While companies like Microsoft and Nintendo took center stage at E3 2021, Sony sat on the sidelines, observing and biding its time. The PlayStation 5 didn’t suffer from its absence; in fact, its first year is a resounding success (10 million units sold) with solid exclusives to boot. Sony must, however, emerge from the clouds of questionable business practices (generational upgrades, for example) and give PS5 owners some perspicuous announcements to hold onto. This week’s PlayStation Showcase, set for Thursday, looks to do just that, with the company setting expectations at an unusually high bar. With excitement coursing through our veins, the only thing to do is share our most anticipated announcements while preparing for the disappointment of those likely missing in action.
The following list are predictions only – not to be taken as insider knowledge!
Want no. 1 – Forspoken Gameplay
Forspoken, originally announced as Project Athia, is an open-world RPG developed by Luminous Productions. The second trailer showed our presumed protagonist, Frey Holland, hiding behind a collapsed pillar, breathing deep, panicked breaths. A large screeching dragon halts his hunt and flies into the grey sky, granting Holland some respite. After the title announcement, we got a brief glimpse of some fast-paced, spiraling traversal across wooded and mountainous environments. We’ve seen two trailers for this fantasy game, both with quick glances at gameplay, but we’re still unsure what it’s all about. It’s about time for a good chunk of gameplay and, if we’re lucky, a release date that’s more specific than the scattershot ‘2022’.
Won’t Get no. 1 – Final Fantasy 16 Information
Fans have been set ablaze with anticipation since Square Enix’s other, objectively more anticipated title, Final Fantasy 16, was announced back in 2020. In the series’ next mainline entry, the developers surprised fans with a darker tone and its PS5 exclusivity. While the initial announcement came with a wealth of gameplay and story clues, we haven’t seen anything further from the project. After its absence at E3, the producer, Naoki Yoshida, explained the team was interested in showing off a solid, large amount of gameplay instead of drip-feeding information. As a result, Yoshida doesn’t think it will be ready for Tokyo Game Show, which is slated for September 30, after the PlayStation Showcase. Sadly, the best we are likely to see is a brief clip of gameplay during one of the massive hype-generating montages that Sony often uses to conclude its presentations.
Want no. 2 – The Last of Us Factions
It seems like every time there is a PlayStation showcase, The Last of Us Factions gets placed on a predictions list. This is not all too shocking since it was originally bundled with The Last of Us Part 2’s initial release before the multiplayer mode split into its own standalone game. Ever since that understandable announcement (The Last of Us is a single-player focused game, after all) Factions has been seemingly hiding behind a busted car, waiting for the Clicker to pass. With this long season of silence, Naughty Dog must be gearing up for a big reveal, one that will be hopefully well worth the wait. The first Factions was an underappreciated gem that got overshadowed by the award-winning storytelling of The Last of Us Part 1. The game mode’s methodical multiplayer approach made for a tense, ammo-limited experience. Suffice it to say we’re looking forward to its future iterations.
Won’t Get no. 2 – Naughty Dog’s New IP
We’re expecting Naughty Dog to make an appearance but they will, most likely, rely on their previously well-established franchises, namely The Last of Us. Everyone is curious about the direction Sony’s prized developer will go next, especially after the medieval fantasy RPG tease earlier this year. Even though the anticipation is mounting, we expect Naughty Dog to focus on The Last of Us Remake, perhaps showing a side-by-side gameplay comparison. It’s true Naughty Dog is a huge studio, who is beyond any doubt working on multiple titles – but Sony can’t reveal all their cards at once. They’ll probably let God of War be the attention-grabber this time around and save Naughty Dog for a future, jaw-dropping reveal.
Want no. 3 – Bluepoint Acquisition and Accompanying Game
Speaking of remakes, the remake king, Bluepoint Games, should be ready for a show-stopping announcement – albeit one that’s been a long time in the making. Sony has a tendency to buy studios they’ve already had a longstanding relationship with, such as Insomniac and Housemarque Games. Bluepoint, having worked on the PlayStation exclusive remakes of Demon’s Souls and Shadow of The Colossus, is next in line for a serious pay raise courtesy of Sony. Along with the acquisition, Bluepoint is bound to announce its newest project, which should be enough to justify those Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill fantasies out there. Whatever Bluepoint’s project turns out to be, its track record is solid enough to leave us far from worried.
Won’t Get no. 3 – Hideo Kojima
The Death Stranding Directors Cut’s trailer will launch a day before the PlayStation showcase, leaving room for the more anticipated, less overdone announcements. Beyond that though, we expect Kojima to hide his face for the entirety of the event, probably hiding in a cardboard box until the Abandoned controversy wraps up. The PlayStation indie got caught up in Kojima drama that may either result in its immediate success or immediate failure. Some fans are dead set on the notion that Abandoned, a game that popped out of nowhere from an unknown studio, is but a stage for Kojima’s next game. True or not, we anticipate that the PlayStation Showcase will sidestep the Abandoned rumor mill entirely and focus primarily on their big announcements from Sony-owned studios.
Want no. 4 – New PlayStation Plus Incentives
Only the most dedicated Sony pony will spout the words: ‘PlayStation has a better subscription service than Xbox.’ The statement is simply untrue, as most logical PlayStation fans know. Sony has a great opportunity at the upcoming Showcase to increase the value of PlayStation Plus subscriptions, even though we’re not suggesting a full-fledged PlayStation Game Pass (cool as that would be). It’s more likely that Sony will implement some of their recent purchases into the PlayStation Plus umbrella. The anime streaming service Crunchyroll and Discord integration would go a long way toward revamping the subscription services. Not to mention new game announcements for the PlayStation Plus Collection, further deepening the variety of free games offered through the service. If Sony does, indeed, strengthen the Plus lineup, then they may very well increase the price accordingly. Obviously, we don’t want that, but we’re being realistic given Sony’s track record of greedy financial behavior.
Won’t Get no. 4 – PlayStation VR
PlayStation VR 2 was announced back in February, but no further information has been released since. Evidently, we will continue waiting since the peripheral officially won’t make an appearance at the showcase, leaving room for various software announcements instead. We are excited to see what the PSVR is capable of, but, at the same time, we’re happy Sony is setting expectations appropriately. Without the PSVR inclusion, the 40-minute presentation will, ideally, be showered with games – the only true way to reach a gamer’s cold heart.
Want no. 5 – God of War Gameplay
Fans have been waiting for more God of War news since the phrase “Ragnorak is Coming” crossed our screens against a cold backdrop back in 2020. It would be detrimental if Sony did not present God of War Ragnarok in light of the hype they are building up; so much so that Sony Santa Monica’s violent northern mythology romp is a surefire prediction to make a major appearance across several websites and gaming personalities. We’re looking for more than a trailer, but rather an intensive gameplay segment that sheds some light on the gameplay and story direction. Since God of War was a system seller for several PlayStation 5 adopters, Sony needs to make good on their promise and remind fans of their biggest exclusive to date.
Won’t Get no. 5 – Spider-Man 2
Also on the list of exclusive heavy hitters is Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2. It will be exciting to see where the studio takes the friendly neighborhood superhero, especially considering a potential Venom and Miles Morales appearance. The reality is, though, that Insomniac Games released Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales and Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart back to back, garnering a much-needed break afterward for the development team. We will get Spider-Man 2 at some point, but for now, Sony has several other heavy hitters that can satisfy the strict palate of its fans. If Insomniac were to announce anything, it would likely be a title tease with no gameplay in sight, so we think it’s best not to get our hopes up.