They say, "Never drink on an empty stomach," and "Never meet your heroes." I'd like to add an idiom: "Never tune into a console reveal with a wish list as long as your arm." You will walk away disappointed, like I did with the PlayStation 5 reveal. No Final Fantasy 16! No Final Fantasy 7 Remake news! No new Wild ARMS game! Why is life even worth living?
My disappointment is all on me. Yes, I would've loved to see more RPGs in the PlayStation 5 reveal, but overall the console has some great games on the menu. We saw a new Spider-Man game, learned a sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn is in the works, and watched a long teaser for a new Ratchet & Clank game. Despite the lack of Final Fantasy 16 (boo), there's a lot to get excited about—especially because the most interesting-looking games come from a slew of new, original properties.
As Reviews Editor Mike Williams points out, the show didn't touch the glory of E3 2015. That was the E3 press conference that dropped Shenmue 3, the revival of The Last Guardian, and the first trailer for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. The energy that pulsed from the theatre could have powered a small city for a century.
There's a different energy surrounding the PlayStation 5 reveal afterglow. It's not as strong as the emotion that seeped out of the 2015 E3 press conference, but 2020's presentation has a healthy curiosity surrounding it. 2015's hype was primarily generated by the resurrection of games and franchises considered long dead. 2020's PlayStation 5 hype is powered by speculation over the newcomers Sony showed us.
That's a good thing, and it shows a certain amount of bravery on Sony's part. Sony could have loaded the show with sequels and remakes before doing the "One more thing" routine and pulling the curtain back on Final Fantasy 16 or Remake 2. As a nostalgia-loving idiot, I would have climbed the walls.
That's not what happened, though. We saw a glut of new and original games—from major publishers and indie developers alike—and most of them grabbed my attention. Yes, Sony gave a decent amount of time to hype-generating sequels like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Resident Evil 8, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. But we also spent time with the intriguing Project Athia by Square Enix's Luminous Productions studios. It's not Final Fantasy or a new Chrono Trigger game (sigh), but I'm not about to turn my back on it.
Smaller publishers shone especially bright through the PlayStation 5 showcase. Annapurna Interactive is publishing Stray, a game about a cat who patrols a post-apocalyptic landscape ruled by robots. I love everything about that idea. Little Devil Inside, an indie monster-hunting game that's been in production for some time, made an impression on me. Kena: Bridge of Spirits appears to be an action-adventure game tailored for fans of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and that's OK with me. It looks gorgeous. Returnal looks frightening in the most amazing way possible, plus you get to play as a middle-aged woman. A woman with wrinkles? In my video game? It's more likely than you think. Too bad about that name, though. "Returnal" is so dumb, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days are writhing in jealousy.
Sony's PlayStation 5 reveal didn't blow my mind, but neither did I find myself unengaged. Not only that, the new sights interested me more than Ratchet & Clank and Horizon Forbidden West. Many of the new faces will make their way to current consoles, but I admire how Sony was the one to give them all a spotlight on a big stage. Sony hyped us up for sequels, but it also made us settle down and pay attention to a host of newcomers. I believe most of us are satisfied with what we saw. Kudos to Sony for cultivating internet goodwill with its show. Seeing how the internet is populated by people who want serious, down-to-earth games that are also swarming with magic robots, that's not an easy feat.