After Xbox was first to show some of its planned releases for 2024, many have been wondering what’s on PlayStation’s slate. Fortunately, last night’s State of Play (31 January, 10pm GMT) has helped assure that those on PlayStation consoles have reasons to be cheerful.
While things remain quiet regarding future first-party exclusives, the newest release being after all Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered, there are nonetheless exclusives to be excited about that Sony is publishing from great third party developers. And at just over 40 minutes long, there’s certainly no shortage of games to look forward to.
We’ve rounded up the biggest highlights and trailers for you below, though you can also watch the whole State of Play right here.
1) Rise of the Ronin
With no word yet on a sequel to Ghost of Tsushima, Rise of the Ronin seems like an even better alternative as it hails from acclaimed Japanese developer Team Ninja, who’s taking its expertise of hardcore samurai action from the Nioh series to open world 19th century Japan.
You play as a ronin during the country’s tumultuous Bakumatsu period, which is best represented by the main location of Yokohama, one of the first ports that opened up to foreign countries, giving the city a striking blend of Japanese and Western culture and architecture. That also extends to your combat choices, because while you can fight with Japanese swords and spears, you’ll also be able to wield Western weaponry such as a bayonet or flamethrower.
As an open world game there’ll also be plenty of ways to get around, from horse riding to a kind of wingsuit gliding device that works effectively with a grapple hook. Compared to the studio’s more recent games, Rise of the Ronin may be more grounded in its historical setting but it still looks very much like it prioritises being a fun and challenging action game over trying too hard to pretend to be a Kurosawa film.
Release date: 22 March
2) Stellar Blade
Originally announced as Project Eve, this action adventure might make you think of Bayonetta, not just because of female protagonist Eve’s revealing outfits but also its hi-octane action with a mix of melee and gun combat.
The post-apocalyptic premise however has us thinking of Nier: Automata as you’re a warrior from an off-world colony who’s come back to Earth to exterminate a monstrous species known as the Nativas. You’ll also be spending time in a city hidden under the wasteland that you can help rebuild and in turn win over the city’s survivors.
It’s hard to say whether it will live up to the above influences as this is Seoul-based studio Shift Up’s first AAA title, while outside of the lustrous action, side quests, skill trees and upgrades all feel somewhat generic and derivative. Still, it’s got the backing of publisher Sony, and you won’t have long to wait to get your hands on it either.
Release date: 26 April
3) Death Stranding 2: On the Beach
Just as The Game Awards rolled out the red carpet for game dev royalty Hideo Kojima, so too does this State of Play, spending a good chunk of its time on Death Stranding 2, revealed with a new sub-title.
While the original game was divisive at launch, appreciation for Kojima Productions’ strange post-apocalyptic open world walking delivery simulator has only grown, especially following pandemic lockdowns. The lengthy trailer shows that this sequel expands the idea of connection even further as Norman Reedus’s Sam Porter Bridges is going beyond the borders of the the United Cities of America and connecting with the rest of the world. And by the looks of it, we’re talking whole other cities, wastelands, and even the desert.
Most of all, it continues to look ridiculously inventive in its ideas, while continuing to attract A-list talent, with Lea Seydoux returning in what looks like an even more substantial role as Fragile, a first look at Elle Fanning’s as yet unnamed character, while filmmaking auteurs George Miller and Fatih Akin will also be making guest appearances.
That wasn’t all, as Kojima also made an appearance at the end of the presentation to announce he’s working with Sony on a brand new action espionage game. Probably so that it won’t be referred to as ‘Not Metal Gear’, it’s even got the working title Physint. With this as well the previously announced Xbox project OD, Kojima Productions sure is busy!
Release date: 2025
4) Silent Hill: The Short Message
Everyone’s in on a shadow drop these days, but one that’s also free? Now you’ve got our attention, as long as you don’t nope out of it first.
While fans were expecting a new look at Bloober Team’s Silent Hill 2 remake, which had the questionable decision to focus on combat, the big surprise was another game, Silent Hill: The Short Message, which you can download for free and play now.
This short experimental game brings the series to the modern era, which makes itself apparent with a young protagonist who’s also carrying a smartphone. That seems to be both key to The Short Message’s gameplay and theme, tackling the problems people face isolated and elevated in the social media age. That it’s played in a first-person perspective also conjures memories of P.T., the frightening PS4 demo for a Silent Hill game that never came to pass.
Release date: Out now
5) Metro Awakening VR
A year after the release of PSVR2 and we’re still yet to see any real substantial first-party support for the impressive hardware. But headset owners haven’t been left in the cold as we got a look at a couple of VR titles too (although they’re also confirmed for other Meta Quest and Steam VR).
This prequel to the post-apocalyptic Metro series looks frighteningly good while its story is also being penned by series creator and author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Neither a port nor a VR mode of a game you’ve already played, here’s hoping for more next-gen VR experiences like this.
Release date: 2024
6) Everything else
Another PSVR2 title shown off was the rather generically titled Legendary Tales, but looks like it could be fun with friends as you journey through dungeons wielding all manner of weapons in a physics-based combat system.
February could also be a good month for online shooters with the arrival of Helldivers 2 and Foamstars, with the latter launching as one of this month’s free PlayStation Plus Essential titles.
While Judas was revealed last year, the new gameplay-focused trailer for the narrative-focused first-person shooter seems to confirm that Ken Levine, creator of Bioshock, is basically making another Bioshock.
Some older titles are all getting a new-gen lick of paint, such as cinematic horror cult classic Until Dawn, which has been rebuilt and enhanced for PS5. Meanwhile, Sonic X Shadow Generations is a remaster of 2011’s Sonic Generations that also adds a brand new story campaign starring the fan-favourite anti-hero.
We also got another action-packed look at fantasy action RPG Dragon’s Dogma 2, the combat continuing to look spectacular and its pawn systems ever more intriguing.
And if you were wondering why Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the most anticipated release of the month, was absent from the presentation, then worry not. It will be getting its own special State of Play next Tuesday on 6th February at 11:30pm GMT.