E3 2014 wants The Last Guardian but it needs Uncharted 4

The internet is ablaze with The Last Guardian speculation. Many sites are predicting a glorious re-confirmation of the game at Sony’s E3 2014 press conference, next Tuesday, and most agree that it’ll be on both PS3 and PS4. Other sites are feeding off speculation surrounding retail listings, such as the appearance of the game on Amazon US. There’s less than a week to go before we learn the truth to these rumours, and I--along with almost every hardcore PlayStation player--would love them to be true. But not at the expense of true, made-for-PS4 experiences.

I’d rather hear about Uncharted 4. Or God of War. Or a new Resistance game (never going to happen). Or LittleBigPlanet 3. Why? Sentimental as many are for the final game in the ‘ICO trilogy’, The Last Guardian has been in development for six years, and it’s going to come with old-gen baggage. It isn’t the glorious, full-on reason to buy into the new generation of consoles that an event like E3 2014 needs to be all about.

With so many leaks, early reveals, and pre-preemptive delays, this year’s E3 is desperately in need of some champions; those megaton announcements that we can all reminisce about until E3 2015. I’m talking about stuff like the Uncharted 2 demo at E3 2009, or the Killer Instinct reveal from E3 2013--things that made grown men stand up and scream like idiots.

Both Sony and Microsoft have made great starts to this current generation, selling millions of machines at relatively high prices. Sure, Microsoft has had PR disasters, but the numbers suggest that despite Sony’s resounding ‘E3 2013 win’, and subsequent higher PS4 sales, both companies are meeting expectations. That early momentum can be attributed to hype, and a reasonable crop of launch games, mixed with a genuine hunger for new technology (the last console generation was/is one of the longest yet) but now that initial wave of excitement is slowing. Fast.

These past few months have seen big hitters like Batman: Arkham Knight, The Order 1886, The Division, and Halo 5: Guardians all slip to an unspecified release window in 2015. All of a sudden, the millions who forked out £100s for new-gen consoles are staring at a measly diet of HD remakes, cross-gen ports, and indie titles for the remainder of 2014. E3 needs to reignite our faith in these consoles, to remind us that proper, new-gen games are on the way, and that 2014 is still an exciting year.

And The Last Guardian--great as it may be--isn’t going to do that. In fact, its reveal (along with the rumoured Halo 1-4 HD compilation) would compound the notion that we've all bought into PlayStation 3.5, or Xbox Sort-of-One. Yes, it’s fan-pleasing, but it isn’t all that exciting. And, er, history also tells us that--as beautiful and emotionally touching as ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are--that series hasn’t sold enough to be considered a commercial success. We want it, but we don’t need it. Conversely, Sony (and everyone else eagerly expecting great things from E3) does need something to carry PS4’s success forward.

It’s very possible that we’ll have both Last Guardian and Uncharted 4 at Sony’s press conference. And a new Fallout game. And more Battlefield. In which case, I’ll bust out the champagne and spray my monitor until it fizzes and pops into a sad pile of melted plastic. I’m just wary of putting too much stock in the reveal of Last Guardian, when we should all expect bigger and better things from the biggest video gaming event of 2014.

Andy Hartup