To boldly know...
2015 is here! It being the start of the year, I'm going to whip out my crystal ball (I don't actually own a crystal ball - no actual human beings do), stare at it for a bit, and make some predictions for the coming year. PlayStation dominated sales in 2014, but Xbox One started its revival in the final few months of the year, eating into Sony's considerable head-start. So, it's an interesting 12-months ahead for the PS4.
Did I ever tell you I'm a distant relative of Nostradamus himself? No? That's because I'm not, and I don't want to lie to you for fear my trousers will combust. Still, I'm going to have a decent stab at some Sony predictions for 2015, because that's what I'm paid to do. Here they are.
1. We'll see an official PS4 price-drop
Everyone loves a price-drop prediction, so here's one for you. By the end of the year, probably around September, Sony will cut the cost of a PS4 to 300 / $329. Officially. I reckon they'll throw in three months of PS+ with that too, and maybe even a month's subscription to PlayStation Now. Maybe a free KitKat too - dunno, I'm not a marketing guy. Don't think we'll see a price cut for peripherals, though, so expect to pay full whack for controllers, cameras, and all the other official gubbins.
Will we see a PS4 with a bigger hard-drive this year? It's possible. Nyko has recently revealed a horrendous, mutant tool to help you upgrade your HDD space more easily, and MS has already released a 1TB Xbox One. Sony is no stranger to releasing new consoles, with different innards, early in the lifecycle. So, 1TB PS4? Wouldn't surprise me at all.
2. Sony will reboot one of its PS One era classics
I'm putting it out there right now, based on precisely zero rumours or insider-knowledge. Sony will reboot a classic, PS One era game in 2015, probably as a fancy PSN title. What will that be? It's anyone's guess, but I'm hoping for something like Parappa, WipEout, or Syphon Filter. I demand the opportunity to taser baddos to firey-death in glorious HD!
See, now is the time for reboots and reimaginings of classic games, and PSN is the perfect conduit for that. Grim Fandango is coming, PlayStation has just turned 20, so why not remake a series that celebrates the history of the console and cashes in on the appetite for nostalgia?
3. Uncharted 4 will get some kind of co-op mode
Nathan Drake's brother is in the first gameplay trailer for Uncharted 4. His brother. If that doesn't scream co-op mode, I don't know what does. Maybe an actual Naughty Dog employee screaming co-op mode, I guess. Anyway, it seems likely to happen.
Will it be built into the campaign? Hmm. Jury's still out on that one. Would the idea of two players roaming the game's jungle environments spoil the series' trademark, cinematic action? Probably. Would specially designed co-op levels, which integrate two-player puzzles and epic set-pieces, be awesome? Yes. Yes, they would. Let's hope for the latter.
4. GT7 will get announced, and it'll be about cars and that
While DriveClub was hailed as Sony's great, car-shaped hope for PS4... it just isn't that good. Delays, server issues, and underwhelming offline options have flattened the series' tyres and shoved a potato into its exhaust pipe. No, people who love cars demand a new Gran Turismo game, with a bevy of vehicles recreated in even more tedious detail than ever before. And I reckon Sony will give it to them.
We'll probably get word of this new GT at E3 in June. When it'll actually hit PS4 is anyone's guess. GT5 was in development for roughly five ice-ages, but GT6 appeared relatively quickly after that. It all depends on how long Sony indulges Kaz Yamauchi's penchant for recreating every last stitch, texture, and rivet on the game's Volvos. Seriously, get out more, Kaz.
5. David Cage will show his latest project and it will 'challenge expectations'
It's easy to make fun of Quantic Dream's head honcho. His lofty ideas challenge the norms of game development, and often exceed the technical limits of hardware. Both Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls released with an accompanying whiff of disappointment, as they fell below player expectations to varying extents (that's my polite way of saying that I quite enjoyed Heavy Rain, but thought Beyond was ass).
Anyway, he's up to something, is Cage. What? We don't really know. Will it be a full version of the Kara tech demo? Something about hoary old wizards? Maybe the project he wanted to make that would 'change our perception of war games'. Either way, a new Quantic game is both terrifying and thrilling all at once, so it should be an event at least.
6. We'll get a teaser trailer for The Last Of Us movie
We know a Last Of Us movie is in the works, and while it won't appear in cinemas for a while, there's every chance we'll see a teaser trailer for it by the end of the year. Unless it follows the path of most video game movies, and just gets stuck in development hell. In which case, um, we won't.
Still, I'm pumped, and full of the kind of blind optimism that comes with a fresh year and a half-empty bottle of gin. So, I'm predicting a 27-second trailer with Maise Williams as Ellie and Josh Brolin as Joel. It'll be all dark, moody, and accompanied by nine blasts of the 'Zimmer honk' (which is now mandatory for all movie teasers since Inception). Believe it.
7. We'll get improved voice commands, and in-app voice support
Rejoice, all six of you who actually own and use the PlayStation Camera. Sony has got your back, you brand-ambassador you, and it's planning plenty of exciting features aimed directly at your living room space. I reckon we'll get some new voice commands that let you navigate PS4's functions more easily (so, you'll be able to close applications, check messages, and capture screens etc using your mouth-speakings).
Not only that, I confidently* predict that Sony will make voice control actually useful, by implementing it in features like Netflix and iPlayer. Oh, and you'll be able to control these third-party apps using the PlayStation App (keep app - haha) on your phone / tablet too. *I'm not confident about this at all. In fact, fuck it, this will never happen.
8. We won't hear a peep about Vita or Project Morpheus
Sony and the PS Vita used to hang out all the time. They'd go for a beer, have a laugh, and play Scrabble together at weekends. Sony didn't care that no-one else seemed to like Vita - they were buds. Sony could look past Vita's chronic masturbation and personal hygiene problems. But lately, Sony hasn't been returning Vita's calls. Vita keeps borrowing money and CDs from Sony, and never returns them, and - quite frankly - Sony has had enough of Vita's bullshit.
So, don't expect to hear about Vita this year. If asked, Sony will probably stare at its shoes, and say that they just don't have much in common any more. Ask about Morpheus, the PS4's VR headset, and Sony will probably gaze into the middle distance and say Yeah, we hung out a bit last year, but that guy is high-maintenance. Look, it probably wouldn't work out, ok?
9. Sony will demo a game in true 4K
Given Sony's staunch defence of 4K resolution at the recent CES trade show in Las Vegas, it seems likely that we'll see a PS4 game designed to run in ultra-HD by the end of the year. While you can currently fit the total number of 4K TV owners inside the glove-box of a Mini Cooper, it's likely that the tech will become more widespread in 2015. And because Sony want to sell TVs, it'll lean on its PS4 division to show off the benefits of 4K.
Given the fact that 4K puts a massive strain on even the most powerful PCs, don't expect Sony's first ultra-HD game to be anything more than a simple PSN title, tarted up to look amazing. Hell, they'll probably just bust out a posh version of Super Stardust again to help flog 4K... exactly what happened when 3D gaming was a thing. Remember? Well, quite.
10. The Last Guardian will... oh what's the point?
Personally, I think The Last Guardian is dead. That bird-eagle thing? It's floating face-down in the muddy pond of development hell. It's starting to get all bloated, and local kids are trying to poke it with a stick. The boy? He had to take a job in the stock-room at Argos because he wants to buy a second-hand Citreon Saxo to impress girls. Plus, his mum wants him to move out of the house, and be more like his sister who is doing really well at that local Estate Agents firm now.
Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, we probably won't see The Last Guardian in 2015.
Hit the road, Knack, and dontcha come back...
If Sony announces a sequel to Knack in 2015, it's a sure sign of the impending apocalypse. In this event, you should stock up on canned food and bottled water, make a bunker out of old Seinfeld DVD box-sets, and fashion yourself a makeshift shiv out of that shiny smartphone you can't stop staring at. You'll need it when Hell's minions spew forth into your living room. But that's unlikely to happen, so don't worry too much. Have a biscuit or something. Oh, and leave a comment below, telling me exactly what biscuit you decided to eat.
Want more features where we've hidden Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, in one of the slides? Here's one about 10 Video Game Characters You Can Never Save, and another about 10 Great Games Based On Awful Jobs. Seriously, we've been doing it for years.