“With PlayStation 5, we are making a significant leap to deliver a truly new generation of transformative play experiences that will redefine expectations for what games can be,” said Jim Ryan, President and CEO of SIE. “Worlds will be richer and more beautiful, they’ll captivate your senses in ways you didn’t think possible…”
After a justified postponement in respect for the protests and mourning across the United States and the world, Sony Interactive Entertainment dropped the curtain on the Playstation 5 yesterday afternoon in a slick presentation that went live to the world on YouTube at around 4 pm EST. Bringing in various developers and tons of footage from upcoming titles, there was a lot to unpack in the presentation, but no complaints here.
Launching this holiday season, the new Playstation console will come in two flavours; a version featuring an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, and a (likely less expensive) digital-only version. Both are sleek in design, opting for a more ostentatious look than the black boxes that Sony’s put out from the PS2 onward, and in contrast to the understated Xbox Series X. The new consoles look kind of like an inside-out futuristic book, with two thin white sheaths around the exterior and a rounded black shape sandwiched in between. It won’t blend in with your media console in the way that the Series X will, and that’s probably Sony’s M.O here. They’re counting on the PS5 as something you’ll want to show off. The digital-only version of the console is undoubtedly the better-looking of the two options, as it tosses aside the frankly unsightly bulge of the disc drive, but the implications of a digital-only console on the industry – particularly retailers like GameStop – remains to be seen.
Though the console itself was revealed for the first time yesterday, what wasn’t new was the DualSense controller, which was unveiled back in April. It’s the biggest leap forward for a Playstation controller since the PS2, in terms of aesthetics, and has a lot of tweaks under the hood. The new two-toned DualSense swaps the Dualshock 4’s ‘Share’ button for a ‘Create’ button (I have a feeling they’ll work similarly, in practice) as well as adding built-in microphones that allow you to chat without a headset. Still intact from the DS4 are the adaptive triggers, which allow you to fine-tune the tension to precisely imitate a gas pedal or the draw of a bow and the headphone jack. Reportedly, the DualSense will also feature improved battery life over the DS4 (which was, quite frankly, crummy).
Sony Interactive kicked off the launch with one of its flagship titles, and one that’s been a system seller for me personally – Grand Theft Auto. This isn’t a new game, but rather a sleek, standalone version of Grand Theft Auto 5’s GTA Online mode which will come free with the console. There’ll also be a similarly remastered version of GTAV’s story mode available at, or soon after, launch.
The first-party exclusives Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales (Insomniac Games), Gran Turismo 7 (Polyphony Digital), and Horizon Forbidden West (Guerrilla Games) were shown in some detail, and all of them looked outstanding, though I think Gran Turismo hit it’s realism ceiling about 4 games ago. The sheer beauty of Horizon and the frenetic action and immersiveness of Miles Morales might be the best arguments for ponying up for the PS5.
Other first-and second-party announcements in the reveal were:
Astro’s Playroom (Japan Studio)
Demon’s Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio)
Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV)
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
Returnal (Housemarque / XDEV)
Sackboy A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV)
Third-party developers weren’t left out of the party, though, as Sony showed footage from NBA 2K21 (2K, Visual Concepts), the harrowing Resident Evil™ Village (Capcom), as well as brand new PS5 exclusives like DEATHLOOP™ (Bethesda) and the absolutely stunning Project Athia (Square Enix/Luminous Productions). There were also a number of new titles from independent developers, such as cat simulator Stray (Annapurna/ Blue Twelve Studio), the haltingly beautiful and affecting teen high school drama Goodbye Volcano High (KO-OP) and Bugsnax (Young Horses).
Other third-party titles in the presentation were:
Ghostwire™: Tokyo (Bethesda)
Godfall™ (Gearbox Publishing / Counterplay Games)
HITMAN 3 (IO Interactive)
JETT : The Far Shore® (Superbrothers)
Kena: Bridge of the Spirits (Ember Lab)
Little Devil Inside (Neostream Interactive)
Oddworld Soulstorm™ (Oddworld Inhabitants™)
Solar Ash (Annapurna Interactive / Heart Machine)
Tribes of Midgard (Gearbox Publishing / Norsfell)
The Pathless (Annapurna Interactive / Giant Squid)
This is all in addition to the previously-announced Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which is launching with the console this holiday season, and the “overwhelming majority” of the PS4 library via backwards compatibility.
The Playstation 5 will be released this holiday season, 2020. Prices for the two versions of the console were not revealed, though I think it’s safe to say they won’t come cheap.