I rate this week’s PlayStation presentation moderately high. It wasn’t full of surprises, as most of the big reveals were things we already knew about (sorry, Snake Eater), but there were quite a few games shown that I’m looking forward to. The reason I’m not impressed with the presentation, despite how cool Spider-Man 2 looked and the fact that I’m now tempted to shell out $550 for a PSVR2 just for Resident Evil 4, is the notable lack of Sony’s first – a social game. This presentation didn’t give me a good idea of what Sony’s major studios other than Bungie had planned for the future, and I can’t help but think about the games that weren’t revealed more than the games that were. Chief among them, the previously announced multiplayer game The Last of Us. If this wasn’t the right time to finally reveal it, when was it?
We know so little about Naughty Dog’s next game that we don’t even know its title yet. We’ve known that a sequel of sorts to TLOU’s Factions game mode is coming since it wasn’t in The Last Of Us Part 2 when it came out in 2020. The studio has confirmed that it’s working on a standalone multiplayer game set in The Last of Us universe ( i.e. Factions 2) when job postings for it were discovered in mid-2021. During Summer Game Fest 2022, studio director Neil Druckmann took to the stage to share concept art of the new game, describing it as the most ambitious game Naughty Dog has ever created. At the time, he promised that we would finally reveal the game in 2023.
We saw some more concept art in January, but at the time it was reiterated that more details would be available this year. But this week, during Sony’s big PlayStation Showcase, an hour-long presentation that dwarfs typical game state-of-the-art live streams that only happen every few years, Factions 2 was not on display. If there was one game I’d bet money on seeing during the demo, it was this one. If it did appear, it would be the most talked about game of the entire show.
It felt like a moment for a big reveal, but now I don’t know what to expect. Maybe Druckmann plans to make another appearance at Summer Game Fest in two weeks like last year and show off the game then, but it seems odd to have such a massive PlayStation presentation right before SGF if Sony is just saving its best for a different show. There really wasn’t anything in the PlayStation showcase that we haven’t seen, or couldn’t wait a month or two to see, given that the Keighley launch is just around the corner. Street Fighter and Final Fantasy 16 were the only games coming in the next few weeks that were announced during the PlayStation show, and we’ve already seen a lot of both. Sony could build an entire show around Factions 2 and still have time for some Spider-Man 2 gameplay if that show was held at the end of the summer. Why even do this presentation without the next big PlayStation game?
Expectations for news of the next TLOU game have been set, and at this point it’s Sony’s responsibility to tell us when it is not will be displayed. If the game’s own random state is just revealed later this year, that’s fine, but it feels like a wasted opportunity. Opinions are divided on the quality of this presentation, but the reveal of Factions 2 would make it feel much more substantial. Naughty Dog has every right to take this much time with their games, and I’ll be happy to see what they’re working on when they’re ready to reveal it, but this felt like a moment to finally show us what we’ve been waiting for and a disappointment is that we are still waiting with no end in sight.
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