The PlayStation Experience 2017 kickoff event was a low-key occasion

You could tell the moment you stepped into the arena at the Anaheim Convention Center last night that this year’s PlayStation Experience Keynote was going to be different than years’ past. The arena was packed as usual, with PlayStation’s huge screens front and center, but the stage was outfitted with couches. That was something that wasn’t at previous PSX openings, which previously took place on Saturday mornings.

The event started with a high-octane sizzle reel featuring some of the year’s hottest games and upcoming previously announced games. Then Sony Interactive Entertainment America president and CEO Shawn Layden and PlayStation social media director Sid Shuman took the stage and plopped down on the couches.

The two were just having a casual conversation about the year in PlayStation, especially the growth of PlayStation VR. They shared gameplay from the PlayStation VR game, Firewall Zero Hour, a 4 vs. 4, first person shooter multiplayer game that looks similar to other military shooters like Rainbow Six Siege or CS:GO.

In addition, Layden also announced and shared some gameplay of a VR demo experience in the world of The Last Guardian. The experience will be a free download coming to PlayStation on December 12 and will feature Trico and you as the boy traversing the world.

Lastly on the VR side, a free update to Wipeout adds VR capabilities where players who already own the game can slip on the PlayStation VR headset and step into the racing lanes. The update includes three new ships and full 3D audio. The update will arrive in early 2018.

Layden and Shuman invited Guerilla Games Managing Director Hermen Hulst to talk about the development process behind Horizon Zero Dawn and the impact its had on the PlayStation and gaming on a whole.

After the conversation with Hulst, Santa Monica Studio’s Corey Barlog came on stage to talk about God of War. The buzz around the game was the rumored release date of March 22, but Barlog wouldn’t confirm a release date and only said that it’s coming in 2018. Barlog did say that the game will have between 25-35 hours of gameplay, significantly more than any God of War game before it.

And this is pretty much how the event went for the rest of the night. It was just conversations getting to know the developers of these games. Siobhan Reddy of Media Molecule took the couch to talk about Dreams, a game that’s more like a creative suite where people can make games, make movies, and share them with friends. We also got an entertaining live demo of Detroit: Become Human where Quantic Dreams Producer Guillaume de Fondaumière announced that the game will arrive in Spring 2018, which surprised even the people on stage at how soon the game releases. And yes, the game’s script is more than 2,000 pages, according to Fondaumière.

After the conversations, we got a round of trailers for Donut County, Jupiter & Mars, BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, Soul Calibur VI, and Monster Hunter World featuring Mega Man.

We got another look at the Death Stranding trailer, which first premiered at The Game Awards, and then the man behind the game, Hideo Kojima, took the stage where PS4 developer Mark Cerny moderated a conversation with former SIE president and SEO, Andrew House. House and Kojima talked about when they first met and the conversation around bringing Death Stranding to PlayStation 4. Of course, we didn’t get anymore details about the game, except the scene at the end of the trailer will be a playable area.

Before the second part of the night that would feature Greg Miller of Kinda Funny, Layden revealed a t-shirt inspired by the classic hack-n-slash game, MediEvil, which turned into an announcement that the game will be remastered for PlayStation 4.

Greg Miller then took the stage to interview Shawn Layden about his career, PlayStation Experience, and the future of the industry. There wasn’t anything particularly revealing about the interview except that fans may finally have the opportunity to change their PSN names next year. Layden also admitted that they decided to do this low-key kickoff event because they didn’t have anything too mind-blowing to share this time around, thanks to sharing the rest of the year’s huge news at Paris Games Week this past fall. Layden then departed the stage, and Miller had a lengthy interview with Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s worldwide studios for SIE. There they talked about his career, the state of the gaming industry and PlayStation’s place in it.

The night finally ended with a demo from PlayStation’s upcoming game, Concrete Genie, an action adventure game that give players the freedom to create their own art in the game.

Fans expecting news on the Final Fantasy 7 remake, more info on The Last of Us 2, Spider-man, Days Gone, or maybe even something on Red Dead Redemption 2, left disappointed. Regardless, 2018 is looking like a great year for PlayStation owners.

Watch the presentation in its entirety below: