In the current times, a lot of people who are gamers will tune into video game showcases that occur. This includes the very popular Nintendo Directs, PlayStation’s State of Play, and Xbox Showcases. There are more shows, but I am going to just talk about the three main companies. Well, last Wednesday (May 24th, 2023), PlayStation had a showcase that was over an hour long that showcased a lot of games. While there were a bunch of games shown, a lot of fans did not seem happy with the showcase. Well, I am going to talk about my thoughts on the showcase and also talk about showcases in general.
So, first off my thoughts on the showcase – it wasn’t actually the most terrible thing if you really look at the games that were shown. I think I counted eleven games out of the showcase that I was interested in; either with day-one purchases or one that I will possibly get in the future. These eleven games were: Neva, The Plucky Squire, Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater, FOAMSTARS, Hell Divers 2, FFXVI, Revenant Hill, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Sword of the Sea, and Phantom Blade Zero. Not all of the games in this list are new announcements or exclusives to the PS/PC ecosystem, but that is actually okay in my opinion.
First off, let’s go back a bit in terms of what Sony did when they were at E3. This is when E3 was still around and before they had PlayStation State of Play events. PlayStation would show games off that they were working on for multiple years at a time because that was when a lot of eyes were on them at once and they never did any other first-party showcases or state of plays throughout the year. Below are just a couple of examples of games that Sony showed many years in a row for first-party titles.
- God of War – 2016, 2017, released in 2018
- Horizon Zero Dawn – 2015, 2016, released in 2017
- Days Gone – 2016, 2017, 2018, released in 2019
- Death Stranding – 2016, 2017, 2018, released in 2019
- Marvel’s Spider-Man – 2016, 2017, 2018, released in 2018
- Detroit Become Human – 2016, 2017, released in 2018
Besides first-party titles, they have always showcased games from multiple partners and third-party developers with some being exclusives, but a good amount of them were multi-platform releases. This last showcase was no different. Let’s say they showcased every single game that they have in development from all of the different studios in their portfolio or exclusive deals. The show could probably be over two hours but would I rather them all be shown at once, or rather have it spaced out over the course of the year. Since the State of Play is around, like Nintendo Directs, they don’t have to show everything all at once like they have had to do in the past. Granted, it has been a while since the last big “showcase”, and people had high hopes, but I think people always should keep expectations in check when it comes to events like this, regardless of how long it has been.
There are games that they announced and released quicker than others in recent times, like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, and more. In the showcase, they talked about 2023 games and 2024 games for the most part, and while there are 2023/24 and TBD console-exclusive games like Stellar Blade, Rise of the Ronin, Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth, Eternights, Silent Hill 2 Remake, Wolverine and more that were already announced, there were also brand new announcements plus Spider-Man 2 and FFXVI. Also, people have to really remember that there are more opportunities for them to showcase first-party titles; State of Plays aren’t necessarily just third-party titles. Then there are also other events such as Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest next week, or Gamescom Opening Night Live in August.
Now, here is the question that I want to ask. Would you rather see the same first-party games multiple times for the next few years before they release? Or would you rather have games announced and then have them go quiet for a long time? What about shown a couple of times when the games are closer to coming out? Are there any other suggestions that could work? Personally, I really like how they are keeping things closer to their chest than showing things all at once. I am also going to briefly look at how Xbox and Nintendo showcase their titles recently too as it would be worth seeing the differences between the companies.
In terms of the Microsoft and the Xbox team, they have been announcing games very far out from release. Sure, there are games that have no build-up, get showcased once, is shadow dropped, and become a hit with fans and critics (yes I described Hi-Fi Rush from this year), but it isn’t common for Xbox first-party titles. I play on PC, which has Xbox games that also launch on PC Game Pass, and I don’t currently own an Xbox Series system for the simple fact that first-party releases are more dry compared to PS5; even if there are more announcements of games coming. Here are some of the announced games from Xbox that still haven’t even come out yet or have had no more information on, multiple years later.
- Everwild – Announced at X019 (November 2019) and then was shown at the 2020 showcase. It has since gone dark and reportedly was rebooted, and hasn’t been seen since.
- Perfect Dark – Announced at The Game Awards in 2020. In 2021, Crystal Dynamics was announced as a co-developer and has been dark ever since.
- Fable – Announced in 2020 and has since been dark.
- State of Decay 3 – Announced in 2020, and then went dark. In September 2022 Xbox announced Undead Labs working with The Coalition, but has since been quiet.
- Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga – First announced in 2019 it went dark for a little while. At the 2021 Game Awards, the first gameplay was shown. At GDC 2023, it had a facial trailer that showcased the visuals, but not much beyond that. The game has been dark since.
- Avowed – Announced in 2020 and has since been dark.
- Indiana Jones Game – Announced in January 2021 and has since been dark.
Granted, Covid-19 came out and hit a lot of industries hard, and gaming was no exception. However, Nintendo and Sony both have had major releases on their consoles, and yet Xbox cannot get there just yet with super solid releases consistently. Not to say they haven’t had good titles as they have had some good ones like Pentiment, the aforementioned Hi-Fi Rush, and Psychonauts 2. PlayStation and Nintendo aren’t perfect for their releases either, but they are more solid compared to Xbox in solid titles coming out back to back (at least the first-party developed ones). Now, there is an Xbox and Bethesda showcase on June 11th, 2023 that will showcase more games such as Forza Motorsport, and a dedicated Starfield Direct right after the main show. What games are coming to the main show besides Forza? We will just have to wait and see. Who knows, maybe 2023 is going to be a packed year for the green team!
Nintendo has done many game releases in the past multiple years, with many of them not having a long time between an announcement and when the game releases. There have also been some bumps and issues with long times. Below are a few examples of each type of release for Nintendo. There was one game, Advanced Wars 1+2 Reboot Camp that was impacted due to real-world issues, but the other three were not.
Short Announcement to Release
- Metroid Prime Remastered – Announced at the February 2023 Nintendo Direct. The digital version was shadow-dropped and then the physical copy came out two weeks later.
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars – Announced at the September 2020 Super Mario 35th Direct on September 3rd, 2020, and released two weeks later on September 18th, 2020.
- Kirby Fighters 2- Announced and was shadow dropped on September 23rd, 2020. (It did technically leak a day earlier, however).
- Everybody 1-2 Switch! – Announced last night (June 1, 2023) and is releasing June 30th. 2023.
Long Announcement to Release/Still In Development
- Tears of the Kingdom – Announced at E3 2019 and released May 12th, 2023.
- Advance Wars 1+2 Reboot Camp – Announced at Nintendo Direct June 2021 for release on December 3rd, 2021. It was delayed until April 8th, 2022; but then in March 2022, the game was indefinitely delayed due to the war of Ukraine. The game released in April 2023.
- Metroid Prime 4 – Announced at E3 2017. The game went quite for a while, and was eventually rebooted in 2019 at Retro Studios. The game has been quiet ever since.
- Bayonetta 3 – Announced at The Game Awards 2017. The game went quiet until the July 2022 when the game had been given a release date of October 2022. The game lived up to the wait, it just took a while. Check out my review here.
They don’t just have very short releases/shadow drops or very long wait times for their games, but most of the time they have games announced between three and nine months before they are ready to launch. For a recent example, Xenoblade 3 was announced in February 2022 and was launched on July 29th, 2022 after being moved up from its initial August release date. I like this approach since the Nintendo Directs will always have new first-party reveals in them and not just see the same games repeatedly. Sony appears to be holding things a lot closer to their chests; just like Nintendo for most things, and I kind of hope that the Xbox team starts to do that kind of thing too soon instead of spilling a lot of what they are working on and then going quiet till release.
In closing, when looking at the three companies, each of them has different ways of having their games announced and shown. Nintendo does mostly shorter instances of games announced to be released. Xbox has been doing a lot of game announcements many, many years in advance which is problematic when there are fewer games being released for that platform. Sony has done a mixture of the two, and in my personal opinion; it works for them. Plus, each of the companies shows 3rd party titles in their showcases, both exclusive titles for that platform and multi-platform releases. Unfortunately, and I will be blunt here, none of the companies can ever make every single video game player on the planet happy at once, it’s just not possible. Even with the perfect Nintendo Direct, or the perfect State of Play, there will always be some folks that just wanted more or just wanted something different. That is why they are a double edge sword; fans are thrilled for the next title on the platform, but they will always be wanting more than what is shown at any given time.