— Kojima Productions

PlayStation just gave us a 40-minute look at upcoming games, featuring plenty to be excited about, from a close look at Rise of the Ronin to a suitably over-the-top trailer for Hideo Kojima’s next blockbuster. There was a lot to like about the presentation, especially the fact that it showed us actual gameplay of these upcoming titles, but it still feels like it was missing something important. Even after Sony’s State of Play, I still don’t know what I’m playing this year.

While State of Play gave a closer look at featured games than some past showcases, it was worryingly quiet on when we’ll actually be able to play them. The spiffy sci-fi brawler Stellar Blade did announce its April 26 launch, but for the most part, any release date State of Play showed off was one we already knew. Almost every other game had just a vague 2024 launch window.

Some upcoming games didn’t even get that much detail. Silent Hill 2 and Zenless Zone Zero got nothing more than a confirmation that they’re still in development. Technically, it’s the first time Hoyoverse has specifically said that Zenless Zone Zero is coming to PS5, but that was pretty much assumed given that the developer’s Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail are already on the console. The show ended with the reveal that Hideo Kojima is making a brand-new action espionage game (a phrase that clearly evokes Metal Gear Solid) but Kojima says work isn’t even starting “in earnest” until after the sequel to his 2020 post-apocalyptic game is released, meaning we might have to wait until 2027.

The selection of games on display was far from the strongest we’ve seen at a State of Play as well. I’m eager to jump back into Dragon’s Dogma 2, which I won’t stop talking about, and I’m intrigued by the Sekiro influence that’s now apparent in Rise of the Ronin. I’m going to at least give Zenless Zone Zero and Stellar Blade a shot, but that’s because all I want from most games is protagonists wearing cool outfits. But those are all games we knew about before the showcase, and neither the new look at Judas, aka Bioshock in space, or the reveal of Sonic X Shadow Generations (which I’m assuming is about fan fic) was enough to make the show a must-watch.

One lackluster show isn’t that big of a deal on its own. We’ve certainly seen plenty of those before. But it’s notable that after Stellar Blade’s release on April 26, there’s no clear picture of what else is coming to PlayStation this year. Outside of The Final Shape expansion for Destiny 2 and a few stray releases like Black Myth: Wukong, the calendar is suspiciously empty beyond that point.

This isn’t just a PlayStation problem, either. After Princess Peach: Showtime! only a handful of more niche Nintendo Switch games have release dates. Xbox’s calendar is a little less sparse, but there’s still very little to look forward to.

Video game release dates are always subject to change, and the possibility of late announcements or surprise launches could change the year in games at a moment’s notice. But the games industry is also one that’s prone to excessively long hype cycles, sometimes to its own detriment, so the lack of tentpole releases to look forward to feels especially odd. Analysts have predicted a quieter year, with 2025’s Grand Theft Auto VI release the brightest spot on the horizon.

Eventually, the past few years of turmoil are going to catch up to the games industry. Frenzied investment during the early lockdown days and the dire financial conditions that followed will take their toll on game development. You just can’t lay off 10,000 people in the course of a year and expect it not to have consequences for the games they were making. It might be overly pessimistic to expect those effects already, but looking ahead at gaming in 2024, it’s hard not to feel like the industry is on shaky ground.

Share This