It’s not clear whether this tactic always works for Sony, but when it does, it works wonders: the company may choose to keep silent about the slate of future PS5 games for months on end, then it does something along the lines of last night’s PlayStation Showcase and completely restores faith in its ability to lead the market. The Japanese made a point of reminding consumers what’s in store for PlayStation in the course of the next 12 months by showing off almost every mega-franchise of theirs in PS5 form, plus third-party productions that look mightily impressive.
The result: 40 minutes of non-stop next-gen goodness — and a definite sense that Sony’s communication department may not be bringing its A-game to every match as of late, but as a video games creator the company still reigns supreme among its peers.
The hits just kept on coming relentlessly: if one decides to only drop names and dates or release windows, that would be a several-paragraphs-long piece all by itself. One of the most beloved Star Wars games ever, Knights of the Old Republic, is being remade by Aspyr for PS5 and PC (it’s a timed exclusive for the former). No release date or window for that, which is also true for ShiftUp’s Project Eve, an impressive cross between Devil May Cry, Bayonetta and other action titles. Next: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, a fantasy-themed Borderlands spin-off from Gearbox, which was an absolute blast — literally and figuratively — set to be released on March 25, 2022.
What followed was a mix of the old and the new from established publishers. Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six: Extraction looked very pretty and its team-based gameplay is promising, out in January (for multiple formats). The rumors proved to be true, as legendary action thriller Alan Wake has been remastered for PS4 and PS5 (out in October). Free-to-play atmospheric battle royale Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodhunt will be out “in 2021” while no release date or window was given for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, an admittedly spectacular mashup of different gameplay styles “directed” like a Disney movie. Bethesda’s futuristic Ghostwire: Tokyo comes along nicely and will be out on PS5 and PC in the spring. Third-party support rounded off with Square-Enix’s Forspoken, which demonstrated massively large environments and cinematic effects rarely seen outside of movies. It’s out next spring.
A piece of somewhat bad news for Sony came in the form of the remastered Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online trailer: both will not be out in November but in March 2022 after all (an already-in-place PlayStation-centric deal with Rockstar would have helped Sony during this year’s last quarter). The good news is that Deathloop, Bethesda’s other game — coming out on September 14th for PS5 and PC — looks absolutely amazing and a breath of fresh air in design and presentation terms. It’s highly likely that people underestimating this game are in for a surprise. Only a few days left now.
And then… the big guns came out: Sony’s own games set for release over the next 12 months, plus announcements of other AAA titles in various states of production. Uncharted 4 and the Uncharted: Lost Legacy spin-off are remastered and coming out for PS5 and PC — looking better than ever — in Q1 2022. Gran Turismo 7, thought to have a vague “2021” release window, is actually coming out on March 4th, barely two weeks after Horizon: Forbidden West. The trailer shown was breathtaking, including the long-awaited Campaign mode, the livery editor and other customization options, the Scapes photo mode, legendary circuits and much, much more. Sony closing out its financial year with two heavy-hitters hasn’t happened in ages and it bodes well for PlayStation fans.
The hits just kept on coming, though. Insomniac proves to be exceptionally productive in the PS5 era, as after the two Spider-man games during the PS5 launch period and Ratchet & Clank in June, it’s now working on not one, but two new Marvel comic-based games. The first one is none other than Marvel’s Spider-man 2, which features both Miles Morales and Peter Parker pitted against Venom. This won’t be out until 2023. The other — a big surprise absolutely nobody expected and, strangely, nobody had heard of even as a rumor — is a Wolverine game. The teaser cinematic did not reveal much about it (and there’s no release window attached to it naturally) but in Insomniac we all trust at this point.
No better way to go out with a bang, of course, than with the first proper trailer for God of War: Ragnarok, which will be out at some point in 2022 too. The game already looks fantastic on PS5 (it will also be available on PS4) and promises the kind of visceral action, cinematic set-pieces and surprises that made its 2018 predecessor one of the best games of its generation. The story picks up some time after the events of that title and the appearance of Thor, as well as that of Freya as an enemy of Kratos and his son, are confirmed.
With a new Horizon, a new Gran Turismo and a new God of War all out in 2022, needless to say, that this will go down as one of the best PlayStation years ever. Sony surely hopes that, by spring, it will have overcome the availability issues that have so far kept the PlayStation5 from reaching its true market potential, so as to make the most out of such a stellar line-up. Even if it’s not at all certain that the global microchip shortage, that causes these availability issues, will have ended by then.
What is certain is that the lucky 15 million people who will have gotten their hands on a PS5 by March will get to enjoy a number of first- and third-party productions the quality of which is unparalleled. In a world where there’s so much talk about game subscriptions and all-you-can-eat content, Sony proved that singular, big AAA exclusives still matter just as much, if not more. And that is no small feat for 40 minutes worth of video, no?