10 ways Sony could knock our socks off at the PlayStation Meeting this week
PS4 Neo and PS4 Slim leaked like your eyes at the end of The Last of Us, but surely that's not all Sony is bringing to New York this week. We take a stab at what PS4 might promise to remind us we're part of the PlayStation Nation.
Here's what we actually expect. First, the PS4 Slim will be announced and almost immediately released. Second, the PS4 Neo will be revealed, dated and priced. Third, Sony will talk a lot about the PlayStation VR, and possibly lock down its launch line-up.
And here's what we actually want: a stack of new games to get excited about. Here are ten PS4 games we'd love to see at the PlayStation Meeting - and almost certainly won't, to be honest.
10. Beyond Good & Evil 2
Here's one we bring out and polish up ahead of every single video game event, because in spite of years of disappointment we have never given up hope.
Beyond Good & Evil 2 has never looked hugely likely - the beloved original didn't set the world on fire sales-wise - and currently feels more tenuous than ever. Ubisoft keeps saying Beyond Good & Evil 2 is still a thing, but after years of hinting and teasing while the project was apparently in pre-production at Ubisoft Montpelier, creator Michel Ancel has jumped ship for an indie studio. We're not holding our breath.
Probability: Low. For one thing, we're half convinced Nintendo's nabbed Beyond Good & Evil 2 as an NX exclusive.
Rockstar's PlayStation 3 exclusive has never officially been cancelled, and was in fact still in development (lol) back in 2010. Is it possible that, like The Last Guardian, this mysterious espionage thriller's original ambition was too much for the PS3, and we'll see it come to life on PS4?
Rockstar clearly doesn't mind spitting out two or three games a generation since it makes enough money with each one to get away with it, so perhaps Agent really has been in the works for the eleventy billion years we've been waiting for it instead of lurking in a skip somewhere. Certainly the trademarks are jealously protected.
Probability: Low. As usual everyone expects Rockstar to turn up and show something, but it never does - and you'd get even worse odds on Agent than a Red Dead Redemption sequel anyway.
8. Deep Down (or Dragon's Dogma 2)
Deep Down made its debut at the first PlayStation Meeting for the PS4. It was supposed to herald a new and beautiful future for Capcom's exciting Panta Rhei engine, but it did not: it just went away. After an early burst of communication, Capcom has grown more and more quiet on the subject of the co-op fantasy dungeon crawler.
Producer Yoshinori Ono has said Deep Down has evolved significantly from the initial vision, so at this stage we have no idea what form it might take. We have a suspicion Capcom might eventually come clean and tie it into Dragon's Dogma 2, too; although we'd be just as happy to hear that Dragon's Dogma 2 is happening separately.
Probability: Medium. Returning to the scene of its announce makes a lot of sense, and we wouldn't be surprised if the reason the project has been so quiet is because it wasn't up to snuff, something the extra oomph of the PS4 Neo might solve.
7. Mass Effect: Andromeda
We're allowed to know Mass Effect: Andromeda exists and a little bit about it, and presumably we're expected to buy it when it comes out next year, but EA and BioWare won't show it to us. It is time that changed. Bring Mass Effect: Andromeda to the PlayStation Meeting, Andrew Wilson, and I'll forgive your egregious Australian-ness.
If you don't count MMO expansions and whatnot, which I sure don't, the last BioWare game came out in 2014. Do you know how long ingrained BioWare fans can go without a new set of faces to kiss? I'll tell you: about six minutes. Things are getting pained up in here. Get on with it, EA.
Probability: Medium. EA said it will kick off the Mass Effect: Andromeda merry go round when it's done with its major holiday season releases - Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1. Presumably we'll have to wait till at least November, then.
6. The Last of Us 2
We know Naughty Dog is very busy making multiplayer DLC for Uncharted 4 and whatever, but it's about time it got on with something else, to be frank. We know it has two teams sitting around over there. What is the other one doing? Let's find out.
Now, you might say something like "but we know The Last of Us 2 won't release until at least 2018" but please cast your mind back to Uncharted 4's initial "reveal", approximately 4 billion years before it was released, when the story was in a completely different shape and Naughty Dog had absolutely nothing at all to show. And we all wet our pants anyway.
Probability: Medium. Since when has this industry been able to resist pouring sequels on perfectly self-contained narratives?
5. Final Fantasy 7
If Square Enix wasn't so wrapped up in worrying about Final Fantasy 15, we'd call this one a dead cert. As it is, Final Fantasy 7 is a chancy prospect; the publisher has its work cut out for it managing more immediate releases than this still-distance remake.
Do expect to see the FF15 VR experience and perhaps a Neo build of Final Fantasy 15, though. The VR thing is important both for Sony to sell headsets and for Square Enix to promote Final Fantasy 15 in its time of need. We know Square Enix is worried about the RPG's performance, and the Neo build may help put some of those concerns to bed.
Probability: Medium to low, for the reasons discussed above.
4. Kingdom Hearts 3
Square Enix's other vapourware RPG has never had a release date, so it can't be delayed - it's one step ahead of its stablemates then, snark snark. Nevertheless we're half expecting a 2017 launch, and marketing could certainly step up now.
As well as answering prayers, a Kingdom Hearts 3 reveal would help generate excitement for Kingdom Hearts 2.8, which releases in December. What better time to catch up on the whole saga to date than a few months ahead of the next one's launch...?
Probability: Low, because Square Enix is so focused on Final Fantasy 15 right now. It barely bothered to market Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
3. A "real" Metal Gear Solid, even if it's a remake
Maybe that co-op zombie survival shooter isn't all Konami has planned for Metal Gear Solid. Maybe it's just waiting for the right time to announce that new game or remake you wake up sweating over.
I've already argued that Metal Gear Survive presents no reason to freak out about Metal Gear Solid (quite the opposite), but everyone's doing it anyway. Konami could go a long way towards repairing that relationship by bringing back old favourites like Snake Eater or the first Metal Gear Solid in more palatable form, if not producing a whole new game.
Probability: Infinitesimally small, to be honest. Metal Gear Survive makes more sense as a warm up than a remake.
2. Ken Levine's narrative LEGO
Take-Two doesn't seem to be in a rush to pump out a BioShock sequel, but fans of Ken Levine still have something to look forward to. As you may recall, Levine shuttered Irrational Games after BioShock Infinite in order to work on something very different. We know it only as "narrative LEGO".
Okay we also know that Levine's new team is much smaller and is supposed to be producing smaller projects than weighty triple-A blockbusters like the BioShock game. In which case: surely it's about time we saw some actual results?
Probability: Decent, I'd say, although Sony might still be salty about that whole BioShock Infinite Vita non-event.
1. Half-life 3
I saw someone predict this earlier today, and laughed for a solid eight minutes. This is not going to happen. I mean, it would be amazing, and Valve does seem to love teaming up with Sony temporarily before ghosting it again. But it's not going to happen. There's absolutely no way.
It's entirely probable Half-life 3 will never happen, but if it does, it's not going to happen on Sony's stage. I mean, even if VR is the thing that makes Half-life 3 special enough to release, Valve has its own VR hardware to shill; it's not gonna make the announce at an event about selling a rival headset. Absolutely not going to happen. Nope. No way. Right?
Okay fine here's some real stuff
Now that we've run through our wishlist of dream projects, here's what we're actually expecting to see at the PlayStation Meeting in terms of games.
We'll likely see a bit of the holiday and early 2017 line-up - The Last Guardian, Resident Evil 7, Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, Destiny: Rise of Iron, Battlefield 1, Batman: Arkham VR, Final Fantasy 15, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2, Titanfall 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Hellblade. We might even learn about No Man's Sky DLC or updates.
There may also be new material on more distant prospects like God of War, Gran Turismo Sport, Days Gone, Death Stranding, Insomniac's Spider-man, Crash Bandicoot and Detroit: Become Human. If there are any surprises we will be hugely overjoyed and well paid for our cynicism.
What are you looking forward to at the PlayStation Meeting? What are your wildest predictions?