With the PlayStation 5 reveal event having wrapped up earlier today, it seems the eighth generation of consoles is about to make way for the next. There is a lot to unpack with the presentation, which was focused mainly on gameplay and new announcements. So, let’s dispense with the preamble and take a closer look at what the next generation will offer us.
In many ways, this felt like an exceptionally fast paced E3 conference, with announcement after announcement and barely a breath in between. If this is how other companies choose to promote themselves throughout the summer with E3 2020 having been cancelled, the coming months are going to be an exciting time for gamers. It was actually refreshing compared to how the last generation of consoles was announced (who could forget that infamous Xbox One reveal).
Sony kicked off the live stream in a puzzling way with an announcement that they would be continuing a partnership with Rockstar and a trailer for GTA 5. To be frank, I found this set my expectations for the rest of the presentation very low. It was a strange choice to have a game from the seventh generation of consoles as the first thing we see on the ninth. What followed was the announcement of a followup to the wildly successful Marvel’s Spiderman, then a new Gran Turismo game. While the Spider-man game was interesting, and i’m sure Gran Turismo will excite a more niche audience of racing game fans, I feel the first few minutes were a misstep. The games looked gorgeous, but there was nothing that I felt I couldn’t have gotten on PS4. Thankfully, things picked up quickly from there and didn’t slow down for over an hour.
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By my count, there were 24 games shown during the roughly 90 streams, many of which featured actual gameplay. While there is far too much to go into depth on everything shown in this article, some of the highlights included the following. Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart – This was the first of the games shown that really impressed me. It’s nice to see that, as the mainstream industry pushes closer and closer to photorealism in games, there are still studios out there who are using the tech to make gorgeous games that are full of colour and almost Pixar-like animation.
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure – With Knack having failed on nearly every conceivable level (twice), it looks like Sony is bringing back their last beloved mascot. Based off the Little Big Planet character, it looks like a fun and charming game that will boost the family friendly library on the console.
- Oddworld: Soulstorm – I know this is one that will really resonate with a lot of people. I don’t have much of a history with the series myself, but I know the fanbase has an undying love for the Oddworld games, and based off the trailer, this will more than satisfy them.
- Ghostwire: Tokyo – Originally announced at E3 last year (by one of the most charming people to ever work in this industry, Ikumi Nakamura), we finally got our first look at this supernatural action game. From ghost people to shooting ice from your hands, this looks like it’ll be a blast. It also demonstrated the power of the PS5 in subtle ways that many of the other games hadn’t. I was amazed at how many windows seemed to have interiors, at how much detail was packed into the environment, even as the action drew your focus away from it. This was one that truly looks next-gen.
- Godfall – From Gearbox, this one was another game that was intent on showing the power of the new console. A third-person melee action game, this one oozes style, and the moment to moment gameplay looks like it will be a blast.
- Hitman 3 – I have to admit, I didn’t anticipate this one getting a third game. I love the Hitman series, especially the newer ones, but the previous two haven’t sold particularly well by most accounts. That being said, I’m thrilled to see a conclusion to this trilogy. Between the breathtaking graphics demonstrated here and the core gameplay which has only gotten more dialed in with every new entry, I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.
- NBA 2K21 – Yeah, those sweat physics looked neat.
- Bugsnax – I have no idea what’s going on in this one, but it looks fun and cute as hell. Between the intriguing glimpses of the world and the fact that it comes to us from the creators of Octodad, there’s good reason to keep your eyes on this one.
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- Demon’s Souls: Remake – This one is going to be the system seller for a lot of people. Demon’s Souls may not be From Softwares most well known game, but it was the one that started them on the path to the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne, and Sekiro. A lot of people missed out on the original given that it was a PS3 exclusive (and a somewhat more obscure one at that), so hopefully this will be enough to draw in a whole new group of people to the Soulsborne games.
- Deathloop – Also announced at E3 this year, this is the new game from Arkane, the studio behind the Dishonored series. I bring this up because that is exactly what Deathloop looks like; more Dishonored with a new art style and an intriguing new setting. While not revolutionary, it’s going to be exciting to see more from the studio.
- Resident Evil VIII – Not a particularly surprising announcement given that it was leaked beforehand, this is still something to be excited about. All of the last 3 Resident Evil releases were fantastic, and there is nothing to suggest that this will break that streak. Capcom has been knocking it out of the park lately, and this is bound to be another home run.
- Horizon: Forbidden West – Maybe the biggest announcement of the show, the sequel to Horizon: Zero Dawn is what has truly convinced me of the power of next-gen. While there was no gameplay shown, the stunning beauty of the previous game leads me to believe that what we saw at the reveal wasn’t far off from what the finished product will look like.
There were a ton of other interesting titles, all of which look like they’ll round out an incredibly diverse library for the system. This is the biggest selling point of the console for me so far – I can’t think of a single generic looking game during the presentation. No modern military shooters or grey-brown action games here, just a wide array of impressive and fun looking games from all across the gaming spectrum. This is how to reveal a console; after all, playing games is why we buy these boxes. That being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty a little bit.
Some Nitty Gritty
There wasn’t much in terms of technical details, seeing as how those were revealed a while back. That being said, we did get confirmation that the system will support 4K. What was more interesting was the in depth look of the new controllers. The DualSense controller will feature USB-C, a built in microphone and speaker, haptic feedback,motion controls, and the adaptive triggers that caused a stir a few months ago. It will also feature a headphone jack, meaning that there will not be an adaptor needed to use headphones. From a design standpoint, the controller looks as sleak up close as it did when it was revealed a while back, and it seems to have taken a page from the Xbox One controller in terms of ergonomic design (a smart move in my opinion).
Announced alongside the console was a slew of accessories, including a wireless headset with noise cancelling technology, a charging dock for the controller, and a camera, which is presumably to promote streaming on the device. These are currently assumed to be sold separately. Given that the Xbox One was a hundred bucks more expensive because it was bundled with the stupid Kinect, there are no complaints here. Sony also announced a digital edition with no disc drive. While it makes sense given that an all digital future is where the industry is headed, it is sad to think that this generation will likely signify the end of physical games.
There was no price or release date announced, although a few of the games claimed to be coming Holiday 2020, so we can assume it will be before the end of the year.
So, with the reveal done and having had some time to think about it, I’m really excited about what the PS5, and the ninth generation of consoles, has to offer. A lot of what we’ve seen so far (which is, admittedly, fairly little) has been shown to be pretty pro-consumer, and that bodes well for the next 6-8 years of gaming, especially after the last generation.