Sony didn’t have a completed PlayStation 4 to show off last night, but what it did have was a multitude of developers and publishers eager to showcase the stunning, creative and action-packed games that are coming to the next-generation console.
First up was Knack from Sony’s own SCE Worldwide Studios. The game’s director, Mark Cerny, was excited to present us with an unlikely hero in the form of Knack, a creation that harnesses the power of mysterious ancient relics to turn into a gigantic fighting machine needed to help humankind.
The unique and vibrant world of Knack will be available exclusively on the PlayStation 4, but this was merely the beginning of a night of exciting game previews.
Guerrilla Games co-founder and managing director Hermen Hulst then thrilled us with a live demo of Killzone: Shadow Fall. This new first-person shooter was used to highlight the new ‘Share’ button on the PS4’s DualShock 4 wireless controller and the demo we watched unfold in the Manhattan Centre has already been posted to the game’s Facebook page using this function.
This upcoming game from Guerrilla Games is set 30 years after 2011’s Killzone 3 and puts players in the boots of the Shadow Marshall, an elite special forces soldier trying to keep the peace between the Helghast and Vektans.
Next we had Matt Southern from Evolution Studios debuting a trailer for DriveClub, a team-based racing game for which the developers have gone to great lengths to achieve real-world detail on the cars featured.
The idea for this came actually came to Southern and his team 10 years ago, they’ve just been waiting for the technology that would allow them to realise their vision. That is, a network like that being created on the PS4 to allow for driving games to become as social as something like Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Nate Fox from Sucker Punch Productions was up next to show us Infamous: Second Son. One of the coolest presentations of the night, Fox introduced the newest addition to the Infamous series by depicting a not-too-distant future where our security comes at the cost of our freedom.
Second Son unfolds seven years after Infamous 2 within a hypersecure society riddled with surveillance technology from the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) and about to be rocked by new protagonist Deslin Rowe.
Representing small independent developers was Jonathan Blow, best known as the creator of the critically acclaimed Braid.
Blow unveiled The Witness, a puzzle game available exclusively on PlayStation set in a dense and compact open world. This unique take on the open world game, which more often that not features expansive, far-reaching maps for exploration, means that everywhere you move provides players with a multitude of gameplay options and challenges.
Following that, the crowd at the PlayStation 4 event was wowed with the realistic graphics that will come with Quantic Dream’s upcoming Beyond: Two Souls. The real-time 3D demo of an aged character’s facial expressions was created using advanced skin shaders and technology usually reserved for CG films.
To put this into some perspective, Quantic Dream’s new characters for Beyond: Two Souls will contain about 30,000 polygons – double what characters in Heavy Rain had. The result of this advanced graphics technology is that we can read a character’s most subtle emotions on his or her face.
Next to impress was Media Molecule’s Alex Evans, who sees the PlayStation 4 as the definitive creative console and has worked with his team to re-imagine user-generated content on this console.
Evans demonstrated how 3D ‘sculptures’ could be created using the PlayStation Move controller, and how this could then be used to let users create and control their own characters in a new way. Every image below is a 3D rendering created using this technique.
Yoshinori Ono of Capcom then led a bilingual presentation on games the Japanese developer and publisher has in development using its new Panta Rhei eighth-generation engine, followed by a preview of Square Enix’s Luminous Studio engine. Then, Square Enix’s Shinji Hashimoto confirmed that Final Fantasy is coming to PS4, and we can expect that to be unveiled at E3 this summer.
Ubisoft’s co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot then announced that Watch_Dogs, a game that debuted at E3 last year, will launch with the PlayStation 4 later this year.
We also had Blizzard Entertainment tell us that Diablo will be making its console debut with Diablo III for PS4, with a formal debut of the title for this platform expected in the coming months. The interface for the game will be custom designed to work naturally on the new DualShock 4 controller.
And, last but not least, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg and the team from Bungie emerged to confirm speculation that the upcoming shared world shooter Destiny will also be available on PlayStation 4, with exclusive content for PlayStation gamers.
All in all, presentation after presentation from developers big and small provided proof that the PlayStation 4 is a gaming system built with developers in mind, and we’re excited to see the results later in 2013.