A mighty fine time for the PS4
Sony's been on a run of crowd-pleasing press conferences for awhile now, and E3 is where the PlayStation tends to shine.
2015 may be a bit on the sparse side for Sony due to Uncharted 4's delay, but you can rest assured that the most-clamored-for games of the last two decades are finally coming, and will probably land on the PS4 first.
Between the biggest announcements of all time, some intriguing new projects from Sony's internal teams, and exclusives for some of today's hottest franchises, it looks like PlayStation 4 will have continued success and a robust lineup for quite some time. Here's what we're looking forward to most courtesy of E3 2015.
The Last Guardian, 2016
It's been over six years in the making and rumored to be canceled for almost as long, but The Last Guardian is real, in-motion, and coming to the PS4. The third game from director Fumito Ueda, The Last Guardian seems to borrow many gameplay and story themes from his two seminal PlayStation 2 classics.
Like Ico, you're a child speaking an undecipherable language traversing a hazy Gothic-inspired world. Your companion is a giant dog-griffin hybrid who helps with environmental traversal, which is done by grabbing onto the beast's feather/fur. Can't catch onto his adorable face during a risky jump? Then grab his tail on the way down. We won't see this mysterious creature this holiday season, but hopefully the last delay for The Last Guardian is behind us.
Final Fantasy VII remake
Even nearly two decades after its 1997 release, role-playing game fans still name Final Fantasy VII among the genre's best. An HD update of the original PlayStation release has been atop the wishlist of many, and that wish is finally being granted by Square Enix.
Where we once saw awkwardly translated text we now have high-quality voiceover. Where blocky characters interacted over weirdly rendered backgrounds we now see beautiful characters naturally interacting with equally gorgeous environments. The game's debut will be on the on PS4, though there's no indication how much lead time the much-anticipated revival will have on Sony's system.
Shenmue 3, 2017
As far as sadly absent sequels go, Shenmue 3 is tops. The first two were big budget Dreamcast games that never caught on due to the untimely demise of Sega's final console. A decade and a half later, series creator Yu Suzuki is finally planning on concluding the series with Shenmue 3, and he's looking for your help via Kickstarter.
Picking up where Shenmue 2 left off in 2001, the story will continue Ryo Hazuki's quest to avenge the death of his father at the hands of Lan Di. Should it get funded, the game will head to PS4 and PC sometime in 2017. There's nary a mention of Xbox One on the Kickstarter page, so it may avoid Microsoft's Xbox One (or Xbox Two) altogether.
Uncharted 4, 2016
It may have been delayed into 2016, but Uncharted 4 is looking like it'll be worth the wait. While we've seen Naughty Dog's true PS4 debut in action before, the city-set battle that closed out Sony's E3 2015 press conference was unlike any of the adventures we've seen Nathan Drake navigate before.
Instead of the tombs and ancient cities that the adventurer has explored in previous escapades, this fight began after Nathan squeezed through a crowded city square and avoided gunfire in a quickly emptying marketplace. It all ended with an escape that would make Indiana Jones proud as Nathan and his buddy Sully crashed through fences, slammed into buildings, hopped rooftops, and laid waste to nature in a small city.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Guerilla Games has been laser-focused on a single franchise (Killzone) for well over a decade, so color us surprised that their new IP is almost nothing like the future-set dystopian first-person shooter. Horizon gave off a vibe that seemed to mixed Monster Hunter's wilderness of wild creatures, Tomb Raider's bow-focused combat (not to mention female protagonist), and Cloud Atlas' struggle between tribal life and futuristic combat.
Street Fighter V, beta on July 23
Capcom's upcoming fighter won't lay a finger on Xbox or Nintendo this round, as Street Fighter V is only due on PS4 and PC. Our quick look at a match showed off two franchise favorites in combat - Super Street Fighter II's Cammy and Street Fighter Alpha's Birdie. Hopefully we'll be able to spar with these two challengers during the PlayStation 4-exclusive beta which commences on July 23.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate, October 23
After some very extended expeditions in France and America, the United Kingdom is getting its own stealth-assassination adventure with Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Expect some fancier targets, cooler weapons (like a cane with a blade hidden inside), and another story of conflicted killers rewriting history. A mission inspired by England's greatest murder mysteries will be exclusive to PS4.
Sony's presser also gave us a trailer from the perspective of Evie Frye, whom you can play in the game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III, November 6
Treyarch has been the premiere Call of Duty developers for the last half-decade, and that trend will likely continue with Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Taking a some futuristic cues from last year's Advanced Warfare and adding a grittier and bloodier focus than we've seen in years, Black Ops III seems a shade darker than we've seen over the last few years of Activision's flagship shooter.
Reversing the trend we've had for the last few Calls of Duty, Black Ops III will see its content hit Sony platforms first. The pre-release beta will be exclusive to PS4, while map packs will make their debut on Sony's systems.
Star Wars: Battlefront, November 17
Can you believe it's been almost two years since this generation began and there's still no Star Wars adventures, aside from the Lego variety? Fortunately the first Star Wars-focused adventure is gonna be a big one. Star Wars: Battlefront lets you take sides in some of the saga's biggest battles with a blaster or lightsaber as your weapon of choice. Nothing in the way of exclusive content was revealed, but Sony's touting of the experience being optimal on the PS4 points towards a high probability.
Hitman, December 8
IO Interactive's stealth series has been hiding in the shadows for years, but it finally emerged from the shadows. We didn't get to see any in-game combat, but the teaser showed off a normally reserved Agent 47 sprinting towards his target. Before launch, the PS4 will be the only console for beta testers to get their first look at Agent 47 on new-gen, while the post-launch timeframe brings six-post-launch missions exclusive to console.
No Man's Sky
With Mass Effect: Andromeda far off in the 2016 horizon (with nary an in-game snippet to be seen), our search in space exploration needs a new destination. That's why our gaze is affixed to No Man's Sky, the procedurally generated space adventure from Joe Danger development studio Hello Games. Exclusive to PS4, No Man's Sky allows you to visit any planet in the multi-galaxy universe where you can search for loot or pick fights with the wildlife. This game is so big the developers predict there are some planets that the entire gaming public will never visit.
Media Molecule made the PlayStation 3's biggest toybox with LittleBigPlanet, and their imagination is expanding further with Dreams. Even though we got to see Dreams in action, it's still very much a mystery. Using the PS4 controller's tilt functionality, you create characters who exist in a nightmarish world. You make the outline and the game gives it (creepy claymation-esque) life.