It might well last another 2 full calendar years, but something feels like we are definitely hitting the end of this console generation soon. Sony’s first party studios have for the most part now delivered their latest hits with a few big guns still yet to release, but we know of their existence.
We know that Sony won’t be participating at E3 this year, so things all seem to be adding up to a possible showcase come the end of the year. What that might entail, we have no idea, it’s pure speculation, but it all seems to feel like a wind down now as we slowly move to a new generation.
With that in mind, I fancied writing up a look back at the generation. But more so exclusively the time with PlayStation 4 (I did own a Wii U and a Switch, but the most time spent was on the PS4).
Year One – 2013
This is where it all began, 2013, well, November 2013. So it wasn’t a full year, but a good end of the year. At this juncture in my life I would be getting married in the April of 2014. So a lot of disposable income, wasn’t disposable at all, it was going into various items for the wedding. I didn’t even bother pre-ordering the PS4, it seemed like something I’d have to wait till after the honeymoon to buy. So with that, stock in stores went, it became pretty much impossible to pre-order a PS4. The closer to launch, the more I wished I could have gotten one.
Out of the blue on the 28th November, I’m browsing Eurogamer and read that 150 Tesco stores in the UK will be selling PS4’s as a first come first serve basis from midnight, I check and see my local Tesco is doing this. I take a chance and text my at the time fiance if there is any money at all we could use to get one. I get a reply of “No”, then a followup text of “If you really want one, we can take it out of the wedding fund, but you’ll need to settle for a cheap wedding ring”. Sold, the rest is history as they say as later that night I am 23rd in line and get a Killzone bundle PS4 on launch night.
There was something about the launch of the PS4 that was magical. The E3 conferences from both Microsoft and Sony completely blew this generation up. Microsoft took some heavy hits from what was quite simply an atrocious reveal, whereas Sony counteracted the terrible news with positive replies that had people hyped. Antonio Banderes became an unofficial sales celebrity for the launch as the infamous GIF of him looking bewildered and shocked became a repeated thing from gamer’s and even Shu Yoshida himself. Naughty Dog recreated it with Joel. The air and buzz of the PS4 launch was just all extremely positive and hyped. I remember being at home waiting to get to Tesco to get my ticket for the PS4 following the launch hype on the internet as the rest of Europe were having launch parties. Berlin was rocking, it was just an incredibly hyped launch.
So 2013 was very much about the hype towards the PS4 launch, the ultimatum that I cheap out on a wedding ring over a PS4 and picking up Killzone and NBA 2K14 and those being the only 2 games I had physically in 2013. NBA being picked up as it was also one of the games that drove the hype through the roof for me based on how impressive it looked visually.
2013 Games Purchased = 2 – PS4 Physical Game Collection Count = 2
Year Two – 2014
The first full year of retail saw 2 large first party games release with Infamous First Son and The Last of Us Remastered. I never purchased Infamous but did play it thanks for borrowing it from a friend. As for TLOUR I got this for Christmas of 2014. Aside from those 2 launches, Infamous got DLC that received a physical release. I picked this up and third party games were starting to hit their stride with Watch_Dogs finally releasing. Battlefield 4 released in 2013, but I didn’t pick this up until the new year as it had dropped in price a tad. So my collection was starting to grow. Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeros released for what was at the time considered a bargain price compared to other full retail games of £15. I then spent after the wedding picking up other games that had released near the launch of the PS4 that I missed out on such as Assassins Creed: Black Flag and Knack. 2014 also saw the release of GTA V for PS4 and Xbox One. This game would be installed in 2014, then would not be installed until the winter of 2018 due to another large Rockstar Game releasing.
I wasn’t particularly fond of the Assassins Creed franchise, but Black Flag enticed me due to the new mechanics it added of being a pirate. Pirate ship battles, and side activities such as fishing and the like just did enough to take my mind off this being an actual AC game. I wouldn’t get another AC game till some time later in the generation.
Watch_Dogs 1 did impress visually, and I did enjoy it and got a respectable trophy haul from it eventually. Battlefield and NBA2k14 were where many of my hours were spent until GTA5 arrived. I also picked up Thief this year but never completed it straight away. At the time I thought it was quite a good game. Its now looking back so many years later I realise it’s purchase at the time was made in hype of the next instalment in a once amazing series had released. Also 2014 will remain a year I remember the PS4 as Boobies. Watch_Dogs, Thief and GTA5 contained a fair few moments of boobies.
2014 Games Purchased = 11 – PS4 Physical Game Collection Count = 13
Year Three – 2015
2015 will go down in history for PlayStation fans as the year that “Every dream has come true”. E3 2015 for Sony was honestly earth shattering for the video games industry. To debut Horizon Zero Dawn, continue to increase the hype for Uncharted 4 and No Man’s Sky (Which at the time before all the terrible press was looking like a stellar game), re-reveal the mythical Last Guardian and then pull out reveals for Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Shenmue 3 in one conference. Well, good luck all to follow that. It was an incredible event. I watched live in my spare bedroom in the early hours of the morning, stood up, pumping the air trying to keep myself muted while inside I wanted to explode. It’s weird to say, but it felt like one of the occasions where you were witnessing something massive live, like a where were you moment, but in videogame history. It was just an absolute joy to watch and the hype ran through me for hours… days even after.
While so far only one of the trinity has released The Last Guardian (which you can read my late to the party post about here), at the time of typing this up, there is a PlayStation state of Play due to hit at 11pm which is heavily rumoured to feature FF7Remake update, so this post could well be out of date in a matter of hours.
And while we were all talking about E3 2015 for months, the news would continue to get better for us with the announcement that Kojima’s new independent studio would be working exclusively on a PlayStation 4 title.
Away from that my year with PS4 in 2015 was fantastic due to some heavy hitters releasing throughout the Spring and Summer. The Witcher III, Batman Arkham Knight and Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain all launched month after month. And all 3 were an absolute pleasure to play. MGSV got some stick from what seemed like the rushed finish without Kojima, but it still sticks with me as one of the highlights of this generation, the mother base upgrading was fantastic as were the game mechanics when on missions. Your allies you attained were awesome, simply put a masterpiece in my eyes that sadly fell off a cliff edge due to the rush job to get it to retail without Kojima. You can reminisce on my thoughts of MGSV through my impressions posts here and here.
2015 Games Purchased = 13 – PS4 Physical Game Collection Count = 26
Year Four – 2016
2016 for me and my PlayStation 4 was the year of the backlog. I ended up splashing out on games that had released in the months and years prior to 2016 that I’d always wanted to play. I also had a really lovely haul for Christmas 2016 too which gave my PS4 collection a nice boost.
I played perhaps one of the greatest single player FPS campaigns this generation in Titanfall 2, And I would also play another game that had glowing reviews and was for most outlets touted as the better campaign, DOOM, but that wasn’t the case for me, Titanfall 2 campaign stood head and shoulders above DOOM. What did come close to it’s brilliance in my eyes were the Wolfenstein games, Old Blood and New Order. It was a great year for me in that regard to FPS campaigns.
2016 was also the year I put stupid amounts of hours into 7 Days to Die and actually played online with some friends for the first time, despite us all being PS4 gamers all generation.
And 2 of the big games from previous E3’s finally released. Uncharted 4 and No Man’s Sky. UC4 was outstanding, simply outstanding. Was it ever in doubt. No Man’s Sky? Well, we all know how that went at launch don’t we. But credit due to Hello Games, despite radio silence for months, they would go above and beyond to turn the ship around to create the game that had so much promise from the very early reveals.
As for the life of a PlayStation 4, E3 2016 did it’s damn best to beat 2015, and the games it out put in this conference were incredible. Our first look at God of War and Days Gone. Horizon, The Last Guardian and Detroit all featured. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy was confirmed. Death Stranding and Spider-Man were also revealed as well as Resident Evil 7. Another all time epic E3 from Sony.
There was also a really interesting trip that Mark Cerny and Hideo Kojima took at the start of the year. Moving around all of Sony’s first party studios getting to grips with their game engines and technologies to assist with the creation of Death Stranding. I did a round up post of it here in 2016, it still makes me smile looking back on it now.
PlayStation Experience was equally as impressive revealing Uncharted The Lost Legacy, The Last of us II, Knack II, Wipeout Omega Collection, Parappa The Rappa and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.
2016 Games Purchased = 24 – PS4 Physical Game Collection Count = 50
Year Five – 2017
2017 for me was the year of the first party, well, one of them anyway. Horizon: Zero Dawn finally launched and was incredible. There was tough competition for game of the year though as Nintendo released quite frankly one of the greatest games of all time with Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Horizon however was still an absolutely fantastic game from Guerilla and would continue the string of success Sony had found with their first party game flow as of late.
E3 2017 for Sony was a weird year, the games that they had on show were all absolutely incredible. God of War, Spider-Man, Detroit, Uncharted Lost Legacy as well as DLC for Horizon and the reveal of Shadow of the Colossus, yet despite this, it still felt a tad flat compared to the last 2 years, but what can you expect, Sony threw the big guns out early in the generation and by this point we know what the first party studios are working on, or have already released up to date.
Returning to my year with PS4, as mentioned it was all about first party games for me. I picked up Horizon, Parappa the Rapper, Wipeout Omega Collection, The Last Guardian (hence my Lttp Post above), Uncharted Lost Legacy, Everybody’s Golf and Until Dawn. And while technically not a PS4 exclusive, Crash Bandicoot always felt like a PS mascot to me, well he’d finally return home to PS4 this year with N.Sane trilogy getting a summer release.
Despite all that goodness though, 2017 would be the year I purchased 2 games that featured in my top 3 most played games that Sony would release to us 2 years later. Stardew Valley and Call of Duty: WW2. Now I had every CoD game for PS4 yearly to this point, but the WW2 story brought my friends who owned PS4’s online for the first time in since… well the first time. I was actively playing CODWW2 with minimum 3 friends every night from launch till new year. This was certainly unusual and sadly we’ve all since declined our online play again.
The other game that sits proudly as my most hours pumped into was Stardew Valley. That game, that ridiculously charming and addictive game. Honestly at the time of typing this up I’ve just started my 4th farm with 14 hours clocked so far. My other 3 farms range from 40 to 70 hours logged. I don’t what it is about this game that keeps pulling me back in, but it’s incredible.
2017 Games Purchased = 24 – PS4 Physical Game Collection Count = 74
Year Six – 2018
E3 2018 for Sony was a weird one. Once again some heavy hitters featured, but they opted for a really bizarre presentation which involved moving the audience from room to room. But we did get a good deep dive at our next holy trinity if you will with Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima and Last of Us II. Not to mention world premiere of Resident Evil Remake 2, Control and Nioh 2.
As for me as a player, it was another excellent year for my first party studios itch as the stunning God of War released to glowing reviews. Detroit also released and the year ended with Spider-Man launching. 3 excellent first party offerings. But the year didn’t end there with Red Dead Redemption 2 also releasing and competing to the death with God of War to win as many game of the year awards as can be.
My first party collection also picked up Ratchet and Clank which was a fantastic from the ground up remake, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this game, and picking up Shadow of the Colossus which sadly still hasn’t been played yet. I’ll get there.
But aside from the obvious God of War, RDR2, Spider-Man another game released which was one of the highest on my priority list. Shenmue 1 & 2 Remasters. They finally did it, they finally listened and released. What was initially supposed to be in time for Shenmue 3’s launch, that however was sadly delayed for another year, but please Yu Suzuki, take all the time you need to polish that game up nicely. I’ve waited 18 years since completing Shenmue 2 the first time round, I can wait a few more months now I know it will finally happen.
But it would seem the response to Sony’s new E3 format didn’t go too well, and Sony announced that they would not be partaking in E3 2019, and wouldn’t host a PSX event in 2018 either. We’ve possibly reached the Endgame with regards to whats left to show for PS4. We know of the next trinity of games, we’re still awaiting FF7 and Shenmue and studios such as Santa Monica, Guerilla and Insomniac (yes I know not 1st party) have all since got their PS4 exclusives out and are probably too early in development to reveal what they’re on next.
Oh and side tangent, I became a dad on October 31st 2018. I had all of November off for paternity leave, which was really quite impeccable timing with the release of RDR2.
2018 Games Purchased = 21 – PS4 Physical Game Collection Count = 95
Year Seven – 2019
And here we are, with the arrival of my son Travis, my gaming did take a dip, not to mention as did my disposable income. 2019 has so far seen some epic games release. Resident Evil 2 Remake, Devil May Cry V and the eagerly anticipated Days Gone. Sadly though I’ve yet to dip into any of these. Instead I’m still cursing Limited Run games and their various competitors for their ridiculously good work in bringing some of the finest digital indie games to physical format. Thus far the Jak and Daxter trilogy from Limited Run has been ordered with 1 & 2 arriving in April and May with the 3rd ordered in May due to arrive in July I’d guess? They also secured distribution rights to a Game of the year nominee in Celeste, so naturally I’ve had to secure myself a physical copy of this which is also due to arrive in July. And lastly Hollow Knight finally got announced with a limited physical print. I’d been holding out buying this game for yonks despite friends left and right gushing how good it is. Well come July I can finally find out as it’ll arrive then.
With no E3 to look forward to, Sony have started to follow Nintendo’s lead and do mini updates akin to the Nintendo Directs, they’re named State of Play, and at the time of writing this, the 2nd State of Play was due to happen. You’ll no doubt have seen and read the updates from that before this is published however.
It’ll be an interesting year for Sony as Microsoft march on towards next gen with what’s expected to be a full console reveal at E3 2019, and Nintendo Switch selling absolute gangbusters.
Either way I’m in, and ready to begin the launch hype all over again. Long live Antonio Banderas.
On a slight tangent, throughout the last 2 years, I’ve loved how the first party studios have started to congratulate each other on their launches of big games by drawing some fantastic cross over art work. It’s been a pleasure to stumble across some of these on my Twitter feed. And not to mention Sony Santa Monica’s sterling job of recreating popular gifs using God of War characters. My admiration for one of them even got me a like from Mr God of War himself Cory Barlog 🙂 .
2019 Games Purchased = 5 – PS4 Physical Game Collection Count = 100