BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — This week featured the return of a beloved event for console gamers — Sony’s monthly PlayStation showcase.
Each month, the Showcase aims to tease some of the latest releases for the console with a live broadcast available on both their official Twitch and Youtube channels. Typically, these events focus on announcing new content for older games and the reveal of new ones — and in May, the focus was entirely on the future of both Sony’s flagship console (the Playstation 5) and their new PlayStation VR2 Virtual Reality system.
The excitement following many of these showcases can even be felt here in North Dakota. Bismarck’s branch of Rock30 Games notes that the actual content of the showcase tends to inspire more preorders and intrigue than purchases immediately afterwards.
“It’s less about actual sales and more about what gets announced,” says Drew Pengilly, the location’s Assistant Manager. “In terms of game sales, it really depends on when we are able to start taking pre-orders for those. There’s a lot of factors that go into console sales, like how up-to-date people stay on new video game information, but it definitely garners more interest towards buying new consoles. Games, we usually get day 1, but consoles are harder to find.”
Ironically, one of the things people look forward to the most during showcases is not new IPs, but new additions to old ones. Over the course of the event, plenty of new additions to older franchises were announced, in genres ranging from Fantasy (Final Fantasy 16, Dragon’s Dogma 2) to Sci-Fi (The Talos Principle 2, Helldivers 2, and Ghost Runner 2) and even horror (Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted 2). The most intriguing of these new sequels were Bungie’s reveal of a new addition to the Marathon franchise (which has not seen a new game since the 1990s) and a sequel to the underrated thriller game Alan Wake. While a majority of these games are primarily shrouded in mystery, the general consensus is that they will take many of the same gameplay elements from previous entries in their franchises, albeit with new twists or mechanics. As Pengilly states, these sequels not only open up for pre-orders around this time, but can spark the curiosity of those unfamiliar with older entries in the franchise, leading them to seek out past iterations in stores like Rock30, as opposed to places like Gamestop which only tend to stock the newest games.
Usually, we’ll see an uptick in sales for related games,” Pengilly states. “It also depends on how into the series you are — with Final Fantasy 16, we’ll definitely get people coming in looking for the Final Fantasy 7 remake. Depending on how their trailers look, it could possibly poke some interest in playing other titles in the series. With some of those franchises, Marathon and Dragon’s Dogma in particular, nobody’s quite sure why they’re adding on to those — but at this point, why not? They’re just testing the waters to see what works.”
This isn’t to say that new IPs were not introduced, of course: putting aside a number of new shooting-focused games, intriguing projects like the world-jumping The Plucky Squire and the explorative Sword of the Sea were also teased. Other new products include Foamstars (which is definitely not reminiscent of the Splatoon franchise in the slightest), expansive city-restoring game Towers of Aghasba, and the fast-paced sword combat of Phantom Blade 0.
In addition to plenty of brand-new games, the Showcase announced remasters and remakes of popular works. Although the most anticipated remaster to many (an upgraded version of Bloodborne) did not see an appearance, games like sandbox build/destroy simulator Teardown will be making their way to the console. Perhaps the most unexpected and exciting of these additions was the return of the classic Metal Gear Solid III: Snake Eater, as well as a three-game collection from the critically-acclaimed stealth franchise. Pengilly notes that the announcement of this new edition may send people to local game stores in search of the original version for the PlayStation 2.
Sony also took the opportunity to promote their new VR technology, as Virtual Reality mode was announced for the horror classic Resident Evil 4. Often considered one of the best games in the franchise (if not the entire genre), many are already excited to experience the terrifying tale in a new way. Other games which will soon be heading to PlayStation’s Virtual Reality console include shooters Crossfire: Sierra Squad, Synapse, and the rhythm-based Beat Saber.
A trailer for an upcoming movie based on the Gran Turismo series of racing games was also played during the showcase. Before announcing the final game, new developments in Sony technology were also announced — including a new, dedicated device known only as ‘Project Q’ designed for game streaming, and a new set of Playstation branded earbuds.
The Showcase ended with the most anticipated release of the day — a trailer for the newest Spider-Man game. This teaser focused on comic villain Kraven the Hunter, who aims to head to Queens in search of the ultimate prey, featured gameplay from a symbiotic Spider-Man and his friend Miles Morales, and reintroduced The Lizard (an old member of Spidey’s rogue’s gallery) to the video game franchise. This, explains, is most certainly what he believes will drive the most customers to their local game stores.
“People are already looking for the 2018 game and Miles Morales,” says Pengilly. “Spider-Man 2 will definitely be the best-seller for us.”
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