None of the last of us 2 trailers so far have conveyed (or even attempted to convey, imo) that the extreme violence in them has any kind of narrative purpose other than some weird notion that naughty dog thinks gore sells. It’s really gross and I have no idea what they’re going for, at all.
re: all the shitty ultra-bleak post-apocalyptic games on display here
This was such a weird conference. Sony definitely pushing for prestige super gritty mature orientated games.
Still getting echoes of when they first demoed The Last of Us that ended with everybody cheering as Joel was about to blast a dude at close range with a shotgun. That said, The Last Of Us Part 2 does look incredible. It looks like they are applying the same free wheeling approach they administered to Uncharted 4 and applying it to the survivalist hobo fighting of The Last of Us. If the game is giving you all these options - like take hostage and block arrows etc then it could be incredible. Also compared to Shadow of the Tomb Raider - all the violence felt like it had weight and it was meant to make you feel uneasy rather than mere power fantasy. But at the same time, the game seemed to be simulating Ellie being hunted down - yet pulling off all these gory kills - like how do you balance the tension with the murder? I’m sure storywise this game will be fantastic, like Uncharted 4, I just think it’s going to get bogged down in all the action, which did well to prolong Uncharted 4 beyond it’s welcome point.
I think what I was most pumped for was Resident Evil 2. I thought we would be getting a GC styled remake, but this looks incredible. Resi 2 is one of my favourite games and I guess it looks as if they are going to be doing something more in line with Resi 4 but amping up the horror as they did with the GC remake. Presumably you’ll be able to play as Leon and Claire but will you be able to play Mission A and Mission B? Also the thought of revisiting Mr X from Mission B through a new horror lens has me scared. Also remember they added Lisa Trevor to the GC remake as a way to play with series veterans… I’m super pumped for this.
Death Stranding - I still don’t know what this game is about. Is Norman Rheedus a Hideo Kojima esque version of the stork that delivers babies? But does so across a post apocalyptic wasteland that exists somewhere in between life and death. Are the babies a metaphor for creativity, and trying to nurture a project to market. Is this what this game is about? Whatever’s happening. Sign me up. I just… what is this game?
I’m cautiously optimistic about Death Stranding (I predict there’ll be a few more trailers of total ambiguity followed by a last minute “ALSO STARRING RICHARD KIND AS A LEVITATING EMBRYO”) but in an industry where being influenced by something like Twin Peaks more often than not means that a character drinks coffee at some point, I’m excited for a high-profile game that’s willing to (at least attempt to) be as distinct and strange.
I’m hoping a few ideas / atmospheric cues from Silent Hills make it in here; some of the synth sounds in that trailer sounded very Akira Yamaoka-ish to me
Violence in post-apoc stories doesn’t bother me because the other option is to just ignore the violence that happens in the world. Like, I don’t see much difference between what was shown in TLOU2 and what was shown in the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer. Having said that, I didn’t give a shit about the first TLOU game which was generic as fuck so I don’t care for the second one.
I think I remember reading something about a Japanese studio collaborated with SuckerPunch on Ghosts or at least they were advisers on it? I’m not sure.
So I watched the Giant Bomb stream of this this morning and… ugh. Sony, why?
It was a mess. A production team running interference on their own conference whilst a live audience has to be ferried around. The world’s longest introduction to a trailer, complete with sad slow banjo music. A long, long wait to follow game 1 with game 2. DLC for BO3 announced with no BO4 footage (Side note: You’re really going to act like DLC for BO3 and it coming to PS+ is a great thing when Activision themselves trashed the hell out of it at the BO4 reveal? That’s your angle there?). Weird Dreams interstitial scenes that say nothing about the game and show even less.
And then they show games, and they’re rare, and they don’t really sell me on any of it. Spiderman looks cool, but it always did, TLOU2 looks like more of that stuff Naughty Dog does (and I don’t) and Death Stranding continues be a thing that may or may not contain a game that may or may not have a coherent plot that is for certain costing way way way too much. Tsushima looks kinda like every other action game wrapped in pretty visuals, and didn’t sell me at all (especially after From announced Sekiro). Why is Kingdom Hearts 3 at everything? Still trying to convince anyone they actually mean it?
It was visually scattershot, and light on games. Sony seem to have meant it when they said they were “winding down” the PS4. Which sucks, because this E3 everyone else seems to be winding up. Even Ubisoft - dear Ubisoft, with their crazy ass E3 presentations - had a more coherent showing this year. I’ve seen people on Twitter call Sony out for this a few times this morning, mainly saying that they’re coasting on their hardware dominance. It’s hard to see it any other way after that.
It’s interesting looking at the PlayStation YouTube feed of trailers released for the event.
Really shows you how things would have run differently if it was Sony first then MS. Huge overlap in which trailers also have a PS4 bumper on the end (but didn’t get shown again after appearing in the MS event).
After hearing so much about Dreams and Jeff Gerstmann saying how cool it is, I think it’s insane they didn’t show it off in a more elaborate way here. It would certainly have broken up all the monotomy of all the stabbing.
I think MS had a stronger showing. And Bethesda obviously. Hoping Nintendo bring the goods.
I am absolutely ready for Nintendo to continue the E3 theme and show off some Metroid Prime 4, explaining the story of Samus: space lesbian.
I’m wondering if Dreams etc turn up with longer presentations at Paris this year. Sony sure did have a weird cadence with the four pre-announced long game demos here and then scattershot trailers around it (and before and after the event).
That’s the one game I came away from the Sony conference unconditionally excited about, it looks super cool!
Yeah, the complete misuse of Dreams as bookends rather than a proper demo is baffling. A part of me says “they’ll be demoing everything on the floor, and they’re using this just to introduce stuff” but even then it’s a real poor way to handle your properties. Dreams could be huge given a good push, and Sony doesn’t seem to be pushing much of anything at E3.
Even the Destiny 2 tease - and in the D2 community that was a huge mic drop they did - it was “show and move on”, and people are (quite rightly) utterly bamboozled by how it was handled. I mean, they just basically said “year 2 of Destiny 2 starts with the death of a fan favourite character at the hands of a returning character” and then said “anyway, here’s another trailer”. Days Gone got probably the least attention they’ve ever given it, which I’d say shows little confidence but by that standard they have none in anything but TLOU2, Death Stranding and Spider-Man. Just a weird, weird showing.
I feel so bad for the Days Gone devs, their game got downgraded from a full gameplay demo, to like 10 seconds in the highlight reel.
I knew the reaction to that game was bad, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad.
Eh, it sounds like it got more coverage than maybe Sony would now consider advisable (meaning it gets compared to the very top of Sony’s output and will be judged as coming up short against experiences like God of War when, if it was an Xbox release where large exclusive open world games are much rarer, it might have an easier time with critics). So they’re trying to do some managing of expectations right now.
Edit: rewatching the Death Stranding trailer and I’m now pretty convinced that we’re being told quite clearly what the actual game there is. The time-accelerating invisible foes which you can get some detection of and have a button to hold your hand over your mouth to stop breathing when too close (this is a project lead who has spent a long time building stealth games). The delivery journey over a massive terrain where you slowly try and collect and use up resources that you have to carry with you (with things like the acid rain eating through your supplies) as you make it towards your destination. A lavish production for the cut-scenes that break up the gameplay and flip some of the mechanics as you progress. I know some want to see exactly what the core gameplay loop looks like but I think we’re already able to make some pretty accurate guesses (also I suspect some of the Metal Gear Survive ideas were already being considered before MGS5 shipped so… y’know - what if they’d not run that project as a budget zombie cash-grab on a probably 2 year dev cycle?)
Also how wonderful is it that we’re watching real-time rendered graphics where one of the moments is the camera focusing on the hairs on someone’s arm lift up to note a major tension point. Graphics are kinda getting to where they basically can do most of what you need to just make whatever film language inside the game.
The Microsoft conference was stronger but it was in a way that I didn’t feel like really did anything for Microsoft. Seemed like they ran through every third-party multi-platform thing that showed up at E3 this year, which was great to watch but ultimately probably did very little towards selling any Xboxes. Square also filled some gaps for Sony with (what appear to be) some PS4/Steam-only releases, but most of those seemed pretty early.
Sony’s conference was weird in that they tried to get inventive with their format but then played it 100% “E3 is still a mass marketing investor-pleasing machine” safe with what they showed. Even still… probably more impressive from a “you need our machine to play these things” than the competition for me, even if I don’t really give a shit about Last of Us. They put their mass market games up there and showed some meaningful footage–though I’ll say that if I don’t show some core Death Stranding gameplay by like PSX I’m gonna stop caring altogether.
Similar reason to why I feel like I’m down on the Bethesda conference; the 3 most interesting things there for me amounted to 3 title cards, and I just can’t get excited about those anymore. We’ll see what they have for Doom at Quakecon, but Starfield and ES6 aren’t going to be things for years, so I’d rather they just hold them until they actually have something to show. Announcing their mere existence does nothing for me.
Still feel like people are giving these things too much credit overall, though; we’ve been talking about how pointless E3 is becoming for years now, but people still see an ES6 title card and lose their minds.
This is what I felt like leaving that trailer, yeah. It’s pretty clear that it’s gonna be something slow, surreal, even meditative, but because it didn’t show some Shootybang or Big Stabbings a lot of people are left thinking there MUST be more. There probably won’t be, I don’t even think that one gun we saw is gonna be a Shootybang gun, probably a tool like the cool blinking flower or the geometry umbrella. It’s more down to years of shitty conditioning of that being the case than any intentional shittiness on the viewers part(well, for some of us, anyway), but I do think we’ve seen what we need to see of Stranding to know what’s up. And I’m here for it.
I think the more I see of The Last of Us Part II, the more I get bummed out because the last game ended in a way I was satisfied with and any further exploration of those characters seemed unnecessary? The dance sequence was pretty good, but do we really need more of Ellie (or basically anyone) hacking dudes’ faces off, only with more realistic visual effects?
It was late and I was very tired so I may have misheard, but when they had the Dreams devs demoing the game after the press conference they made mention of having a beta this year, and specifically in a way that might suggest that game is getting delayed to 2019. A bit of a shame if that’s the case, it was the Sony title I was most looking forward to. I’ll probably wait on grabbing a PSVR kit until we know more. It is the game I’m most interested in experiencing in VR by far.
I feel similarly, but for a second I wanted to believe that the trailer stayed at the dance and the game was actually an elaborate dating sim set in a survivor sanctuary. I mean, The Last of Us really doesn’t need a sequel, but wouldn’t it have been cool to go in a direction like that?
I feel like this is something that 90% of modern post-apocalyptic stories just assume, because they project our capitalistic, imperialistic mindset onto all of humanity. It’s a nice excuse to get a whole lot of violence and nihilism into your story, without acknowledging that that’s what’s going on.
Naughty Dog is just the next in line to fall into this trap and it’s just so exhausting.
Throughout history people worked together and formed communities to survive. People with disabilities didn’t always get abandoned, just like queer people weren’t always banished. There’s more ways to serve a community than just through physical labour and reproduction respectively.
I mean, yeah sure, I guess that it would be out of step with a conception of The Last of Us, but from an industry perspective I’m just done with apocalypses, post-apocalypses, and the increasingly trite “man’s inhumanity to man”. I just want more big budget games that celebrates the good in humanity, and if that is outside of what The Last of Us can be, then I can’t say that I’m all that interested in the series anymore.
Also, there’s nothing stopping the developers from just saying that after some years certain settlements got their shit together and we now have more collaborative, collectivist, and all around more pleasant ways of living. I mean, if we can accept a fungal outbreak turning people into zombies, why can’t we accept a humanity that tries to move forward?