With E3 coming up fast, and the hype train preparing to leave the station, it’s about time we talked about what we might see at the Los Angeles event. For the next few Tanuki Talks, Ashley Harrison and I are going to cover each of the main three platform holders: Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, as well as third parties. As Sony announced their plans just last week, we may as well start there! Get ready for reasonable expectations and unreasonable hopes…
William Robinson: So, it’s nearly E3 time, also known as the best time of the year! I always love staying up to watch the different presentations, whether they deliver the goods or not. It’s about time we talk about what we think of the main contenders, starting with Sony. They’re doing things a little differently this year; a post on the PlayStation Blog last week reads: “In a rare break from tradition, we wanted to give you an early glimpse at what to expect heading into the Showcase on 12th June.” It goes on to detail how Sony’s first-party showing will focus on just four games; Death Stranding, Ghosts of Tsushima, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part II. This doesn’t include third-party and independently-developed announcements, but still, it’s an odd announcement to put out ahead of the show. Perhaps all those early E3 announcements for these games are costing them now, with nothing else to show?
Ashley Harrison: … Wait, Sony are legitimately only showing 4 games? I thought that was a joke on my Twitter that I’d missed the context of. It’s definitely odd that they’re only showing 4 games at E3, but whether that’s as a result of early announcements leaving them with nothing to show I don’t know.
WR: I mean, if you’re going to limit yourself to 4 games, these aren’t a bad bunch! It’s interesting that it’s likely only Spider-Man is a 2018 game, however. It means Sony is once again relying on third-parties for the holiday.
AH: Unless The Last of Us Part II is a surprise Holiday 2018 release, which I can honestly see at this point.
WR: I’d like whatever you’re on, because that’s only happening in your dreams. If we only have 4 games to talk about, though, we may as well start there. We had our first Tanuki Talk about the reveal of that game back at PSX 2016, and we barely know much more about the game now. My opinion is similar to then; I am sure it’ll be great, but I think the game itself is unnecessary and a sad result of successful games inevitably getting sequels. The Last of Us is such a complete, mesmerising piece of art, and adding to it isn’t an idea I like. Less can be more.
Ashley Harrison: The Last of Us Part 1, as I guess we now have to call it, ended pretty much perfectly…
AH: I’m just looking through that Tanuki Talk, and I said I think it’s a 2018 release even then, so I’m going to stick with that. I’m also sticking with my thoughts that I’m 100% down with this game, but at the same time, I completely get where you’re coming from. The Last of Us Part 1, as I guess we now have to call it, ended pretty much perfectly, so a sequel might seem unnecessary to you but I’m happy we’re getting more.
WR: As I say, I’m confident it’ll be a fantastic, well-crafted game, and I may still love it – but they have a big task to make me think it’s worth it. What do you think we’ll see shown by Naughty Dog?
AH: I’m thinking at least 10 minutes of actual gameplay. So far, we’ve only seen a couple of in-game cutscenes from it, so I think we’re going to get gameplay this time around. Also, confirmation that the woman we saw in the previous trailer was in fact Anna, Ellie’s mum.
WR: Having a focus on the 4 games does hint towards substantial reveals for each. It could be a great change of pace to see a significant “vertical slice” of each game played on stage. What would you mist like to see from what is shown of The Last of Us Part II?
AH: I want the first 30 minutes of gameplay, but at the same time, I want as little as possible, as I want to go into the game as blind as I can. I think there’ll definitely be some kind of on-stage gameplay demo though, maybe even bringing in Troy Baker (Joel), Ashley Johnson (Ellie), and Neil Druckmann?
WR: I think seeing at least one of those names come onto the stage is inevitable. We may get that for each game, even; it’s almost certain we get Hideo Kojima coming out for Death Stranding, to sent the crowd into raptures.
AH: I’m fairly confident we’ll get appearances from people involved in each of the four games. Sony have to fill their time somehow, right?
WR: Unless they’re just lying and have a Horizon II tease up their sleeves, which wouldn’t surprise me. Of the other three games, which are speaking to you? Games like Ghosts of Tsushima have a chance to make a big impression one way or the other, depending on how they show.
AH: I’m not going to lie to you, none of them do. Metal Gear has never been a series that struck with me (bar Peace Walker) so I’m not holding out too much hope for Death Stranding. As for Ghosts of Tsushima, I honestly can’t even remember what it is, so that’s a big no for me. Spider-Man I’m interested to see what they’re going to do with it, but I’m not desperate to see it.
William Robinson: Games like Ghosts of Tsushima have a chance to make a big impression one way or the other, depending on how they show.
WR: The cynicism of Ashley Harrison strikes again! To be fair, I think Ghosts of Tsushima is a bit of a mystery to many. It was announced during Paris Games Week 2017, and therefore lacked the E3-level news hit. However, the idea of the game is pretty awesome: Sucker-Punch, who made the superhero-style InFamous games, using their open-world skills in the setting of Feudal Japan. Samurais, Ash. Open-world Samurais! It could be really interesting historically.
AH: Sorry, but the appeal is still lost on me.
WR: Why’d you say that? The open-world factor doesn’t impress me, but a setting other than the generic near-future shooter does.
AH: It’s the Samurais in it, I have to be honest. It’s something that’s so commonly done in other media really badly that I’ve lost essentially all hope with anything related to Samurais. And, like I’ve said before, open-world games are an instant no to me pretty much.
WR: I’ll give you that to a degree. Remember The Great Wall starring Matt Damon recently? Looked woeful. So, the bizarre Death Stranding trailers not doing it for you either?
AH: I watched that film. I can confirm it was as woeful as it looked. And, nah, the Death Stranding trailers aren’t doing anything for me either. Not as a game, anyway. I’d be 100% into it if it were an actual movie, like Kojima seems so desperate to make his games be.
WR: Oh, no, you didn’t did you? I’m so, so sorry. In the cinema? On Death Stranding, that’s an interesting and valid point; there has been no public gameplay yet. The concept looks great, but this E3 simply has to be a gameplay blowout for it.
AH: Luckily not in the cinema, no. At my neighbour’s house, as he’d bought the DVD… We definitely need gameplay for Death Stranding for me to have any chance of changing my mind. This completely contradicts everything I’ve said relating to The Last of Us Part II, but I just can’t get properly hyped for something until we’ve seen some kind of gameplay instead of just CGI trailers or in-game cutscenes.
WR: I think The Last of Us Part II is a special case, as that first game is such a landmark in the history of the industry. We don’t need to see more, and we know vaguely what gameplay to expect. I mean, I have taken not wanting to see it to the extreme of not wanting the game at all! Death Stranding, despite Kojima’s track record, is something new, and something he needs to convince the likes of you and me on. Honestly, other than The Last of Us Part II, all these games do – and so do some that aren’t even listed. Days Gone not even at the presentation? That’s worrying, right?
AH: Days Gone isn’t too far from release supposedly, right? The lack of any information on it at E3 (at least, as far as we know) is super worrying, aye. Makes me wonder if it’s even ready for release or not, and I’m going to go with the latter.
Ashley Harrison: Sony getting even more exclusives might finally make Microsoft pull their finger out on Xbox exclusives – something that’s been lacking severely for a while now.
WR: It got delayed into 2019 a few months ago. The common discussion is about whether it would suffer from proximity to The Last of Us, given the zombie themes (yes neither have “zombies”, but come on). Maybe The Last of Us Part II is a massive mic drop 2018 release, and Days Gone got pushed past it. Haha, no, no way that’s feasible. Also, if they did do that, it’d be rubbing Microsoft’s face in it even more exclusive-wise. Give them a break, yeah?
AH: What’s that? Will even slightly entertaining the idea Part 2 is a 2018 release? Nah, I must be imagining things. Nah, no need to give Microsoft a break. Sony getting even more exclusives might finally make Microsoft pull their finger out on Xbox exclusives – something that’s been lacking severely for a while now.
WR: I think Microsoft will, but it takes years for us to see that on our end. We’ll get to them next week, though. Do you honestly think Sony will just show these 4 games? Getting out ahead of it does suggest that they’re trying to soften the disappointment. Surely, as I mentioned earlier, they’ll have a one more thing? It’s hard to imagine what it could be, though. Horizon II is possibly the only shot at it, and that’d still be teasing a game that is surely a 2020 game at earliest.
AH: Nah, I think there’ll only be those 4 games. As you say, I think they’ve announced that it’ll be only those 4 to soften the disappointment and any feelings of “is that it?” from viewers. Although, at the same time, the “one more thing” is totally a Sony thing to do and I could see it happening, though what it’d be I’m don’t even know.
WR: I think that the price for all of those super-hype E3 trailers that kickstarted the PS4’s success is that they’re running out of reveals now. The gameplay reveals will be nice, but it does give Microsoft a very interesting opportunity to seize the moment. That’s going to be something to watch closely this E3.
AH: Oh definitely. I mean, you only have to look at last year, where Ubisoft knocked it out of the park whilst all the other companies had relatively lacklustre conferences. Sony are definitely paying the price for revealing the games they have done too early. I mean, going back to The Last of Us Part II, we first saw that back in December 2016, and nearly a year and a half later we still don’t know all that much about it.
WR: I think for Sony it’s worth it, as those early E3s contributed to the massive lead they have over Xbox now. Do you expect some discontent over their showing from fans, or can concrete gameplay reveals for The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding and Ghosts of Tsushima distract everyone?
AH: I think it depends on how good the gameplay reveals are. They have to be top-tier reveals, otherwise I can definitely see people beginning to show discontent over the lack of upcoming first-party games.
William Robinson: I think for Sony it’s worth it [the lack of surprise reveals], as those early E3s contributed to the massive lead they have over Xbox now.
WR: On the third-party and indie front, I’m unsure whether that means we can expect those games in the Sony showing. Other than, say, Monster Hunter World, Sony have kept it focused to their own offerings in recent years. I could see a Destiny 2 expansion trailer showing up, and maybe Shadows Die Twice/Bloodborne 2/give this game a name please! Any predictions on your end?
AH: The only prediction I really have (assuming that Sony aren’t telling the truth about there only being 4 games) is more Spyro information. It’s out about 3 months after E3, yet we’ve barely seen anything of it. And since the original Spyro trilogy was a Sony exclusive, I can see a showing at Sony‘s conference over anyone else.
WR: However E3 goes, at least we know Spyro is coming. Happy days! Next week we will talk Xbox, and woah boy, they need to make a splash this year – especially if, like we were saying, Sony is presenting an open goal.
AH: Microsoft now know what Sony are going to bring, so like you said, they’re being presented an open goal they need to score in. Until next week!
The great E3 hype talk continues with Microsoft next week. Until then, you can read previous Tanuki Talk articles here!