Since the PlayStation Showcase in May last year, the big question left with me was “Where are the Sony games?”. If you’ve been playing on the console for the past year, you’ll know that I don’t mean games in general as 2023 was one of the best years for releases in some time but I mean where are the Sony First-Party titles? After Spider-Man 2 was released and with the announcement of Last of Us Factions being canceled, there’s been almost no indication of what future titles would be released directly from the platform holder in 2024. So, when we finally received word of an upcoming 40-minute State of Play, even I thought this must be the time. Would we see a new Uncharted? A teaser for Ghost of Tsushima 2? Maybe the announcement of a new IP? Surely, they must be ready to announce what the big title of 2024 would be, right? Well, no, I guess not.

Overall, the State of Play was a solid showing of Second and Third-Party titles coming to the platform in the near and far-off future. It showcased around 15 games from incredible teams with exciting projects and had very few low points, in my opinion. However, while general exclusives like Stellar Blade and Death Stranding are extremely important, it’s also important to know what’s coming from teams such as Sucker Punch, Naughty Dog, and more when looking to the future and, right now, we’re completely in the dark in a way I’ve never seen. To put a finer point on the distinction of my concerns after the new State of Play, PlayStation 5 is and will be continuing to receive strong third-party games over the year in addition to a number of really promising second-party titles that are imminent and that’s really great. But, at the end of the day, it feels strange being a PlayStation fan without knowing what to expect from anyone in the stable of studios and if a big title is releasing this Fall, wouldn’t you want to start teasing it now?

That all said, I don’t want to be just doom and gloom as there’s a lot I’m excited for and, as I said, it was a strong State of Play, otherwise. As such, I’ve picked out a handful of the shown games in January 2024’s State of Play to highlight further and I think I’ve talked enough about my general Sony concerns, so, without further ado, let’s take a look at what was showcased for 2024 and beyond.

Stellar Blade

For those who read through my “Five Most Anticipated Games of 2024” article, you’ll know I was fairly hyped for Stellar Blade and now, after the latest showing, I can confidently say that I’m all in. And no, it’s not just because of the booty and overactive physics. Up until this point, I assumed Stellar Blade would be a very linear stylish action game akin to Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. After seeing more, however, it’s clear that the game really is going for NieR Automata in teams of style, story, and design. The game looks to be centered around a large hub environment where Eve, the protagonist, accepts missions and then ventures out into much larger, fairly open zones featuring enemies roaming, supply camps to rest at, and various points to explore. In that way, my expectations for the game now are somewhere around a 25-30 hour semi-open game and that’s far more exciting for someone who doesn’t dabble in the DMC-type games I previously assumed it to be. It still looks to have very engaging, stylish combat with skill trees in addition to various mobility abilities and that just serves to add to my excitement. Honestly, I think the game looks great from what we say and I was surprised to see it’s just around the corner. I fully intend to see what becomes of Stellar Blade when it releases on April 16th, 2024 so stay tuned for more coverage.

Dragon’s Dogma 2

To be honest, I’ve adverted my eyes every time Dragon’s Dogma 2 has come up because I don’t know how many more massive games I can get lost in. At the end of the day, however, I was just lying to myself to avoid buying it on release because Dragon’s Dogma 2 looks incredible. I never got around to the original Dragon’s Dogma despite owning it on nearly every platform but, at this point, I think I’m just going to dive head first into the sequel. This is a series that garnered a lot of goodwill back in the day as a “cult classic” from a shaky era of Capcom so flash forward to now and you can see how much effort has been put into the game. Modern Capcom is on a roll and is, arguably, one of the best publishers in the industry over the last 5+ years so it goes without saying that Dragon’s Dogma 2 should be a leap in quality compared to the original. From the unmistakable classical fantasy feel to the unique combat designed around scaling massive creatures, Dragon’s Dogma 2 could be the Elden Ring of 2024 if the stars align right and that’s an exciting thought. There is some news that the game will be targeting 30 frames on modern consoles and I can’t help but feel disappointed there, otherwise, I think I’ll still be checking out Dragon’s Dogma 2 when it releases on March 22, 2024. (Sorry, Rise of the Rōnin because you actually look like an extremely strong contender, as well.)

Silent Hill 2 Remake

When it comes to the lows of the show, I’d say the Silent Hill 2 Remake from Bloober Team makes the list. Now, I’ll preface this by saying I’ve never played a Silent Hill game before but I know what they are and what they are not. Combat-heavy games like Resident Evil 4 I know they are not so a combat trailer for our first big look at gameplay was, well, a choice. That said, I don’t really think that’s the problem with Silent Hill 2 as that’s just a marketing push, no, I think the core of the issue is the way the game looks and feels. In a post-Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space Remake world, Silent Hill 2 was going to have an uphill battle but, after watching the trailer, I think the game fails to meet even a modern level of visual design and polish. Janky animations, awkward character models, and saturated colors really made this remake feel like a higher-resolution PS3 game than a PS5 game halfway through the generation. Now, is it the worst-looking game I’ve seen? Certainly not, it just looks completely, averagely fine but that doesn’t live up to the Silent Hill pedigree. Silent Hill 2 Remake looks serviceable but it feels like it deserves the highest care it can get as a renowned game. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be what Konami is concerned about so this is what we’re getting. I feel for fans of the series so, hey, maybe they’ll just remake the remake within another 10 years anyway to double dip. Keep those chins up!

Death Stranding 2: On the Beach

Words cannot truly describe Death Stranding 2 because it’s the fever dream of a madman and I thought the original Death Stranding already was that. Regardless, finally getting to see a deeper look at Kojima Production’s Death Stranding 2 was truly a treat and not what I expected to see in this State of Play. The game is slated for release in 2025 so it’s a ways off but as, a fan of the original who didn’t think it necessarily needed a sequel, I’m all in for whatever Kojima’s sick mind has in store for us after seeing more. From the trailer, most of what Death Stranding looks to remain the same, trekking through a desolate world delivering packages, but the fairly consistent nods to combat throughout seem to indicate an upgrade in gameplay from just walking to something more interactive. If the original Death Stranding was a collection of interesting and unique ideas that came together in a decent but still lacking “video game” then I believe DS2 should be able to elevate what was missing or “off” and be the ultimate version of Kojima’s vision. As far as the story goes, there’s really nothing I can add about the trailer between the baby sounds coming out of the mech samurai to the little puppet man who’s in a different frame rate than the rest of the game that would be able to infer what the story is beside bringing more of the world together. It could be about literally anything else I wouldn’t be able to tell but that’s what makes Komjia games what they are and this is no exception. Death Stranding 2: On the Beach won’t be for everyone but, god damn is it for me. Let’s have our fingers crossed for quite the trip coming in 2025.

And there you have it. Among the 15 games in the State of Play, I decided to highlight four of the more important games shown, in my eyes, or at least games with enough to discuss. Judas, for example, was originally on the list but, besides it looking like a “Bioshock”, we don’t have enough to go off of for a meaningful conversation. So, with that, I hope you enjoyed the read and the initial doom and gloom that I felt after still not knowing what’s coming from Sony First-Party but, hopefully, by May or June, we have an idea of what could be coming later this year (or not, who knows). Either way, thanks for reading!