If the recent PlayStation showcase proved anything, it’s that the most exciting, people-pleasing exclusive games are all on PS5.
Until last night, Microsoft’s Xbox has had a free run at owning the current console race. As PlayStation stayed silent, Xbox has been busy showing off one-of-a-kind experiences that can only be enjoyed on its console. Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 both demonstrate the brilliance of the Xbox Series X. And the well-documented $7.5 billion purchase of game development studio Bethesda, which brings Xbox exclusive rights to all of its future titles, made a statement about the platform's intention to deliver the best games.
Yesterday, PlayStation effortlessly swung the excitement back to PS5 in a sub-45 minute presentation that was back-to-back with potentially amazing games. There was no room for filler in this charm offensive either.
Right off the bat, PlayStation announced that the critically acclaimed 2003 hit, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is being remade for PS5. This hugely popular role-playing game set in the Star Wars universe has always been locked to Microsoft, but this highly anticipated remake will now appear on both PlayStation and Xbox. The gauntlet had been immediately thrown down.
Other remakes also starred in the rapid-fire presentation of new games. Survival horror Alan Wake would also make the trip from Xbox to PlayStation. Grand Theft Auto V and the incredibly successful Grand Theft Auto Online multiplayer is also being polished for PS5. And PlayStation's flagship series, Uncharted will also reappear on PS5.
But it wasn’t all rehashed titles at this PS5 showcase. In classic Sony fashion, the proceedings built to a crescendo of fan-pleasing games that Xbox will surely struggle to compete with.
A stronghold on Marvel titles
Insomniac Games, PlayStation’s most coveted first-party studio, delivered two jaw-dropping teasers for gamers. Spider-Man 2 is, obviously, the follow-up to the hugely successful selling Spider-Man and will see Peter Parker and Mile Morales team up against the might of Venom. A blink and you’ll miss it trailer for Insomniac’s next big franchise starred Marvel’s Wolverine. Again, this is a superhero with a huge fanbase that Sony has secured exclusively for PS5. It’s a move that cements PlayStation as the home of blockbuster Marvel games.
PlayStation finally announced a release date for its incredibly detailed simulation racer, Gran Turismo 7. March 4 is when gamers will be drifting through the corners of some of the most beautiful race tracks around the world. In a post-show announcement, Hermen Hulst, head of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, said the level of detail that has gone into the haptic feedback of the PS5 DualSense controller - such as the weight of the triggers when braking - takes the feel of racing in this game to another level.
The big finale was saved for God of War: Ragnarok. Since PS5 launched, fans have wanted a follow-up to God of War, but were kept waiting for any glimpse of it. The footage that was shown of actual in-game action will fan those flames of excitement as Kratos and his son Atreus venture to new lands while they attempt to keep their fractious relationship in tact in the face of danger. For the record, it looks fantastic.
Playing the patience game
As the credits went up and the breathless PlayStation 5 showcase came to an end, it was a tale of two halves. On the plus side, Sony proved that it still has the best exclusive games on its console. But there are a couple of problems too.
Firstly, most of these new titles are coming out in 2022, and in some cases, such as Spider-Man 2, not until 2023. That’s a long time to wait for a game, and there’s very little in the near future to get excited about.
Secondly, Sony is yet to announce a competitor to the Xbox Game Pass - a service that offers hundreds of games for one monthly subscription fee. Sure, it may well have something up its sleeve, but ignoring this glaringly obvious hole in its business could really cost PlayStation in the long run. While the Sony showcase has came to an end, the console war continues at pace without a clear winner in sight.