Sony Showcase; The Highlights

The first shot has been fired on the front of 2023’s-Not-E3 Marathon, and it came to us in the form of a cloud-based Sony Switch, Ready Player Turismo, and… Airpods?

My cynicism aside, it was actually a fairly solid showcase! Especially if you like JRPGs, towers, and the word ‘Fantasy’ in the title.

But even if you’re more like me, inclined towards the weird, the indie, the high energy, and the big swings there were still plenty of highlights.

Phantom Blade 0

Phantom Blade was the fifth announcement of the showcase but was the first one to really make you feel like you were watching a Sony conference.

Ghostrunners 2 is cool, FAIRGAME$ might be exciting if you know Haven Studios, but Phantom Blade immediately sent me back to the days of E3 and the Ghost of Tsushima announcement.

Its highly stylized gameplay looks to meet Sony’s bar of cinematic single-player experiences, and it’ll be exciting to see if it can stand amongst Ghost of Tsushima, God of War, and another franchise (that we will be discussing later) in that regard.

No release date shown. And don’t worry, that’s not the last time I’ll be saying that.

Swords of the Sea

I recognize that sand anywhere.

Swords of the Sea is the latest entry in the “Disciples-of-Journey” sub-genre which seems to grow every year.

And for my money, that ain’t a bad thing. Trying to emulate the magic of one of the greatest video games ever made is absolutely a noble and noteworthy pursuit worthy of an entry here.

Further still, beyond the talent that was attached to this and the original Journey, this game looks good.

Its impressive visuals, art style, and skate/surfboarding mechanics feel like it could be the next evolution of these flow state like games, adding an additional level of mechanical complexity this subgenre could benefit from.

No release date on this one yet.

Cat Quest: Pirates of the Purribean

If you haven’t played Cat Quest or its stellar sequel, Cat Quest II, I bet you were pretty surprised to see a game that looks like this make it into a Sony showcase.

You may be further surprised it made it into this round-up. But you shouldn’t be, don’t sleep on this.

The Cat Quest games, apart from being some of the highest reviewed on Steam ever, are unique, laid-back, deeply enjoyable RPG Lites that will absolutely make a weekend with a friend or significant other, and I cannot wait to dive back in.

Cat Quest: Pirates of the Purribean will release sometime in 2024.

Alan Wake 2

Alan Wake 2 feels like it could be one of those miracle video games.

The idea that a sequel to this cult classic would ever happen is so heartwarming because you can tell from the very thought, as well as the trailer, that it could only come from a place of true passion from this studio.

And it helps the game looks very impressive. From its gorgeous, haunting visuals, to the way it seems to lean into its unique storytelling aspects, to its updated gameplay, Alan Wake 2 is one of two sequels in this showcase that feel like they come from a genuine place and have the potential to delight.

Alan Wake 2 releases on October 24th, 2023.

Revenant Hill

I am not usually inclined to include many announcements or non-gameplay trailers in a round-up like this.

In an industry so awash with cancellations, a simple announcement with no real proof of the game’s existence runs too high the risk of not existing within the next year.

But exceptions are always made, and this year, Revenant Hill takes it. Finji Studios’ newest published project seems to aim at some large, societal ideas while still retaining the iconic Night in the Woods art style and its original writers and narrative designers.

No release date for this, but definitely one of the most intriguing of the showcase.

Dragons Dogma 2

I screamed so loud I almost got in trouble with my landlord.

Joining the ranks of Alan Wake 2, Dragons Dogma 2 is the second miracle video game on this list in concept, and boy does it look like it in execution as well.

Retaining the excellent presentation of its cinematic and kinetic combat, Dragons Dogma 2 is looking to double down on everything that made the original so worthy of its campaign to come back.

The renewed world of Dragons Dogma is looking fresh and alive, and fans of the original like myself can spot many exciting details and easter eggs that point to the passion of this passion project.

No release date and that’s fine by me. Take your time with this one.

Arizona Sunshine 2 and Synapse

The VR section of the Sony Showcase is sure to only excite a few people watching it but there were two standouts.

Arizona Sunshine 2 is the sequel to the honestly pretty excellent original and seems to capture everything that made the first special while doubling down on its campiness and humor.

And Synapse is a puzzle, psychedelic, perhaps Dishonored-esque inspired shooter that, if for no other reason, seems to be worth the price of admission just to throw around some ragdolls.

Synapse releases July 4th, 2023 and Arizona Sunshine 2 is out later this year.

Honorable Mentions

This was a packed showcase, and it’s hard to include everything in a reasonable amount of time.

Some games are very much noteworthy, but just didn’t show enough gameplay or have already been seen so much it just didn’t feel like they need to be included.

With that said, definitely keep an eye out for;

  1. Ghostrunners 2
  2. Talos Principle 2
  3. Neva
  4. The Plucky Squire
  5. Metal Gear Solid 3 Remake
  6. Marathon

And with that, in the most expected finale ever–

Spider-Man 2

The Sony execs rewatched that legendary Uncharted 4 demo and one of them went, “What if we did that, but with Spider-Man?”

And then, quite miraculously, another exec said, “What if we did that with two Spider-Men?”

Insomniacs extended gameplay showcase not only confirmed that the quality of the original has been maintained in both style and substance but also justifies the 2 in the title.

Not only will we be playing as both Miles and Peter as main characters, but the knock-out revelation of the Symbiote suit justifies the price tag alone.

The differentiation between the two characters’ abilities only seems further fleshed out and serves to make an even more highly-flying adventure through a redone, shockingly dense New York City that fully utilizes the power of the PS5.

Spider-Man 2 is out Fall 2023.