TIME Video Games

Here’s How to Upgrade Your PlayStation 4 Hard Drive

Sony

Want to upgrade your console from its default 500GB to a whopping 2TB? We'll show you how.

Worried your PlayStation 4 might be running short of elbow room? Heard Sony supports hard drive upgrades? Ready to pull the trigger? Have half an hour to spare?

Sony’s upgrade process covers all the basics, but it’s also just the nuts and bolts, begging the question of whether you ought to upgrade in the first place.

Want some help deciding?

First, do you really need to upgrade?

In North America, the PlayStation 4 ships with a 500GB hard drive. You may have seen something about a standalone 1TB “Ultimate Edition,” which just launched in Europe on July 15, but it’s not (yet) available stateside.

The question’s whether you need more than half a terabyte of storage. That’s either too little or more than enough, depending how many games you need at the ready. If you’ve never looked, it’s time to visit the PlayStation 4’s storage allocation overview. You can find it here:

SettingsSystem Storage Management

Take a gander at that top bar, which shows how much space you’ve used so far, then note the number to the right of “Free Space” (bottom right). Do you have more than 250GB free? If so, and you’re running everything you’d want to, the argument for upgrading isn’t as compelling (it’s certainly not as urgent as if your “Free Space” were 50GB or less).

Even if you’re full up, have you cleaned house lately? Do you actively play everything you’ve downloaded or installed from disc? Does your “Capture Gallery” have any discardable photos or videos? Do you have superfluous save games? Don’t remove anything you’d rather keep, but it’s worth taking a look, especially at your list of installed games, which can hog upwards of 50GB a piece.

Assemble your tools

Decided to upgrade and ready to go? You’ll need the following items:

  • Your PS4, with gamepad and microUSB charge cable
  • A medium Philips screwdriver
  • Your chosen 2.5-inch SATA replacement hard drive
  • A 1GB or greater USB flash drive (to reinstall the PS4’s system software)
  • A FAT32-formatted external hard drive (to backup your system and/or saved games)
Matt Peckham for TIME

Pick the “right” hard drive

Two things to help guide your research: one, performance gains are fractional with even the zippiest (ergo priciest) solid state drives—benchmark sites obsess over upticks, but the real world gains here are minuscule. And so two, price and space should be your watchwords.

Not necessarily a recommendation: I chose Seagate’s 2.5-inch 1TB solid state hybrid drive (model number STBD1000400) with 64MB of cache, but only because I had store credit at GameStop, which sells the drive heavily marked up. You can find it for as little as $77, or if you want the version with 8GB of cache, it’s available for as little as $101. But be aware that Seagate, which also owns Samsung’s hard drive business, presently scores the highest in hard drive failure rates, according to online backup company Backblaze. I’ve never had a Seagate drive fail, but the survey’s worth noting.

At the moment, you can find the Samsung Seagate Momentus 2TB hard drive for under $100. For that price, it’s probably the drive I would have picked, if I hadn’t had store credit to burn.

Whatever you decide, be aware that Sony requires a PS4 hard drive to meet the following criteria:

  • 2.5 inch form factor (9.5mm or slimmer)
  • Serial ATA connection

Backup your saved games

Assuming you have more than a game or two installed, and plenty of saved content, skip straight to the full system backup option, which you can find here:

SettingsSystem → Back Up and Restore

Choose “Back Up PS4,” and the process will grab everything (including your system settings) except trophies, which should already be synchronized if your system’s online.

You can alternately back up your saved games to the PlayStation Network if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber. But Sony only gives you 1GB of space, so you may have to squeeze to get all your stuff in.

Matt Peckham for TIME

Download the PlayStation 4 system software

You can grab a copy of the latest version from Sony here. Just follow the instructions at the bottom of the page, under “Update using a computer,” to download the correct full system install file—it’s nearly 800MB—and create the requisite USB install key.

Crack open your console

It should go without saying, but make sure your PlayStation 4 is completely powered down (the indicator light should show black, not orange, or any other color), then unplug the system from everything.

Now perform the following steps:

  1. Slide the PlayStation 4’s hard drive cover left (the glossy strip on the console’s left, when laid flat).
  2. Extract the old hard drive by first removing the sole Philips screw at lower left, then gently pull the hard disk drive cage forward (toward the front of the system) and out.
  3. Remove the four Philips screws from the hard disk cage, pull the old hard drive out, replace it with the new one, then slide the cage back into the PlayStation 4 and re-secure it with the remaining screw.
  4. Replace the hard drive cover, and that’s it!
Matt Peckham for TIME

Install the PlayStation 4 system software

Connect your PlayStation 4 gamepad (with microUSB cable) and plug the USB stick you just created into the console’s second USB port, then power on the system. You’ll be prompted to install the new system software and initialize your system. Confirm, wait a few minutes for the process to complete, and your PlayStation 4 will finish by rebooting and launching the first-time setup screen.

Now put all your stuff back

Once you’re logged in, you can restore your games, saves and settings from that external drive backup (connect the drive, go back to SettingsSystem → Back Up and Restore, then choose “Restore PS4”). Or, if like me you like to rebuild clean and don’t mind re-installing or re-downloading your games and apps, you can take the time to do that instead, then as noted earlier, pull your saved games down from online storage (the latter has to happen in that order, by the way—it’s an inexplicable Sony quirk that you can’t download a saved game you’ve stored online unless you install the full game first).

TIME

Why Everybody Should Play Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

The Chinese Room / Sony

An interactive storytelling experiment that at times works wonders

Is Sony’s PlayStation 4-exclusive Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture a game? An interactive narrative? An open-air museum? All three at once?

I’m not sure. I’m also not sure I care that I’m not sure. The whole “is this a game?” back-and-forth seems as silly as the “is this art?” debate. Either way, there’s a frame of mind angle involved in appreciating what developer The Chinese Room is up to. You have to be receptive to its calculated bell curve throw. There’s nothing to fight here, no puzzles to solve, no heads-up display, no larders to stuff (no inventory management) and no scores to settle. As far as I can tell, the game lacks PlayStation phphies, too. [Update: The pre-launch version I played had no trophies, but the launch version will.]

What you can do, is inch along at the speed of a snail, open and close doors and fences, and listen to cryptic audio clips that issue from ringing phones and portable radios droning strings of mathematically ominous numbers. That’s it. It’s “interactive” at roughly the level of an intricate museum exhibit with stations and those little buttons you can push to conjure audio vignettes.

The Chinese Room / Sony

Like Dear Esther, its spiritual predecessor, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture invites you to explore—or maybe the better verb here would be haunt—an uninhabited tract of bucolic Shropshire, U.K., conjuring memories that gradually brick together an elliptical sci-fi-tinged yarn, employing sharp-eared dialogue and promising buildup. Imagine the audio diary portions of BioShock, except here they’re the pièce de résistance, a trickle of tales that meld the terrifyingly inexorable with the inexorably personal. The end of the world isn’t really about the end of the world, but how, given time enough to brood, we’ll go about reacting to it.

But is Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture artful enough in its telling? The title alone seems to be telegraphing that it’s more than a mere sci-fi potboiler, what with its reference to apex eschatology. But is that reference symbolic? Ironic? Literal? I’ve finished the thing and I still couldn’t tell you.

I can tell you the world wrought here looks as beautiful as a this-gen console game should, a sometimes linear, sometimes open swathe of blissful countryside you stroll freely through, espying mist-capped valleys punctuated by bus stops, phone booths, smoking ashtray-filled pubs, vast barns, spooky-looking domed towers, unpeopled flats, golden pastures choked with gently swaying strands of wheat and towering windmills. The weird stuff tends to happen as you amble along and trip (or interact with) trigger points.

The Chinese Room / Sony

In Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, that weird stuff mostly involves light that looks a little like the special effects circling Persis Khambatta and Stephen Collins near the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Balls of apparently sentient effulgence prowl intersections like terrestrial comets. Approach one and you’ll hear a susurrus of voices, like the doleful whispers in Lost. Are these the ghosts of the town’s unaccounted inhabitants? Often they’ll lead you to static spheres of energy. Twist the gamepad sideways (I’m not sure what this signifies, it just moves the sphere) and you’ll conjure a spectral memory, the sky blackening to starlight as a cyclonic stream of photons reenacts the scene, the actors physically unknowable save for their voices, which ring loud and clear as they recall a moment leading up to the “event” that culminated in their disappearance.

At first I assumed I was Kate, the first voice you hear as the game opens, a scientist with the laboratory partly responsible for the bit of scientific adventuring that gets the ball rolling. I gradually began to wonder whether I might be nobody, a bodiless phantom gliding from one slow-drip revelation to the next, poring over paranoid bus stop graffiti, the mishmash of artifacts in houses, bloody kleenexes, naturalist books on birds, old Commodore 64-style computers, black and white TVs, sky charts stippled with constellations, and “You are here” maps of the area as I worked out, mostly by following the beckoning balls of light, where to wander next.

Who you are may be a question the developers never answer. A disembodied witness? The actuating medium through which the roving souls of the transformed tell their tale? To what end? Perhaps simply this: to convey a straightforward story slightly out of sequence, with firmer visual parameters, the world and peoples our imaginations might conjure reading a book fully reified and continuously inhabitable here—mental flexibility versus imagistic holism.

The Chinese Room / Sony

That said, the navigational aids can be mercurial to a fault, and it’s easy to get lost once the areas open up. Couple with an inchworm’s gait, and if you mistakenly backtrack or veer off somewhere the little balls of light aren’t tracking, it can take more than a while to find your way back. Mountains of patience and an appreciation for romanticized English scenery are mandatory to seeing the four or five hours it takes to complete Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture through.

What worked least well for me, I hate to admit given my affection for Dear Esther, was the story. Not because it was unclear or poorly told, but because I’d argue it was handled with far more nuance and emotional resonance just last year in writer Jeff Vandermeer’s superlative Southern Reach trilogy. The twists and interpersonal tragedies and vaguely philosophical takeaways that should have been knocking my socks off here thus played more like the echoes of Vandermeer’s more affecting and weirdly analogous ones.

The things I like about Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture are many: the self-paced discovery and chronological asymmetry, the significance of entangling yourself in a visually “complete” environment, the poignance of a well-crafted, well-delivered character exchange. I’m just not sure how often I’d want to repeat the experience. It feels more like a playful experiment (there’s the “game”!) than a breakthrough approach to storytelling, though I admire the attempt, and the skill with which the tale, told in fragments, unfolds.

3 out of 5

Reviewed on PlayStation 4

TIME Video Games

5 Reasons to Buy a PlayStation 4 Right Now

Sony Corp. PlayStation 4 As Game Console Goes On Sale In U.S.
Bloomberg—Getty Images A logo sits on the front of a Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) games console, manufactured by Sony Corp., in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.

To date, it's the fastest selling game system in history

On the sales front, the PlayStation 4 rules the roost. Sony’s flagship game console pulled off a high octane launch in late 2013, and it’s since beat both Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox One in global systems sold.

It also looks nothing like a first-gen console, designed by architect Mark Cerny to resemble the sort of quiet, elegantly slimline revision we’re more likely to see three or four years into a console’s 10-or-so year lifespan. And that’s without trading down, power-wise.

Here’s a roundup of reasons to consider buying the PlayStation 4, mid-2015 edition:

It has the best versions of cross-platform games

This applies more to earlier games than recent ones, but on balance, cross-platform titles tend to look better on Sony’s hardware. That’s because third-party studios struggled out of the gate to optimize for the Xbox One’s architecture, running into performance snafus that forced them to make visual compromises. If you’re a strict videophile who pores over graphics comparisons at pixel-scrutinizing sites like Digital Foundry, the PlayStation 4 brooks little argument here.

Popularity

Everyone not tied down by a massive exclusivity deal wants to be on Sony’s hardware. It’s snowball math: the more people buy a game console, the more studios want to develop for it, the more people buy the game console. Sony’s PlayStation 4 soared past 22 million units sold in March—more than twice the Xbox One’s last reported “shipped” figure—and it’s either close behind or in lockstep with Nintendo’s original Wii for the honorific “fastest selling console of all time.” If you want the near-future-proofed game console, it’s the PlayStation 4 by a country mile.

Bloodborne

One of the finest action roleplaying games ever made lives on Sony’s system and no other. Its outrageous challenges and endless combat loops won’t resonate with everyone, but if you’re an aficionado of studio From Software’s Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls games, the PlayStation 4 is a slam dunk buy for Bloodborne alone.

Share Play

Both Sony and Microsoft let you stream video of what you’re doing through services like Twitch, but only the PlayStation 4 lets you invite viewers (who also have a PlayStation 4) to play games you own but that they don’t. Before you shrug because you and your friends are going to buy the same games, consider the “remote assistance” feature, which, if you’re stuck in whatever game, lets you turn control over to a remote player, either in an instructional capacity or to simply get you over the hump.

PlayStation Now

Sony’s game-streaming technology isn’t the same thing as true backward compatibility, and game streaming can be visually glitchy if your Internet connection hiccups. But since older PlayStation 3 games look diminished on native 1080p resolution TV screens, does it matter? For $20 a month, PlayStation Now gives you unfetteredun access to over 100 PlayStation 3 games, and the list is growing.

TIME China

This Move in China Could Be a Big Boon For Game Console Makers

2014 China Joy Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference In Shanghai
ChinaFotoPress—ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images Visitors experience the Xbox One game during the China Joy event on July 31, 2014 in Shanghai, China.

China is already the world's third biggest gaming market

In a big boon for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, China has finally allowed the production and sale of video game consoles on their shores.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Culture, the move will mean that after 15 years, foreign and domestic companies will be allowed to manufacture and sell consoles anywhere in the country, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Consoles were initially banned in 2000 to protect children and youth from the perceived negative effects of playing video games. This, however, hasn’t stopped traders from illegally importing consoles and selling them to customers at “gray markets”.

In January last year, China relaxed their ban by allowing “foreign-invested enterprises” to manufacture consoles inside Shanghai’s Free Economic Zone. The government, however, emphasized that new rules would be drafted to govern the entry of consoles into the country. “Things that are hostile to China, or not in conformity with the outlook of China’s government, won’t be allowed,” said Cai Wu, the head of the Ministry of Culture, in a report by Bloomberg.

This has opened the gateway for companies to start selling their hardware in a potentially huge market. China is the world’s third-largest market for video games, and could overtake the US as the biggest market with potential revenues of more than $22 billion by 2016, according to a report by Newzoo. As a result of China’s console ban, most of the games sold have been online, with sales of online games in China said to reach around $18 billion in 2014.

Companies have already taken steps to make their consoles available in China. Microsoft started selling their Xbox One in September of last year, and sold more than 100,000 units on the first day alone, marking a better debut in China than in Japan, according to a report by Polygon.

TIME movies

Sony Tweaked Adam Sandler Movie Pixels to Avoid Embarrassing China

Executives made changes to assure a good reception, according to leaked emails

Sony altered a scene in its newly released film Pixels in order to avoid running afoul of censors in China, now the second-largest film market after the United States.

Reuters reports, citing emails leaked by Sony hackers, that a scene in the original Pixels script featuring aliens shooting a hole in the Great Wall of China was scrapped because it would “not benefit the China release at all,” according to a Sony executive.

Other changes included removing a mention of China as the potential perpetrator of an attack during the movie and a reference to a cyberattack by a “Communist-conspiracy brother.”

Emails sent in 2013 also showed that a Sony executive wanted to alter the plot of the studio’s action film RoboCop by locating a weapon company in the movie in Southeast Asia rather than China. That change didn’t make it into the final cut of the film.

Movie censorship guidelines in China ban content that disparages the government, endangers national unity or harms public morale. Studios in the past have been known to change their movies specifically to appeal to Chinese audiences. Marvel, for instance, lengthened a scene in Iron Man 3 featuring a Chinese doctor specifically for the Chinese release.

In a statement to Reuters, Sony said that creating content that has wide global appeal but doesn’t compromise creative integrity is a top priority as it develops films.

[Reuters]

 

TIME movies

An Actual Emoji Movie Is in the Works

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: beer, costumes and, somewhere, a result
AP Fans wearing emoji masks watch a Hong Kong Seven rugby match in Hong Kong on March 28, 2015

No word yet on which members of Apple's vast emoji library will be making an appearance

Hollywood is impeccably good at turning a profit on insipid fads. In the five years since Universal Pictures released the animated film Despicable Me, a cultish cottage industry has sprung up around the Minions, the film’s manic yellow lozenges who ultimately proved lucrative enough to earn their own spinoff. They’re globally ubiquitous — you have Minion Tic Tacs, Minion-themed weddings in Britain, a curious Minion-inspired burger at McDonald’s restaurants in Hong Kong — and the producers are laughing all the way to the bank.

It’s not terribly surprising, then, that Sony Pictures Animation will be making a movie about emoji, the delightful little ideograms you use to caption your Instagrams or pepper your messages. The planned project, Deadline reports, comes after a supposedly heated bidding process between Sony, Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures that culminated in a deal in the high six figures. There’s money to be made in twee hieroglyphics.

Or maybe it’s simply low-hanging fruit, given that the emoji library is less a typeface and more a means of illustrating the world at large. Your cast, setting and props are ready to go. The ensemble could be colossal: Apple’s emoji library is populated by 93 individual little yellow people, 15 families of four, 10 happy couples and seven anthropomorphic cats. Santa Claus could make an appearance. The library’s latest iteration offers 42 national flags, so it could be set anywhere — Israel! South Korea!

In any event, the movie won’t be completely revolutionary. The emoji-as-medium approach to filmmaking has earned some mileage as a music video strategy already, the best example thus far coming in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Drunk in Love.”

TIME Video Games

The Best Part of Sony’s New 1TB PlayStation 4 Isn’t the Hard Drive

The new PlayStation 4s include notable under the hood (as well as on-the-hood) changes

Answering Microsoft’s recently unveiled 1TB Xbox One with a refresh of its own, Sony has announced a new 1TB “Ultimate Player Edition” PlayStation 4, as well as revised 500GB model.

But the best part about the new PlayStation systems isn’t the extra storage space.

Unlike Microsoft’s Alcatraz-like Xbox 360 and One game systems, both Sony’s PlayStation 3 and 4 game consoles have been user upgradeable from the start, allowing owners to pop in new off-the-shelf hard drives at leisure. Thus if you already own a PlayStation 4, there’s no storage-related reason to buy a completely new console when you can just grab a much less expensive hard drive, then follow Sony’s own official installation instructions.

But the real reason to take note of the new models is that they’ll also be roughly one-tenth lighter and consume slightly less power than the original 500GB PlayStation 4. That, and if you find the current model’s fingerprint-magnetic glossy hard drive cover irritating, the new models—available in either “glacier white” or “jet black”—will come with a “grainy” matte finish across their entire exterior.

No word on prices yet, but Sony PlayStation Europe says the new 1TB model will be available on July 15 in Europe. Sony Japan says that the new 500GB models will be available in Japan by the end of this month, followed in sequence (though without specific timetables) by the rest of the world.

TIME Video Games

The Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Campaign Soared Past $2m Goal in Less Than a Day

Sony Holds Press Event At E3 Gaming Conference Unveiling New Products For Its Playstation Game Unit
Christian Petersen — Getty Images Game designer Yu Suzuki and Sony Computer Entertainment America vice president of publisher and developer relations, Adam Boyes discus "Shenmue 3" during the Sony E3 press conference at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena on June 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

"I wanted to make it with the fans,” said developer Yu Suzuki

If there were any doubts whether gamers across the globe wanted another installment of the Sega adventure game Shenmue, fans of the franchise needed just a few hours to make their voices heard.

At Sony’s E3 press conference on Monday, the game’s developer Yu Suzuki announced that a Kickstarter campaign had been launched to collect $2 million to fund the development of Shenmue 3. Hours later the goal had been shattered.

As of the time of publication, the crowdfunding drive has raised more than $2.8 million thanks to donations from 36,000 backers. And this appears to be exactly what Suzuki envisaged for the project.

“If Shenmue 3 was going to get made, I wanted to make it with the fans,” wrote Suzuki on the campaign’s website. “Through Kickstarter, I knew that could happen. Together, with Shenmue fans everywhere, I knew we could build the game that the series deserves.”

TIME e3 2015

One of the Best Games of All Time Is Getting a Remake

Not re-released. Not re-mastered. Remade from the ground up

Square Enix’s classic role-playing game Final Fantasy 7 is getting a remake for the current-generation PlayStation 4. Sony announced the game during its E3 2015 press conference June 15. Final Fantasy 7, originally released for the first Playstation, is widely considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and remains a critics’ pick.

In an announcement trailer, Square Enix named some of the staff working on the iteration of Final Fantasy 7, including Yoshinori Kitase, who is producing, and Tetsuya Nomura, who will direct. The game will come out on Playstation 4, though it may eventually come to other platforms as well.

Porting or upscaling old games and re-releasing them as “ultimate” or “high-definition” editions has become common practice in the games industry. Last year, Square Enix released a version of Final Fantasy 7 for Playstation 4 that was an upgraded port of the PC version.

This Final Fantasy appears to differ significantly as it is a “remake.” Fans of the Japanese series have longed wanted Square Enix to make such a move, ever since the firm showed a technology demonstration featuring characters from the game running on a PlayStation 3.

No release date was announced.

TIME e3 2015

Here’s Everything Sony Revealed During Its Blockbuster E3 Keynote

Sony outed three of the most anticipated games, maybe ever, at its E3 2015 showcase

Rounding out Monday’s barrage of E3 gaming pressers, Sony’s midyear celebration of all things PlayStation got off to a rousing start with one of the industry’s most anticipated—and repeatedly delayed—games on any system.

That’s right, The Last Guardian is still a thing, and as the show’s surprise opener, it was every bit as weird and gorgeous as I’m sure Sony intended, at once highlighting the dreamlike artfulness of creative lead Fumito Ueda’s peculiar mental-scape, as well as the game’s partner-focused environmental puzzles.

Over the course of the demo, a boy (controlled by you) and his giant sphinx-like companion worked their way through vast, precipitous, architectonically elegant backdrops. I guess that’s the thing that still stands out for me as much now as it did when I first saw the game in action years ago: the way the game manages to convey just how massive the creature is, capable of bridging a chasm, say, but with almost ungainly, lumbering movements.

As in The Last Guardian‘s predecessor, Ueda’s Shadow of the Colossus, you can cling to all aspects of the creature, tip to tail, clambering around its feathered bulk, and the connective tissue between ICO and Shadow of the Colossus was visible throughout. We have, in that sense, seen all of this before, but then we’ve seen so few games, indie or otherwise, that match Ueda’s gift for all but telepathically conveying sophisticated gameplay concepts using subtle and ingenious design cues.

MORE: Here’s Microsoft’s Crazy New Xbox Controller

“You don’t know how long I have waited to introduce The Last Guardian, with the first ever gameplay footage on PlayStation 4,” said Sony CEO Shuhei Yoshida at the demo’s close. And we finally have, if not a release date, at least a release window: Sony says we can expect The Last Guardian to hit PlayStation 4 sometime next year.

The rest of the show was a medley of unexpected and predictable revelations, the latter including a Black Ops 3 debut multiplayer trailer, a new Destiny expansion dubbed “The Taken King” where you battle some giant batwinged creature, an Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate callout to the game’s alternate female lead and a very pretty but ultimately kind of boring Uncharted 4 closer.

We saw a bit of gameplay from a new Guerrilla Games (the Killzone series) post-post-apocalyptic action-adventure titled Horizon: Zero Dawn, which with its cast of robo-dinosaurs and low-tech, archery-adept heroine had me thinking Transformers: Beast Wars meets Vikings. Square Enix teased its new long-in-development Hitman installment, followed by Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet, Tearaway) unveiling something unusually artsy (for a mainstream game, anyway) that it’s calling Dreams, which it pitched as “using the PS4 controller to collaboratively create moving paintings,” adding “Now you can literally create anything you can dream of, a game, a play, a performance, all from scratch.”

Firewatch, a game about a volunteer fire lookout officer circa the Yellowstone fires of 1988 that’s been turning heads for its singular visual style, got a surprise nod. And Sean Murray of developer Hello Games ran through a gameplay demo of No Man’s Sky, the literally infinite space exploration whatchamacallit Sony’s been hyping for two years. Though I’m sure the latter demo triggered skipped heartbeats, it did nothing to allay my growing fear that the whole affair is going to be this incredibly gorgeous, unfathomably sweeping, but in the end ultimate patina of a game that scratches away too soon (let the record state that I want nothing more than to be dead wrong about that).

But the show’s biggest two reveals were sandwiched unceremoniously in the middle: a bona fide Final Fantasy VII remake is coming, as is a Yu Suzuki-led Shenmue 3, assuming the latter clears its $2 million Kickstarter goal (which, by the time you read this, will probably have happened).

About Final Fantasy VII, we know next to nothing, save that the teaser trailer suggests a remake that’s more of a spiritual reimagining than the sort of tediously literal remake (of a now ancient combat system, and in hindsight often juvenile story) that I trust no one really wants.

As for Shenmue 3, which Suzuki says will be a sequel to the first two games and “the story you’ve been waiting for” if it achieves its funding goal, I have mixed feelings about the revelation venue. Is it kosher to launch your Kickstarter at one of the most watched video game conferences in the world? Visibility is paramount to any crowdfunding project. Say what you will about Sony’s unwillingness to fund the project outright, then think of all the other arguably as or more worthy game projects that’ll never have access to a platform as spectacular as the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena under Sony’s floodlit and meticulously choreographed spell.

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