This week’s PlayStation Showcase might not have been a record breaker compared to previous years, but it still had an impressive set of highlights and reveals. We were awarded with a series of announcements for exciting and innovative new titles, as well as some long-overdue confirmations of oft-rumored sequels and follow-ups.
We’ve done some research on some of the talent shoring up some of these new projects as well as having made some vain attempts to curb our enthusiasm for the games we’ve been dreaming of for years, and came up with this list of the announcements and highlights we think you should be following.
10 Towers of Aghasba
Towers of Aghasba combines elements of open-world action games and building/crafting sandboxes. The game has a unique and inspired look that subtly echoes the aesthetic of games like Shadow of the Colossus with a bit of Avatar and even The Neverending Story thrown in for good measure.
Towers of Aghasba will be Dreamlit studio’s first game, but looking at the development team shows an impressive wealth of experience, with co-founders Khang Le and Dave Nguyen having titles like Sky: Children of Light and Call of Duty under their belts, respectively. Towers of Aghasba will launch on PS5 and PC sometime in 2024.
9 The Plucky Squire
The Plucky Squire is a charming-looking action-adventure game that seems to take place across multiple realistic and storybook-like delivery methods and narrative motifs, which suggests that there will be a lot of variety. The trailer also showcased what appeared to be a heavy emphasis on alternating between 2D and 3D environments.
The development team, All Possible Futures, is currently comprised of James Turner, who has been on the Pokemon creative team for years, and Jonathan Biddle, who has games like Thomas Was Alone and The Swapper under his belt. The Plucky Squire will launch on pretty much every platform later this year.
8 Phantom Blade 0
One of the biggest and longest reveals during the event was Phantom Blade 0, a dark, sinister character action game with an interesting gimmick: you only have 66 days to live. How this limitation factors into the game from a gameplay and narrative perspective has yet to be seen, but it sounds like there’s going to be potential for rogue-like elements or a heavy emphasis on replay value.
Phantom Blade 0’s developer, Cruel Man Studio, is helmed by Michael Chang, who spent some time working with FromSoftware in the PS3/360 era. The trailer definitely showcased some elements that appear to be Souls-like, so we’ll see if Cruel Man will be bringing some of that experience to Phantom Blade 0, which will launch in late 2023 or early 2024 on PS5.
No, Ultros is sadly not a Final Fantasy spinoff starring a certain villainous octopus, but it is a very unique-looking 2D action game that seems vaguely reminiscent of Valfaris in terms of its neon color palette and Giger-esque gore and creatures. Billed as a “psychadelic metroidvania”, Ultros has a lot of potential to fill the void left by the ever more elusive Hollow Knight: Silksong.
Although Ultros will be Hadoque’s first title, the studio’s founders boast impressive credentials, with the majority of the team having worked on the indie sensation Hotline Miami. Ultros will drop sometime in 2024 for PlayStation and Steam.
6 The Talos Principle II
The Talos Principle was a deeply psychological puzzle game that swept many narrative and independent categories in its first year of release. Less than a year later, Croteam announced The Talos Principle II… and then, things went quiet. The first game was re-released and enhanced on various platforms, but all indications of an impending sequel seemed to go silent. Until this week, that is.
The Talos Principle II, poised to release later this year, appears to not take many risks with the celebrated formula of the first game, and fans can rest assured that the same brand of mind-bending puzzle philosophizing will return in grander form.
5 Alan Wake II
When Alan Wake was released, it was a somewhat divisive game, with many praising its engrossing psychological thriller storyline and its haunting aesthetics and soundtrack, while others criticized the contrast between its mechanical simplicity and narrative convolution. Nonetheless, the game went on to be a cult hit, and whispers of a sequel have floated around for years while Remedy moved on to projects like Quantum Break and Control.
With Alan Wake having been a staple of the Xbox 360, no one was expecting the sequel’s big reveal at a Sony showcase, but, here we are. Alan Wake II will release in October for the Xbox Series, PC, and PS5.
4 Dragon’s Dogma 2
It’s been over a decade since Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen was originally released for seventh-generation consoles. In the interim, the then overlooked Dragon’s Dogma slowly amassed a following of devotees who insisted the game stands alongside Skyrim and Dragon Age as a seminal work of its ilk.
Last year, Hideaki Atsuno finally announced what seemed inevitable—a sequel to Dragon’s Dogma, almost ten years since initially expressing the desire to make one, and at this week’s PlayStation showcase, we finally got to see the game in action, and it was certainly one of the highlights of the event. Dragon’s Dogma 2 will launch on PS5, Xbox Series, and PC sometime in 2024.
Nomada Studio’s 2018 debut title, Gris, was one of the most celebrated indie games of the past generation. The visually arresting and incredibly moody platforming adventure game won the hearts of gamers and critics alike, and garnered many of the indie-focused awards that year.
It is understandable, then, that there’s a lot of hype surrounding the studio’s next project, Neva. While no gameplay was shown during the reveal trailer at the Sony event this week, the absolutely gorgeous and clearly Princess Mononoke-inspired world and characters showcased here in an abstract and utterly charming art style demonstrate a lot of promise. Neva will launch next year on just about every platform that still has an active storefront.
2 Sword of the Sea
Even though 2012 was littered with the kinds of AAA blockbusters, it was a heartfelt, gentle, nuanced indie adventure game called Journey that completely upset the balance of power and demonstrated that small, artsy games with limited but extremely focused scope can and will succeed in a time when monopolies and creative homogeny dominate the market.
Not long after Journey’s underdog success, a large chunk of developer Thatgamecompany broke off and formed Giant Squid, which later released an aquatic-themed spiritual successor to Thatgamecompany’s first hit, Flower, called ABZÛ. Now, Giant Squid seems to be taking on the powerful legacy of Journey by once again taking us to a wordless, haunting world with rolling sand dunes and perpetual twilight in Sword of the Sea, and we couldn’t be more excited—even though the game doesn’t yet have a release window.
Konami has been flirting with a Metal Gear Solid 3 remake for a while now. The game was a landmark and cultural touchstone when it released nearly 20 years ago on the PlayStation 2—and while it’s a certified masterpiece and considered one of the greatest games ever made, one can’t help but imagine what it could’ve accomplished had its imagination not been bottlenecked by the limitations of the PS2’s then-aging hardware.
Well, next year, we will no longer have to imagine. Not only are we getting a fully realized, modern MGS3 remake, but we’re also getting the “Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1”, which will give contemporary platforms access to MGS1-3. In addition to that, the fact that it’s called “Volume 1” implies more of the series will be released in subsequent volumes, and being play games like Peace Walker and MGS4 on platforms that don’t require you to search your attic or garage would be a nice perk to a remake of one of the greatest games of all time.
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