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A Summary of Paris Games Week Briefing 2015

Jack Gardner


If you didn't have time to sit down and watch the announcements from Sony's press event in Paris yesterday, we've got you covered with a condensed version of the conference. You can view the recorded version of the entire Paris Games Week kickoff event.

Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, took the stage to start the announcements. Ryan made it clear what Sony was going to be emphasizing with its bombshells. “Tonight is all about games,” he stated to applause. Things began relatively light, discussing European PlayStation 4 price drops and bundles before easing into the first game-related announcement. Sony is expanding its partnership with Activision. The first sign of this improved cooperation between the two corporations will be PlayStation gamers having access to all foreseeable Call of Duty map packs thirty days before any other platform. Following this announcement, a new trailer for Call of Duty Black Ops 3’s zombie mode on a bonus map called The Giant. 

A new trailer for Star Wars: Battlefront manipulates some serious nostalgia. The new trailer focuses on a variety of new heroes including Princess Leia, Han Solo, Boba Fett, and the Emperor. It also prominently features the different alien races that players will be able to customize their various avatars to look like.  Additionally, a new Darth Vader PlayStation 4 bundle releases when Battlefront launches next month.

A new Street Fighter V trailer displays almost the complete roster in action, debuting a bearded Dhalsim beating a poor Zangief into submission. Yoshinori Ono, executive producer of Street Fighter V made an appearance to give a few more details about the fighting title. On top of the revamped look, new moves and abilities complement Dhalsim’s new look. Six characters will be added over the year following release. All can be unlocked through normal play by using an in-game currency called Fight Money. An image accompanying this information hints at the identity of those characters. Street Fighter V will be coming to PlayStation 4 on February 16, 2016.

Transitioning smoothly from one fighting game into another, Sony pulled Tekken 7 out of the arcades and onto their console. The seventh installment of Tekken progresses the series’ storyline in a decidedly over-the-top and dramatic fashion. The secrets of the Mishima clan are teased in the latest trailer, which also features armies, fights in volcanoes, and people being thrown off cliffs. Later on in the show an off-hand comment revealed that Tekken 7 will be compatible with PlayStation VR

Gearbox Software showcased a new Battleborn trailer that gives a small tease of the tongue-in-cheek story while primarily focusing on the gameplay. Specifically singled out are the different gameplay modes and some of the mechanics of the first-person MOBA. PlayStation 4 owners will be the first to gain access to the console beta of Battleborn next year.

Sony made it clear that the next few games to be announced would be console exclusives for the PlayStation 4. Developer Wonderstruck presented a trailer of Boundless that revels in voxel visuals and dimension spanning works of wonder. The project looks like it has some definite Minecraft ambitions and seems like the grappling hooks, moving terrain, and large scale worlds might be enough to back those aspirations. 

Vector, a new indie music-rhythm game shows some promise. Taking a lot of inspiration from titles like Audiosurf, Hello There’s upcoming game allows players to design their own levels and compete against other one another. Trailer stars the artist Avicii talking about his collaboration on the project.

Finally, No Man’s Sky has resurfaced! The new trailer features an amazing voice over that many have related to an iconic speech from the movie Blade Runner. The trailer attempts to mash a lot of different gameplay demonstrations into its short duration while also flaunting the title’s scope. Most importantly, we now know that No Man’s Sky will release sometime June 2016.

Michael Denny senior VP of Sony’s World Wide Studios Europe took the stage to introduce Housemarque’s Matterfall, a voxel-based shooter with a main character that looks like a cross between the protagonist from Vanquish and Megaman.

A new trailer debuted for Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank that shows off a wide range of activities. Players can expect the usual running, gunning, and rail grinding, but will also be flying jets, spaceships, and even scuba diving throughout the adventure. The title will release this coming spring.

Horizon Zero Dawn has been one of the most hotly anticipated games since it was first presented at this year’s E3. They demoed the gameplay on stage, showing how hunting colossal and dangerous machines would work in practice. Guerilla Games set traps, using specialized ammo to manipulate enemies. Described as an action-RPG, players will use materials picked up from fallen robots. The developer took pains to point out that damage to larger creatures is area-specific, leading to situations where you can systematically dismantle powerful foes. A variety of different tactics are available with the tools at the player’s disposal, whether that is a straightforward assault (generally not a good idea) or tethering enemies to the ground and leaving them defenseless AT-AT style. Guerilla plans for a 2016 release.

Bloodborne: The Old Hunters expansion teased in a new trailer that shows some of the new weapons and one of the grotesque fallen hunters that players will have to contend with should they brave the horrors. The expansion drops November 24.

Driveclub Bikes introduces the best super-bikes in the world to Drive Club. Players can purchase it either standalone or as an expansion for Driveclub. It released immediately following the conference and should be available to download now.

Japan Studio’s creative director Keiichiro Toyama took the stage to confirm that Gravity Rush 2 would be coming to Europe and North America (there had been some doubt on that point since its initial announcement during this year’s TGS). Toyama made it clear that a lot of new features differentiate the game from its predecessor. A new combat system was shown with gameplay demonstrating the three different gravity fighting styles: Normal style – as seen in the first game, Luna style – lighter and quicker, and Jupiter style – heavier and more powerful. Environments take damage and shift based on how players use their gravity powers and those changes persist as fights progress. The title promises challenging battles that you can tackle alone or with the assistance of an AI ally.

Christophe Balestra, co-president at Naughty Dog, hopped up on stage following Gravity Rush 2 to talk about Uncharted 4, specifically its multiplayer. Using lessons learned from Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us, Naughty Dog has implemented some intriguing features to A Thief’s End. Balestra stated that players will be able to summon sidekicks, use supernatural relics, and more. Uncharted 4 releases March 18, 2016. If that sounds like too long a wait, Balestra also stated that the multiplayer beta will be active from December 4 through December 18 of this year.

Media Molecule followed up Naughty Dog’s Uncharted announcements with new information on their creation tool/game Dreams. The title’s technical director, Alex Evans, talked about what the game will actually be like when players get their hands on it. To do this effectively, Evans demonstrated the game live on stage, the first time it has ever been seen outside of their studio. Every player creates a customizable imp that goes everywhere in Dreams and is used to explore and communicate. Imps follow the movements of the PlayStation controller and players can give them different expressions with the controller’s touch pad. “You use the imp to grab, pull, and poke at the world. It’s very direct, tactile, and intuitive,” said Evans. The imp can also possess characters, vehicles, or inanimate objects, which allows players to move them around inside the game worlds. Creation and gameplay are intertwined. “Each dream can go from traditional platforming, to racing, to sandboxes, puzzles, and of course making things.” Doors are special in Dreams. Each door can take you to a completely different place, and almost anything can be a gateway to another world. No premade assets were shown in the gameplay demo; everything was made on the PlayStation 4. The beta begins sometime during 2016.

Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s World Wide Studios, arrived on stage to show Sony’s commitment to bringing virtual reality to mainstream gaming with PlayStation VR. “We believe that virtual reality doesn’t have to be a solo experience. There’s unlimited potential for social and competitive interaction in VR,” said Yoshida. He then went on to introduce RIGS Mechanized Combat League, a competitive shooter in which players battle in giant mech suits in sporting arenas. RIGS makes a compelling case for competitive VR experiences and invites the comparison to modern sports through bright visuals and sports commentators in the trailer.

The existence of a VR game based on the surprise hit Until Dawn was revealed. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood could best be described as a roller coaster in which everything is out to kill you. Players must try to survive the hazards of the track and escape unscathed. Beware, dangers can come from any direction. 

Cevat Yerli, the co-founder, CEO, and president of Crytek, ascended to the stage to discuss Crytek’s VR effort with PlayStation. Robinson: The Journey looks like an amazing adventure with dinosaurs that will make everyone who ever dreamed about Jurassic Park being real a little bit giddy inside. Walking around with the robot from Destiny and seeing colossal dinosaurs seems like a good time to me!

Rebellion debuted their geometric VR title following Crytek’s announcement, showing a flashing tank combat game called Battle Zone. Without a whole lot of details, it looks fairly straightforward, flashy, and fun.

Yoshida then shifted from talk of VR games to VR movies, giving a small demonstration of the VR experience from The Walk, a film about a man who walked on a tightrope suspended between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. And, just in case there was any lingering doubt over PlayStation’s commitment to making VR work, Yoshida casually mentioned that over 100 developers are currently working on VR projects for PlayStation. This segment of the show was largely to show that PlayStation VR is strong and in it for the long haul. The gaming landscape could look very different in a few years if this technology catches on.

A few final surprise announcements landed after the VR showcase. First, Polyphony Digital showed the debut trailer for Gran Turismo Sport, which will appear on PS4 for the first time. Kazunori Tamauchi, president of Polyphony Digital, talked about the improvements in graphical fidelity they were able to make with the hardware of the PS4. Additionally, Polyphony will be partnering with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for Gran Turismo Sport. Two flagship FIA championships will run simultaneously throughout the year within Sport. One will be the Nations Cup where players represent their country. The other will be the Manufacturer Fan Cup where players represent their favorite car manufacturer. The champions of these competitive racing circuits will be awarded their prizes alongside the winners of real-world FIA races around the holiday season. This partnership between the Federation International Autosport and Polyphony Digital represents efforts from both sides to move racing ahead into the future. A beta test should be going public in early 2016. Gran Turismo Sport will be compatible with PlayStation VR.
Wild Sheep Studio’s creative director, Michel Ancel, stepped up to talk about their upcoming project Wild, another PlayStation console exclusive. Gameplay depicts animal summoning, possession, and combat as players try to solve problems and allow their primitive tribe to survive. The segment shows one route a player might take to attempt to heal a poisoned clan member.

The final announcement of Paris Game Week featured David Cage taking the stage to reveal Quantic Dream’s new project. It’s an extension of the Kara tech demo that the studio released several years ago to show what was possible with the PlayStation 3’s technology. The new title, called Detroit: Become Human, stars a robotic woman who has gained sentience in a world where robots are resented and treated as tools. However, the trailer makes it abundantly clear that there is something different about Kara and that other robots might not be as robotic as they seem.

There were a lot of really phenomenal announcements at the show and a fair number of downright surprising reveals. PlayStation’s dedication to making VR a viable thing shows a lot of confidence in their technology and the draw of its novelty. The sheer number of exclusives for PlayStation 4 was a bit staggering, though it was surprising that Sony made next to no mention of the PlayStation Vita, PSTV, or the PS Vue service that they pushed so strongly earlier this year. Most importantly, a lot of actual gameplay was shown. Only a few trailers were composed of entirely cutscenes or pre-rendered animations. Notably, we saw more of No Man’s Sky, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Wild, Uncharted 4 multiplayer, and Street Fighter V. While the wait could be quite long for some of these titles, there seems to be a lot of good things coming down the pipeline for PlayStation owners.


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