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E3 2016: The Sony Press Conference

The Shrine auditorium, site of 2016’s Sony Press Conference, is a madhouse. There’s a full orchestra in the bowels and the entire lower bowl of seats is filled by the time I arrive, shortly before 6. I ascend the 18 million stairs (four steep flights) to the upper bowl and find it similarly crowded, though there are some empty sections over where the gantry crane is for the crowd shots.

also pictured: the enormous camera crane that made for easy seating on the right hand side of the upper bowl
The Shrine, filled to the gills, awaits the arrival of Video Games (Photo courtesy of Rappler)

It is hot. A warm day in LA becomes sweltering at the top of a six story oven. Then, as the hour hits 6, the red lights bathing everyone in satanic hues fade a bit, giving way to oranges and, in the orchestra pit, that familiar shade of Sony blue. Then it goes dark, and for some reason the crowd goes crazy. The orchestra hits it, launching into an epicly satanic verse. Apparently I got lost on the way to the presser and ended up in a symphony.

The crowd screams like wild animals as the slow play reveals God of War’s Kratos, back for another round of ass kicking. And it isn’t long before he’s hacking things in two at the collar bone. Flying elbows accompany grunts and howls of rage, and then on screen there is Kratos taking out some horned monster of some fashion.

The death and destruction doesn’t end there, of course. The press conference rolls on, a relentless torrent of games and announcements. Playstation VR – just 399! – coming in October. Hideo Kojima descends a literal path of light to unveil some madness involving Norman Reedus and a fetus on an oil-slicked beach where everything has died. The Last Guardian gets a release date and the crowd loses all of its remaining decorum, a man shouts in ecstasy at each new trailer, and finally the press conference comes to an end with the sights and sounds of a hardass biker man killing half a horde of zombies.

The press conference is over. A handful of journalists remain behind as the crowd stampedes out of the crowded auditorium, fingers flying over keyboards and jaws flapping in front of cameras. Eventually even we few are told to vacate, to rejoin the masses, but I’ve had enough. I forego the arena experience next door, where everyone is invited to enjoy Playstation VR for themselves, and opt instead for the empty, open roads home. Tomorrow the true behemoth awakens. The herd of press conference attendees is but a drop in the vast sea of humanity that will soon crash upon the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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