The gaming industry is entering the showcase season headlong. Since the annual June meeting for developers and publishers at E3 in Los Angeles was canceled due to Covid-19, independent shows have taken over. PlayStation is first out of the block with its State of Play – a fast-paced video stream of its upcoming games.
The funny thing for fans is that PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo rarely reveal exactly what will be shown, which drives up the excitement levels. There are the crushing valleys to wrestle with when watching these events, as overwhelming titles with a bit of action in the game sometimes appear. But thank goodness PlayStation delivered the goods with its first State of Play 2022.
It started on Thursday with a remake of the classic Resident Evil 4. The zombie survival game was released in 2005 and is still widely considered the best in the series – despite the many sequels that have been made since then. Developer Capcom is redoing the game completely and it looks even more threatening in 4K, rather than a cut HD version. Leon Kennedy’s nerve-wracking journey through a mysterious village, complete with sack-clad, chainsaw-swinging inhabitants, has never looked better. It will not be released until March 24, 2023, but in the meantime there is always Resident Evil Village which is transformed into a truly immersive – and scary – PlayStation VR2 title.
Industry talk before the show hinted at that PlayStation would use the event to provide more information about the upcoming PSVR2 hardware. Sony is investing a lot of money and resources in creating a virtual reality experience that is truly mainstream.
Unfortunately, the revelations were limited to the announcement of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Retribution, which draws its clues from the TV show of the same name, space exploration and action games No Man’s Sky get a VR mode and a few minutes exclusive to PlayStation Horizon Call of the Mountain – a VR spin-off by the bestseller Horizon series. However, we are almost certain that PlayStation will provide another showcase around the PSVR2 before it launches at the end of 2022.
Among the 14 games that appeared is the most interesting title Stray. You play as a cat, not a cartoon, with a double pistol but an ordinary feline that jumps and moves in the world as the pet does. It takes place in a futuristic cityscape where the cat coexists with robots. It tries to get back to its family through platform sections, hides from surveillance drones and completes puzzles.
Rollerdrome, a skater / shooter mash-up, was another surprise and looks incredibly unique. It’s a cel-shaded title that makes players survive increasingly hectic arenas full of enemies … while blasting them off on roller boots. It’s coming in August, so it’s not long before we can tie them together.
Probably the biggest surprise of State of Play was the unveiling of the game Street Fighter 6. Since 1987, the Japanese fighting game has been the benchmark for anyone who has followed. But in the latest versions, the 1v1 action has become predictable and outdated. Street Fighter 6 looks to really shake up this formula for his next outing in 2023.
There are comments in the game on all matches, which is in line with shoutcasters (read: commentators) that are available at live tournaments. And beyond the side-by-side action, there is the World Tour, which provides a single-player story set in an open world where you can battle random enemies on the streets. It’s a new twist on street fighter and it will be interesting to see what is done with it.
One aspect of this showcase that was somewhat subdued, but which will have a major impact on the future of PlayStation, is that it featured previously exclusive Spider-Man coming to PC soon. PlayStation’s once untouchable exclusive games have always been attached to its consoles as a way to tell players that this is the only place to experience them. But Sony has dipped its toes to launch on PC and even launched MLB: The Show on Xbox last year. It signals a new approach for the company as it enters new markets. Only time will tell if it dilutes the PlayStation brand for consumers. But as the first event to start the showcase season, PlayStation definitely did no harm.
Updated: June 3, 2022, 12:28 p.m.
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