a fool. Or you were too young to have played the first two.

Call of Duty

Now we know why Call of Duty was mysteriously absent during Microsoft press conference. PlayStation CEO Andrew House announced that Sony will get all of the military shooter’s map packs first. The deal will start up with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, coming to PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One November 6.

Map packs have traditionally gone to Xbox platforms first since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare back in 2007. While not necessarily everyone’s thing, this is a huge move for PlayStation.

Firewatch

Firewatch is pretty much exactly the kind of game I love playing. Or at least it’s the kind of game I love thinking that I would love playing based on the trailer because the trailer sells a very particular kind of game.

The adventure game from Campo Santo and director Jake Rodkin (co-host of the Idle Thumbs podcast) tells the story of a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness in 1989. Numerous mysteries begin to unfold as he goes about his patrols.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

While the return of the Uncharted series still doesn’t seem like the best creative decision, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End still looks pretty incredible. Like, visually, I mean. It seems like it’ll play like the other games, so you probably already know if you’ll be into that or not, but there’s certainly something to be said for a masterful refinement of a craft.

After a little technical hiccup where protagonist Nathan Drake froze in front of a still animating crowd, we go on a classic Uncharted whirlwind ride of shooting bad guys, running from overwhelming odds, shooting more guys, and (as a franchise first) driving a vehicle. Oh, and crackin’ some wise. Don’t forget that.

There are some other odds and ends that came out of the conference (like a new Street Fighter V trailer), but that’s the gist of it. There were several genuine surprises, capping off a rather momentous start to this year’s E3. Look for more coverage as the show continues the rest of the week.

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Microsoft E3 2015 Recap

Microsoft E3 2015

There was actually something genuinely surprising about the Microsoft press event yesterday, but it’s probably not what you think: there wasn’t even a sliver of a presence for Call of Duty. That showing has been happening like clockwork for the past forever and it wasn’t there this year.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad or even how I feel about it, but it’s certainly remarkable. But there was plenty of other news for the Redmond company and their little gaming machine that could (and then did and became a beast of an ecosystem for entertainment).

You can also watch the entire presentation if you’d rather do that.

Halo 5: Guardians

There was a substantial co-op demonstration that happened. And that just about sums that up. At this point I’m pretty sure you know if you’re going to buy a new Halo game or not, let alone get excited for hearing 343 Industries studio head Bonnie Ross talk about the brand new engine that runs single and multiplayer at 60 fps.

Warzone, however, sounds pretty fun. It’s a new 24-player mode where you’ll face off against both AI and player-controlled enemies via drop-in, drop-out co-op. The maps are massive at four times bigger than you’re used to. Josh Holmes of 343 appropriately called it “ambitious.”

Backwards Compatibility

This is an ostensibly big move. This will open up an entire generation’s worth of games up to Xbox One owners for free (so far it’s just a smattering of titles) and will definitely set the system apart from the PlayStation 4 feature set, something they’re keenly aware of.

“We won’t charge you to play the games you already own,” said head of platform engineering Mike Ybarra, an obvious jab at the fact that PlayStation 4’s backwards compatibility works only so much that you can stream old games via PlayStation Now. Ybarra says it won’t take any extra development from studios and players just need the original disc to download a new digital version. It’ll be available to everyone this holiday season.

Fallout 4

Here’s so more Fallout 4 footage, including stuff we didn’t get to see yesterday during Bethesda’s event. I mean, it all follows the same path of content, but it’s bonus gameplay at some parts.

Game director Todd Howard also announced that PC mods will work for the Xbox One version of the game, but not right at launch; that will get added somewhere in 2016. And they’ll hopefully bring that same compatibility to the PlayStation 4 version.

Forza Motorsport 6

We already know there’s a new Forza game. Even if you didn’t know that, it seems like you could have assumed that anyways. Turn 10 Studios’ Dan Greenawalt says there will be over 450 cars and 24-player multiplayer. That’s kind of all the excitement I can muster for this.

Tacoma

Even if Tacoma just ended up being Gone Home in space, I’d still be cool with that. But developers Fullbright has earned more respect than that. It’s very obviously going to be about a singular experience and story-driven, but rehashing the same ground is (hopefully) beyond them.

Co-founder Steve Gaynor announced that their upcoming game will come to Xbox One and PC first before hitting Linux and Mac.

The Long Dark

Billed as “the first survival game on Xbox One,” The Long Dark is very obviously a survival game. You’re out all alone in a frozen wilderness and have to face the cold and wolves and whatnot.

The bigger tidbit coinciding with this is that Microsoft now offers Xbox One Game Preview, their own Early Access. The Long Dark isn’t out now, but you can play it on Game Preview right now. (Game Preview is not be confused with the Xbox One Preview program, although it exists within that and, yeah, you get it.)

Ion

Dean Hall, creator of DayZ, announced his new project Ion. It will also be available on Game Preview first and will attempt to realize Hall’s vision of “a game that wasn’t a game.” The press release describes the game as “an emergent narrative massively-multiplayer online game in which players build, live and inevitably die in huge floating galactic constructions.”

It aims to feature fully simulated environments involving power grids and heating and a bunch of other things to maintain space living. It seems pretty neat, though it may cross that line into too ambitious real quick.

Sea of Thieves

Rare is making a new game! What more do you need to know? Hopefully not much more because they didn’t give us much more.

Rare Replay

Coming August 4 to the Xbox One, the Rare Replay collection will feature just about every game you’d want to play from Rare’s history. This includes some serious bangers like Battletoads, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, Viva Piñata, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Blast Corps. If this doesn’t excite you then you must be dead inside.

Gears of War Ultimate Edition

This remastered version of the original Gears of War will come to Xbox One on August 25. It’ll have updated graphics (which Kotaku has a nice comparison of), integrated Gears of War 3 gameplay features, and the additional content previously exclusive to the PC version from 2007.

Gears of War 4

I dunno. Are you guys excited for a new Gears of War? I’m interested, I guess, but not necessarily looking forward to it. It’ll be the first one not developed by Epic Games. Maybe there will be a fresh take on some of the old staples of the series we’ve grown accustomed to? Gears of War 4 will hit during holidays 2016.

HoloLens

This is a pretty impressive demo for Minecraft with HoloLens, Microsoft’s 3D head-mounted display technology. In it, one player is on a Surface tablet playing the game while the other assumes a more godlike role through HoloLens, able to peer into the entire world and manipulate it from on high.

But it’s also very much unbelievable and in a not great way. Do you remember what we were promised with Kinect? Yeah. And having worked with this sort of tech before, I’m all the more wary. Still cool, though.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

There was also a trailer that came out, but that’s pretty much inconsequential compared to the gameplay demo they threw down. It’s coming across as even more Nathan Drake than before, but it still looks great. Drake’s defining characteristic is that he’s lucky as shit and knows it. Lara didn’t have that.

In 2013’s Tomb Raider, Lara started with getting impaled and it somehow went downhill from there. But this demo shows Lara dodging bullet after bullet and that’s kind of Drake’s thing. I’m not complaining, mind you, but it seems worth mentioning.

And that’s it! Actually, there was a lot more like the above promo for the new Xbox One interface, the Xbox Elite controller (which will cost a whopping $150), and a bunch of other games, but these were kind of the big hitters. It’s fantastic that Microsoft focused so hard on games this year. It felt refreshing.

It’s also worth mentioning that there was a distinct lack of Kinect talk, and with the lack of Kinect in the new Xbox One bundles, it calls to question if Kinect is being swept under the rug. I don’t necessarily buy it, but Ben Kuchera raises some good points over at Polygon.

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Bethesda Showcase E3 2015 Recap

Bethesda Showcase E3 2015

Todd Howard is one hell of a guy. That was the big takeaway from Bethesda’s first ever E3 press conference. Or at least I think it was. It’s hard to tell.

Just kidding! There was so much news out of the company’s taut event that’s almost unbelievable. They should do one every year if it wouldn’t grind them into an Activision-type depression situation. But we got some poorly concealed secrets, some inevitabilities, and some honest-to-god surprises, the rarest breed of the video game industry.

Anyways, let’s get to cappin’! (Or you can just watch the entire thing archived over on Bethesda’s Twitch page.)

Doom

We finally have a launch date window for Doom as well as a set of predictable platforms. You can expect the series reboot to land on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC come next spring.

Oh, and for those of you that weren’t at QuakeCon last year (which should be all but 9,000 of you), they showed off the same demo with some slight changes. The differences aren’t especially remarkable unless you care heavily about updated sound effects. There is the nice bonus, however, of a multiplayer demo.

Dishonored 2

Without a doubt the worst kept secret of the show after a rehearsal snafu, Dishonored 2 from Arkane Studios is now official. The sequel to 2012’s Dishonored will also come to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC somewhere around spring of next year. (The release was given a range in the post-show interview with Arkane’s Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith.)

The game will feature two playable characters in Corvo Attano and Emily Kaldwin. Corvo returns from the first game where he was the main protagonist while Emily also returns but all grown up from the young princess she was in the original. She will feature a completely different set of skills and animations, highlighting the differences between her and Corvo’s training and tactics.

You won’t be able to switch between the two after you’ve chosen but you will have the same amount of freedom and gameplay latitude as from the first Dishonored. “You can play the entire game without killing anyone,” said Smith, as the characters return to the same world but a different city.

BattleCry

If you forgot about BattleCry, you’re forgiven. Not that it made a bad showing at last year’s E3 (on the contrary, I actually quite liked that demo), but it feels that at times Bethesda also forgot about the online multiplayer free-to-play brawler.

Good thing BattleCry Studios got their time during the event, announcing that they and the game do still exist and that the beta will take place sometime this year. Signups for the beta, in fact, are now open, and if you sign up before June 18, you’ll get priority access and an in-game reward.

Doom Snapmap

This is actually super exciting. Most of the other announcements were pretty exciting, sure, but this was both totally unexpected and immensely impactful. Rather than having a bunch of modders work their tails off to suss out how the pipes run under the foundation, Doom Snapmap will provide them both the tools and the schematics to understand and build on top of it all.

You’ll be able to not only create maps but also futz with the actual game logic, forcing enemies to react to your position and actions and whatnot, creating entire games or game modes. And then you’ll be able to share it and play it instantly with other UGC explorers. We’ve seen Doom in LittleBigPlanet. How long until we see LittleBigPlanet in Doom?

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

This definitely elicited the most snark on Twitter when it was announced. Everyone had the same reaction, falling somewhere along the lines of “I guess Bethesda wants a slice of that big ol’ Hearthstone pie.” While I don’t think that’s a pie up for carving so much as it is Blizzard making a quality game, I also don’t think this is as dumb of an idea as people are making it out to be.

It’s a free-to-play strategy card game that follows in the steps of the aforementioned Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering. It’ll be coming to PC and iPad later this year and, well, that’s kind of all we know about it so far. I guess that and the teaser trailer is, like, super cheesy.

Dishonored Definitive Edition

Dishonored Definitive Edition

Coming this fall to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Dishonored Definitive Edition will be a new-gen rerelease of the original Dishonored packaged up with all the DLC including the trials-based Dunwall City Trials and the story-building The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches.

Fallout Shelter

This was a huge—huge—surprise. Not only did no one expect this announcement but no one really thought it would actually be available right after the event. It’s a great one-two combo that more publishers should consider doing with their press conferences.

Anyways, Fallout Shelter is a Tiny Tower-esque game for iOS that puts you in the shoes of a vault overseer. As overseer, your responsibilities include expanding your vault, defending your vault, and making sure your vault is self-sustaining with power, food, water, and dwellers. It is free-to-play, but from the few hours I’ve put into it, it’s not the in-your-face variety and more of the if-you-want-it kind.

Fallout 4

The Fallout 4 segment was—in a word—massive. With game director Todd Howard on the stage and guiding the expansive set of demos, it felt impressive and not at the all befuddled or meandering. We got a release date, the setting(s), and answers to so many more questions that we didn’t even know we were supposed to ask.

Coming November 10 of this year, Fallout 4 will put you in both pre-explosion and post-fucked time periods. And right off the bat, the demo clarifies the question we’ve all had on our minds regarding character creation: still 100% at the mercy of your imagination with its face sculpting system reminiscent of an Italian plumber.

But there’s more. Oh my god there’s so much more. There will be a full settlement component involved where you can collect scraps to build up forts and bases and entire communities, hooking up lights and defenses to power generators and defending inhabitants from raiders. It’s insanely comprehensive.

Fallout 4

Just as comprehensive, in fact, as the equipment crafting system. All the junk you can pick up like lamps and stuff can be broken down for screws and lenses, materials usable for crafting wholly new weapons off of the 50 base types, or even modify your own power armor.

Howard also exemplified his perfectly succinct self-awareness within the industry when he introduced the collector’s edition of Fallout 4. Called the Pip-Boy Edition, it will come with an actual Pip-Boy that you can wear on your wrist while you play. “As far as stupid gimmicks go, this is the best fucking one I’ve ever seen.”

But bonus: there’s an app you can install on to your phone and put it into the Pip-Boy so you can use it just like you would in the game. That means you can manage your inventory and change your gear and whatnot. Costing $119.99 USD (£99.99 UK / €129.99), it also comes with a display stand and Capsule Case. While not necessary for the app to work, it does seem kind of cool.

Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition

And that’s that! Pretty busy day for E3 when Day Zero hasn’t even started yet. Do you remember when that wasn’t even a thing? How far we’ve come, huh. And by that I mean god dammit I miss at least pretending there was time to sleep and eat during this show.

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The Doom Reveal at QuakeCon 2014

Doom Reveal

“This brave new world is going to hell.” Marty Stratton, executive producer on Id Software’s upcoming Doom, apparently has a thing for understatement. Or perhaps literality, given the premise of the game. Either way, the troubled project formerly known as Doom 4 has found new life as a Bethesda-published product and made its big re-debut at this year’s QuakeCon event.

The publicly streamed portion involved a trailer, some PR-infused speech, and concept art showing the transition that the team made from old school to reimagined new school. In fact, you’ve mostly likely already seen the trailer as it was released back during E3. It’s gone unchanged.

But here are the quick facts: Doom takes place in a UAC research facility on Mars right before a demonic invasion begins, it will run on brand new id Tech 6 (dubbed “id Tech 666” by the team, says Stratton) for 1080p and 60 FPS, and will be coming to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Most interesting was perhaps the exact words Stratton used to describe the team’s ambitions with Doom. He says this is a return to the franchise’s roots (hence the rebranding as just Doom) but they will also “evolve the way you play.” It’s an “origin game” with “fast, fast-paced” gameplay, where along the way he dropped the word “relentless” somewhere between five and 67 times. No regenerating health and a full arsenal. Sure sounds like Doom.

Then, watching the two back-to-back live gameplay demos, it’s very obvious that Stratton meant it all as a single gestalt statement. This looks precisely like a Doom game made to be an interpretation of modern sensibilities. The first demo was a slightly more subdued chunk of gameplay. It seemed to serve to mostly highlight the blend of new and old.

The character puts on a helmet and activates a HUD that is very reminiscent of Metroid Prime, giving a diegetic reason to why you can see real time data like objectives, enemies, and the like. One of the first things we then encounter after entering the UAC station is a locked red door, obviously meant to be an HD version of the franchise’s classic keyed obstacle. Then, rather quickly, the enemies start to appear.

Doom

They will literally materialize out of nothing, ostensibly teleporting from Hell itself. Demons and Imps are the order of the day, as are some rather brutal melee finishing moves. Enemies will flash briefly as they taken sufficient damage, telling you that you can close in and rip of their head or rip out their heart or kick off their head or split their head in half. There’s a lot involving the head. In fact, by utilizing the double jump, you can Mario them to death as you leap off of some conveniently located crates.

While not as ridiculously fast as the old games, Doom is still a rather fast-moving experience. There’s a sprint button that hits that nearly ludicrous speed, and dumping ammo into demonic flesh looks as quick and easy as breathing. Mantling and double jumping adds some much-desired verticality to a traditionally and unrelentingly horizontal franchise, though it’s certainly no Uncharted (nor should it be). Also, unconfirmed, but it looked like there might have been a lateral dodge move? I’ll ask for clarification.

There certainly was a lot of dude-shooting, but definitely nothing on par with the likes of Doom II. This was a surprisingly meted demo. Minutes at a time would pass where enemies would not attack, allowing you to even solve a “puzzle” where you ripped the hand off a nearby fallen guard to bypass a biometric scanner. But when the classic double-barreled shotgun made its appearance, the shooting came back with a vengeance.

Doom

The second demo was seemingly more oriented towards combat, as there was an entire segment where we saw all the different ways you could slice up Demons with the chainsaw. It was a one-hit kill, but it looked rather satisfying regardless as you lopped off limbs and heads and entire sides of bodies with a reckless abandon. You also see more clearly how time dilation affects the moment-to-moment action whenever you open up the radial weapon menu.

It also appeared that at least some portion of weapons will have an alternative fire. The double-barreled shotgun had this thing where it seemed to charge up three shots (out of two barrels?) at once and would unload in rapid succession. That served to really highlight how enemies would actively deteriorate as you damaged them more and more, chunks flying off before turning into straight-up gibs.

Then we entered a large arena-type room, which was appropriate given that a bunch of large boss-like enemies proceeded to attack you. This is where it felt most old school, as you were given an open-ish area with a bunch of weapons and a veritable deluge of bad guys would come after you. I’m talking Cyberdemons, Demons, Imps, and even a couple of Mancubuses (Mancubi?). Here we see prolonged usage of the plasma rifle and rocket launcher, two more classic weapons that did not disappoint.

QuakeCon 2014 Stage

This was absolutely a great showing for the revamped Doom. Nothing all that surprising, but it highlighted how Id was blending the classic tenets of the franchise with the lessons learned from modern shooters. And even in these nascent stages, this is already a fantastic-looking and sounding game. Most impressively, blood actually looks like blood.

Of course, there are reservations. Tentative ones given that this was purely eyes-on with a supremely vertical slice, but reservations nonetheless. Melee seems to have greatly affected the cadence of the game’s combat. It’s now more geared towards tireless forward progress, always moving to another stomped head. It feels a lot more like diving into the middle of the fray rather than dodging around and firing shots into the cluster.

We’ll try to find out more. Not sure you’ll be seeing these demos anytime soon; they were diligent about restricting camera usage in the theater. No release date or timeframe announced either, but Doom will be making its way to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 once it does come out.

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Highlights from Sony at E3 2014

Highlights from Sony at E3 2014

Well, as good as Microsoft was on Monday morning, the general consensus seems to be that Sony somehow surpassed the Redmond efforts. Honestly, I’m inclined to agree. Not only did we get a far more varied selection of game demos thrown at us with Sony, there were more significant surprises, which is really what a press briefing should be for.

Granted, journalists really shouldn’t be cheering or hollering (as someone much better at this job once told me, you only clap for people and not for spectacle), but some of the announcements Sony pulled out of their seemingly rabbit-filled hat really made me want to fist pump. I guess, however, it only serves to highlight how even press has been reallocated to something on par with seat fillers at the Academy Awards.

But let’s put such depressing ruminations behind us (and likely save them for another time). Let’s relive Sony’s numerous tweet-worthy shenanigans like they didn’t just happen on Monday!

Entwined

My immediate reaction to this was similar to everyone else’s: this is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons + Tempest. But once I played it, I realized you definitely need to throw a little Panzer Dragoon and Child of Eden in there, too. Its one-line summation is heartbreaking (“it’s about two souls that are in love but can’t be together”) and it plays just beautifully. And it’s out now for $9.99! A review will come sometime when it’s, you know, not god damn E3 week.

The Order: 1886

The Victorian Era aesthetic is one of my favorites. And I’m not crazy about the button prompt situation going on in the video, but the lurking in the darkness and the pacing and pretty much the other 99% of what was shown on stage seems pretty great. Besides, it’s about time those Ready at Dawn guys get a shot at their own IP. Look for it on February 20, 2015.

Infamous: First Light

You know what? I liked Infamous: Second Son. And more than that, I thought Fetch was a pretty cool character with an interesting backstory, so I’m pretty excited at the prospect of learning more about her within a framework that I already know I enjoy. The only problem is that instead of multiple powers, now we’ll just get the neon set, but come on, that was everyone’s favorite anyways. Releases August of this year.

LittleBigPlanet 3

While substantial that LittleBigPlanet 3 is indeed being made, it’s hard to not notice that 1) it’s being made by Sumo Digital and not Media Molecule (and their attention is being split a high profile exclusive for Xbox with Forza Horizon 2), and 2) it seems to feature basically every fundamental problem that has not been addressed in LBP 1 or LBP 2. However, it does look as charming and fun with friends as ever. I loved that the demo seemed so natural. Expect it this November.

Bloodborne

This is where the hype led. Project Beast is now Bloodborne, though I honestly like the name Project Beast a lot more. But this game, led by Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki, looks to be everything we’ve been hoping for: creepy, gross, and wholly compelling. It also kicked off the day’s trend of trailers with double title cards. Double! Set for release sometime next year.

Dead Island 2

The complete polar opposite of the original Dead Island announcement trailer. That’s what this is. It’s unfortunate that trailer even exists because this is quite fun and the E3 demo is quite solid as well. But my god that trailer hard to live up to. Also, it’s not being developed by Techland (they’re busy with Hellraid and Dying Light) but Yager Development. Expected early 2015.

Grim Fandango

This was basically the surprise of the briefing. This is what these sorts of things were made for. Journalists get big news pieces and questions to ask and interviews to set up while fans get to drool and hoot and holler while executives roll around in their money pits. Also, Tim Schafer confirmed via Twitter that this remastered version will eventually make its way to other platforms. I’m also going to go ahead and guess John Vignocchi had something to do with this.

Abzû

Much like the Mesopotamian breakdown of the title itself, Abzû is a beautiful game. I do mean on a purely visual level since I’ve yet to play it, but it surely seems like this game was made just for people like me. It looks a bit like Journey (not unexpected considering Giant Squid was founded by Journey art director Matt Nava and the project itself includes composer Austin Wintory and thatgamecompany’s lead designer Nicholas Clark) while certainly something all its own. It will launch in 2016.

Magicka 2

I love how stupidly and impressively absurd every Magicka trailer has managed to be despite, you know, reality. I mean, I also like Magicka and how surprisingly deep the co-op elements were, but the trailers are just so fun and ridiculous. I guess that also applies to the game as well.

No Man’s Sky

I can tell you firsthand that even hours after the event, this trailer and this game is all people were talking about. It’s still something I want to talk about. It looks like the game has grown even more impressive and that’s considering that the studio Hello Games flooded around Christmastime and had to redo quite a bit of work. And this quote: “We’re dealing with planet-sized planets. Even if a million of us played on one planet, we’d still be really far apart.” Yes please.

Let It Die

Yep, definitely looks like a Suda game. And apparently it’s being shown somewhere at E3, but you have to either know the right people or be lucky to see it. I have one more day to find out if I’m one or both of those things. I’m not even entirely sure what Let It Die is about, but I’d really like to find out.

PlayStation Now, Free-to-Play, and TV

The free-to-play thing was weird. It was more like they were trying to get away with saying “these games are free!” and then whispering “…to play.” It was definitely not well received. PlayStation Now and PlayStation TV, however, were pretty well on point. Now is Gaikai rebranded but still totally a gaming streaming service and TV is a little $99 microconsole that pairs with a controller to play games and watch things. PlayStation TV come this fall, as will PlayStation Now, though the latter will go into beta on July 31.

Ratchet & Clank Movie

It was only a matter of time. It and a “reimagined” game will be hitting PSN in 2015.

Remastered The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V

I promise you I will play both The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V in their entirety over again just because. I did it for Tomb Raider and I will do it again because I think all of them are fantastic games. The Last of Us will come out July 29 and Grand Theft Auto V sometime this fall.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

If the title wasn’t telling enough, Nolan North, voice actor behind Nathan Drake, also believes this will be the last Uncharted game that Naughty Dog will make. It makes sense and I sincerely hope so. No matter how good Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ends up being (or bad, who knows), I don’t think anyone wants to see this storied franchise end up becoming a commoditized burden, especially without Justin Richmond and Amy Hennig behind the wheel. Look for it in 2015.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

While not as classic as last year’s E3 trailer, this is classic inscrutable Kojima. I can’t wait to look at my TV with a dumbfounded layer of confusion plastered across my face.

Batman: Arkham Knight

One word: Batmobile. Glad to see Rocksteady Studios back at it. Comes out in 2015.

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Highlights from Microsoft at E3 2014

Highlights of Microsoft at E3 2014

Boy, what a way to start out Day Zero of E3 2014. Microsoft really brought the heat with this one. It just dropped game after game, most of which included actual gameplay. If it just involved pre-rendered cinematics, then we’d have a real problem here (see: EA conference and this zinger by Justin McElroy).

Of course, it was rather strange that it included no hardware announcements. Or rather, it wasn’t that strange but equally unfortunate that there were no mentions of future plans for the Kinect, especially considering Microsoft recently removed it from the lower priced bundles. And then they highlighted Harmonix, a studio whose last two and two upcoming games require the Kinect. Seems incongruous is what I’m saying.

Also, can we get a shoutout or an lol at the fact that this presser was leaked almost in its entirety months ago? And while the light-up bracelets were pretty cool, it’s super distracting when you’re sitting there in the dark trying to watch a similarly dark trailer and you’re being blinded on either side of you.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Whether I think Call of Duty is a worthwhile franchise or not, this is a hell of a way to kick off a press briefing. Nine whizzbang minutes of shooting and being in the future and stuff. There’s nothing we really haven’t seen before (guy you’re playing as dies or get seriously injured, press button to kick down door, etc.), especially since we’ve seen more engaging mobility from a first-person shooter by way of Titanfall, but it was fun nonetheless.

Those smart grenades seem pretty, well, smart, though. Comes out November 4 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC with all DLC on Xbox first.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

While guttural in its ability to engage and excite, this gameplay demo for Tom Clancy’s The Division really only highlighted one thing: teamwork in real online multiplayer is a supreme shit show. Not once, even when I’ve played with friends of mine that are similarly committed to our ephemeral, digital cause, have we been as communicative and effective as this AI-driven team.

I’m not saying it can’t or hasn’t been done (professional gamers do it all the time), but it’s a bit of a disconnect once you realize these computer fellows are better at talking than your friends. Still looks pretty cool, though. Expect it sometime in 2015 if there are no more delays.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

No, you were not the only person to think that Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s title is awfully close to Rise of the Triad. But you were also not the only person to think this looks like a supremely interesting setup, not least of all because it humanizes a video game character (and a traditionally vapid one at that) in a challenging and compelling way.

And you can thank writer Rhianna Pratchett for that. She is indeed back for this one, though I’m sure we’ll still be treated to an unfortunately mismatched body count once more because it, after all, a video game. Releases holidays 2015.

Inside

Umm yes. Like, YES. Playdead Studios, for those of you who don’t know or have perhaps forgotten, is the team behind 2010’s Limbo, one of my all-time favorite games. And now they’re back with Inside, a strange little game that shows a child running through a desaturated, terrifyingly homogenized and robotic world, has some aesthetic similarities to Limbo but also seems to want to set off on its own path. Look for it in the first half of 2015.

Sunset Overdrive

Pretty nice mislead with the opening bit. Although I guess the hulky-looking enemies and the art style could easily lead to the conclusion that it’s not what it seems. But this gameplay demo video makes Sunset Overdrive at least look pretty neat. Expect it on October 28 of this year.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

You know what? That haunting Halo opening chorus still gives me chills. Has there ever been a more iconic, single second of video game music than that? Well, probably, but that doesn’t change the fact that that low, rumbling, growing aahhhh is fairly iconic at this point. And even though you’ve already played what Halo: The Master Chief Collection has to offer (Halos 1 through 4), it packages it in a way that puts all other game compilations to shame. Releases November 11 for the Xbox One.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

I love this Lorde over in this cinematic trailer, though it strikes me as odd that a game about the French Revolution would feature a song with lyrics like “everybody wants to rule the world.” But I guess it was intended to convey the troubles of seeking power, so it works.

Anyways, we’ve gotten off-track here. Assassin’s Creed Unity, despite looking exactly like more Assassin’s Creed, has be interested precisely because of the co-op. Comes out October 28.

Scalebound

Hey guys. Scalebound looks nuts. Just thought I’d throw that out there, but what else do you expect from Platinum Games? Exclusive to Xbox One, but no release date yet.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Here’s what we know about Ori and the Blind Forest: it’s from Moon Studios, it probably is a 2D action platformer, and it’s likely going to make your eyes happy and your heart cry. Good luck to us all.

Crackdown

I am ready. (To collect a million agility orbs.)

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Nintendo Direct Recap: Mario Kart 8, Haggling, Nonsense

Nintendo Direct for February 13, 2014

I still find these Nintendo Direct events somewhat ridiculous. It’s easy to say, “What, Nintendo, are you too good for a regular press conference at E3 or something?” And then you smoke several cigars at once while riding a giant Fresca can into space. It’s really just that these things tend to highlight on a semi-regular interval the struggles and stigmas the company has battled for the past two console generations.

Mainly, Nintendo just doesn’t know what to give us. Often times, everything looks like more of the same, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since Nintendo’s bar for a poor release is actually higher than other mediocre-adjacent measuring sticks. And when they do give us something, they don’t know how to show it off. We’re usually left confused or feeling like we’ve seen it all before.

Case in point: there’s been another Nintendo Direct event. If you didn’t see the stream, I’ll catch you up on the major points. If you did, well, I’m not sure what I have to offer you besides a hearty slap on the back, significant eye contact, and then a wistful goodbye. Let’s get to it.

Bayonetta 2 Trailer

Absurd. That’s what this is. Has there ever been a more mismatched voiceover with an over-the-top thing? He sounded like he was reading the game’s instruction manual to a mildly interested four-year-old cousin. But whatever. I really like the first Bayonetta (it was seriously a Game of the Year contender) and this looks to take a big, witchy step in another ridiculous direction.

Look for the game sometime in 2014 in the US and this summer in Japan.

Haggling

Rusty's Real Deal Baseball

Perhaps it’s the immensely large war chest of money backing seemingly reckless decisions that lead to poor outcomes, but it seems like Nintendo is the most open of the big three that is open to experimentation. For instance, besides taking their first step into free-to-play games with Steel Diver: Sub Wars, the upcoming Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball will feature price haggling.

The system is based around you actually playing the game and doing it well. In minigames, if you score high enough, you will earn an ostensibly useless item (for a baseball game, anyways). But if you take it to the shopkeeper and give him just what he needs (be sure to listen to his stories), he could be willing to knock a few pence off the price of downloadable content. Pretty big swing.

Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball comes out this April for the 3DS. Steel Diver: Sub Wars, while just announced, is already out on the eShop.

Mario Kart 8

Everyone loves their first Mario Kart. I’m willing to bet in 90% of all cases, the first Mario Kart you play is your favorite one. I’m also willing to bet that is because that’s the basis of what you judge a kart racer to actually be, and deviations necessarily make games less of a kart racer.

It makes you wonder how many people will make Mario Kart 8 (freaking eight!) their first Mario Kart. Would they even recognize the first iteration of the franchise? It’s kind of a terrifying thought. But, regardless, I will still probably end up playing Mario Kart 8. I don’t know why. It’s just going to happen. Maybe this is the one to bolster poor console sales.

Mario Kart 8 releases May 30th for the Wii U.

Fresh Professor Layton Trailer

You know what? I was never terribly into Professor Layton’s shenanigans. I found him charming, I thought the games were fun, and I would recommend the series all the time, but I just never got behind it the way many other people did. It’s really strange.

Maybe it needs a movie like Phoenix Wright. I’m not sure. This trailer, though, still has me looking forward to Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. Oh, wait, also Emmy’s Story. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy: Emmy’s Story. Christ, what a name.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy: Emmy’s Story releases Feburary 28th for the 3DS.

New Ace Attorney

New Ace Attorney announced at Nintendo Direct for February 13, 2014

Only bearing an announcement of words, it was still fairly big news because original series creator Shu Takumi will be behind the wheel. And Capcom will be behind another wheel. A 3DS wheel made of money. And law. Or something. Unfortunately, no word on when it will be released or if it will come out in any country not called Japan.

And if you’re curious, the text on this briefly displayed card translates to “Ace Attorney: a New Project Begins” according to Kotaku. I dunno, they seem legit.

Pokémon Battle Trozei

Let’s be honest: we’re all suckers for puzzle games, especially those of the match-three variety. How else did Bejeweled get as big as it did? Either way, there’s a new Pokémon-themed one coming out called Pokémon Battle Trozei. The weird combination of high fidelity video game bit sounds and 90s wailing electric guitar alone makes me want to play.

It’ll be out on March 20th for the 3DS.

GBA Games Coming to Virtual Console

Game Boy Advance

Perhaps it’s just my fading old man memory, but it seems like the GBA came and went fairly fast in terms of handheld lifecycles. Technically it lasted around five years, but its big hits all seemed to fall within two years of each other and then that was it. So it seems befuddling that there was enough call for GBA games to come to the Wii U Virtual Console for this to happen.

I assume every title will just be Golden Sun, Metroid Fusion, or Advance Wars, the only three GBA games worth playing. Just kidding; there were plenty of other good ones. Just get ready to remove those rose-tinted glasses when they come your way this spring.

NES Remix 2 Continues Year of Luigi

NES Remix 2

The Year of Luigi may have come to an end, but that doesn’t mean it has to leave your heart. NES Remix 2 will feature a bunch of old Nintendo classics like Dr. Mario, Kid Icarus, and Metroid challenges along with the entirety of the original Super Mario Bros., but with Luigi as the star and the levels are backwards and also it’s called Super Luigi Bros. Surprise!

NES Remix 2 comes out April 25th.

Everyone Still Wants X

X

It’s been just over a year since X, the followup to Xenoblade Chronicles, was announced. We’ve heard just about nothing about it since then and now we see some new footage and…that’s about it. It’s still slated for release for this year, but come on. That’s probably not going to happen. I mean, we can all hope, but it won’t. Ugh, it just looks so fun.

Kirby Triple Deluxe Trailer, Date

Hey guys. I really liked the last three Kirby games. You should probably pay attention to this trailer. (Those two thoughts are unrelated.). It looks basically just like Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, which also looks a lot like every other major console Kirby release. This little pink puff is the unsung hero of Nintendo. I don’t think it’ll ever change, but his games are little troopers that do what they need to do and then get out. It’s great.

Kirby Triple Deluxe will release May 2nd for the 3DS.

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Nintendo and The Dour Prediction

Nintendo and the Dour Prediction

Sometimes the truth is undeniable. It’s raining. It’s dark out. Nintendo just isn’t the powerhouse it used to be. These are simply facts that we know because they’re observed to be true. I can see rain pouring from the overcast sky so it must be raining. The sun is down and the moon is out so it is nightfall. And Nintendo revised their yearly sales forecast from a 55 billion yen profit to a 25 billion yen loss so, well, you get it.

As it’s been for the past decade or so, though, Nintendo is a much muddier story than that. Look at the 3DS. It was the top selling console for both December and all of 2013 last year with a projected finish for the fiscal calendar at 13.5 million units. It absolutely crushed the PlayStation Vita, which apparently sold somewhere south of 95,000 units in December. (Yikes!)

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s absolutely abysmal for Sony but great news for Nintendo. They’re stomping their direct handheld console competition (mobile phones and tablets, however, are another discussion entirely). The Vita sold that poorly even with Sony aggressive tie-in marketing and development features with the newly launched PlayStation 4.

Nintendo 3DS

The 3DS released in February of 2011. It sold 13.95 million in 2012, and Nintendo revised the 3DS’s projected sales down to 13.5 million from 18 million. If anything, the company’s new sales forecasts do nothing more than take the 3DS down from the “holy cow this is some hot flapjack shit going on” range to “well, this is still doing pretty good” territory.

Unfortunately, Nintendo doesn’t only deal in 3DS sales. There’s also the big, white, dual-screen home console elephant in the room: the Wii U, which even anecdotally isn’t selling very well. How many of your friends do you know own a Wii U? And how many of those play it regularly? Exactly.

In this set of revisions, Nintendo reduced their Wii U projects from 9 million units to 2.8 million. For comparison, the Wii is similarly projected to sell 1.2 million (another downgrade from 2 million). That’s a significant drop, and more importantly, makes it easy to contrast success with treading water.

Wii U

The most telling figure is second year holiday sales. Every console takes a huge bump in the second year. Well, almost every console. Two notable exceptions are the Gamecube in 2002 when it went down 344,000 units (in the same year, the original Xbox went up 96,000) and the Dreamcast in 2000 when it went down 620,000 units.

Now the Wii U isn’t doing as terrible as those two historical train wrecks, but it is doing quite poorly. If you look at the November second year numbers, the Wii U dropped 210,000 units, which puts it in company with the Gamecube, Xbox, and Dreamcast, even though its second year holiday sales look to be about the same as its first year.

Henry Gilbert over at GamesRadar made a good point back in August. The Wii U mirrors the Gamecube in a number of significant ways: low console sales bolstered by handheld sales, handheld sales boosted by a Pokémon title, and a roster of impressive exclusives. But how is this not bad news? Well, think about the Gamecube now. For one, it gave us The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, and many more amazing games.

Wii U

And more importantly, it adds evidence to the pile of things that proves that the industry moves in waves. Nintendo used to be the big dog, but then Sony came along with the PS2. Then Microsoft’s Xbox. And then Nintendo struck back with the Wii. And now we have a new generation to discover how it will all shake out.

Someone will always be on the ropes. That’s just how business works. Leisure-based consumerism is largely a zero sum game where one company getting money is just as good as taking it away from another. They are constantly fighting for your money and someone is always losing, just as someone is always losing. This is obviously bad news for Nintendo as they are currently the ones falling behind, but it’s not bad news for their existence. At least not yet anyways. It does all hinge on Nintendo pulling its own weight.

But I mean, jeez, it’s not like they’re Ouya.

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Highlights From the VGX 2013

Highlights From the VGX 2013

This Saturday saw the first VGX, the successor to the VGAs, or Video Game Awards. Or it’s just a rebranding. Whatever. It’s the video game awards show trying to be the Oscars of the industry, but since it’s coming from Spike TV, expectations are, quite honestly, low.

Regardless of the show’s successes and failures from this year, there was quite a bit of news streaming forth from our computers and televisions over the course of three hours. (That still seems ridiculous to me, but here we are.) Here are the big ones.

No Man’s Sky Blows Minds

Let’s start off with the biggest of the big. This absolutely blew up my Twitter feed as well as my mind. No Man’s Sky comes from UK studio Hello Games who you may know best for Joe Danger. In fact, that is the only thing you’d know them for since that’s the only thing they’ve put out.

But here comes this game that we’ve only heard buzzes about (namely from Giant Bomb’s Brad Shoemaker), one that you should, from this point forward, pay extremely close attention to. No Man’s Sky is an exploration sim that procedurally fills an entire universe. I don’t want to spoil it, but there’s a moment where you just might go OH FUCK YEAH. Managing director Sean Murray calls it a “huge game.” To that, I say, “No fucking shit.”

Elijah Wood Joins Broken Age

Even if you don’t like adventure games, it’s worth watching this new Broken Age trailer just to see the art. Seeing it all in motion is absolutely beautiful. Lead artist Nathan Stapley has quite the eye for making fantastical yet realistic worlds in a painterly style.

And then if you’re into it anyways, you’d be happy to learn that Elijah Wood is joining the voice cast of the likes of Jennifer Hale, Jack Black, and Wil Wheaton. He’ll be playing the male half of the two protagonists, a boy held captive by a ship originally intended to save him from his dying homeworld. Apparently Wood also loves to make Rice Krispies treats. Look for (hope for?) the game to finally launch in January.

Telltale and Gearbox Confuses Us All

The first announcement of the night was also the most befuddling. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t…desired? It’s hard to explain. Telltale Games, developers of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, is teaming up with Gearbox Software, the studio behind the Borderlands series and taking Duke Nukem Forever to the finish line, to make an episodic adventure game called Tales from the Borderlands, the first episode of which will come 2014.

Yeah, right? Unexpected, but not unwelcome. I’m just not entirely sure anyone was asking for this to happen. Are people really that invested in Pandora and its mythos? It’s not a bad thing if there are; I just always went into Borderlands to shoot guns and loot corpses. It also begs the question of how many teams are going on at Telltale at the moment. They’ve still got The Wolf Among Us going and the next season of The Walking Dead coming up. Will we see the A-team or will we see the Jurassic Park: The Game team?

Game of Thrones Game from Telltale

Oh yeah, Telltale is also making a Game of Thrones game for 2014. Aaaaaaand that’s all we know.

New Destiny Trailer

From Friday, we know that we have quite a ways to go before Destiny actually comes out on September 9, 2014. To tide us over, Bungie has given us a new, sprawling trailer that includes highlights on music, weapons, characters, and the world of the game.

Two New Titan Classes for Titanfall

You know what? I really can’t wait for Titanfall. I played it at PAX Prime and E3 and then and now, all I want to do is play Titanfall. It is quite the game from what I’ve seen, though more extensive play once it releases only can tell if it is good as whole. But seeing these two new trailers for the heavy Ogre and the nimble Stryder class Titans just reminds me of what excites me about the game. Look for it on March 14, 2014.

Time Control in Quantum Break

Aside from all the buzzwords Remedy Entertainment creative director Sam Lake throws around, this look at Quantum Break actually seems kind of interesting. I’ve been marginally tepid on the game for the longest time, but seeing that the time manipulation looks nothing like Max Payne‘s bullet time has me looking forward to seeing more.

Oh, and Naughty Dog is the Best

To accept awards for the VGX, studios got to create videos instead of having to go up and awkwardly say words out of their mouth holes. Irrational Games may have had the most endearing and charming, but Naughty Dog went full Banderas. It’s amazing.

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PlayStation 4 Launch Event Recap: Uncharted, The Last of Us, and More

PlayStation 4 Launch Event Recap: Uncharted, The Last of Us, and More

How was your night last night? Go out anywhere? Maybe stand in a big line and get a $400 piece of technology? I didn’t, but I did go check out a couple of midnight launches of the PlayStation 4. For one of the biggest metroplexes in the country, Dallas didn’t really have anything crazy to offer, although a couple of dudes offered me some queso, so there’s that.

UPDATE: just kidding. Apparently I missed Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant buying five lucky line-standers their PlayStation 4s.

Of course, it (and whatever was happening at your closest GameStop) didn’t compare to Sony’s big launch event in New York. It was just a big ol’ celebration for Sony’s step into the next generation, but they still decided to throw some news in there. Geoff Keighley even asked about The Last Guardian! (We’ll get to that in a second.)

New Uncharted for PS4

In perhaps the teaseriest tease of all teases, we see nothing more about the upcoming Uncharted for the PlayStation 4 except that 1) it exists, and 2) it has betrayal. Oh, also, I guess that is has a super high resolution logo?

At least it tells us what Naughty Dog has been up to since putting out Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and The Last of Us. And over on the PlayStation Blog, it has been confirmed that creative director Amy Hennig and game director Justin Richmond are both attached to the rather green project and that Todd Stashwick of Heroes fame provides the excellent voiceover.

The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC

Speaking of Naughty Dog, we see them release their first single-player DLC with Left Behind. The teaser is short and poised for a lot of emotional drama as the franchise is wont to do: Ellie and Riley Abel, her school chum from the Quarantine Zone, happen across a carousel.

Like, nothing happy can come from that, right? But it will hopefully at least be a fantastically sad. It’s based somewhat on the Dark Horse comics The Last of Us: American Dreams (which are pretty great) where it shows Ellie and Riley meeting, but this is Ellie telling Joel what happens after that.

Don’t worry, I’ll bring the tissues. Look for it in early 2014 for $14.99.

Destiny Beta

Along with the above trailer, Bungie COO Pete Parsons (what a comic book superhero name) announced that the beta for their upcoming online first-person shooter Destiny would be coming first to the PlayStation 4.

“We’re going to give first access to the PlayStation nation, PS4 and PS3 owners,” he said. If you want to get in on it, you’ll have to have preordered before October 1st, though I’m sure there will be other avenues available as it creeps closer.

Classic Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

I guess not everything old made it out when the new stepped in. In a confusingly nostalgic move, Konami will be including Classic Snake as a skin in the Sony-exclusive mission “Déjà Vu” for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. So yay next-gen graphics? Whatever, as long as I get to choke dudes.

Dammit

Geoff Keighley asked Sony’s Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida and Vice President of Publisher Relations Adam Boyes about Team Ico’s mysteriously missing The Last Guardian. God dammit. JUST GIVE IT TO ME.

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