PlayStation hosted the year’s first State of Play games showcase early Thursday, bringing a host of new announcements, reveals and updates on upcoming releases. Sony presented a deep dive into two of its first-party titles, with extended gameplay trailers for Rise of the Ronin and Stellar Blade. The latter also finally received a release date — Shift Up’s action-adventure title is arriving April 26. Team Ninja’s Rise of the Ronin received a detailed gameplay trailer, showing off sword combat, special weapons, and traversal. We also got to know a bit more about the Edo period setting of the game, which takes right in the middle of the Japanese revolution.
The State of Play showcase also brought an in-depth look at Death Stranding 2 with a nearly 10-minute-long trailer that detailed new gameplay elements, the story beyond the first game and new and returning characters. Norman Reedus’ Sam Porter Bridges saved America in the first game, now he must save the world from extinction. Of course, as you’d expect from a Hideo Kojima game, the plot and story details remain cryptic at best. But hey, would you want it any other way? Kojima himself joined PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst towards the end of the State of Play showcase and dropped a surprise. The iconic game director will be working on an action-espionage title (not Metal Gear Solid) for PlayStation, with development on the untitled game beginning after Death Stranding 2.
The showcase saw over a dozen announcements, including updates on the Silent Hill 2 remake, a new story trailer for Ken Levine’s Judas and an enhanced version of Until Dawn for PS5 and PC coming this year. State of Play also showed off a couple of PS VR2 titles, a new remastered Sonic game that brings the best 2D and 2D levels from the series and more. Sony also announced that the next State of Play, scheduled for February 6, will entirely focus on Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth. With that, here’s everything that was announced at PlayStation’s State of Play:
Rise of the Ronin – Gameplay trailer
Team Ninja’s Rise of the Ronin, which releases on the PS5 on March 22, got a 4-minute-long gameplay overview trailer at State of Play, detailed combat mechanics, swordplay, special weapons and seamless traversal. The game, which looks like Ghost of Tsushima’s first cousin, will also feature crucial player choices at key moments in the story that will affect the events going forward.
Set during 19th century Japan, right in the middle of the Bakumatsu period, Rise of the Ronin drops you into a period-accurate Yokohama. The trailer showcased Assassin’s Creed-style seamless urban traversal, with the player utilising their grappling hook to quickly climb up buildings, launch off and glide through the air using the ‘Avicula’ glider, and drop directly on to their horse to ride off. The trailer also detailed Katana combat, which includes attacks, guards and parries, with a focus on breaking enemy stance to deal damage. The grappling hook also lets you pull enemies closer and finish them off with style. Aside from Japanese swords and spears, you can also use Western firearms like handguns, rifles and other special ranged weapons like a flamethrower. While comparisons with Ghost of Tsushima are inevitable, Rise of the Ronin seems to retain the Team Ninja identity, with a focus on fast-paced, punishing and technical combat. The game arrives exclusively on the PS5 on March 22.
Stellar Blade finally received a release date at the State of Play showcase, along with a gameplay overview trailer. The game is set to arrive on the PS5 on April 26. Developers Shift Up also confirmed that pre-orders for the game will go live on February 7. Customers who pre-order the game will also receive cosmetic bonuses and in-game currency boosts.
The trailer detailed Stellar Blade’s hack-and-slash action combat and a few other game mechanics. The game puts players in the shoes of Eve, an off-world warrior sent to Earth to take on the Naytibas, monstrous invaders that have taken over the planet. Eve’s character design is bound to cause controversy — it doesn’t really make any sense for an adept warrior sent to defeat dangerous threats on a post-apocalyptic planet to be running around in skin-tight, anime-style apparel. She teams up with two other survivors, Adam and Lily, and sets off on a quest to reclaim Earth.
Death Stranding 2: On the Beach
Okay, there’s a lot to unpack here and it’s probably futile to even try. First off, DS2 has an official title — Death Stranding 2: On the Beach. The Death Stranding 2 trailer was exactly what one would expect a Death Stranding trailer to be — long, mysterious and completely insane. And of course, it showed off some gorgeous visuals and new environments, clearly showing the expanded ambitions of the sequel.
It’s hard to even describe everything that went down in the trailer. The baby is back. And so are familiar faces like Norman Reedus’ Sam and Léa Seydoux’s Fragile. There’s a new organisation, called the Drawbridge, in the mix now and we see Fragile give Sam a tour of a ship, now the new base of operations. She wants him to help bring the world back together, just like he helped reconnect the United Cities of America, or the UCA in the first game. There’s also a talking puppet now, who accompanies Sam on his hiking trips. The UCA intends to expand its borders and bring new regions under its fold, with Sam tasked with expanding the network.
The trailer shows off new vehicles, more BTs, stunning new environments, and a bunch of new gadgets to help you along the journey. Troy Baker’s Higgs, the main antagonist from the first game returns, too. This time, he’s wearing a metal-ninja armour, donning Joker-style face makeup and wielding an electrifying new guitar weapon. And the sequel will also tell us more about the bridge baby BB-28, or Lou, our companion throughout the whole first game. There’s no official release date for DS2 yet, but it’s due sometime next year.
Sonic X Shadow Generations
Sega revealed Sonic X Shadow Generations at the State of Play showcase, a remastered collection that brings together beloved 2D and 3D levels from Sonic Generations. The platformer will also include new content and an all-new standalone campaign for Shadow the Hedgehog. The game will arrive on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and the Nintendo Switch in Autumn 2024.
Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill: The Short Message
The Silent Hill 2 remake got a trailer at the State of Play showcase, dropping more gameplay footage from the game. We got to see the game’s third-person combat for the first time, in addition to the atmosphere, setting, some of the game’s horrible monstrosities.
Additionally, as a PT-like surprise, Konami also dropped a free short-form horror game, Silent Hill: The Short Message, which can be downloaded right now. The experimental title plays out from a first-person perspective and features a new protagonist, with commentary focussing on social media and smartphone-oriented lives of young people.
First revealed at The Game Awards 2022, Judas is an upcoming first-person shooter from Ghost Story Games, led by Bioshock maker Ken Levine. The new State of Play trailer for the game focussed on its story and player choices. The game is set in Mayflower, a spacefaring city, whose inhabitants — as the title suggests — could betray one another at any given moment.
The trailer also showed off the game’s combat, which would seem very familiar to Bioshock fans. Judas is set to arrive on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X sometime next year.
Here’s everything else that was announced at State of Play
- Zenless Zone Zero, action-RPG from Genshin Impact maker miHoYo, is coming to PS5 this year
- Metro Awakening, story-driven first-person VR adventure from Vertigo Games, is coming to PS VR2 this year
- Legendary Tales, VR action-RPG from Urban Wolf Games, arrives on PS VR2 on February 8
- Until Dawn, the narrative-focussed survival horror PS4 title from Supermassive Games, is getting an enhanced edition for the PS5 and PC this year
- Stunlock Studio’s action-RPG survival title V Rising is coming to PS5 this year
- Dave the Diver, the contentious indie hit from 2023, is coming to PS5 and PS4 in April, along with a new Godzilla DLC
- Foamstars Season 1 content details revealed, arriving February 6