E3 2021: Will Sony be there and what PS5 games could they show?

E3 or not, Sony has a lot of secrets yet to reveal (Picture: Sony)

Sony hasn’t announced their own E3 event so what’s going on with games like God Of War: Ragnarök, Horizon Forbidden West, and Gran Turismo 7?

It’s hard enough trying to predict what Nintendo and Microsoft might show off during this year’s online E3 expo, but Sony are even more difficult, for the simple reason that they still haven’t said whether they’re going to take part or not.

Sony has already said they’re not involved in E3 proper, which begins on June 12, but that’s been the case for the last few years and they’ve still run their own PlayStation-only events at roughly the same time. In fact, last year they were the only publisher to have a livestream at the time E3 would have usually been.

So far, they’ve given no clue as to what they’re up to but at some point they’ll have to announce their Christmas line-up, although it may simply be later in the year via one of their semi-regular State of Play livestreams. Or they might not have an all-in-one event at all and instead showcase individual games one at a time, like they did just recently with Horizon Forbidden West.

What PS5 games could Sony show at E3 2021?

Unlike Nintendo and, to a lesser degree, Microsoft it’s very obvious what games Sony has coming up in the short term, with a number of other titles coming along later, and even fairly clear clues on some unannounced games. The long-awaited Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be released on June 11, just a day before E3 officially begins, but that’s currently the only first party PlayStation 5 exclusive confirmed for this year.

There is Bethesda’s Deathloop and Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade, but they’ll probably be at those publisher’s own events (probably, embarrassingly for Bethesda they’re now owned by Microsoft). God Of War: Ragnarök was supposed to be out this year, but it was recently announced as being delayed into 2022.

That announcement, via a PlayStation Blog post by PlayStation Studios boss Hermen Hulst, may end up being the closest Sony gets to an E3 event this year, but the truth is no-one, except them, knows for sure. These though are the PlayStation 5 exclusives that they’re known to be working on, with Sony boasting they have over 25 currently in production, almost half of which are new IP (i.e. a new franchise and not a sequel or licence).

Everyone expected the sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn to be a graphical powerhouse, even though it’s also being released on PlayStation 4, but the recently released gameplay footage is already being hailed as having some of the best graphics ever seen on a console. The footage also showed some expanded combat and traversal options, which should help to address complaints that the first game was a little too shallow and repetitive. The game has no release date, but it’s assumed to be Sony’s big exclusive for Christmas.

God Of War: Ragnarök

What’s most frustrating about the delay of this game, a sequel to 2018’s soft reboot of the franchise, is that we still know absolutely nothing about it. It’s not even clear whether Ragnarök is really its name, although the word – a reference to the Norse myth of the end of the world – was used by Sony in a (very) brief teaser trailer. Combined with what happened at the end of the first game that makes it fairly easy to guess the basic gist of the story but in terms of official information there’s nothing.

Another game that was initially planned to come out this year but is now not due till 2022, although at this point no-one is foolish enough to believe a Gran Turismo release date unless it’s been delayed at least a couple of times first. Although a brief announcement trailer was released last year there’s still very little concrete information about the game, although it will feature the return of GT Simulation Mode and GT Sport Mode. Gran Turismo 7 will also take advantage of all the PlayStation 5’s tricks, including hardware ray-tracing, 3D audio, and haptic feedback in the controller – as well as running at 60fps at 4K resolution.

With The Last Of Us Part 2 done and dusted it’s not entirely clear what Naughty Dog is working on now, as they said their next game would either be Part 3 or a new IP. Recent comments have implied they’re going for the latter option, although their next project is likely to be a multiplayer spin-off from The Last Of Us Part 2. The first game had a very well regarded multiplayer mode called Factions but Naughty Dog didn’t have time to do add something similar for the sequel and so chose to spin it off into a standalone title. They’re also supposedly overseeing a remake of the first The Last Of Us game, although it’s not clear when either might be officially announced, let alone released.

Spider-Man 2

Despite what was initially assumed, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is not a sequel to the 2018 Spider-Man game, but a spin-off. So as to no take any attention away from the game developer Insomniac, who also make the Ratchet & Clank games, have never confirmed an actual sequel, even though it’s obviously going to happen – given the huge success of the original and the fact that it ends with several unresolved story threads.

Another game that hasn’t been announced but is blatantly going to happen, given what a surprise success the original was. Although all doubt was removed when developer Sucker Punch started posting job ads asking for people to work on a new open world game, who also have an interest in Japanese culture. Which makes this another case of when it’s announced, not if.

Despite being one of Sony’s least successful PlayStation 4 games, both critically and commercially, there’s been a real furore over the fact that developer Bend Studio isn’t being allowed to make a sequel to Days Gone. Instead, they’re making a new game that has similar open world systems but is not a direct sequel to Days Gone. Exactly how similar it will be remains to be seen but it started production back in late 2019.

Although the downsizing of Japan Studio has angered many fans, Team Asobi has clearly benefited from the reorganisation, getting more staff and being upgraded to their own separate studio. Technically they haven’t announced a new game yet, but it’s heavily implied they’ve already started work, with Sony even hinting that it will star Astro’s Playroom star Astro Bot.

Sony has many other studios that are no doubt working on new PlayStation 5 exclusives, and regularly collaborate with third party developers and publishers on exclusive projects, such as Death Stranding and Returnal. For example, there’s a new unannounced new multiplayer IP coming from Firewalk Studios, who are made up of a number of Destiny veterans, and another new IP from Jade Raymond’s new studio Haven.

More exclusive deals for established franchises and publishers is also very likely and there are strong rumours that Square Enix is working on a Dark Souls inspired Final Fantasy title, by Nioh developer Koei Tecmo, that may be unveiled at E3. Final Fantasy 16 is already a timed console exclusive for PlayStation 5 and it wouldn’t be surprising to find Sony make similar deals with other publishers for other high profile games.

25+ games is a lot of titles and we’ve barely scratched the surface of them here, so if Sony does plan to have a last minute E3 style event they should have plenty to talk about. One of their big concerns at the moment though is that they won’t want to give Microsoft too much of a clue as to what they’re working on.

Plus, with the pandemic still causing chaos with release schedules they themselves probably don’t know when many of these games will be finished or ready to show off for the first time.

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