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‘Shadow of Colossus’ and ‘Spider-Man’: The Greatest Takeaways from Sony’s E3 2017

With topics covering the future of PS VR, the promise for a packed 2018, and the continuation of some of its biggest franchises, what were the most memorable takeaways from Sony’s E3 2017?

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With the greatest week in video games of the year coming to a close, it has come time to reflect on the rollercoaster ride of emotions that is the Electronics Entertainment Expo.

Coming off of a spring packed with commercial and critical successes, Sony entered E3 in a dream-like position. PlayStation’s place as the current leader in the console wars eased the pressure they could have felt from Microsoft and Nintendo, and with a lineup of phenomenal titles in development, it seemed like there was no way for Sony to have an unsuccessful conference.

There was still plenty to take away from the week about the future of PlayStation, the latest in VR, and what was left to be desired from Sony’s biggest announcements.

PlayStation VR: A Risk Well-Taken

With PlayStation VR headsets surpassing one million units sold, it was expected that the hardware would have some sort of presence at E3. However, the attention granted to the hardware during Sony’s Monday showcase solidified its promising future in the PlayStation family. Five games were shown for the system, four of which were being announced for the first time.

The only game that was previously announced for the system was Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, a virtual reality edition of the 2011 hit. Bethesda’s latest edition of the game will include all of the base content as well as all of the additional DLC content, such as the Dawnguard and Hearthfire add-ons.

The four other titles, all exclusive to PS VR (it is not yet confirmed as to whether Skyrim VR will be coming to other platforms), range in genre and size, greatly expanding the platform’s library. Star Child, a sci-fi side scrolling adventure, is being developed by Playful and will be published by GameTrust. Moss follows the adventures of a young female mouse as she seeks to find answers to a magic stone, solving puzzles and defeating enemies along the way.

Supermassive Games, developers of Until Dawn, showed huge support for PS VR by unveiling two titles for the system during the conference, The Inpatient and Bravo Team. The Inpatient is a psychological thriller set in a sanatorium 60 years prior to the events of Until Dawn while Bravo Team lives in a different universe, being a first person cover shooter set in modern day Eastern Europe.

Moss and Bravo Team are coming later this year while no release dates were announced for the other titles, presumably meaning that there will be a steady stream of full game experiences coming.

Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV was also an experience shown during the sizzle reel, but is not a full game experience like the other announced titles.

Superhot VR

Outside of the showcase, even more titles have been shown to be in the works for PS VR. SUPERHOT, the unique first-person shooter that made a huge splash on PC last year, is finally coming to the PS4 and PS VR platforms. CCP Games Atlanta, the team behind Eve Online, is contributing to the platform with Sparc, a full-body experience aiming to create the world of “virtual sport,” with the VR equipment becoming your sports gear.

For gamers waiting to see whether virtual reality would catch on or just be another experiment gone awry, now may be the perfect time to invest in a headset.

No Vida for Vita

As successful as PS VR was, the lack of any mention of the PlayStation Vita solidifies that its life is coming to an end. This is not a major surprise, as the Vita has only ever had a very small (but loyal) install base.  

The only hope it has left is the PlayStation Experience stage, where Gio Corsi, Sony Senior Director of Third Party Production & Developer Relations, has consistently tried to reinvigorate excitement for the handheld.

There were rumors of a Vita 2 coming following the finding of a patent for a Nintendo Switch-like device from 2015, but Sony has shown no signs of pursuing a successor.

Not Much Is New, and That’s Not a Bad Thing

Although the Sony showcase was criticized for not having many surprises aside from the Shadow of the Colossus remake, they delivered on providing us with plenty of updates on their most anticipated titles and DLC.

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy received a new cinematic trailer revealing more about the adventures of Chloe and Nadine, while all the predictions of more Horizon: Zero Dawn were proven true by the announcement of The Frozen Wilds, an expansion to machine hunter Aloy’s story.

The largest segment of the conference was devoted to developments on the IP arriving in the coming year. God of War, which was shown for the first time at E3 2016, unveiled another trailer giving a deeper look into the relationship between Kratos and his son Atreus, a new addition to the franchise. These emotional moments were punctuated by moments of the gory combat fans of the series have come to know and love. God of War, like many other titles during the conference, was given an early 2018 release window.

Spider-Man PlayStationInsomniac’s Spider-Man, also coming in 2018, finally showed off actual gameplay and combat sequences, which were reminiscent of the beloved Arkham Batman series from Rocksteady. It became abundantly clear how the open world exploration will work, the incorporation of quick-time events, and the mechanics behind web-slinging.

The clarification needs to be made that there was plenty of new content shown, but that did not equate to a plethora of announcements about previously unannounced titles.

Unsolved Mysteries

Despite the many highs of Sony’s presentation, they still left something to be desired by failing to give release dates (or even windows) to some of the projects that have spent the longest times in development.

Days Gone, the long-in-development zombie action-adventure from Sony Bend, was shown to be a much more dynamic title than many expected, resembling Horizon: Zero Dawn more than The Last of Us, as many had criticized. However, the new hype generated by the latest gameplay was tempered by the lack of a much-needed release date announcement.

Detroit: Become HumanIn a similar vein, Quantic Dream showed a new cinematic trailer revealing another playable character for Detroit: Become Human, but continued to hide from giving any hints as to a release window for the thriller. There is no question that the game looks remarkable, and will hopefully serve as a spiritual successor to the critically-acclaimed 2010 adventure title Heavy Rain.

Sony discussed a number of developments on their upcoming titles, but ultimately failed to deliver on providing some much-needed answers that dampened the excitement surrounding the conference as a whole.

One to Watch: Last Day of June

Alongside the AAA blockbusters and cinematic sequences are always the smaller genres and titles that can easily be overlooked: walking simulators, visual novels, and even some of the more niche sports games.

One of these should be at the top of everyone’s watch lists is Last Day of June, a cinematic story game coming from Ovosonico and 505 Games. The announcement trailer shows Carl and June as they begin an outing to their favorite spot, a dock overlooking a picturesque lake. Their tale quickly takes a turn as you must try to uncover the proper sequence of events that could not only save the day, but June’s life.

With a love that calls back to the release of Disney’s “Up” and stunning animations, the game looks like a hit waiting to happen. “Murasaki Baby” director Massimo Guarini, musician Steven Wilson, and animator Jess Cope have come together to deliver a sneak peek into what has become my most anticipated game coming out of E3 and ask the question, “What would you do to save the one you love?”

If It Ain’t Broke…

It can be frustrating for their fans, but Sony has found a formula that never fails to give them some of the best press conferences in history: Spend one year announcing a plethora of new content coming in the far-off future, take the next year to polish and show gameplay from these titles, and finally release them in the time following.

They still delivered with some unexpected reveals, including those of the Shadow of the Colossus HD remake and the new lineup of VR titles, while setting a 2018 release window for God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, and Spider-Man, and those successes should not be overlooked.

There is still plenty to be excited for in the months ahead. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, the sequel to the incredible action RPG from Bandai Namco, is coming in November, and smaller titles like Thunder Lotus Games’ Sundered show that independent developers are continuing to create new and innovative content for the PlayStation Store.

Overall, Sony’s future continues to look bright, and fans of the brand should get hyped for another spectacular year of gaming ahead.

Sara Winegardner is a lifelong gamer and aspiring journalist currently based in Washington, DC. Being fed a steady diet of Pokemon, Final Fantasy, and MMORPGs since she can remember, Sara will play just about anything, even if it means grinding for hours on end. Her childhood dream is to walk the E3 floor at least once.

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Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Antlers’ Gets a Mysterious Trailer

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Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer and poster for Antlers, a rural horror film about a small-town Oregon teacher (Keri Russell) and her brother (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff, who discover that a young student (Jeremy T. Thomas) is harboring a dangerous secret that places the entire town in danger.

Director Scott Cooper and producer Guillermo del Toro have teamed to adapt a short story from Nick Antosca, the creator of the criminally underrated horror anthology series Channel Zero. Not much is yet known about Antlers other than Fox Searchlight, now owned by Disney, has scheduled the film for a 2020 release. Rounding up the main cast is Graham Green, Amy Madigan, Scott Haze and Rory Cochrane. Watch the trailer below.

Antlers Movie
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Be Excellent to Each Other with these Awesome ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ Figures

“History is about to be rewritten by two guys who can’t spell.”

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Since its release in 1989, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure inspired a sequel (Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey), a Saturday morning cartoon, a comic book series, and launched actor Keanu Reeves into movie stardom. And now, three-plus decades later, Bill and Ted are getting their own scale collectible set courtesy Sideshow and Blitzway.

This is your chance to own the friendly duo in one go! The work put into creating these high-end figures is truly astounding as the figures capture the look of a young Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves just as we remember them. If you have $399 to spend, they can be all yours.

Check out the photos below along with the official press release.

Bill and Ted are two high school buddies who dream of becoming international rock stars. Their hilarious time travel adventure is depicted in the amazingly audacious comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

It’s like having them pop up right in front of you, with their iconic fashion and elaborate accessories. Besides, the iconic props are designed to let you reproduce a variety of wonderful scenes from the movie.

Be excellent to each other and travel to the past through the exciting story of Bill and Ted!

The Bill & Ted Sixth Scale Collectible Set specially features:

Highly detailed likeness of Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston Esq.
Highly detailed likeness of Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan
Newly designed and developed male body with over 30 points of articulations and flexible soft arms
Two (2) Newly designed and developed figure stands
Twelve (12) interchangeable hands (total for both) including:
Two (2) pairs of guitar hands
Two (2) right blow fist hands
Two (2) pairs of open hands
Two (2) right good fortune hands

Costume for Bill:

One (1) purple pattern shirt
One (1) graphic t-shirts
One (1) pair of blue jeans
One (1) pair of pattern underpants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

Costume for Ted:

One (1) blue jacket
One (1) black vest
One (1) graphic t-shirt
One (1) pair of graphic shorts
One (1) pair of inner training pants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

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Watch the Creepy Trailer for ‘Little Nightmares 2’: Six is Back and She has Help.

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One of the biggest surprises to come out of Gamescom 2019 so far is the announcement of Little Nightmares 2, the sequel to the puzzle-platformer hit horror game developed by Tarsier Studios.

While the first Little Nightmares has you take control a character named Six while avoiding instant death as she traverses alone amongst the depths of a dungeon, the sequel will give her a companion named Mono, who must accompany Six throughout her terrifying new journey.  

Little Nightmares was one of our favorite games of 2017 and so we can’t wait to get our hands on the sequel. In our review, James Baker wrote, “Tarsier Studios have created a wholly original concept to a horror genre that has leaned more towards thriller before anything else, bringing its roots back without relying on jump-scares and needlessly-gory shocks. Just like hide-and-seek, Little Nightmares captures the fear of being caught, albeit in a creepy, macabre style.”

Little Nightmares 2 will be released sometime in 2020 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Watch the trailer below and if you are a fan of the first game, we recommend reading this article that dives deep into the meaning behind Little Nightmares.

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NBA 2K20’s Story Mode Gets a Stunning Trailer

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NBA 2K19 features to date, its strongest MyCareer mode with the aptly titled, “The Way Back”, a fascinating look at the culture behind college basketball recruiting. The story mode was well received by critics and fans everywhere and in our review, we called it, “an incredible achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length”.

NBA 2K20 which will be released in less than a month, promises to include an even better story mode, and while we haven’t played the game yet, we have plenty of reasons to think it might be. Not only does it feature an all-star cast with top-tier talents such as Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson, but the story mode – entitled “When the Lights Are Brightest” – is being produced by LeBron James’ Springhill Productions, the same company behind the upcoming Space Jam 2.

NBA 2K20’s latest trailer, which debuted Monday during Microsoft’s Inside Xbox show live from Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, give us a good idea of what to expect. We get a glimpse at Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson in action as well as the rest of the supporting cast which includes Thomas Middleditch, Mark Cuban, Ernie Hudson, Lamorne Morris, Scottie Pippen, and Jaleel White!

The NBA 2K20 demo will go live on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and will allow players to create a character and get a head start on MyCareer. Any progress made will carry over to the full game, which will be released Sept. 6 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

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The Transformers: Lessons in Warfare, Scale, and Childhood

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The Transformers are an enduring part of American pop culture. Starting with the introduction of the first toy lines in the early 1980s, the animated series went on to define a large part of ‘80s culture, reaching its apex with the release of The Transformers: The Movie in 1986. After a disappointing performance in theaters, however, the brand reached a nadir in the post-movie era, receding from the front of American pop culture until the late 1990s, when Transformers: Beast Wars brought the franchise to the forefront again.

It was into this climate that I was born. By the time I was old enough to watch TV and get toys courtesy of the North Pole and my parents, I began to take an interest in the series. After all, what five-year-old boy doesn’t like the idea of giant robots fighting each other for control of the earth and the universe?

My local video store (yes, those used to exist) had a copy of the first three episodes of the original Transformers series, Generation 1, on VHS. I remember renting this one particular copy from the store and watching it at least three times, sun-faded front cover and all. Even then, I loved the series, though I only had a few generic dollar-store “transformers,” an Armada Megatron that I had received for my fifth birthday, and a couple of hand-me-down G1 figures from my Dad.

Some of my earliest memories of Transformers came from a trip my parents and I took to visit my Dad’s former college roommate, a professed 80s culture geek. I remember watching a ton of G1 episodes, like “Dinobot Island,” as well as The Transformers: The Movie on his large projection-screen TV, an experience which inculcated within me an intense love of the series.

Optimus Prime The Transformers The Movie

Optimus Prime, bastion of bravery and an excellent role model for a maturing boy.

The first real episodic Transformers show that I watched with any sort of consistency, however, was Transformers: Armada. Now, I don’t remember much about this show — for good reason, as it’s derided by many Transformers fans for its poor animation, bad dubbing, and terrible story — but what I do remember is one particular toy that I really enjoyed: Armada Unicron.

I think it was the Christmas of 2002 when I first got Unicron. I remember having seen him in the store and (probably) telling my parents something or another about it, but I was utterly shocked when Santa brought it to me as a present. As a kid, Unicron was an impressive toy that towered over all of my other Transformers. He was such a hefty toy that I had trouble just picking him up from the ground. After having seen The Transformers: The Movie, I was just impressed by having the planet-eating destroyer of worlds himself in toy form. It was good to be a kid.

My consumption of Transformers-related content stayed relatively the same for a couple of years. Since my family didn’t get any of the channels that the shows came on, I was often left to make up what stories I could from my own memory, but we had Netflix (back when it was a DVD mail-in service), so I was able to watch some of the old series, including Beast Wars, Beast Machines, and Transformers: Energon on DVD. As usual, however, I spent most of my time in school or playing on my GameCube.  

When Michael Bay’s Transformers released in theaters in 2007, it ushered in an entirely new era of Transformers fandom across the world. With the return of G1 originals Peter Cullen and Frank Welker as the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, respectively, the ‘80s were alive and well again. This transformation (pun fully intended), brought about the introduction of an entirely new show, Transformers Animated, which aired on Cartoon Network. Before the days of DVR, it was nearly impossible for someone like myself, who was usually involved in any myriad of school activities on any given day, to find the time to watch a show at its air time. 

Unicron Armada Transformers Toy

Just look at this toy! Even today, it’s impressive.

However, luckily enough for me, Cartoon Network aired reruns of two episodes of Animated every day at 6:30 AM. As someone who lived literally two minutes away from school, I usually didn’t leave my house until around 7:45 or 8:00, so I had plenty of time to watch the show. I remember getting up every morning, fixing myself a big bowl of cereal, and sitting down to watch Animated before anyone in the house was up. Just me, Transformers, cereal, and a lot of fun. 

Soon, as I aged and Animated was replaced by Transformers Prime, I grew into a more nuanced appreciation for the shows’ storytelling. Prime, a dark tonal contrast with Animated, found me at the perfect time in my life. I appreciated its reverence for Optimus Prime and its overarching themes of sacrifice and leadership. While some would say it was boring or over-wrought, for a burgeoning pre-teen it was an engaging combination of cool and edgy that I thoroughly enjoyed.

When I sit down to think about the impact the Transformers series has had on my life, there’s one point in particular that sticks out to me: the imagination that playing with Transformers encouraged. While the brand was doubtlessly born of a commercial desire to sell as many pieces of plastic as possible, it nonetheless developed into a series capable of some interesting, if not always deep, storytelling. 

I copied this sense of storytelling when it came time to play with my toys. I remember incorporating various weather machines, weapons of ultimate power, and energy crystals into overarching narratives that could last a whole afternoon. Narratives in which Autobots died, lost limbs, or were otherwise in peril before the power of the Matrix of Leadership or Primus himself showed up to save them in the end. While this may not seem all that unique, I credit the series with instilling in me a sense of narrative detail. In fact, I remember not mixing my G.I. Joes and Transformers together, because in my internal head canon, they weren’t to scale (everyone knows that Transformers are at least three to four times taller than humans.) 

Megatron vs. Dinosaur G1 Transformers

I can safely say that I probably played out this exact scenario at least four or five times in my childhood.

However, Unicron himself created all sorts of problems for an internal narrative. For a being the size of a planet, he was rather puny in scale when compared to the other figures. So, I would always put Unicron to the side and pretend that the smaller Transformers were mere dots on him, tiny little specks that could barely be seen, the same as they had been in The Transformers: The Movie. I feel like the toys gave me an appreciation of the tropes of narrative fiction that I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed or appreciated. 

Today, I still love the series and try to watch The Transformers: The Movie at least once a year. Newer entries, like Transformers: Rescue Bots and Rescue Bots Academy allow me to share my love of the series with my younger siblings without encountering the darker elements of some of the classic shows. It allows me to teach them all about the Cybertronians that I grew up with, and perhaps encourage them to craft stories of their own. Now, excuse me while I help the Rescue Bots put out a fire on Wayward Island…

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Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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