The long-awaited remake of the acclaimed zombie adventure Resident Evil 4 was the highlight of Sony’s State of Play online showcase on Thursday night.
The 2005 original marked a dramatic shift in direction for the Resident Evil series, with a new focus on action and a refreshed “over the shoulder” camera view to replace the squeaky third-person visuals. A story posted on Sony’s blog after the half-hour event promised that the remake would preserve the essence of the game while “reimagining” the story, modernizing the visuals, and updating the controls. The game’s teaser also promised virtual reality content for the PlayStation VR headset. A release date of March 24, 2023, was given.
New trailers were also shown for Final Fantasy 16, the latest title in Square Enix’s role-playing series and Street Fighter 6, which features many of the classic fighters and an extraordinary new visual style that combines realistic animation with spectacularly explosive paint splatter effects. Both are expected next year.
There were also some intriguing new titles. Space horror adventure Callisto Protocol was like Dead Space with its focus on panicked space travelers torn apart by gloopy aliens. It’s the first title from Striking Distance Studios, formed by Glen Schofield, co-creator of the Dead Space series. It comes out on December 2. We also caught a glimpse of the gorgeous third-person action shooter Rollerdrome from Roll7, creator of the OlliOlli series of stylized skating sims, and Eternights, an anime-influenced adventure dating sim.
Perhaps the most eye-catching aesthetic of the night belonged to Season A Letter to the Future, a bicycle travel game in which players photograph and document a doomed world before a coming apocalypse. There was also a new trailer for the cyberpunk kitten adventure Stray, which also has a release date – July 19.
We expected to hear more about PlayStation VR 2, a fully updated successor to Sony’s original VR headset, which launched for the PS4 in 2016. With 4K high dynamic range visuals and dual 2000 x 2040 OLED displays , it’s set to offer four times the resolution of its predecessor, while the new controllers bring haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, similar to the PS5’s Dual Sense pads.
The biggest reveal was a VR version of Resident Evil Village, with a new trailer perhaps predictably centering around cult enemy Lady Dimitrescu. There were also clips from The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Chapter 2: Retribution, No Man’s Sky running on PlayStation VR 2, and Horizon VR: Call of the Mountain, which featured a lot of climbing and ranged combat.
From the outset, Sony made it clear that there would be no announcements of major new first-party titles; those will surely come later in the summer. But the confirmation of a Resident Evil 4 return and some tantalizing Final Fantasy XVI details, with new protagonist Clive Rosfield showing off a series of fiery attacks, at least set the stage for a few months of game announcements. E3 isn’t happening this year, but there is a big Microsoft Bethesda showcase on June 12 and a return for GamesCom in August. When it comes to gaming industry hype in 2022, we’re just getting started.