2015 Retrospective: PS4 and Xbox One Generations at full speed

2015 Retrospective: PS4 and Xbox One Generations at full speed
2015 was perhaps the first year that PS4 and Xbox One began to show what they were capable of, with the launch of a series of high-caliber games, destined to remain paradigms for the entire life cycle of the two platforms in question. Few innovations in the hardware field, beyond the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS which will then remain more than anything else a sketch, given the scarce exploitation of the additional potential, while for the rest we have mainly witnessed the definitive explosion of new hardware and the abandonment progressive of the previous consoles. After the 2013 launch and 2014 break-in, 2015 basically entered the heart of the PS4 and Xbox One generation, with a truly impressive amount of high-caliber games.

In fact, it could be considered one of the best years ever in the past decade, in terms of releases: over the 12 months we have witnessed the arrival of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Bloodborne, Metal Gear Solid 5, Halo 5, Fallout 4, Ori and the Blind Forest as well at the release of Grand Theft Auto V in PC version and various other titles that have remained etched in the videogame imagination as some of the best games of the generation and of the recent panorama in general. It was therefore a phase of maximum expression of the hardware, still quite far from the revival of the mid-gen and from the decline that would then only begin later, near the generational change of 2020.

The E3 of dreams and transformations

The emblematic moment of 2015 was E3, which brought a lot of news on Xbox One but especially on PS4, going down in history as the 'E3 of dreams, in which some projects long desired by users were announced and which seemed to finally come true, even if all would arrive anyway only a long time later. On the Microsoft front, the new management of Phil Spencer began to mesh, after the disastrous start for Don Mattrick's little appreciated choices (but also not understood, at the time): with a now important gap compared to PS4, Spencer starts a sort of internal revolution that would soon lead to the unification of the Xbox and PC environment, with the release of Windows 10 in 2015. Among other important issues we remember the relaunch of backwards compatibility on Xbox, with the vision of a single platform that was starting to take shape in Redmond.

On the Sony front, E3 2015 was perhaps one of the most memorable ever : The Last Guardian was presented in the same night, revived after a development odyssey, in addition to the real realization of two dreams of the players as Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Shenmue 3. At the time it was difficult to imagine that both games would actually arrive only after five years, but that was enough to further increase Sony's dominant position as a company able to perfectly respond to the wishes of players, even if from the point of view of the releases. In any case, 2015 was another year of multiplatform, as major games, beyond the case of Bloodborne.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a consecration

The most important title of 2015 was probably The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which arrived in May on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, decreeing the passage of CD Projekt RED from a team dedicated to the PC field (with partial expansion to Xbox) to first level cross-platform label. Contrary to what happened with Cyberpunk 2077 recently, The Witcher 3 conquered everyone from the start, despite some technical problems still present and a long post-launch optimization process. The power of the world staged by the Polish team, thanks also to the well-defined substrate from the books of Andrzej Sapkowski, in addition to the breadth of the map, the quantity of content and the quality of the writing and construction of the quests, managed to hit the mark also determining a certain evolution of open world games in general.

The first two chapters have been very successful but have been relegated above all to the sphere of RPG enthusiasts, in particular on PC and partly on Xbox 360 with the second, but nothing to do with the dimensions of the phenomenon reached with the third chapter. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has cleared the character of Geralt of Rivia, with all his particular outline of Eastern European folkloristic fantasy, to the mass public, in a rather surprising way compared to the premises, which also spoke of a video game large caliber. With its success, the game also dragged books behind it and was probably the key element that led to the creation of the TV series on Netflix, decreeing the definitive consecration of The Witcher and CD Projekt RED.

Bloodborne, the sum of the soulslike

The other major event was the launch of Bloodborne on PS4, important for several reasons: it was probably the first high-profile exclusive on the Sony console, concluding the long period of lack of essential titles on the machine in question - which in any case had not affected its success at all, on the contrary - and further refined the evolution of that sub-genre of the action RPG that was defining itself as soulslike. The collaboration between Sony and From Software had already begun with the progenitor of the series, that is Demon's Souls and it was right that it continued with a new game that, for many fans, represents a bit the sum of this particular sub-genre. With a particular deviation towards gothic horror and in some respects close to Lovecraft, compared to the medieval dark fantasy characteristic of the real Souls, Bloodborne still remains a rather unique interpretation of the canon established by From Software, of which many await a sequel.

It is no coincidence that Demon's Souls accompanied the launch of PS5 five years later: it is a question of recovering that particularly fruitful link between Sony and From Software (even if the title is not of the Japanese team, in this case) which represented an important stage in the evolution of PlayStation. Bloodborne has remained a case of its own, still being without sequels and having tried to explore somewhat different territories from the standard Souls, but it is considered by many to be the best expression of the game philosophy introduced by Hidetaka Miyazaki and companions, helping to characterize the whole 2015 as a key year for videogame production in general.

Metal Gear Solid 5, the grand finale of Kojima and Konami

A separate paragraph should be dedicated to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, considered perhaps the largest and most complete work completed by Hideo Kojima, as well as the mega-production that led to the definitive break with Konami and the sensational closure of the relationship between the game designer and the publisher, after decades of collaboration. Preceded by the already excellent, but obviously limited, playable prologue represented by Ground Zeroes, The Phantom Pain was introduced with a veritable kojimata of yesteryear as the occult presentation during the previous Game Awards, which already set the tone of a game intended to be a stylish production. To tell the truth for some purists of the series it turned out to be too different from the standard, but the clear opening towards the open world as free as possible represented one of the most fascinating changes of direction seen in a series well established in recent times. >
The taste for the cinema, the scripted phases, the dialogues and the strange characters were not lacking, but Metal Gear Solid 5 immediately seemed a much more complete and profound video game than ever seen in the previous chapters, from the point of view of pure gameplay and a major evolution in Kojima's way of building games. The opening of the map will then be extreme in Death Stranding, demonstrating how the fifth chapter of the series was also important for the style of the game designer, but Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is probably one of the biggest and most mythical games of the Japanese production of recent years, as well as practically the last major video game to come out of Konami.

Halo 5 and Fallout 4, followed undertone?

Among the titles of maximum importance of 2015 there are also two little games called Halo 5: Guardians and Fallout 4, just to further render the idea of ​​the extraordinary concentration of high-profile games that emerged during the year. These too have been titles of enormous caliber, able to attract the attention of large slices of the public and also very well received by critics, only that both are not generally remembered as the greatest expressions of their respective series, indeed. Halo 5: Guardians came following the half-disaster of the launch of the Master Chief Collection and with a 343 Industries perpetually on the grill since Halo 4, grappling with the huge burden of the Bungie legacy. Despite presenting an innovative approach and a somewhat different cut, the campaign did not convince that much, while the multiplayer raised the chapter in question in the long term but only after a long and commendable work.

Fallout 4 was presented a few months before its actual launch in November 2015 and the surprise effect was enough to make people talk at length about the new chapter of the famous Bethesda series, which actually presented itself as a substantial evolution of the precedent in every area. However, continuing practically on the same structure and setting of Fallout 3, he has never been able to count on a disruptive impact like the one that made the latter famous, nor on the writing and construction of quests that made Fallout: New Vegas historic. The evaluation remains positive, but remembering it even after many years it is clear how Fallout 4 finally proved to be a sort of incremental evolution of the previous chapter, improved above all on the technical front but without being able to leave its mark with the same incisiveness.

Among the sequels we cannot avoid mentioning Rise of the Tomb Raider, which instead is remembered as an excellent continuation of the new adventures of Lara Croft started with the reboot of 2013. The somewhat insane controversy arising from the famous temporal exclusivity agreement (which has meanwhile become an industry standard) may have tarnished its relevance a bit in 2015, but the Crystal Dynamics game is fully among the most successful games in the world. year.

New intellectual properties are born and assert themselves

The extraordinary ferment of 2015 is also demonstrated by the quantity of new intellectual properties placed on the market, some of which remained you Today single cases and others capable of becoming series, but in any case an indication of how the videogame industry was particularly active during that historic year. Among the absolute novelties, Evolve aroused great interest, a new game from Turtle Rock Studios (former authors of Left 4 Dead) which presented itself as a new solution for multiplayer shooters and in many respects the promise was kept, staging one of the first examples of asymmetrical multiplayer able to blend cooperative and competitive elements. The game suffered from various balance and gameplay problems, but its formula was then refined and refined by many other subsequent productions.

Much more luck has happened a Dying Light, Techland survival horror capable of combining first-person action, parkour-style movement and hordes of zombies in an open world: the fusion of the elements in this case worked perfectly and the game has built up a thick one over time community ready to launch itself on the sequel, Dying Light 2, of which we are still waiting for a precise release date. Also in 2015 we finally saw the splendid Ori and the Blind Forest by Moon Studios arrive in complete form, able to raise the most set metroidvania on the platform to new heights and also representing one of the most important exclusives for Microsoft platforms ever. Among the successful news of 2015 we must also include Life is Strange, which launched Dontnod in the world of episodic graphic adventures with enormous success and Cities: Skylines, which managed from nothing to relaunch the genre of city builder management systems with a high quality simulation .

Even on the indie front, 2015 was able to stand out for some releases that have remained particularly impressed in the history of video games. The launch of Undertale dates back to that year, an adventure that is still considered today one of the greatest examples of videogame writing, world-building and meta-narration, to name one, but in the same period we also witnessed the arrival of the phenomenal Rocket League which continues to be a benchmark in competitive multiplayer, by Soma, another masterful example of horror by Frictional Games and Downwell by Ojiro "Moppin" Fumoto. To these we can add a long list that also includes Her Story, The Beginner's Guide, Darkest Dungeon and many more.

Powered by Blogger.