Highlights from the PS5: Future of Games showcase

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This morning, Sony’s PS5: Future of Games livestream gave the world a first look at the design of the PlayStation console and some of the games in the pipeline for it. The hour-ish long broadcast showed off more than 20 games, covering everything from first-party blockbusters like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, to new third-party games, to what that are sure to be the next wave of indie darlings.

The PlayStation 5 itself is a “radical departure from previous PlayStation consoles”, with a design reminiscent of a sci-fi building (which, unsurprisingly, has been the source of no end of memes). Standing vertically, it has white panels on either side that form a curved V, with a black core in between that’s home to a couple of USB ports. Blue lights line the sides of the middle section, with fan vents tucked away between the black and white segments. It’s clearly designed with vertical orientation in mind, but it can lie down flat as well.

There’ll be two different models at launch, one with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive and the other a digital-only version. We don’t have a price for either model yet, but I’d assume the digital-only version will at least a little bit cheaper. Sony also unveiled a few accessories: a Pulse 3D wireless headset, an HD camera with dual 1080p lenses, a media remote with a built-in microphone for voice navigation, and a controller charging station.

Before jumping into the highlights, here’s the full list of games that were shown off:

PS5 Games from SIE Worldwide Studios and second-party partners

  • Astro’s Playroom (Japan Studio)
  • Demon’s Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio)
  • Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV)
  • Gran Turismo 7 (Polyphony Digital)
  • Horizon Forbidden West (Guerrilla Games)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales (Insomniac Games)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
  • Returnal (Housemarque / XDEV)
  • Sackboy A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV)

PS5 Games from third-party publishers and developers

  • Bugsnax (Young Horses)
  • DEATHLOOP (Bethesda)
  • Ghostwire: Tokyo (Bethesda)
  • Godfall (Gearbox Publishing / Counterplay Games)  
  • Goodbye Volcano High (KO-OP)
  • Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online (Rockstar Games)
  • HITMAN 3 (IO Interactive)
  • JETT : The Far Shore (Superbrothers)
  • Kena: Bridge of the Spirits (Ember Lab)
  • Little Devil Inside (Neostream Interactive)
  • NBA 2K21 (2K, Visual Concepts)
  • Oddworld Soulstorm (Oddworld Inhabitants)
  • Pragmata (Capcom)
  • Project Athia (working title) (Square Enix/Luminous Productions)
  • Resident Evil Village (Capcom)
  • Solar Ash (Annapurna Interactive / Heart Machine)
  • Stray (Annapurna / Blue Twelve Studio)
  • Tribes of Midgard (Gearbox Publishing / Norsfell)
  • The Pathless (Annapurna Interactive / Giant Squid)

There’s plenty of stuff in there to appeal to lots of different tastes. In particular, it was nice to see a decent selection of indie games getting the spotlight, and a few intriguing-looking new properties rather than just sequel after sequel.

For me, these are the biggest highlights from the Future of Gaming show:

Astro’s Playroom

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission was a wonderful game, both as a showcase for what PlayStation VR is capable of and in its own right as a fun, creative 3D platformer. Astro’s Playroom looks to build on that, without the VR element but with new elements to show off the DualSense controller’s new features. It’ll come pre-installed on every PlayStation 5, and it’s clearly meant to serve as a tech demo for the new console, but it looks like it’ll do that through a fully-fledged game, a la Rescue Mission, rather than the minigame collection seen in The Playroom for PS4.

Goodbye Volcano High

A narrative adventure about a group of dinosaurs in their final year of high school, and all the ups and downs comes with that—not to mention the whole pending apocalypse thing. It’s full of gorgeous hand-drawn art and looks like it’ll make exploring queer identity a central theme (the main character is non-binary). At the very least, it’s a fascinating premise, but I’m expecting a very emotive, funny, thoughtful story to go with it.

JETT: The Far Shore

The first game in nine years from Superbrothers, the folks behind Sword & Sworcery, sees you guiding a group of explorers on an interstellar journey to “carve out a future for a people haunted by oblivion”. It looks like exactly the sort of moody, introspective experience I want from a game about exploring space.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks beautiful. It’s a game about a young Spirit Guide’s adventures through an overgrown forest, rescuing adorable little spirits called Rot along the way and building a team of them to help her explore and transform the environment. It’s the first game from Ember Lab (whose background is in animation), who are calling it their “passion project”. That passion shows, even just from this trailer.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Peter Parker might be the original Spider-Man and the one that most people are most familiar with, but Miles Morales is easily my favourite. I was a little disappointed that the otherwise excellent Marvel’s Spider-Man didn’t have a playable Miles Spidey, but that looks set to be fixed with Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It’s being described by Sony as an “expansion”, but it remains unclear whether this means a standalone thing like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and InFamous: First Light, or some sort of enhanced PS5 port of the original with an additional Miles-centric component.

Pragmata

From this trailer alone, I know very little about what to expect from Pragmata, and that’s part of what excites me so much about it. There’s a guy in a space suit, a mysterious young girl, a hologram of a cat, and a futuristic city full of surreal distortions. I’m fascinated.

Project Athia

This is the first new project from Luminous Productions, an internal Square Enix studio founded by Tabata Hajime. It looks like a third-person action adventure game with a Tomb Raider vibe, only in a fantasy setting with a heroine who seems able to wield magical powers. Frankly, “Tomb Raider but you’re a witch” is enough to get my attention.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Sackboy’s back, and he’s got a new dimension. Where LittleBigPlanet was a series of 2D platformers (albeit with 3D animation), Sackboy: A Big Adventure looks to channel the 3D platformers that made such a mark in the late ’90s—the Spyros and the Banjo-Kazooies—but with the charming LittleBigPlanet aesthetic.

Stray

You’re a stray cat with a backpack in a neon-drenched cyberpunk city. What else needs to be said?


What did you think of the showcase? What are you most looking forward to?

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About Author

Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.