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Sony unloads at E3 2015 with new franchises and The Last Guardian

Before Sony took to the stage late Monday night, rumors hinted at the company officially unveiling an extended look at the long-awaited follow up to 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian. Though like every E3 conference since 2007, gamers figured the rumors to be a ruse, distracting those looking forward to the show from figuring out the true big reveal before the event even began.

But unlike every one of those E3 showings over the last eight years, Sony’s Japan Studio came to this year’s presser armed with a nearly seven-minute video showing off actual gameplay from The Last Guardian. As hoots and hollars rang out from the attending crowd, it became clear Sony desired to pull no punches for its 2015 keynote.

Related: Check out all of the latest news and coverage coming out of E3

Ninety minutes after that big reveal — right around the time Nathan Drake appeared headed for his painful fate in the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gameplay demo — Sony’s E3 event came to an official close. Over the course of the hour and a half show, Sony treated gamers to a slew of exciting announcements and reveal trailers, each of which flanked by more gaming news than anyone knew what to do with. Now with the dust completely settled, we’ve compiled all of the sights, sounds, and otherwise which came out of Sony’s impressive E3 briefing; check out our complete recap below.

The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian was a game that many believed would never come to fruition, especially since it was announced more than six years ago for the PlayStation 3. However, that all changed when Sony revealed the long-in-development adventure title and showcased a lengthy game trailer during its press conference at E3 2015.

The in-game footage followed the character and a massive, dog-like guardian named Tico, as they progressed through a puzzle-riddled level, engaging in all manners of teamwork as they moved about the crumbling environment. Director Fumito Ueda and Sony have claimed the forthcoming title is all about friendship and companionship, and as seen in the latest gameplay reveal, it looks to be the case. Let’s just hope new developer Gen Design can keep the ambitious title on schedule.

The Last Guardian is slated for release sometime in 2016 as a PS4 exclusive.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

The video game industry is largely based around sequels and long-running franchises. It is an industry that runs on nostalgia and familiarity. But video game fans want variety and new experiences, too. Of all the games shown at Sony’s E3 2015 press conference, Horizon: Zero Dawn may be one of the most exciting because it’s something entirely new. This IP comes from Sony’s first-party development studio, Guerrilla Games, which is previously responsible for the long-running, Sony-exclusive FPS series, Killzone. But Horizon: Zero Dawn’s beautiful world and methodical hunting gameplay are much different from a drab and gritty sci-fi shooter.

The player assumes the role of a female huntress, stalking strange mechanical beasts in a world where humans have begun to rebuild after an apocalyptic event. This far flung future looks more like a second Ice Age — one dominated by massive dinosaur-like robots. Despite its combat focus, there’s something quiet and contemplative about the world and atmosphere of Horizon: Zero Dawn, and its protagonist that has us eager to learn more about the game.

Horizon: Zero Dawn will launch on the PlayStation 4 sometime in 2016.

Hitman

Sony officially unveiled the next chapter of Square Enix’s Hitman franchise — simply titled Hitman — during its 90 minute press conference Monday, showing off a nearly three-minute cinematic trailer. In the trailer, viewers see Agent 47 running through a particularly snowy patch of woods, with club music serving as the only audio (aside from a voice which appears to be 47’s handler). Though little was actually revealed during Sony’s time on stage, it appears the beloved assassin will once again travel to colorful locales to knock off the world’s most morally corrupt citizens, donning his signature bald head and finely pressed Italian suits.

Hitman will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 8.

Street Fighter V

Few fighting games are as iconic as those comprising the Street Fighter franchise. Sony used its E3 2015 conference to shed a little more light regarding the newest edition to the lineup, appropriately dubbed Street Fighter V, quickly announcing that two new fighters are joining the fray when the title launches next year. A scantily-clad Cammy will make an appearance alongside a chain-wielding Birdie, the latter character of which hasn’t been seen since the days of Street Fighter Alpha 3.

Sony also showed a high-adrenaline trailer for the title during its briefing — complete with cannon spikes, larger-than-life hair, and hot peppers — and announced that the beta will be available beginning July 23 to those who pre-order the title in advance. An additional beta window for PC users has yet to be announced.

Street Fighter V is currently scheduled for release in Spring 2016 as a PS4 and PC exclusive.

No Man’s Sky

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The procedurally-generated galaxy of No Man’s Sky is ambitious — perhaps that’s why we haven’t seen much from developer Hello Games since the game’s big reveal last year. However, studio co-founder Sean Murray was on hand at Sony’s press conference to debut some new in-game footage of the forthcoming title, providing audiences with a quick glimpse of just how vast it’s pet project has become.

The brief demo saw Murray traversing a galaxy brimming with vivid colors and warring factions, before he wandered a foreign planet and obliterated the destructible environment aside hostile, sentinel robots and bizarre fauna. He described it all as a “universe-size sandbox,” and frankly, the game’s sheer size is nearly as difficult to comprehend as our own place in the universe. Now, if only we could get Carl Sagan on the line.

No Man’s Sky is coming first to the PS4 at an undisclosed date in the future, with a PC version of the game expected to land shortly thereafter.

Dreams

To be honest, I don’t think Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans can accurately describe just what Dreams is going to entail, even if his studio is creating the game. Announced during Sony’s E3 briefing via an onstage demo, the title is seemingly a cooperative canvas for expression that will work to create the sensation of lucid dreaming without sleep.

Players will create and share surreal, interconnected worlds known as the “Dreamverse,” which players will build using the motion capabilities on the PS4’s DualShock controller. They will design the painting-esque works on their own, and once done, grab their creations and bring them to life using motion capture animation. Evans was beyond vague during the presentation for the new IP, but he did offer a video teeming with polar bears, zombies, and high-flying space encounters.

Dreams will arrive on the PS4 at an undisclosed date in the future, though Evans said more will be revealed during Paris Games Week in October.

Destiny: The Taken King

Destiny didn’t exactly launch to rave reviews, but that hasn’t stopped Bungie from releasing a venerable swath of content since the games initial release last fall. Announced via new trailer shown during Sony’s E3 conference, The Taken King will greatly expand upon previous expansions with a host of new content.

It’s not a sequel to the original title, per se, but it’s more robust than past expansions. The Taken King will feature a string of content exclusive to PlayStation platforms, too, while adding a new raid, additional gear, and a new subclass to all existing main character classes. The gameplay trailer laid out the surrounding narrative, which revolves around a celestial being known as Oryx who’s hellbent on eradicating the universe after the demise of his son, Crota, at the hands of the Guardians. Revenge is rarely as appealing.

Destiny: The Taken King is scheduled for release on the PS4 on Sept. 15, 2015.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

The latest installment of the oft-polarizing Assassin’s Creed received its fair share of airtime at this year’s E3. Such being the case, Sony used its press briefing to announce the breadth of exclusive content that’s to be bundled with PS4 iteration of the game when it ships in the fall.

The PS4 version of the game will offer exclusive content in the form of the Dreadful Crimes missions, which will see gamers solving a bevy of “Dreadful Crimes,” a la Sherlock Holmes. Sony also revealed a new gameplay trailer for the upcoming title, showcasing just what the stealthy Evie Frye — playable sister to protagonist Jacob Frye — is capable of when armed with the elegant Cane-Sword, a hidden blade, and an onslaught of throwing knives. The Rooks would be proud.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is slated for release on the PS4 on Oct. 23, 2015.

Firewatch

Firewatch is the first game from Campo Santo, a development studio made up of game creators from Irrational, Telltale, and Fullbright, the studios that brought us the Bioshock series, The Walking Dead, and Gone Home, respectively — an impressive pedigree. Set in in 1989 in the wilderness of Wyoming, players will take on the role of Henry, a man who has left the world behind to work as a Firewatch for a summer.

According to the trailer shown, one strange day pushes Henry out of his lookout post and into the wilderness, where he encounters a mystery. As he wanders deeper into the woods his only point of contact is his supervisor Delilah, at the other end of his walkie talkie. The game focuses on communication between Henry and Delilah and how the player’s actions affect their relationship. Firewatch was one of the more interesting titles shown, as it is a very different type of game than the action-oriented blockbusters that dominate the current gaming landscape. We’re excited to finally play Firewatch later this year.

Firewatch will launch on the PlayStation 4 later in 2015.

Final Fantasy VII

Among the many long-rumored projects video game fans have been pining for, a remake of the classic JRPG, Final Fantasy VII, ranks high on the list. Finally, after years of false hopes,Square-Enix announced at Sony’s E3 2015 press conference that a fully-fledged, modern remake of Final Fantasy VII is finally on the way.

A CG trailer showing off various recognizable locations of the game’s iconic city, Midgar, and quick look at main character Cloud Strife (and his party member Barrett’s characteristic chain gun-hand) was all we were shown of the game. This lack of gameplay details, and the fact that Square-Enix is still hard at work on Final Fantasy XIV, leads us to believe it could still be quite some time before this new version of Final Fantasy VII releases. Still, just knowing this long-awaited game is coming is enough, for now.

Final Fantasy VII does not yet have a definitive release date for the PlayStation 4.

World of Final Fantasy

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Final Fantasy is getting yet another new addition to its large library of games, this time with a more kid-oriented adventure called World of Final Fantasy. The characters and creatures of Final Fantasy have received an adorable make over, turning them into chibi-like caricatures.

According to Square-Enix, this new Final Fantasy will be a simpler experience than the Main Entries in the Final Fantasy series. Gameplay seems to be centered around wrangling taming monsters.Square said it wants World of Final Fantasy to be a game that parents can share with their children. What exactly all that actually means is yet to be revealed. What we do know is that it will be a Sony exclusive game, launching on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2016.

World of Final Fantasy will launch on the PlayStation 4 sometime in 2016.

Shenmue 3

Not only did Sony kicks things at off its E3 conference by showing new footage of The Last Guardian — a game long mired in development hell that many had long since written off as dead — but it even announced the long-awaited and long-rumored remake of Final Fantasy VII. What other surprises could they bring out after that?

Well, as it turns out, there’s a third game video game fans have been hoping for, this one for nearly 15 years. Shenmue 3, the sequel to the cult-classic Sega series, began its Kickstarter funding campaign live on Sony’s E3 stage.

While announcing a third-party Kickstarter campaign live at E3 may have seemed odd at the moment, Sony’s support for Yu Suzuki’s new game paid off. The Kickstarter campaign crushed its funding goal of two million dollars in a matter of hours, and is quickly closing in on three million. That is good news not only for Yu Suzuki and his company Ys Net, but for Sony as well, since Shenmue 3 will be be a console-exclusive on PS4 (though there will also be a PC release).

As the game has only just now entered development, we have no idea when it will be released. Still, unveiling three of the most-wanted games at one show? Sony’s E3 game was strong this year.

Batman: Arkham Knight

Sony’s press conference was primarily used to focus on games that would be launching in the months and years to come, but one game demo showed off a game that we can all play very soon. Batman: Arkham Knight, the final game in developer Rocksteady’s Arkham series, is releasing next week on June 23, 2015, and Sony made sure fans got one last good look at what’s to come.

What was shown was a creepy and rather disturbing clip of gameplay. Instead of controlling Batman, the player was in the role of a Gotham City police officer, who stops into a small diner. After getting a complaint about on of the other patrons smoking, the officer walks over to confront the man, but what he finds is much more destructive than second hand smoke. A snarling, ghoul-like creature lashes out and knocks the player down.

Raising to his feet, we see from first-person a scene of carnage and terror, as a group of the ghouls begin mercilessly murdering and mutilating the patrons of the diner. This is not the work of a supernatural force, however, but rather the work of the infamous Scarecrow.

Batman: Arkham Knight will launch on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 23. Only the PlayStation 4 will have access to the exclusive Scarecrow Nightmare Pack missions.

RIGS, Project Morpheus, and PlayStation Vue

Project Morpheus, Sony’s VR-centric offering, is inching ever closer to release. Although Sony only mentioned the headset during its 90-minute conference, the company did announce the forthcoming release of RIGS, a three-on-three FPS designed to make use of the headset. Sony also announced that PlayStation 4 Vue, its cloud-based TV service, will soon offer a-la-carte programming and be available in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The service will offer programming from the likes of Machinima and Showtime, for instance, the latter of which can be purchased for $11 a month beginning in July. PlayStation Plus subscribers will even be able to subscribe to PlayStation Vue at a discounted rate, regardless of their bundle of choice.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

One of the biggest surprises during Sony’s press conference surrounded Treyarch’s upcoming Call of Duty game, Black Ops III. After years of exclusives and timed add-ons exclusive to just the Microsoft-released versions of Call of Duty, Sony announced a new partnership with the franchise which brings upcoming add-ons to the PS4 before any other console.

To top things off, the company also announced exclusive beta access for the game, and that the exclusive partnership wouldn’t just be confined to Call of Duty: Black Ops III. During the reveal, Sony showed a new gameplay trailer with fresh new footage, and also unveiled more information about the upcoming game’s multiplayer features.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will launch on the PlayStation 4 on November 6.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition

Adding to Disney’s growing Infinity collection — which includes characters from the Marvel, Disney, and Disney/Pixar universes — Sony announced Disney Infinity 3.0, and its new partnership with the Star Wars franchise. Sony’s VP of production John Vignocchi also announced Sony’s consoles would have access to the Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire Play Set a full month before it launches on other platforms. The game’s reveal trailer showed off a particularly light-hearted rendition of the Star Wars universe, and showed the different ways players have the ability of fighting the Rebels.

Disney Infinity 3.0 will launch on PlayStation 4 this fall.

Star Wars: Battlefront

After Electronic Arts fully unveiled Star Wars: Battlefront during its own keynote, Sony gave fans of the franchise even more to drool over with a two and a half minute battle sequence on Tatooine. Over the course of the gameplay trailer, DICE and EA showed off several of the game’s gameplay mechanics, the variation of enemies, as well as the different abilities and upgrades available on the battlefield. The trailer also revealed players have the ability to play solo or cooperatively, and will have the option of playing as either a hero or villain. Similar to EA’s presser, Sony’s video ended with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader meeting on the battlefield and clashing lightsabers. Consider us incredibly excited to get our hands on the final copy of the game when it drops November 17.

Star Wars: Battlefront will launch on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on November 17.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Sony capped its impressive show by revealing seven and a half minutes of fresh Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End footage, sending spectators of the show home giddy with excitement. Though it did take a reboot of the demo before fans were actually treated to the footage, the gameplay looked incredibly smooth, and appeared an absolute blast to play.

The trailer showcased the series’ tight gunplay, Assassin’s Creed style climbing, as well as an action-packed driving sequence chock full of all the typical Nathan Drake/Sully quips fans of the franchise have grown to love. Naughty Dog’s Uncharted games have routinely been some of the finest gaming experiences for Sony’s consoles with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End looking like a lock to continue this tradition.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will launch on the PlayStation 4 sometime in 2016.