E3 2015: PlayStation Press Conference Was Shocking

The PlayStation E3 2015 press conference can perhaps best be summed up in a single word: Promises. It was an evening of old promises kept, some new promises made, and a heck of a lot of surprises that nobody truly saw coming.

The buzz before Monday evening's PlayStation presser was the same as it has been for over a half-decade. “We're finally getting The Last Guardian,” one would say, only to be answered by, “Nah, it's time for that Final Fantasy VII remaster.” A third might jump into the conversation, adding that Shenmue III was finally getting announced.

No matter who was having these conversations, as in years past, it was all being said in jest. All three of those games have become something of an industry urban legend; things we talk about with only the absolute faintest sliver of hope that maybe this year something would actually happen.

Well, it happened. All three of them.

Bearing the motto, “The best place to play,” the PlayStation press conference began with actual gameplay for The Last Guardian, a title from Team Ico that's been trapped in development hell for what fells like forever. To their credit, Sony always refused to admit that the game had been fully cancelled, insisting that someone, somewhere, was currently working on the title.

The moment the audience saw a lone feather floating toward the ground as the trailer began, the entire audience lost its collective mind. Sure, the visuals still look a bit last-gen and the animations seemed a bit stiff, but there it was, The Last Guardian, being played. Apparently due out in 2016, PlayStation's first surprise of the night went off like a rocket.

That excitement was met cheer for cheer about halfway through the evening's show as fans were treated to fleeting glimpses of a grimy city on the brink of revolution. As soon as Cloud's buster sword was seen on-screen, the roar of the crowd became deafening. We're getting a Final Fantasy VII remake and, even though we probably won't be playing it for a long, long time, fans seemed to be plenty happy simply knowing that it's on the way.

PlayStation's final major surprise of the night came in the form of Shenmue III. While not directly tied to the publisher, series creator Yu Suzuki enjoyed some great free advertising as he was invited on-stage to kick off his long-awaited game's Kickstarter campaign. The response was instant, crashing the crowdfunding site due to the number of people who eagerly wanted to throw their money at the development efforts. As of this writing, Shenmue III has soared past its funding goal to nearly $2.5 million in a single evening and still has 31 days left to go in its campaign. So, yeah, it looks like that's another fabled game that's actually going to see the light of day.

More games

Similar to last year's E3 showing and mirroring the Xbox presser from earlier in the day, the PlayStation event avoided pretty much anything that wasn't a game. No sales talk, no graphs or figures, just lots and lots of digital entertainment. A brief moment was taken to discuss the Morpheus VR headset and show off a few smaller titles being developed for the still un-dated and un-priced piece of tech, while PlayStation Vue, Sony's television streaming service, was announced for a national roll-out in July, as well as an a la carte subscription plan that lets you pick and choose your preferred channels.

After The Last Guardian got the audience warmed up at the top of the show, it was followed by a surprising look at Guerrilla's next offering, Horizon: Zero Dawn. I say it's surprising because Horizon looks nothing like the series that's been the developer's bread and butter for the past decade, Killzone. Set after the fall of society, mankind has returned to a more primal way of living, with players taking on the role of a female warrior who must, I kid you not, hunt and survive robot dinosaurs. The action looked great and, even though we don't know when it'll be in the hands of the players, it's jumped up my list of most-anticipated games seen at the show so far.

After that, viewers were treated to one trailer after another, featuring unexpected titles like a new Hitman,, Media Molecule's insane-looking Dreams and a chibi-infused World of Final Fantasy, as well as fresh looks at stuff like No Man's Sky gameplay and the horde mode from Star Wars Battlefront.

As has become tradition over the years, several games also had exclusive PlayStation content like DLC and first crack at betas for games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Disney Infinity 3.0, Arkham Knight and Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.

Indies also had a brief presence once again, with a quick look at the upcoming first-person mystery adventure game, Fire Watch, as well as a quartet of games from Devolver Digital and the usual montage of all sorts of other games.

The PlayStation presser was also where all of those Destiny rumors paid off, with everything we've heard about The Taken King expansion basically confirmed. It's coming Sept. 15 and it boasts a bunch of new content including maps, missions, a Raid and new gear. A new trailer was also shown that boasted a look at each new sub-class for Guardians in need of more customization, including a radiant bow and arrow for Hunters, a Thor-quality hammer for Titans and the Sith lightning-hand-thing for Warlocks.

Before the credits rolled, however, there was still one more game to clap our peepers on, Uncharted 4: Among Thieves. Rather than focus on the exploration like in last year's E3 presser, the team at Naughty Dog wisely decided to get straight into the action this time around, highlighting Drake and old friend Sully caught in a shootout with a bunch of baddies in a crowded city market. That gave way to an insane driving sequence that saw the player racing an armored truck to the bottom of the city, dodging pedestrians, screeching through alternate routes and even careening across rooftops at one point.

This final trailer was a pretty perfect selection to end the evening's press conference, which was itself something of a wild ride. There was a little old, a little new, and a heck of a lot of surprises along the

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.