Sony has begun drawing the curtain back next-generation PlayStation console, in an agonizingly slow manner. Today it revealed some details about the hardware we’ll be seeing when the console launches holiday 2020 — but not, frustratingly, what kinds of games we can expect to see.
I suspect the specific titles will have to wait until next year’s E3 or perhaps a State of Play reveal of the actual console. But I think I might have a hunch what one of those launch titles will be.
I noticed, while reading the official blog post from Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan, that he uses examples of particular games when speaking about the kinds of feedback offered by the new controller. He says of the haptic reponses that “crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field.” Sony has released at least one Gran Turismo game on every PlayStation console, and the Madden series always makes a perennial appearance, so those examples don’t seem that unusual.
But when describing the new controller’s “adaptive triggers,” Ryan said they would be able to simulate “the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow.” That’s very specific language, isn’t it? I don’t see why he would choose such terms if that weren’t one of the use cases they’d already developed.
Now who do we know, in Sony’s army of exclusive characters, who uses a bow and arrow?
Oh right. Aloy, protagonist of one of the PS4’s most successful first-party titles, uses a bow and arrow as her primary weapon. And, in case you think I’m talking out of school, one of the voice actresses from the first game let the sequel’s development slip earlier this year. It’s not a sealed deal, but to me at least it’s looking pretty likely that Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is in the works for the PS5.
It’d be a smart move to make this a launch title. The PS4’s launch lineup was a little lackluster, in my opinion. Of the console-exclusive titles on offer, only Resogun and Killzone: Shadowfall seem to have held up to any test of time. When’s the last time you got a hankering to play Knack or Flower?
Horizon Zero Dawn was more than just a great game — it sold well. 10 million copies within two years is nothing to sneeze at. Given the Uncharted series, Sony’s dynasty on PS3 and PS4, pretty definitively wrapped up with the last two installments, the company will undoubtedly be looking for more games to spin into lucrative franchises. God of War and Spider-Man are options, but both were released in 2018, while HZD was released in February 2017. While I have no doubt sequels to all three are in the works, a theoretical HZD2 will have had the longest time to cook.
And Sony has to announce something popular to draw in the buyers. Microsoft’s already played the biggest card in its hand by announcing Halo: Infinite for Project Scarlett. While that game won’t be next-gen exclusive — it’s also coming to Xbox One and PC — it’s at least a game and a face (or helmet in Master Chief’s case) Microsoft can associate with its console.
Of the rest of the games, I’d stake my back teeth we’ll see The Last of Us Part II Remastered within a year of launch. It’d be foolish to release such an important tentpole game less than a year from the end of the console’s lifecycle and not have some plan to extend its viability into the next generation. They did it with the first Last of Us, which came out on PS3 five months before the PS4 was released and which was remastered for the PS4 seven months later.
We’ll also probably see a few new IPs. I was hoping Ghost of Tsushima would be a PS5 title, given how cool the sweet samurai moves would feel with a haptic controller, but Ryan confirmed in the announcement that it’ll be released for the PS4. Everything else is up in the air.
But what do you think? Would Horizon Zero Dawn 2 entice you to buy a PS5? Drop me a line on Twitter and let me know.