With the release of God of War and its industry-wide critical praise, I’ve been thinking about what PlayStation has done over the past 5 years. Since the launch of the PS4 and the Xbox One, there have been many games that have come out. But PlayStation has found a way to outdo their competitors. How?
The Console War
I am not someone who picks a side. I have all three consoles and like them. The first console that I ever got was a PlayStation, then an Xbox. I’m not much of a Nintendo guy but the Switch is great in its own way. I’ve experienced different things on different platforms. For instance, Halo: Combat Evolved was the first first-person-shooter that I played, and on PlayStation I experienced the phenomena known as Grand Theft Auto.
I am a gamer so I like to experience as many games as I can. I’m one of the gamers who prefer PlayStation exclusives over Xbox. You could feel the same way or not; it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, games are games. Yet you could make the argument that PlayStation has succeeded because of their commitment to the gamers. Another argument to be made is that they have succeeded because they have more exclusives than the other platforms. While these are both true in some regard, I think it has to do with something else.
It’s PlayStation’s developers that have made them successful. I’m not saying that they are better than other developers; I understand the passion, time, energy, and effort that every developer has to make the games. PlayStation’s developers have each done the same thing, change and evolve.
If we look at some of the past PS4 exclusives that have come out, they each share something in common: the developers have done things different than they did before, the most recent example being God of War.
God of War
When God of War first came out back in 2005, it was your typical hack and slash, combo-driven action game. Today, it’s something else. The action is still there but it’s different. If you have seen or read anything related to the new God of War, two things usually get brought up. One, the combat has changed and revamped to be more nuanced and tactical. Two, the shift of the overall game structure and the different RPG elements that are new to the series. Another major difference in this God of War than the previous is the bigger emphasis on the story and characters. Game director Cory Barlog wanted to take on the impossible task of making people care about Kratos, someone who was never seen as a good character up until now. If you have read a review, it would seem like he succeeded.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Last year, another PS4 exclusive came out and everyone was very excited to play it. Guerilla Games released Horizon: Zero Dawn and caught everyone off guard. No one expected Guerilla Games, who previously made their name known with the Killzone series, a first-person-shooter, to succeed in changing genres. Horizon: Zero Dawn was something fresh and different. The biggest change that Guerilla made was their focus and emphasis on the narrative of the game, which is a big component in any RPG.
Guerilla was also able to try something new in terms of combat. What we got was a fast, fluid combat system that many people loved. And the enemy variety in terms of the machines provided something unique and different than what has come before. The shift into an open-world environment also allowed Guerilla Games to create a world that was just teeming with things to do and explore.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
In 2016, another big PS4 exclusive came out. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End saw the end of Nathan Drake’s story. If you’ve played it, you know that it is very different than the previous Uncharted games. Developer Naughty Dog took some of the concepts and lessons from The Last of Us and implemented them into A Thief’s End. A major change was the emphasis on exploration throughout the game. Taking a cue from The Last of Us, the levels in Uncharted 4 were much larger and allowed different avenues to get from point A to point B. Because the levels were larger, it allowed Naughty Dog to create smaller character moments that flushed out the story even more.
These are just examples of three of PlayStation’s developers, but there are more and the same thing that can be said for those developers as well. With games such as Marvel’s Spider-Man, Dreams, Ghost of Tsushima, Day’s Gone, The Last of Us Part ll and more, PlayStation’s success is about their developers. They all have changed and evolved in their own ways. Each has found ways to modernize their new experiences and make them fit the trends that make them successful in the present climate of video games.
What do you think is the key to PlayStation’s success? What’s your favorite console and why? Let us know in the comments below!