The PlayStation 4’s True Killer App is the Unknown

“Excuse me, author. I read your headline and was incredibly offended by your insinuation that unannounced future releases are the most interesting aspects of one of the two divisive video game parallelograms. You’re crazy and I hate you.”

Well, hypothetical naysayer, you’re completely entitled to that opinion, but it’s true. Sit back, have a juice box and prepare yourself for a series of mildly coherent ramblings that you’ll likely disagree with (though we can agree that Swedish Fish are the best candies, so let’s build this writer-reader relationship upon that rock-solid foundation). After all, that’s how opinions work right?

Say what you will about Nintendo, but Sony has the best first-party studio lineup in the business. Take a second to consider the sheer amount of variance in the games released Sony’s first-party development teams. God of WarGrand Turismo, LittleBigPlanet, MLB The Show, Gravity Rush, and Killzone are just a few of the vastly different franchises to spring out of the minds of a Sony-owned development team.

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We know about some of the intriguing first-party PS4 projects in the works (there will be more Uncharted and God of War on Sony’s newest home console), but there’s still a great deal of information that’s being kept under lock-and-key. Sure, Media Molecule is hard at work on what might be the definitive remastered title in Tearaway: Unfolded, but we know literally nothing about the European studio’s original PS4 title other than the potential presence of mustachesGrand Turismo 7 is going to happen, but how will Polyphony Digital take advantage of the increased horsepower and connectivity potential of the PlayStation 4? Is Sucker Punch going to continue the outstanding Infamous series, or is the Seattle-based team moving on to bigger and better things? Now that Sony Bend has been freed from the constraints of others’ IP, we could wind up watching the next great first-party development studio emerge. Oh, and for the love of God Naughty Dog, will you please just let us know what your second team is up to already? Everyone knows it’s going to be incredible, so just reveal The Last of Us 2 or whatever it is you’re working on and save us the anticipation.

When you buy a Nintendo console, you know that it’s going to have quality Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong games combined with perpetually phenomenal Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. iterations. Letting that new Nintendo box sit around gathering cobwebs and dead skin cells for months is admittedly disappointing, but there’s always that shining, plumber-shaped light on the horizon. The PlayStation 4 faces this exact proposition, only there’s a metric ton of games to enjoy in the meantime. My PlayStation 4 library is comprised of ninety-one playable titles, which definitively disproves the “no games on PS4” argument because my experience is clearly the gold standard and represents the population at large. There’s definitely not a single game in there that I didn’t enjoy. Nope, every game is clearly fantastic.

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Heavy veil of sarcasm aside, there are definitely dozens of games  to enjoy on the PlayStation before the flood of previously-announced exclusives arrives. Bloodborne, if event demos are any indication, is going to be fantastic. If its PlayStation Experience footage is to be believed, The Order: 1886 seems to actually have received a heavy dose of fun over the past few months. Tearaway: Unfolded is definitely more Tearaway, and Naughty Dog’s apparent commitment to open-ended linearity could make Uncharted 4 the best entry in the much-heralded action franchise. Still, the PlayStation 4’s promise doesn’t rest on these titles alone, as we’ll likely judge its overall library through unannounced projects like Guerilla’s open-world RPG (because robot dinosaurs) or whatever Naughty Dog has up its sleeve. What we know is just a drop in the bucket; what we don’t is literally the rest of said metaphorical bucket’s contents.

Think back to $599 US Dollars…I mean 2006. Could anyone have predicted that a game of the quality of The Last of Us, which single-handedly raised the gaming industry’s visual and narrative standards, would be released? Did anyone have any idea that God of War III would be as gorgeous as it was (that opening sequence, oh that opening sequence)? There was no indication that Sony Santa Monica’s External Development branch could aid the creation of something as beautiful as 2012’s Journey. We have no clue what the rest of the PlayStation 4’s lifetime will entail, a fact both staggering and enthralling. This is the fastest selling console of all-time, who’s to say that this feat won’t boost the potential of an already potential-filled machine?

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Go ahead, participate in the frivolous Console War debates. Both Microsoft and Sony have plenty of bullets left in their chambers, but if Sony’s first-party development history is any indication, the PlayStation 4’s final bullet might be made of silver. The PlayStation 4’s current lineup might not be enough reason for you to purchase a PlayStation 4 at the moment, but take a moment to play the long game. Is there any doubt that some of the best studios in the business will be able to fill the PlayStation 4 with unmissable experiences?