Sony held its latest State of Play digital event on October 27th, featuring new third-party games coming to the PlayStation platform. While plenty of excitement was apparent going into the first State of Play in three months, Sony once again put out a dreary display, proving once again that PlayStation is still years behind what makes a Nintendo Direct so special.
Opening the show, we got our first look at Deathverse: Let it Die, a new multiplayer survival action game built around a reality show. It was fine, nothing spectacular. Not something you should open a show with. Just sets the wrong tone from the start. From here, the mood dipped further with Bugsnax DLC, the announcement that Death's Door is coming to PS5, and the umpteenth look at Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach. Where are the bangers? The big hits? The announcements that make you shake and nearly fall of your chair from uncontrollable levels of hype?
Moving forward, we then got another trailer for free-to-play racer KartRider: Drift, a new character and open beta confirmation for King of Fighters XV, as well as the social deduction (think Among Us) title First Class Trouble, which arrives on PS Plus next month. Again, all very underwhelming.
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Square-Enix next took to the stage. What have we got in store? Some Final Fantasy? More Forsaken? Maybe a new Tomb Raider game to celebrate its 25th anniversary this week? Nope, the unveiling of Star Ocean The Divine Force. Okay, deep breath. In all honesty: It looked fun! Star Ocean has its fans too. It's just not on the same level as arguably everything else in Square's locker.
To close out, we were treated to an in-depth look at Little Devil Inside, a Tim Burton-esque action adventure that looks undeniably charming. The issue? We knew about this going in. For some reason, Sony decided to make us aware of the game's appearance at the show, taking away some of the mystery and ending on a sour note.
The finale should be a big surprise! We didn't even get a release date for Little Devil Inside, a game that was being positioned as why you should buy a PS5. Nintendo Directs are renowned for its major new game reveals, or just as well diving into some of the most anticipated titles of the year. State of Play, on the other hand, could have just been a blog post.
Already a number of influencers are calling this the worst State of Play from Sony yet:
"They could’ve just dropped trailers for these games instead of making a State Of Play….", one of the top comments on the YouTube video says. Another reads: "when you get called to a meeting that could have been an email". It's funny but it's true.
Nintendo will sometimes go months without a major presentation because it has nothing to show. State of Play feels more like a blatant marketing ploy to tick some boxes with PlayStation's partners (yes I realise all of them are marketing devices to sell games but still). Sony needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink its approach. We know it's more than capable, after having a stellar outing during its PS5 Showcase in September. That wasn't a State of Play, though.
The magic of a Nintendo Direct is that you never know whether you are going to get a new Mario, Zelda or something new that completely blows your mind during its typically 20 to 40-minute presentation. State of Play is starting to feel like a press release that got out of hand. We deserve better for our time, as honestly, there's nothing quite like getting excited about upcoming video games. But to make that happen, you need actual games to get excited about.