A day before Sony’s fantastic presentation I had written about how much I disliked the typical E3 Conference. Awkward speakers, out-of-place celebs, and far too much telling instead of showing had me convinced E3 wasn’t for gamers, and instead a SuperBowl-like attraction for the mainstream.

But then Sony blew me away with a much higher emphasis on show over tell.

The mysterious live orchestra set the tone for delivering big news in surprising ways. Gamers play to discover, we thrive on unraveling the puzzle. Instead of having an executive blather on about sales success like it’s a stockholder meeting, Sony let the gameplay do the talking. Not a trailer either, but live gameplay from a silent (thank god) player. With a delicious amount of tension built up, Kratos appeared and rocked the house far harder than if it were told by Shuhei Yoshida himself. We experienced that part of the show like we would a game. Sounds obvious, but it’s a technique rarely used by other companies.

And how about Hideo Kojima? To see the martyr of 2015 return as a folk hero to proclaim (in English!) “I’m Back!” was incredibly heartwarming. Death Stranding is still in the very beginning stages and the fact they had a trailer of any kind was very impressive. For Sony to allow Kojima this much freedom so far is a huge PR move.

Two other examples of how to properly show off a game were Resident Evil VII and Infinite Warfare. Both were impressive gameplay videos that hooked the viewer completely before finally revealing the name. Both surprised the audience with off-series experiences. It’s become popular to pick on Infinite Warfare but I’m sure many haters were loving the ‘Captain on the bridge’ and fighter-pilot sequences before finding out it was actually the game with the most disliked video on Youtube.

Sony’s E3 2015 (FFVII Remake, Shenmue 3, Last Guardian) was extreme fan service and a joy to watch so I’m even more impressed they pulled off another stellar showing this year with a much different vibe to boot. I’m sure we’ll see a few more live orchestras next year.

Was Sony the clear winner for you at E3 2016? That’s just a conversation starter but you can talk about anything you like in the comments below, and we’ll most likely not report you.

 

 

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