A week out from E3, the most important thing about Sony’s and Microsoft’s presentations is also right now the most mysterious thing — exclusives.
Most console gamers are probably also gonna compare specs and the operating systems of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to see which console has the better overall experience. While it’ll definitely be interesting to see how PlayStation Network and Xbox Live will evolve with the move to new hardware, and I’ve said more than once that those services will be at least as important as the games, what will sway me in particular are the exclusive games.
On my end this is because I’ve sort of already made the decision to try to upgrade my computer sometime this year. Pretty much all of the multiplatform games currently announced for next generation consoles will also have PC versions, and during this console transition it will be easier than ever to get a PC that already outperforms the new consoles. Unlike previous transitions, consoles won’t be able to say they’ve leapfrogged PCs and rely on overwhelming power. People not playing games on PC will still need reasons to upgrade their consoles, and almost all of the multiplatform third party games coming out this fall are releasing with versions on the systems they already own. So, I’m going to be mostly paying attention to the games I can’t get on PC, and others will likely pay attention to the games they can’t get on 360 and PS3. These also happen to be the games we’ve seen the least of from Sony and Microsoft so far.
I think this goes double for Microsoft. Microsoft is gonna have to show me a lot to get me to put up with the Xbox One’s lockdown on second-hand games and online requirement. I lose my internet connection fairly often, and probably 70 percent of the games I’ve played on my PS3 and 360 have been rentals. Microsoft is going to have to show me exclusives that I’ll want to buy and keep forever.
For some people, “that game” that’s already making them put up with the Xbox One’s DRM is Forza 5. See, I don’t have that attachment to Microsoft’s first party franchises the way some people do. I enjoy games like Halo and Gears a lot, but I can live without them (besides, Halo 5 ain’t gonna be ready this year). Microsoft is really gonna have to deliver on their claim of bringing exclusive new IPs, and I feel like at least one of them is going to need to be as transformative to the medium as Halo was in 2001 or Gears was in 2006.
Sony has a more robust stable of first party studios so I know they’ll be able to bring on something (aside from what they’ve already shown like Killzone, Knack, and DriveClub). I just don’t really know what.
To be honest I hope The Last Guardian remains a PS3 game. It’s probably the one known quantity that would make me seriously consider getting a PS4 if it turned out to be exclusive to that system. It’s more likely to be though than possibly any of Sony’s other announced games. Gran Turismo 6 is a PS3 game because Sony knows it’ll sell a lot of copies on the PS3’s install base, rather than the PS4’s initial base of zero. Last Guardian doesn’t have that sales expectation, and can probably afford to launch with a new console.
I think there’s a good chance we could see what the main team at Naughty Dog has been working on, but I don’t think it’s going to be Uncharted 4. Thus far Naughty Dog has completed one trilogy of games (plus a racer) for each PlayStation console before debuting a new IP for the next generation. I’d like to think they’re gonna do that again on PS4. Either way, this fall will have been two years since Uncharted 3, so they certainly could be primed to show something next week. Sony Santa Monica (God of War series) is also confirmed to be revealing a new title at E3.
Another area where Sony could grab some more exclusives is digital and indie games. Sony’s claim to allow indie developers to self-publish on the PS4 and Microsoft’s not doing this will make it easier for indies to get their games on PS4 than on Xbox One. The developers of the PC free-to-play shooter Warframe have already confirmed a PS4 version specifically for this reason. So have the makers of War Thunder. In that area I also think we’ll see a PS4 version of Planetside 2 (which just got confirmed as I was editing this, along with DC Universe Online) — a Sony-owned game that on PC sports incredible graphics and battles the scale of which I’ve never seen on a console.
Ironically, Nintendo is the company most likely to convince me to try to get their console this fall, but only because their likely announcements are known quantities. I’m pretty confident that whatever 3D Mario game they release on the Wii U will be excellently designed as the two Galaxy games and 3D Land were. Super Smash Bros. is also still a big deal, and I definitely want the HD version of Wind Waker. Of the three, I’m expecting the fewest surprises from Nintendo this year except possibly whatever Retro Studios (Metroid Prime) is working on.
Basically, for Sony and Microsoft to convince me to get their new consoles, they’re going to have to surprise me with nothing less than watershed games.
- 63% off Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition NA – Now only $14.99 USD http://flip.it/a71H0
- I’m not mad the new Deus Ex is for mobile, I’m mad they tried to make it a mobile FPS. iOS seems like a great opportunity to go back to Deus Ex’s RPG roots.
- Final Fantasy Tactics on iOS has just been patched with improvements and is half-off: https://t.co/ODULfTJ41w
- Zac Gorman’s Dragon Quest inspired piece for this Friday’s gallery… http://flip.it/JwhgI