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Sony PlayStation at E3 2018: What to expect

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The PlayStation 4 has a great lineup, but what about the surprises?

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the PlayStation button icons flying across a blue background Samit Sarkar/Polygon

Sony’s E3 2018 press conference is a little bit different than its competition this year, because we know at least some of the games the company will focus on during its presentation. Sony announced part of its plan last month.

The PlayStation 4’s announced lineup is incredibly strong; this will be Sony’s chance to go into greater detail with some of the projects. The question is whether we’re going to see many surprises in terms of new game announcements.

It’s interesting that Sony has announced so many game reveals leading up to E3; it’s possible that Sony’s show really is going to be laser-focused on games we already knew existed.

This is what I expect from the show, and I can’t wait to be proven wrong. Or right?

Death Stranding

Death Stranding was first announced in 2016 — it seems like 2016 was a pretty big year for Sony in general, now that I’m writing all this out. We know the game will feature prominently in Sony’s E3 presentation because Hideo Kojima himself has been goth-ing the hell out while getting ready for the big day.

We still don’t know much about Death Stranding — outside of all the whales — but the latest cinematic mixtape Kojima posted is evocative, at least. Go watch all these movies in a single night if you want to have really pleasant feelings about reality.

We might see gameplay this year, but I’m almost hoping for just another baffling cinematic trailer. At some point the game itself is going to be revealed and played in front of us, and then it will be just a game. A very weird game, most likely, but just a game. For now, Death Stranding could be anything and everything, and I hope that sense of mystery is stretched out for as long as possible.

I don’t know what the gaming version of being released suddenly on Netflix is, but wouldn’t it be great if Death Stranding did it?

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Sony pulled a neat trick by showing a lengthy look at Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man last year ... then saving the Miles Morales reveal for after the sizzle reel. Even press conferences have stingers these days!

Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Spider-Man will be released on Sept. 7, which makes E3 the biggest opportunity for a huge push before launch. Expect a few surprises in terms of characters and story. This is a big game for Sony and Insomniac, so I’m expecting some fireworks.

The Last of Us Part 2

This is another huge, exclusive game for Sony. After last year’s ill-advised trailer, I’m hoping for a bit more context and character-heavy stuff to space out the violence. The Last of Us was at its best when it balanced its sense of horror with moments of stillness and even beauty.

It would’t be surprising if we got a release date for The Last of Us Part 2 as well.

Ghost of Tsushima

We know that we’re going to be getting a new look at this game, but we don’t know much else. Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world game from Sucker Punch Productions set in feudal Japan. At the moment, all you can watch is a trailer.

No hardware news

This isn’t speculation, as Sony’s Shawn Layden has already confirmed that there will be no hardware news. We also know that the PlayStation 5, or whatever it will be called, is a few years away.

And that timeline makes sense, as does the lack of hardware talk this year. The PlayStation 4 Pro was released in 2016, as was the PlayStation VR. The Vita is basically dead. There could absolutely be some price drops on the way, but Sony’s hardware is already trouncing everything that isn’t called Nintendo. Everything Sony sells is already priced competitively, so I just don’t see any big surprises here.

Saying what Sony isn’t going to do feels a little boring, but here we are. I kinda miss the days when Sony would randomly release bizarrely small, PlayStation-branded 3D TVs, but I bet Sony doesn’t.

Days Gone

Days Gone from SIE Bend Studio was first announced in 2016, which remains a bit of a trend. It was later pushed from a 2018 release to 2019. The open-world biker vs. zombies game is almost sure to get a trailer, but we’re really hoping for more gameplay and maybe even a release date. This is a game that doesn’t seem to have a ton of pre-release buzz. We’ll see what Sony shows in an effort to change that.

Dreams

Dreams is a game from Media Molecule that will allow players to create their own levels, just like in LittleBigPlanet. It’s expected to come out this year, but who knows? The beta was supposed to be out in 2016.

Third-parties

Sony has a handful of PS4 timed-exclusive deals with Rockstar Games and Activision for games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, so don’t be surprised if those games make an appearance during PlayStation’s E3 press conference.

Sony also has a pretty cozy relationship with Capcom — Monster Hunter: World, Resident Evil 7 biohazard and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite were prominently featured at past PlayStation E3 conferences — so rumored titles like Resident Evil 2 Remake or Devil May Cry 5 might pop up.

And we know that Sony and Square Enix like each other very much, so if there’s any news on the long-awaited Final Fantasy 7 Remake, expect it at PlayStation.

What else?

I don’t know, and that’s part of the fun. Sony is signaling that this will be a strong but kind of staid E3 event, focusing on a game lineup that’s largely been announced. Is there room for some shock and awe? I hope so, but Sony likes to spread its big reveals out across multiple events, or even get them out of the way before E3 even begins.

That could mean that this press conference will mostly try to sell us on games we already know about, saving the rest for another time.