Discover how gamescom 2013 exploded into life with a stellar line-up of new PS4, PS3 and PS Vita titles - and an all-important date for your diary...
It was the big question on everyone's lips as the buzz grew around gamescom 2013 – and at the PlayStation showcase event, it fell to PlayStation president Andrew House to reveal the final piece of the PlayStation 4 puzzle, turning the promise of a late 2013 launch into a tangible date:
PlayStation 4 will be released on November 29 2013 in New Zealand.
That alone was almost enough to take the roof off the conference centre in Cologne, Germany – and the build-up to that news had been just as exciting, with a raft of announcements of new games and services coming to PS4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, as well as mouth-watering price drops for PS3 and PS Vita.
Why PS3 is still the most creative place to play
- Gran Turismo 6 was first off the starting grid for PS3, with SCEE president Jim Ryan announcing how the real racing simulator is set to take on an extra dimension of reality with Vision Gran Turismo, featuring concept cars from the world's biggest auto manufacturers. If that wasn't enough, there was the announcement of a Hollywood movie inspired by the GT series, as well as a release date for the game: 6 December 2013.
- LittleBigPlanet Hub revealed a brand new, free-to-play way to create and share your own worlds of adventure on PS3, with all of the tools, costumes and games that gamers everywhere have come to love, all in one place.
PlayStation Vita – in a universe all of its own
- Indie gaming on PS Vita had the crowd switching from stunned awe to rapturous applause, with the darkly twisted yet touchingly emotive world of Murasaki Baby receiving a rapturous reception. There was much excitement too around the announcement of BigFest, the game that puts real-world bands and musicians centre stage as players strive to become the world's best music promoter and put on their own festival.
- Big name games also received a huge response: popular loot-and-shoot adventure Borderlands 2 is set to come to PS Vita, while Twitter almost went into meltdown at news that a fully featured Football Manager is coming soon to the portable system.
- PS Vita showed why it's the best value place to play with the announcement of some all-new Mega Pack bundles, featuring a host of favourite games from the world of sport and much loved Disney adventures. And that wasn't all – there was news of a price drop, bringing the portable system down to $329.95RRP* in New Zealand.
New PS4 games for next-generation gamers
PS4 system architect Mark Cerny took to the stage to herald what he called "a renaissance in gaming" and to pay tribute to the passions of the development teams that have made PlayStation dreams a reality, before handing over to Shahid Ahmed to tell us all why PlayStation loves indie developers:
- New independent titles were announced, including Rogue Legacy, Guns of Icarus Online and Wasteland Kings, as well as Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, coming exclusively to PS4 and PS Vita. "We're proud to work with the most creative developers in the world" Shahid said, heralding a new era for dev teams to create what they want, release their games when they want, and on whichever platform they choose.
The audience was then treated to the news that 14 developers from SCE Worldwide Studios family are currently making games for PS4, with WWS president Michael Denny teasing us with talk that Naughty Dog, Media Molecule and Santa Monica Studios are included in that number. This was followed by a whole host of fresh announcements for PS4, including:
- Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, a story that begins at the end of the world with stark, moody graphics from developer The Chinese Room. Rime gave a change of pace with its storybook look and feel wrapped around an adventure of discovery, while HELLDIVERS switched the pace again with squads of elite soldiers taking on alien invaders to planet Earth. RESOGUN lit up the stage with neon blasts of shoot 'em up colour, while an extra-special cheer was reserved for Shadow of the Beast, an all-time favourite game re-imagined for PS4 with sharper blades and even bigger monsters to tackle. Minecraft is also on its way to PS4, giving all the budding builders out there a chance to flex their creativity.
- Remote play between PS4 and PS Vita systems was showcased with some swashbuckling action from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Beginning on board a pirate vessel, the action started on PS4 with blasts of cannon fire, before seamlessly transferring to the PS Vita and continuing the same game on the move as the pirate crew made for dry land.
- The PlayRoom will come pre-installed on every PS4 system, giving gamers the chance to bring robotic friends to life in their living room.
As the global head of PlayStation Andrew House wrapped up the showcase with the news of the 29 November 2013 New Zealand release date, he told the crowd "We set out to build the most powerful gaming platform with a focus on you, the gamer... and to make great gaming worlds more accessible than ever before". Tonight, those worlds came another step closer.
November just can't come quickly enough.
* Recommended retail price