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Games : Sony previews new Playstation offerings

The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena was packed to the rafters on the evening of the 15th as Sony showcased the titles you’re going to be seeing on Playstation over the next few months.

There was something for everyone. The new entry into the ”Final Fantasy” franchise,” World of Final Fantasy”, was a much more family friendly affair than previous games have been, with cute and tiny characters. At the other end of the scale there was an extended look at a trailer and some gameplay for ”Call of Duty Black Ops 3”. But if they’re a bit childish or a bit violent for you, there’s plenty more between those two extremes to keep you indoors for hours gaining a sickly pallor and RSI in your thumbs.

The crowds went wild for the ”Last Guardian” clip, a game from the makers of ”Ico” and ”Shadow of the Colossus” that’s been promised for years. As dreamlike as both those titles, it showed a young boy navigating a breathtaking landscape of puzzles with a giant flying dog.

Speaking of dreams, the studio behind LittleBigPlanet announced a new interactive creation game called ”Dreams”. It was too detailed for a full demonstration, but the spokesman promised a world where you can build and control anything, using your controller as a pointer to design and bring to life all manner of worlds and characters.

Another new frontier was a short preview of Project Morpheus, Sony’s answer to VR sensation ”Oculus Rift”. With at least one game ready to set loose on the VR world, Sony’s entering what’s going to be a titanic battle.

You may not know the company has also jumped on the streaming service bandwagon with Playstation Vue (we know, who hasn’t?). But the announcement that got the crowd really excited was the planned service that gives subscribers access to individual channels rather than the multi-channel bundling big Pay TV operators traditionally offer. Might it be one of the baby steps that breaks the stranglehold of the Cable companies (search for ‘cord cutting’ for more). Jumping on the minecraft wagon is also something that all playstation lovers do, you may want to check out GGServers and download some super cool software to enable you to play with other minecraft lovers online!

About 20 games were announced including plenty of brand new titles, but just like in the world of movies, sequels sell. New entries into beloved franchises like ”Destiny: The Taken King”, ”Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate” (set in 19th Century London) and ”Hitman” all had the fanboy/girl crowd howling approval, seldom more than the final clip for ”Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” (the cheers in fact started when the Naughty Dog studios logo appeared), which had the unfortunate fate of crashing and needing a quick restart.

Once underway however, it was hard not to be caught up in the action as Drake and his friend Sully careen down a hill in a Latin American town outrunning enemies in a jeep at breakneck speed.

When LucasFilm took to the stage you could feel the air leave the crowd’s sails somewhat as the spokesman started talking about new Disney Infinit ”Star Wars” worlds and figures, although to be fair he wasn’t playing to the target audience.

But the presentation made up for it when the huge screen filled up with an extended gameplay sequence of the forthcoming Star Wars: Battlefront, showing two rebel soldiers evading Imperial troops on a desert planet.

Among the loudest cheers of the night was for Yu Suzuki, creator of the ”Shenmue” series, who took to the stage to talk up the Kickstarter for the sequel he has in development. The crowd went wild, but was left wondering why – if the franchise is so popular – Suzuki has to resort to crowdfunding to get it made. Surely a Sony exec would’ve been hastily writing a $10m cheque offstage ready to hand over?

A particular highlight to watch for: ”No Man’s Sky”, from British studio Hello Games, a gaming universe so large the developer said most of the worlds in it had never and probably would never be visited. As he panned out from the star on the screen where the action had started, the galaxy of stars and planets just got denser, and he promised there were unique systems, worlds, creatures, battles and trade opportunities to be found in every one.

So when 2015’s blockbuster movie season winds down and you just want to stay inside all day – to say nothing of a rumoured console price drop – it’s a good time to be a PS4 owner, or to become one.

Hunger Games fans, keep an eye on the sky!

Thomas Mann – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl