The Last of Us. Bit of a spanner in the works, that one, for all the crazy street prophets throwing their arms into the sky and proclaiming the death of this current generation amongst firey skies and the reek of brimstone. A new, AAA franchise from the creators of Uncharted, launching just as we were starting to think the PS4 was on the way. It blew the whole theory out of the water.
Except it didn’t.
You see there is precedent with Sony. Precedent which states that late-generation franchise launches are par for the course. God of War. Quite the big deal these days, I’m sure you’ll agree. Killzone is far from an insignificant franchise too. But the other thing that links them? Both of them were unveiled at E3 2004, the year before the world’s focus shifted to the PS3. It might seem blisteringly surreal that two of PlayStation’s biggest franchises were born out of the PS2’s death throes, but in hindsight it was actually a smart tactical move.
By launching a new franchise towards the end of one console’s life, you ensure that its familiarity will reassure your fan-base of the next machine’s worth, while its relative youth maintains that air of fresh, exciting newness that a next-gen console launch needs. And – and this is possibly even more crucial – you get to use it to draw a direct comparison between your two machines, highlighting the high-octane weapons-grade awesome pumping through the new one via the technical upgrade between last-generation’s franchise entry and its similar but way better-looking sequel.
But will these parallels turn out to be truly significant, or am I just ranting like that crazy old schizophrenic hobo on the corner? You know, the guy who always tells the sky is about to fall in because the pigeons are moving funny? We'll get a better idea of the shape of things to come when E3 2012 starts next week, but in the meantime, why don't you check out our E3 2012 rumours compendium? It's being updated constantly with every single story that might shape this year's show.