Everyone in the gaming community has been keeping a watchful eye on the release of Sony’s upcoming dark fantasy action game, Bloodborne. Brought to us by Hidetaka Miyazaki and FirmSoftware – the creators of cult classics, the Dark Souls series, and Demon’s Souls – Bloodborne looks like a game very much in the vein of the FirmSoftware’s previous hit games. Dark, bloody, and extremely difficult, Bloodborne could be the game that brings Playstation out of its current funk.
At the beginning of this year, it really seemed like it was going to be a smash hit year for Sony and it’s latest gaming platform. As we saw at the “Playstation Experience” event, the message was very clear: a slow start for Playstation would be immediately halted by a slew of new game exclusive releases in the upcoming months in the first quarter of 2015. Namely, the releases of highly anticipated games The Order: 1886, Uncharted 4, and Bloodborne. However, we are now in March, and Sony’s prospects are looking far more dim than initially anticipated. The Order: 1886 has come and gone, and was received as a universal flop from fans and critics alike mainly griping about the “interactive movie” nature of the game that was heavy on dry cover-based combat, unfail-able quick-time events, and an endless amount of cutscenes. And while Sony Computer Entertainment, the same production studio that was able to turn the God of War series in to a powerhouse game franchise, surely plans a sequel to The Order: 1886, the game surely made a bad first impression that was supposed to spawn a brand new Sony-exclusive franchise.
To make matters worse, Naughty Dog revealed that Playstation’s most anticipated game of 2015, Uncharted 4, was going to be delayed to 2016. The game, having gone through several major shifts in staffing during its development, has high standards to meet, which were the concerns cited by Naughty Dog upon the announcement. All things considered, the high-standards expected by the gaming community for the fourth installment of the popular Playstation franchise aren’t a terrible reason to delay the release – however the amount of time it’s been delayed by is pretty painful. And while fans can wait longer for a bug-free, not-broken game, the blow is considerable to PS4, which will enter the holiday season without a blockbuster exclusive in its corner, right around when XBox One is expected to release Rise of the Tomb Raider and Halo 5.
Which leaves us with Bloodborne. As a fan of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls, I personally am highly anticipating this game, which is set to release next week on March 24th. The game certainly has the potential to save Playstation in the near term and at least engineer the start of a trend-reversal for Playstation in 2015. The game has gone through its fair share of delays, but assuming the development is clean upon release, Bloodborne will have to carry on its shoulders the responsibility of defining the argument to purchase PS4 instead of its competitors. And from what i’ve read about the game, and the gameplay i’ve viewed, Bloodborne doesn’t seem like it will disappoint. There have been rumblings about this game for several months, particularly after the 2014 E3 trailer premiered by FirmSoftware, and based on how the critics have experienced Bloodborne so far, it seems like Hidetaka Miyazaki has done it again.
A few sites got a glimpse in to the game by getting access from FirmSoftware to a soft-launched beta of the game ahead of the official review drop next week, and the first impressions are generally pretty good! Though Bloodborne shares the same punishing difficulty as the previous Souls games, the combat strategy and structure is entirely changed, what with not having a sword and shield, but instead, dual-wielding attacking weapons in the form of a punishing blade-type weapon and a gun, thus causing many action fighting game subscribers to adjust their fighting strategy considerably. The game has been most readily described by beta testers as “beautiful and grotesque”, and just what the PS4 needs to stand out in their so-far floundered 2015.
Playstation landing a Miyazaki game as an exclusive is no easy get, as Demon’s Souls was a huge hit on PS3, while Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, were multi-platform releases on PC, XBox 360 and PS3, though Miyazaki didn’t direct Dark Souls 2.
But, does acclaim necessarily mean that big sales are to come? Well, not necessarily the case for Miyazaki’s previous Souls related games. Combined, to date, those franchises have sold 4.7 million copies. Which are respectable sales on their own, but how do they hold up against other Playstation franchise games? Well, God of War 1 through 3, to date, have sold a combined 13.2 million copies across PS2 and PS3. The Uncharted series has sold 17.9 million copies to date across its three installments. Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us has sold 8.3 million copies on its own between its original and remastered releases.
Games like the Souls series are enormously popular as cult following games go, and are popular amongst gaming critics as well. Unfortunately, what makes Miyazaki’s games so popular amongst those crowds is also what makes them somewhat inaccessible amongst the casual gamer. Their difficulty is quite high and also they require enormous amounts of time investments. This isn’t to say that the game should be dumbed down so as to appeal to a wider audience, but the nature of the game will inevitably lead to lower sales compared to a God of War type franchise.
However, a win is a win, when it’s all said and done, and PS4′s prospects in 2015 will be far better going forward if Bloodborne turns out to be as good as it looks. To date, the best Playstation-exclusive property released for its latest platform is the moderately decent Infamous: Second Son, and it’s highly possible that Bloodborne takes that crown by the end of the month. And, if that’s the case, it couldn’t come at a better time for Playstation considering the current lull in XBox-exclusive releases. This could be a well timed boost for Playstation, which they’ll need come the release of the latest Tomb Raider installment and the release of Halo 5.
Luckily for PS4, they’re not entirely dependent on a win, mainly because they’ve been destroying their competition in console sales regardless, and has established itself as the “go-to” platform for multi-platform games, thanks in large part to mistakes made by Nintendo and Microsoft on their latest platforms. It is, however, worrisome that Playstation has become seemingly complacent with their current market position, and a string of lackluster or entirely absent exclusive games hasn’t exactly helped their position. Bloodborne looks like it has the potential to refocus the conversation to Playstation carrying the best exclusive franchises, even if it isn’t the monster seller that God of War or Uncharted was.
from Doug MacFaddin | Video Games Page http://ift.tt/1xc2KhO