Sony opened its E3 press conference with a cinematic trailer telling the game’s story — about an intergalactic threat to an idyllic future — and filling a movie screen the width of the Los Angeles memorial Sports Arena. Then it announced several exclusives for the game coming out Sept. 9.
PlayStation 4 owners will get the first public access during an open window to the “alpha” version from Thursday through Sunday, then be able to play a beta version starting on July 17.
Topping it off, Sony announced that the first white version of its PS4 will be released as a bundle with “Destiny” in September.
Andrew House, president and chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment, said the game’s ultra high-fidelilty and social experience are “the embodiment of our vision” for gaming.
“Destiny will help define this next generation of gaming,” he said.
Bungie – creator of Microsoft’s “Halo” franchise before it became independent in 2007 – is also releasing “Destiny” for the Xbox but the beta access enabled House to say players will get it first on PlayStation.
A bit later House went back to Bellevue to announce new content for “Infamous Second Son,” the Seattle-based action game from its Sucker Punch studio that’s located a block away from Bungie. Coming in August, the downloadable add-on is set in a snowy, mountainous area that looks like a bit like Roslyn in February.
That was followed by the surprise announcement of “Little Big Planet 3,” a new version of the quirky puzzle game with yarn characters that was a hit on the PlayStation 3.
Sony presented a lineup for the PlayStation that mixes the light and upbeat with dark and terrifying. The latter included an ultrarealistic, Victorian-era monster game called Bloodborne that’s coming out next year; its demo video included a player ripping bones out of a werewolf carcass, then impaling another creature in a drippy, cobblestone alley.
“FarCry4” mixed a little of both. The bloody, modern action game is set in a bright and sunny Himalayan country where players commandeer jeeps and ultralights to battle bad guys who may also get trampled by a wacky weaponized elephant.
Sony announced a batch of indie games for the PS4 and an atmospheric, aquatic themed game called “Abzu” from the team that created “Journey” and “Flower” for the PS3. As a scuba diver, players swim with whales, avoid sharks and explore undersea realms.
Sony also previewed a new open-world science-fiction game called “No Man’s Sky” that will have every player start on a different world. The sequence shown began on a planet with dinosaurs, where the player boarded a “Star Wars” like fighter and flew off to do battle in space before heading to another planet.
House talked up Sony’s “Project Morpheus” headset for the PS4 but didn’t provide a release date.
Shawn Layden, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, provided an update on how players have used the PS4’s network and broadcasting capabilities. Since it launched last fall, players have had 1 billion multiplayer gaming sessions on the system. They’ve also used it more than 150 million times to watch others play games and have pressed the “share” button to upload and share content 220 million times.
Layden said he expects the button to be pushed even more after Sony enables the button to be used to directly upload captured game content to YouTube, in addition to existing services Twitch and Ustream.
To draw more people onto the network, Sony’s going to start streaming games through a service called PlayStation Now that’s been running in test mode since it was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. It will offer “free to play” games and games from the PS3 catalog. They’ll also be playable via streaming on some Sony TV sets, without a console.
Sony also announced that it’s bringing the PlayStation TV mini console/streaming media device to the U.S. It’s been a Japan-only product but Sony’s going to offer it in the U.S. this year for $99, or in a bundle for $139 with a controller, HDMI cable, memory card and voucher for a Lego game. It will play thousands of games and pose a big challenge to Amazon’s Fire TV and Apple TV if it runs the standard suite of streaming U.S. video services.
Sony saved a few choice nuggets for the end, including the announcement that “Grand Theft Auto V” is coming to the PS4 this fall. To entice players to upgrade to the new console, they will be able to transfer GTA V progress from a PS3 or Xbox 360.
That was followed by a demo of the driveable Batmobile in 2015’s “Batman Arkham Knight” and a glimpse of a new PS4 version of the Sony exclusive adventure-action franchise “Uncharted.”