As a brand, PlayStation was founded on taking risks. In a market dominated by family computers, cutesy characters and Nintendo's arguably misguided retention of cartridges, the PS1 was aimed squarely at teenagers, students and young adults, or the people that felt left out of SEGA and Nintendo's demographic.
You could say this was the moment when video game "cool" was established.
A happy accident, of sorts, PlayStation only came to be after Nintendo, at the 12th hour, decided to side with Phillips and its CDi instead of Sony and its PlayStation SNES. A misstep that became canon for Legend of Zelda fans for all the wrong reasons.
But the risk of subverting the tropes of console gaming came to pay off dividends for the legendary hardware makers. PlayStation as a brand, thanks in no part to some truly iconic games, built-in DVD players and an ingenious marketing team became a cultural phenomenon that showed no signs of stopping.
(image via MarsterNelle4)
Over the 20+ years of it being established, the brand gave us epics like Metal Gear Solid, Rayman, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain, Journey and The Last of Us to name but a literal few. Truly magnificent games that proved that the brand had the mettle to toy with video game storytelling, and how to keep interaction fresh when faced with ever-evolving digital worlds and obstacles.
Do you want to know why I named dropped these games specifically? Their creators are why. The auteurs that will lead the PlayStation brand into its latest iteration: investing in innovators to hold them aloft and secure at the very top of the video game food chain.
When you think of some of the most truly groundbreaking movies to release in the last century, you would expect films from the minds of Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, Alfonso Cuarón, or Francis Ford Coppola to feature. Or perhaps a Jean-Luc Godard, Alfred Hitchcock or a Werner Herzog.
These directors portray their inner most thoughts on celluloid with the preciseness of a prima ballerina, with the skill of a Ballon d'Or award winner and with the keen focus of a Nobel Prize winning author. But, most importantly, their names are guaranteed to gets bums on seats. Say if Nolan was to release a new movie in the next few days, people would flock to see what it was all about. Wouldn't they?
That's why I believe Sony are onto something magical with their lineup of wonderful designers and creators. What other platform can boast an all-star, in-house lineup including the likes of Hideo Kojima, Fumito Ueda and David Cage? These 3 video game makers alone are among the brightest and most exciting minds in games, outside of Nintendo's tower, thatgamecompany and Naughty Dog. And they are all in PlayStation's court. Ha, and I say all of this as a lifelong Nintendo zealot. FORGIVE ME, MIYAMOTO-SAN.
This E3 saw the triumvirate of legends' latest endeavours take to the stage with the utmost authority. Ueda's The Last Guardian finally revealed its release date, we got more of a glimpse at Cage's Detroit: Become Human which is shaping up very nicely and Kojima went full Kojima with the trailer for his masterfully surreal Death Stranding, which looks utterly bonkers.
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
It's no surprise that Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) CEO Andrew House was in confident form in an illuminating interview with UK tabloid The Guardian. When asked as to how Sony would go about utilizing these giants, he replied with the cheek of someone who is assured of being onto a good thing:
“With great talent comes great responsibility – that’s the best way I can answer that.”
In the interview, House went on to discuss his and SIE's belief and incentive to support truly original independent projects, all in the name of taking risks and staying ahead of the curve:
“One of the benefits of being a platform holder is the opportunity to take a little bit more risk. We have a responsibility to do that, to showcase what the platform is supposed to be and, without wanting to sound pompous, to try and lead the industry a bit. That means working with very talented people and having some understanding of the journeys they have to go on.”
And by holding steadfast to this ideal, Sony are beginning to show Nintendo-esque traits as in they are fully ready to play the long game and let auteurs craft their stories in the time-frames of their choosing, within reason of course, and within smaller, more refined teams of talented designers and developers. Rather than huge studios being split to work on different projects at once.
I mean, the first time we had a glimpse at Detroit: Become Human, or what would become the aforementioned was in 2012 when Quantic Dream released 'Kara' from storage.
This tech would 4 years, and one Beyond: Two Souls, later become the futuristic, post-human thriller detailed in the wonderful trailer below.
We had to wait 7 years for The Last Guardian to get its act together. Which was a painstaking wait seeing as both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were released in 2001 and 2005 respectively.
And after Hideo Kojima's well documented fall out with Konami, his rebirth of sorts under the PlayStation brand may possibly become the new IP which will change his status as the genius behind Metal Gear Solid into a true creative force of astonishing quality.
It is true that "with great talent comes great responsibility", and Sony now has the hard task of coercing these original titles into greatness, and themselves into the realms of software legends akin to those who have Zelda and Mario on their roster. But giving genius the right amount of care and light to flourish, the end result could grow into something truly, bloomin' marvellous. And well worth the wait.
What do you think?
Is PlayStation onto something great with these three in tow?