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PS5 reveal shows a more diverse future, but there’s still some way to go

By reviews / 14. June 2020

Sony showed us how it sees the future of gaming with its reveal of the PS5, but theres still some way to go before it reaches that future for all.

Though it didnt mention a price or release date, Sony played some of its cards in the battle of the next-generation consoles. While Microsoft has been plenty forthcoming about the Xbox Series X, Sony has been rather coy about what it revealed and when.

Related: PS5 latest news

What we saw during the PS5s Future of Gaming stream was, I feel, encouraging for the future of gaming. E3 presentations of the past had been dominated by violence with platform holders and gaming studios struggling to depict real-life situations with a degree of context (the reveal of Detroit: Become Human a few years back springs to mind).

There was some violence on show – you cant sell a console without introducing a few first-person shooters and third-person brawlers into the mix – and Arkanes Deathloop, iOs Hitman III and Gearbox Studios Godfall provided the goods on that front.

But the overall tone of the presentation was less stabbing and murdering NPCs, and more about world exploration and showcasing a diverse array of characters and experiences.

The Miles MoralesSpider-Man standalone was a good start, especially in the current political climate, and a game that shows a young black man becoming a hero is a portrayal weve not often seen. And it also keeps the momentum that Sonys Into the Spider-Verse film started by bringing Morales’ character to wider recognition and acclaim.

Spider-Man

That diversity continued with Guerrilla GamesHorizon: Forbidden West, Square Enixs Project Athia, Ember Labs Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Housemarques Returnal, all of which are led by female characters.

Then there was Capcoms Pragmata, two collaborations from Annapurnas studios in Stray and Solar Ash, as well as Neostreams Little Devil Inside, all of which looked stylish, and certainly piqued my interest about what we can expect in the near future.

But this was still a male-dominated show. In the roughly 75 minutes of the presentation I can remember just one female voiceGuerrillas Angie Smets. Sure, we got diversity with Shinji Mikami, along with Ember Labs founders Josh and Mike Grier and Arkanes Dinga Bakaba voices added to the mix, but there was a lack of female voices both from the game studios and from Sony, even with the number of female protagonists in the games themselves.

Thats not to entirely damn Sonys presentation or attempts at diversity. The Zoom-style video at the end featured representation of ethnicities and female developers. But the show as a whole was a reminder that theres still some work to be done behind the scenes to get gaming to a point where these voices are front and centre, and what we play is a reflection of the society we live in and shared interests we have.

Theres probably some sort of irony somewhere of me as a man pointing out the lack of female voices on show, but having grown up with games from the NES to the PS4, Ive become slightly tired of seeing the same stereotypes and franchises pop up.

Im of the mindset that anything new is interestingespecially if its from a perspective thats underrepresented in the gaming area.

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