Playstation Meeting – A Summary
Sony’s press conference – sorry, Playstation meeting – this week was the second annoucement in the eighth generation of consoles. We’ve certainly come a long way since my first Sega. They came out swinging, announcing the Playstation 4 before you’ve even finished your first drink. They ran it straight into a full technical specification – eight-core processor, a healthy amount of RAM and AMD Radeon graphics behind the whole thing.
Following in Nintendo’s footsteps, the actual console itself wasn’t shown, keeping the viewers hanging on until closing time. Personally, I’m not bothered about what it looks like. It’ll probably be a black box of some kind, right? It’ll sit near a TV and someone will say “Oh, you’ve got one of them”. However, the controller was trotted out for us. It’s the first major redesign in the Dual Shock’s history, complete with a touchpad, share button, reduced latency and rumblin’ so much it will shake your house physically off your foundations.
But it’s not all tech talk and 8-cores, as the lead architect and consultant guru Mark Cerny rolled up his figurative sleeves and showed off his directorial piece, Knack. It left me feeling a little underwhelmed as the first title out the gate, but Cerny’s credits read like a gaming hall of fame. You’d be wise to remain optimistic. Special mention must go to how brave it is to not show off gun porn as your first graphical showpiece.
Former BBC Micro game coder, and Earthworm Jim creator, Dave Perry strolled out, as his freshly purchased Gaikai service will be integrated into the new Playstation. A whole bunch of social media talk went on; total real-time streaming at the touch of a button was promised, along with the idea that demos could be accessed straight away. Now, that certainly sounds cool, but I’m still not entirely sure my internet can even handle movies quite yet.
“But enough about that”, I thought. “I really want to see a load of developers sitting in front of a white background and use buzzwords!”
“Playstation 4 isn’t just about innovation, it’s about new ideas”, one of them said.
“Oh lovely, just what I wanted”, I replied. “But now, it’s an hour in, and I haven’t seen a single person being shot!”
“Here’s a new Killzone”, said the nice man from Guerrilla.
“Groan”, cried the audience.
The first triple triple-A title comes on screen, and looks lavish, with it’s Razor-Sharp WowVision technology. Explosions happen, a dude gets stabbed, we get told to press Square to plant C4. So far so 2012 E3, am I right readers? I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Killzone series, and you could reel off title after shooty title that this game looks like. Go on, name a console shooter. This is basically prettier than that.
What else do you show off when you have fancy new tech? Cars, of course. A Motorstorm guy comes out, get’s up in our grill and says “check our trademark online. I dare you. I double dare you. Driveclub is our game. Not yours. Ours. We’re going to drive as a team. You aren’t invited”. Except, I guess we are. He’s kept this to himself for 10 years, a decade of crafting the weave of the seats. The lights are more lighty than ever before.
Oh, get this crazy man off stage, we’re going to drive cars with our friends and that’s just plain fine. Then a new inFamous pops up and looks like you’re going to shoot electric out your hands. Jonathan Blow rolls out, shows off The Witness, says “screw your cert process, Microsoft” and drops the microphone. Okay, he didn’t, but The Witness has been talked about for a while, and bringing Blow to a stage like this is a pretty smart move. Especially between big exclusives.
Then it’s high-concept time, as a whole bunch of tech demos come back to back. David Cage appears, and shows off their first attempts of facial structuring, and saying “emotion” a couple of times. There’s certainly a lot of character in this old man’s face. Subtle raises of eyebrows and small twitches seem accurate, and remind me of trying to read someone’s face in L.A. Noire. Media Molecule proposed to the Move controller, and play videos of how their team have been using the precise nature of the device as a creation tool. Then they control some characters like puppets for a bit.
Capcom announce a new engine and show off a new IP, Deep Down. Looking like Dark Souls with everything cranked up to full, it’s another impressive case of how a game could look on this platform. Square-Enix strut out and show exactly the same real time demo they showed at E3, punch a bouncer in the face and then said “new Final Fantasy, bitches!” Of course there is. Ubisoft show off another demo of Watch Dogs, a pretty good highlight for the show. Finally, it’s a Blizzard-Activision double header, as Diablo 3 is announced for both Playstation 3 & 4. Bungie continue to shove Destiny into my retina, as we see a little bit more footage from that. Now get out, shows over. Go on, you got what you wanted.
All in all, it was packed full of interesting stuff. Four exclusives right off the bat, third parties showing off some tangible technology and laying out raw detail about the device itself means Sony have certainly swung for the fences here. The rebuttal will be very interesting to see.