Last night at 11pm GMT Sony began a live presentation that many believed would herald the announcement of the Playstation 4. It began with “PS” appearing on a screen, only for it to cut to black, then show a montage about the history of Playstation, and how it strives against the norm. Then, it was officially announced: the Playstation 4 is happening.
I won’t recount the presentation in full, but having watched it all, I’ll go over some of the points I found most interesting. First up, the controller:
The Dualshock 4 will feature a PS Vita-style touch pad on the front, a share button, a headphone jack and a light bar. I’m most interested to see how the touch pad will be integrated into gameplay. Whereas the Vita’s touch pad is directly behind the screen, the Dualshock 4 will obviously be controlling things on an external display. The headphone jack is a useful touch, and as for the share button, I prefer single player games, so it doesn’t seem like a function I’ll get extensive use out of.
Secondly, Playstation 4 games were announced, shown and gameplay footage was shown for some. Three stood out to me. First up was “Killzone Shadow fall” – gameplay was shown of the player character entering an area through checkpoints and then all hell breaking loose- Helghast soliders breaking cover and a gunfight ensuing. What struck me is how generic the gameplay looked, and the graphics generally looking like something the Playstation 3 could easily handle. The shooting looked functional enough, but that’s as good as I’ll go. The second stand out was inFAMOUS: Second Son; a confirmed PS4 exclusive.
No gameplay footage for this one, but a trailer all the same. It’s set in a police state with a hardcore love of surveillance. A number of people develop super powers and set about fighting back against their oppressors. Suckerpunch’s previous two inFAMOUS games were excellent, and the trailer definitely had their mark on it. No sign of Cole MacGrath, but given that his ultimate fate was determined by the ending of inFAMOUS 2, I won’t be surprised if this features all new conduits.
Third was a game that was shown at E3 last year: Ubisoft’s “Watch Dogs”. The original trailer showcased protagonist Aiden Pearce’s all-powerful phone that let him hack into all sorts of useful things, and get a wealth of real time information on anyone the player looks at. The game also showed off some combat, and generally looked promising.
This demo (running on a playstation 4) showed, among other things, Aiden hacking into another man’s bank account, predicting and preventing a crime and stopping a subway train, climbing onto the roof and starting it up again, all with his phone (apart from the crime prevention- that involved a gun). Like with Killzone, the graphics look like a Playstation 3 game, but that certainly doesn’t make them less impressive- the game looks great. The gameplay shown combined with the intriguing premise and mechanics made this the best game shown for me.
Other games were announced, including a PS4 version of Diablo III, but I’ll let you watch the video itself to find out what they were. It was also mentioned that the Playstation 4 will not be backwards compatible, but cloud system Gaikai will stream the entire PS1, PS2 and PS3 catalogues.
Thirdly, the list of third party partners that will be developing for Playstation 4 was projected onto the screen:
Gaze upon them, Playstation fans and become joyful and exited to the point where you need to sit down for a minute. Highlights include Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, The Warriors, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3; just in case you have no idea who Rockstar Games are.), Telltale Games (The incredible Walking Dead game released episodically last year), Yager (Spec Ops : the line; how military shooters SHOULD be), Grasshopper (Suda 51- Killer 7 and No More Heroes) and Ninja Theory (DmC: Devil May Cry; a blueprint on how to reboot beloved franchises properly).
The best news about this? That’s not even the full list.
Finally: revamps to the Playstation store.
Early on in the presentation two things caught my attention about the Playstation Store; firstly, digital games can be played while they’re downloading and secondly Sony are looking to make it so that ANY game can be instantly tried out before purchase with a touch of a button.
So much more was said about the Playstation 4- I haven’t even touched upon the relationship between PS4 and PS Vita, more games were announced, and a new take on sharing content with friends was explained. I highly recommend checking out the footage from the presentation, particularly if anything I mentioned here piqued your interest. The console itself wasn’t shown off, but a vague release date was given: “Holiday 2013”
By James Lambert