Game News Roundup: May/June 2020

Hello and welcome to my new semi-regular series assorting game news into one convenient place, so you don’t have to worry about those pesky cracks that some info tends to fall through at more major publications!

As one woman I can’t completely guarantee that I will cover absolutely every single scrap of information available in a given timeframe, but I assure you I will always do my best. The news featured here will be ordered in roughly chronological order of announcement, with the larger presentations and events they were part of marked accordingly, but as some of those are multi-day affairs, there will be some consolidation of info superceding the overall news timeline at times. Also the Sony event comes last because it’s the most eventful.

Credit and thanks to the banner image to the Avocado’s one and only Space Robot

There are many allegations emerging about various games industry figures in the past weeks relating to sexual violence, emotional violence, workplace discrimination, and more. A mass breaking of silence such as this, and those also presently occurring in other entertainment industries including comics and wrestling, is a deeply essential thing for our collective well-being. It is socially essential, culturally essential, it is essential to the health and improvement of these ecosystems. Silence is violence. I wholly encourage my readers to educate themselves on these events, and while I won’t ignore them here throughout this piece where relevant, it’s better to directly listen to the voices of the survivors and victim whenever and wherever possible.

On May 7th, the first dedicated Inside Xbox event for Microsoft’s next console premiered, running roughly a half hour with an exclusive third party focus, and beginning their summer ’20/20′ series of events, which are set to continue in July with a first-party focused next-gen event. The platform codenamed Lockhart, a budget-priced and digital-only console with hardware equivalent to Series X scaled to a balance between it and Xbox One X, which has been reported on since late 2019 when Series X was first revealed but remains unofficial info for the time being, was reportedly scheduled to debut in a June event that was since rescheduled to August. Microsoft denies that an event between the May Inside Xbox and the promised July first-party showcase was ever planned.

On May 12th, Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest series, which will continue through to Gamescom in August, kicked off with the first trailer for Activision and Vicarious Vision’s Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2, which will release for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One on September 4th 2020. It remasters the original two entries in the series at an intended higher level of quality and faithfulness than previous rereleases, while incorporating popular tricks from later titles, new pro skaters alongside updates of the original skater models, and all but six of the licensed songs returning. VV’s history with building the Game Boy Advance and other handheld ports for the Pro Skater series, as well as recently developing the very successful Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remasters in 2017 and 2018.

Summer Game Fest is primarily an approved secondary or simultaneous host for the separately streamed/released videos of its various partners, like IGN and others, with occasional dedicated pre and post show coverage. The most notable of the exclusive/first-refusal reveals it’s had so far occurred the next day after Pro Skater with the first presentation of Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 on May 13th.

The Unreal Engine 5 presentation attracted praise, analysis and skepticism in equal measure in its promise of providing the most affordable and accessible possible options for rendering AAA photorealistic visuals for developers of all sizes and platforms of all kinds. UE5 fully releases in 2021 after a preview period, intended for forward-compatibility with projects currently built in UE4. Alongside this Epic announced new royalty terms for UE 4 and 5, wherein the first $1 million in gross revenue for an UE-developed games is completely waived, applying retroactively to the beginning of 2020, to further emphasize this initiative of potential accessibility.

That same week also had a Ghost of Tsushima State of Play and the reveal trailer for Nintendo and Intelligent Systems’ Paper Mario: The Origami King, both of which release two weeks and two days from today as of this publication, on July 17th. The new Paper Mario game remains controversial due to it dancing along the hard-drawn lines between the classic RPG early entries in the series and the later ones, and only more so following its overview trailer in June and the even more recent preview interviews and coverage.

Between May 21st and May 29th, Riot Games had two digital presentations as part of its ongoing campaign to substantially expand its ‘brand’ through multimedia, new games set in the same League of Legends universe, etc. It announced that the MOBA that started it all has optimized mobile and console ports in development. Details on its release date and platforms are planned for an undefined later date, but it can be roughly expected to release in the fall season and on at least all current-gen consoles. It also announced that its entry into the battle royale market, Valorant, was transitioning from early access closed beta to launch on June 2nd.

Activision continued its more active Summer Game Fest partnership with the June 22nd reveal of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. The game had leaked during the weekend leading up to the reveal, with a Thai ratings board displaying the game’s title and possible cover art, followed by the gradual appearance online of various screenshots from Monday’s trailer. Keighley proceeded to promote that the game’s first trailer would debut on his stream, and for some reason an ALF puppet was also featured in the event. The game releases on October 2nd, 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

On June 9th, Bungie streamed a “The Future of Destiny” video detailing not only the current expansion and the next expansion to release this September for the premiere indie free to play looter shooter, and the process of removing some older content via a Content Vault to balance the forthcoming development process for the game, but also providing some info on the next two years’ worth of expansions as well through 2022. This was accompanied by broader assertions that under their own publication, Bungie will continue to support Destiny 2 beyond those currently dated expansions and will not be considering a third distinct game for the foreseeable future, given the consequences there were for forcibly splitting the player base with this game’s original launch only 3 years after Destiny.

The multi-week IGN Expo series of livestreams concluded just this week, which were one of the first shows announced among the year’s premiere Not-E3 TM events, but has been since somewhat overshadowed by the various presentations from all the main hardware publishers who have refused to fully play ball with either IGN or Geoff Keighley, things like Microsoft and Sony’s self-contained events, and Nintendo’s surprise trailer shadowdrops. Every single piece of info from IGN’s presentations will be contained in short-form with a series of footnotes, but beyond that I will provide a more substantive highlight reel elaborating on certain announcements.

Expo #1 June 10th: 1

The Waylanders – The involvement of Chris Avellone was heavily touted until he was officially severed from the game at the top of last week after numerous allegations of harassment and abuse surfaced from throughout his career.

IGN Expo Day 2 June 11th: 2

IGN Expo Day 3 June 12th: 3

IGN Expo Day 4 June 15th: 4

IGN Expo Day 5 June 24th (Last Wednesday): 5

And just this week on June 30th, they wrapped up with Madden NFL 21 Gameplay and dev Interview, Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning Interview and exclusive gameplay, Airborne Kingdom exclusive gameplay, and updates for Fallout 76’s DLC Roadmap.

Recently relaunched media site The Escapist held a 130 minute digital Indie Showcase on June 11th, which was primarily focused on new info for previously announced titles, such as an August 18th release date for Helheim Hassle, and a second trailer reconfirming a Fall 2020 release for the hotly anticipated metroidvania Axiom Verge 2 after it was announced in the December Nintendo Indie World presentation. Some of the new titles revealed here include the meme-ready shoot-em-up Proto Corgi, and puzzle games Unto the End and Deleveled.

In early to mid June, Google Stadia, in the latest addition to its run of trouble since launch, accidentally leaked to its subscribers a playable demo build of the forthcoming Ubisoft game Gods and Monsters. Ubisoft commented that this was severely out of date footage, being the closed-doors demo they used back at E3 2019, and that the game had shifted so much in the year since that E3 reveal (even though it would have originally launched four months ago) that a new title for the game should be expected to be announced for it when the time is right. The substantial redevelopment of the game is likely connected to the infamous fallout from Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s failure at launch, reported as a substantial revamp of Ubisoft’s overall development process and all in-progress titles to better refine and distinguish them from each other. It is distinctly possible that the original reports of the game as akin to Zelda: Breath of the Wild in design are, at this point, entirely inaccurate. The game formerly known as Gods and Monsters is presently expected to release sometime before March 2021, alongside fellow E3-announced, delayed, and revamped titles Watch Dogs: Legion and Rainbow Six Quarantine*, and the aforementioned Assassins’ Creed: Valhalla.

*6

Some highlights from the computer-focused Guerilla Collective indie event running from June 13th to June 15th: Larian Studio’s new trailer for Baldur’s Gate 3 tentatively set the new CRPG to enter Early Access in August 2020 pending pandemic-based delays. The System Shock remake was revealed as having been rebuilt from earlier development in Unreal Engine 4, provided an extended showcase of gameplay, and teased the possibility of a demo releasing sometime this summer. The presentation in general was characterized by starting its sequence of days with new trailers for games, and more in-depth, extended coverage of a lot of those same games on later days, including those two aforementioned titles, alongside Boyfriend Dungeon and West of Dead.

The PC Gaming Show and Future Games show streamed roughly back to back on June 13th, the former coming in at a hefty 140 minutes, over schedule despite being pre-recorded, and the latter a crisp 45 minutes or so. Both really don’t come recommended to watch in real time, as evidenced by my and Merve’s recurring misery across the Avocado’s livechats for each event. Some highlights include: most famously (and infamously, the immediately bestselling shadowdrop of Persona 4 Golden on Steam that Saturday which was spoiled by leaking repeatedly at the top of the week; the former presentation ending on two back to back niche horror titles, one being a multiplayer entry in the Outlast series and the other a retro homage to early 2000s PC games; the first footage from the still inexplicable remaster of the late Acclaim*’s Shadow Man, set to release next year; two separate trailers for CrisTales after its reveal last year, one a cinematic and one for gameplay, and the game being set to release this November; the reveal of the 2021 adventure game Dustborn from the developers of the Dreamfall series; previously Nintendo-showcased indie SkaterXL committing to its new release date later this July and setting that date for all platforms including Switch.

*7

Following their June 2nd trailer release featuring new info for the current DLC expansion for Sword and Shield, which released its first of two regions on June 17th, the Pokémon Company held two stream presentations across two weeks. The first aired the same day as the Isle of Armor DLC release, announcing an app to help kids brush their teeth along with two games, along with a puzzle game released on both Switch and mobile on June 23rd entitled Pokémon Café Mix, and New Pokémon Snap, the long-awaited and highly requested first follow-up to the original N64 safari photography game, set to be Coming Soon to Switch. The second on June 24th dedicated roughly ten minutes exclusively to a single title, Pokémon Unite, which like Café Mix will be on both mobile and Switch from launch, and is a MOBA themed around teams of the franchise’s most iconic creatures developed by the Chinese strongarm company with its fingers in an increasing number of pies, most relevantly here being the bulwark Nintendo exclusively had to go through to start releasing the Switch and its software in mainland China. This second Presents video is already the most disliked video in the history of Nintendo’s history on Youtube, in part because of broader skepticism of Tencent and the MOBA genre’s respective troubled histories, but mostly because people were disappointed that it wasn’t a project more meaningful to them personally like an entry in the line of Pokémon RPG remakes.

On June 18th, EA held a 45 minute EA Play livestream hosted by Greg Miller. Miller’s friend and former Kinda Funny coworker Colin Moriarty has been implicated in further misconduct allegations beyond what he left the company over, which in turn has led to recently discussed concerns regarding Miller and Neil Druckmann’s ongoing support for Moriarty.

After the leak and subsequent confirmation a few days early of Star Wars: Squadrons, the first-person flight combat game, set for October 2020 and developed by the same team as the Battlefront 2 (2017)’s story mode, received its full extended reveal here, featuring a campaign mode and 5 v 5 online multiplayer.

Respawn revealed that its battle royale Apex Legends will release on Switch, but only set with a vague Fall 2020 release. This was the second entry in EA’s announcement within the presentation of finally beginning to embrace the Switch, with 7 games set to release for the platform over the next twelve months. The first was Burnout Paradise: Remastered, which released the next day that week to strong reviews but an excessively high price. The next two went on to be announced officially shortly after, FIFA 21 Legacy Edition and the EA Original title Lost in Random, which had its first trailer here after being first announced last summer. VentureBeat’s reporter Jeff Grubb went ahead and reported the remaining three games in this initial set a few days later, being another EA Original, presently untitled from Velan Studios, a remaster of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and last year’s multiplayer shooter Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. The latter may actually be the most notable given that it would indicate EA successfully achieving support and functionality for their Frostbite engine, potentially opening far more of their backlog for later ports. Grubb also reports a Mass Effect Trilogy remaster is set to release this fiscal year but has no plans for a Switch port at present, and which remains unofficial news for the time being.

The EA Play closed out with the surprise massive fanservice reveal of a new mainline Skate game from the reassembled original team, which has not been officially called Skate 4 but is believed to be developed as such going forward, after being in an apparent greenlight limbo for some time.

New Game+ Expo aired on June 23rd, and among various announcements from Japanese third party and indie publishers, No More Heroes 3 had its first gameplay presentation in a comedic video featuring director Suda51’s head covering the middle of the screen as that new footage played, and ex-Capcom studio Inti Creates announced a sequel to their 2D retro entry in Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained series, Curse of the Moon 2, set to release on July 10th.

After delaying one week out of respect for George Floyd’s funeral occurring that day and the various Black Lives Matter protests of this past month more generally, on June 11th Sony aired its 90 minute debut showcase for “The Future of Gaming” TM, also known as the first public presentation of the PlayStation 5 and the various software announcements Sony was strategically sitting on for multiple years and withheld from last year’s E3.

The event had a quick dramatic montage of the PlayStation console line’s entire history, which probably means less than nothing for more extensive and proper retro/BC support on PS5, and then got off to a clumsy start with a trailer announcing Grand Theft Auto V as a Fall 2021 release on PS5, promising that it will have undefined expanded content alongside the expected performance enhancement, alongside a new promotion of regularly gifting massive amounts of in-game money to PS4 players of GTA Online as the lead-up to a free stand-alone release of the online service that same year.

Next came the extremely well received trailer for Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a follow-up to Insomniac’s smash hit 2018 Spider-Man game with Miles as the main player character and set for a Holiday 2020 release as an exclusive for the next-gen console in its launch window. The excitement over this was quickly hampered by some extended unfortunate miscommunication between Sony execs, Insomniac representatives, and the public, where it became briefly suggested and believed that the new Miles story content was an add-on to a Spider-Man 2018 rerelease gated behind the new expensive console and re-purchasing that same game, a deeply upsetting prospect for the millions of people that enjoyed that game on PS4.

Insomniac proceeded to firmly dispel that idea, directly comparing the game to a previous stand-alone ‘side-quel’ budget release from Sony, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (as well as InFamous First Light). That is, broadly speaking, comforting from a customer-friendly perspective, especially given that PS4 games like the first title in this series have already been shown to play natively on PS5, but by the nature of public discourse it can be difficult to fully undo that kind of confusion. Whether it will launch for under standard AAA MSRP like those games did remains to be seen, and there is also very understandable critical concern that mainstream publishers continue to hedge their bets and limit their support for rstories led by people of color and especially black lead characters by relegating them to these smaller supplemental projects like the aforementioned Lost Legacy and the Assassins’ Creed Freedom Cry DLC.

Gran Turismo 7 comes next from traditional series developer Polyphony with returning classic features, ray-tracing functionality, and no set release window for the moment. 

Alongside Miles Morales, Insomniac revealed another PS5-exclusive title, the surprise Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart coming off the heels of the struggling 2016 title and its full-on flop companion film. It introduces a new unnamed female Lombax character who is confirmed as playable, alongside a broader focus on a multiversal theme that entails employing the much-touted insta-loading SSD tech of the PS5 for the player to seamlessly traverse within and between large, intricate, and very different world levels and their respective gameplay mechanics, providing a potentially very strong showcase for next-gen tech. The trailer was followed with full, unedited, HUD-inclusive gameplay to display these features in action. No release window is set, but presumably it comes after Insomniac’s aforementioned game already set for 2020. 

A quick, vague teaser played for Project Athia, a PS5 and Windows exclusive published by Square Enix and developed by Luminous Productions of Final Fantasy XV fame (barring director Hajime Tabata given his dissatisfaction and resigning in 2018). The trailer features a young woman led exploring a seemingly open world environment and interacting with nature and wildlife as a possible core gameplay feature. Although some have suggested some connection between this game and the footage in the Unreal Engine 5 reveal, it is unlikely this game will see more info or release for quite some time.

Brought to an immediately adoring audience from a two-person indie dev team and publisher Annapurna was the cinematic trailer for Stray, the story of a cat with a cute little backpack exploring a rundown, post-human, robot-populated future city, scheduled for a 2021 next-gen release. The cinematic trailer worked wonders for gradually building the realization in viewers’ minds that the cat you gradually caught glimpses of was not a mere background element or stylistic choice of POV for marketing, but, to put it bluntly, oh shit, we’re actually gonna be the cat. 

Finnish developer Housemarque, following their very public ‘divorce’ from previous retro titles like Resogun, revealed a “PS5-exclusive new franchise” (immediately committing to it as a franchise seems…a bit overconfident) entitled Returnal. Setting aside any snap judgments on that title by itself, the game is an action and exploration roguelike game involving an older woman being trapped in a timeloop, where the planetary environments she encounters dynamically evolve over the course of multiple visits. It’s hard for me to not see this as a less unique and interesting riff on Outer Wilds with its photorealistic-style visuals and incorporation of third-person combat, but I certainly do appreciate that a blockbuster console exclusive has a middle aged woman as its player character. If nothing else this game helps to contribute well to this presentation’s overall sense of diversity in both genre and character representation.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure, the first entry in that franchise since 2014’s LittleBigPlanet 3 by the same developer as this new game, Sumo Digital, as Media Molecule had moved on to development for and now post-launch support of Dreams. The new title scheme for this game is meant to indicate that it’s purely a multiplayer 3D platformer (in the model of Super Mario 3D World perhaps) with little to no level-editing features, that gameplay now being, again, dedicated solely to within Dreams. LBP3 is the least well-received entry in this series and Sumo’s broader track record is polarizing, leaving with a fair bit of concern alongside the broader exciting potential offered by this PS5 exclusive with no currently set release window.

Destruction Allstars is an upcoming vehicular combat multiplayer game from Lucid Games, evoking a sense of fusing Twisted Metal and Rocket League mechanically with an edgy cartoon aesthetic. 

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an indie 3D adventure game from Ember Lab, telling the story of a Spirit Guide seeking resolution for the destruction of her village. Her magical capabilities enable a varied combat system of transforming her staff into different weapons for different scenarios. The game is set to release in Holiday 2020 for both PS4 and PS5.

Goodbye Volcano High is a narrative adventure game set for a timed exclusive release on PS4 and PS5 in 2021, about a cast of queer and trans anthro dinosaur teenagers in high school facing the anxieties of senior year, graduation, and implicitly, their impending extinction from the asteroid plummeting towards prehistoric Earth. The game has controversy over its head writer Kate Gray publishing a Kotaku article last year featuring pornographic renderings of underage Harry Potter characters.

After first being announced back in 2016, Lorne Lanning and Oddworld Inhabitants’ latest title, the expanded remake and reimagining of Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus as Oddworld: Soulstorm appeared here with a slickly produced and capital-b Big budget and big scale trailer announcing the game’s console release as exclusive to PS4 and PS5, and still tentatively releasing in 2020.

Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire Tokyo reappeared here for the first time since its memorable E3 2019 introduction by since departed director Ikumi Nakamura. Nakamura’s mentor and replacement director Shinji Mikami, pioneer of the Resident Evil series, introduced the first gameplay showcase and new in-game cinematics from the highly stylized first-person action title, showing off powerful magic combat against its many spectral enemies. The spooooooky PS5 and Windows exclusive game releases in 2021.

A cinematic trailer played next for what I can only describe as a vaguely dystopian iteration on space community builder type games, set for release in Holiday 2020 and given the even more confusing title of Jett: The Far Shore.

After being first announced at the 2019 Game Awards, the Gearbox-published, third-person, fantasy melee, action-RPG and looter Godfall, the very first game originally confirmed as a PS5 title, showed off gameplay and reasserted its Holiday 2020 console exclusive launch status.

Solar Ash comes in 2021 as a vibrantly colored and styled 3D action release from the Hyper Light Drifter development team.

The conclusive entry in the current IO series of Hitman reboots was confirmed with both a trailer for and dev-commented gameplay of a Dubai level from Hitman III, which is set to release in January 2021.

By this point when the trailer for Astro’s Playroom began to play, it was truly clear that Sony is reinvesting heavily in the family market and refusing to concede it even with the Switch’s current massive success. Playroom follows up on the acclaimed 2018 PSVR platformer Astro Bot Rescue Mission, appearing to in some fashion merge both 3D platforming and party/minigame gameplay. It is not a VR releaase like its immediate predecessor, following more both in title and design in the tradition of the Astro Bot character’s original debut, the Playroom set from the first Eyetoy games back in 2003. This game comes pre-loaded onto every PS5 when it launches later this year.

First announced via Kickstarter in 2015, Little Devil Inside is a Korean survival adventure RPG releasing on PC and as a timed exclusive for PS4 and PS5, its new trailer from this presentation introducing an even wider audience to its strong visual style. It briefly ran into controversy as certain character designs featured in the trailer strongly resembled caricatured stereotypical depictions of African people, but the studio quickly apologized and provided exact, specific details for how the enemy models will be redesigned for the final game to avoid this issue going forward.

After Xbox got first word on Madden 21, Sony featured NBA 2K21 for a Fall 2020 release, presumably as part of the same Take Two negotiations that gave us that GTAV opener. 

Bugsnax is releasing in Holiday 2020 for PS4 and PS5 from Young Horses, the team behind both iterations of Octodad. Introduced with quirky humor and a very catchy song from Kero Kero Bonito, the game has quickly become a social media hit. Set on an island of animal-snackfood hybrids who in turn modify the traits of their consumers’ bodies, this first-person adventure game inspired by Ape Escape, Viva Piñata, and a variety of strange and surprising other titles, follows a journalist player character as they track down a missing wildlife researcher, the walrus from the trailer, while observing and capturing the various bugsnack fauna. This is a paraphrased summary based on this USGamer interview, which I also provided a more haphazard attempt at during last weekend’s Gamescast recording, release forthcoming.

Shuhei Yoshida introduced the long-rumored remake of FromSoft’s RPG Demon’s Souls, which is being developed by BluePoint as the followup to their 2018 Shadow of the Colossus remake and published by Sony as a first-party exclusive due to their ownership of the Demon’s Souls property. Yoshida’s introduction was the latest in a line of acknowledgments and concessions about the original release of the game, when Yushida was so unhappy with an early build of the game that he refused to have Sony publish it in the West, resulting in Atlus of all companies and Bandai Namco taking over publishing duties for the US and PAL territories respectively.

This in turn led to From taking their spiritual successor game to Bandai Namco instead of Sony, which emerged into the blockbuster Dark Souls series. Based on Bluepoint’s previous comments, this project is expected to be their most intensive effort yet, likely altering and updating the gameplay to bring it in line with the lessening of jank and increased accessibility from more recent From titles. Unfortunately, the only post-reveal info that was available has been retracted as out of date. No release window is currently set, but this writer certainly hopes it comes sooner than later.

After debuting at Bethesda’s E3 2019 show alongside the aforementioned Ghostwire, Deathloop from Dishonored and Prey (2017) developer Arkane Studios, had its first gameplay showcase and a full story discussion here, where it was also revealed as a timed console exclusive, launching first on PS5 (and Windows) in Holiday 2020. The game, a first-person action-stealth title iterating on what Arkane’s designed in their aforementioned projects, tells the tale of an assassin trapped on an island in an endless loop. In order to escape, he must gradually learn the island’s patterns over the course of the loop and successfully, strategically kill all eight special targets within a single loop without dying, while evading a rival assassin assigned to protect the loop by obstructing his work and attacking him. The rival assassin can be set as either controlled by in-game AI or a suddenly dropping in fellow online player, in a model somewhat reminiscent of the PVP mechanics in FromSoft’s titles.

The final Sony first-party reveal was preceded by two separate exclusive Capcom announcements. The first was Resident Evil: Village, a direct followup to 2017’s RE7 biohazard, continuing that game’s first-person camera, starring its protagonists Ethan and Mia Winters as they rebuild their lives in a new snowy mountainside setting that substantially evokes the Euro-Gothic atmosphere and aesthetic of Resident Evil 4, including what appears to be werewolves and witches. After his appearance at the end of RE7, series mainstay Chris Redfield returns in some significant narrative capacity. The first-person entries in this franchise should be expected to continue as a dedicated subseries going forward.

A lot of info about this game was accurately leaked months in advance before the game’s existence and those leaks were confirmed by this trailer. If the leaks continue to be accurate, expect the game to have additional player characters besides Ethan, a longstanding series tradition, and for it to have at least at one point been scheduled for release in January 2021, to fit the modern series tradition of releasing its three previous entries in the respective January, January, and April of the past three years. Capcom’s website for the game promises a tentative 2021 release and “Next update coming August 2020,” conveniently lining up with current unconfirmed reports that Sony has a large State of Play presentation scheduled in August, which contains info that was at one point going to be featured in this initial PS5 event instead.

The second Capcom game is a completely new IP called Pragmata, which was bold enough not only to debut with such a vague cinematic trailer, but to be the only game featured in this presentation that gave a 2022 release window. It appears to be a sci fi story of a father and daughter involving space travel.

Attention: Warning for a narrative spoiler from 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn in the next paragraph.

At last, following up on a rather abrupt post-credits sequel hook, and reports of Sony greenlighting a trilogy from Guerrilla Games after the runaway success of the original game, Horizon: Forbidden West was the final software announcement for the PS5’s debut event, featuring a variety of new mechanical monstrosities threatening Aloy, the promise of underwater exploration and combat as an expansion of the previous open-world design, as well as conflict with hostile tribes of surviving humans and the heroine’s investigation into a mysterious ecological crisis as primary narrative threads. Also, and this is apparently a spoiler for the first game, but the supporting character of Sylens, as portrayed in motion-capture by beloved character actor Lance Reddick of The Wire and John Wick, is shown to be alive and a part of this new story, as well. Although there was no release window given for the blockbuster title within this initial presentation, a brief developer video from the following week officially set the game for 2021. Whether that will wind up closer to the February release of the original game or the more traditional fall and holiday season remains to be seen.

And now, the moment we all had been waiting for: the presentation closed out with the hardware reveal. We have all seen the PlayStation 5, and the PS5 has got a big ol’ V. Just the biggest, tallest fucking V you can imagine. There can be none more V. Both the vertical and horizontal layouts for the console need a prominent black disc esque stand, so the stand probably does come with the console. There are other various peripherals including a controller charger, a headset, and a remote, that would make for lovely pack-in features but probably aren’t. (There is no official word as of yet on any potential pack-ins besides the Astro Bot game stored within the console, to be clear.) Both digital-only and a disc-drive models will be available at launch in late 2020, with no prices currently confirmed. Ignore the various placeholder prices some online storefronts are posting.

Next time, Ubisoft Forward, a first-party Xbox Series X presentation, and probably at least one notable Nintendo announcement! Maybe! See y’all then.