This morning (afternoon?) in Cologne, Germany, Sony took the stage for their annual press briefing for Gamescom 2013. Gamescom is an international trade show which is open to the public, basically seen as Europe’s version of E3. While we have already reported on the announced release date, the conference, which spanned over an hour in length, was also used as a monstrous showcase for some very exciting games, many of which had not previously been announced.
The focus of todays briefing was to really showcase the ever-expanding library of independently developed games that Sony has cultivated not only for their upcoming Playstation 4 console, but also for their currently in-stores Playstation Vita. The Vita, which also saw a long overdue price drop down to $199.99 US, had what I believe to be among the best two games shown during the conference, in Murasaki Baby and Big Fest. The former is a 2D platformer that takes full advantage of the Vitas functionality, mainly being controlled through the devices touch screen, as well as making use of the accelerometers. The beautifully styled Murasaki Baby has a unique hand-drawn style and sees the player in control of a young girl in a dark world. Carrying a small heart-shaped balloon, you drag her by her hand throughout the scenery, manipulating both the character and the world around her to navigate her path. One unique scene like this had the character stop at the end of a dock, but the lake it rests upon has been drained. Apparently, the main character is afraid of the dark, as the player swiped the background to the right and it turned from day to night, causing the girl to cry and fill the lake. Then, with another swipe of the hand, it turned back into day and the girl was able to jump into the boat and the player spun a windmill in the background using the touch screen and the boat sailed off. This is just one of the examples that Murasaki Baby looks to highlight the much maligned Vita’s touch controls to bring a new and wholly unique way to play, only on Playstation Vita.
The other game that stood out for Vita was Big Fest. A much more ambitious idea, Big Fest looks to play out something like a Music Festival Tycoon game, where you get a venue, put up different vending tents and facilities, manage prices and book acts, all to put on the best Music Festival around. The hook, however, comes from the music itself. Rather than putting in some stock bands, licensed soundtrack or allowing players to use their own MP3’s stored on a memory car, Big Fest has a large lineup (presumably updated over time) of unsigned bands from across the world, all of whom are real life musicians that can be used for your festival. The idea being that bands that become universally popular in Big Fest might end up getting that big break every band needs in order to make it in the music world. The idea that thousands of people can be playing this game an possibly influence the lives of musicians in such a positive manner is an exciting one to say the least. Hopefully the promise doesn’t go unfulfilled when the game launches.
But it wasn’t just the Vita that saw a large number of games announced, the PS4 had plenty of big titles as well. Perhaps the largest announcement was that Mojangs insanely popular Minecraft is finally making its way to Sony’s devices, and will be available on the PS4 on launch day. In addition to Minecraft, developer TequillaWorks showed off Rime, a game that takes a light-hearted cell shaded style and looks to be another emotionally charged solo adventure along the same lines as Shadows of the Colossus or Journey. Miami Hotline 2 was also announced as making it’s console debut with both the Vita and the PS4 in the coming months, a reboot of the Amiga Classic Shadow of the Beast was shown, and the developer being Dear Esther announced the game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, which looks like it could be the most interesting game seen today, as the teaser trailer leads you to believe you’ve been left behind after the rapture, and the empty world is at your disposal.
In all 15 new games were announced today, as well as features for many high profile 1st and 3rd party titles for the Playstation 4 were shown. No matter what, if you’re a gamer, the future has to be looking bright with Sony’s new console, as todays briefing truly highlights that for Sony, it’s all about the games.
Also, even though it isn’t an indie title, the new inFamous Second Son trailer is below, and it’s awesome.