Sony's E3 2015 Conference Recap: Expect the Unexpected

Need help digesting the many, many PlayStation-based announcements this year? Allow your friends at USgamer to summarize what went down at Sony's event.

Let's be realistic, here: It's late, we're all E3'ed out, and lots of stuff happened at this year's Sony's conference.

So, for the sake of brevity, I'll spare you the standard connective tissue and get down to talking about games. Just like Mike's piece on the Bethesda event, I'll be breaking down the highlights of Sony's showing with a handy summary of what exactly went down. And, as is the case with most PlayStation conferences, there's lots to talk about—so let's get started, shall we?

The Last Guardian

It's been nothing short of an outright sin that Fumito Ueda has been MIA for 10 years—10 years! And while the industry has changed monumentally since Shadow of the Colossus' 2005 debut, our craving for more of his unique blend of play and storytelling certainly hasn't. While it's impossible to know what exactly happened to The Last Guardian—long promised as a PlayStation 3 exclusive—during its last decade of development hell, this is the last E3 in years where Sony hasn't been shy about confirming its existence.

Opening with this particular announcement stands as a pretty smart move by Sony; placing it anywhere else wouldn't be kind to the few games that had to follow its act. The brief, playable bit shown off at the conference tonight featured a small boy and his large dog-dragon working together to solve an environmental puzzle centered around crumbling bridges—an extremely Ico-style brand of gameplay, with some Shadow of the Colossus thrown in with how the player character interacts with his big buddy. And it's due in 2016? Pardon me while I go through my hard drive's supply of Futurama memes. In short: it's about damned time.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Up next we have Horizon: Zero Dawn, a production by Guerrilla Games that presents an interesting take on the post-apocalypse. Essentially, civilization as we know it has ended thanks to that standard robot menace that ends most fictional civilizations. In its place, what appears to be a hunter-gatherer society (One with pretty good English!) has risen, and the gameplay demo put a female hunter to the test as she felled giant robot beasts in a manner that looks like a combination of Evolve and Monster Hunter. Of course, there's no telling what the larger framework will be, but taking down giant monsters within huge environments can make for a very good time—based on personal experience.

No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky, Hello Games' outer space sandbox, blew minds at last year's E3, and at 2015's event, we finally got a chance to see how the thing plays. Sean Murray of Hello Games took to the stage to show the full scope of his team's creation by zooming backwards through a procedurally generated universe. At random, he chose a single cluster of stars to warp to, and was there in seconds, scoping out an uncharted solar system. In front of an enthusiastic crowd, Murray zoomed to the surface level of the planet in an attempt to show off just how massive No Man's Sky truly is. There's still no release date, but it'll be interesting to see what hooks this game features outside of the desire to see more stuff.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Well, I guess this had to happen, didn't it? (You can only put off fan demands for so long, I guess.) In what seems like one of E3's worst-kept secrets, Final Fantasy VII is indeed happening all over again, most likely in time for its 20th anniversary. What Square had to show was basically the teasiest of teasers, but at least we know this long-awaited remake is actually happening. Whether or not it will work outside of the context Final Fantasy VII was created is anyone's guess, but, well, there you have it. Square has quite a bit on their plate at the moment, so let's hope this little peek at Final Fantasy VII doesn't end up being infamous several years down the line.

Shenmue III

Okay, to be fair, Yu Suzuki's appearance wasn't to promote the upcoming Shenmue III—it was to promote the fact that Shenmue III could actually happen if his newly announced Kickstarter reaches its goal. With Koji Igarashi's Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night making record bank, tons of Japanese creators are undoubtedly seeing dollar signs—or, in a less cynical light, they're seeing a chance to continue a legacy they left behind years ago. Personally, I'm not big fan of Shenmue, but the circumstances behind that game were definitely... unique, so I don't wish any ill will on Suzuki. And who knows? Maybe now that's he's working under the command of fans—and not a company in its death throes—maybe Suzuki can make something really great.

So, what did Sony neglect? Surprisingly, their Morpheus VR headset failed to occupy more than 30 seconds—which might be a merciful move on their part, seeing as this kind of technology is incredibly hard to show off in a theater setting. And, as someone who absorbed the last four Sony conferences—either in person or via stream—I have to applaud them for talking about the non-game stuff as little as possible; I'm sure you probably remember Brian Michael Bendis wasting way too much of our time with his Powers presentation. That said, this was a BIG event for surprise announcements, and while I've hit all the high points, I'm sure my peers at USgamer have plenty to say as well. So if you don't see their commentary throughout or below, check this article again soon!