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PlayStation’s New Service Game Hasn’t Made A Great First Impression

A shaky start to what’s supposed to be PlayStation's next big thing.

Promotional graphic for "Concord" featuring diverse, futuristic characters in action poses with a vi...

Concord, PlayStation’s next big service game gamble, was finally shown to the public during Thursday’s State Of Play stream. Sadly, the five-on-five hero shooter hasn’t left a great impression on players, kicking off a precarious uphill battle well before its launch in August.

Developed by Firewalk Studios, Concord kicked off PlayStation’s middling showcase of what players can expect to play for the remainder of the year (and in 2025). While there were some compelling high points during the show, including Alien: Rogue Incursion and the charming family-friendly platforming game Astro Bot, the same could not be said of Concord.

A CGI trailer introduced Concord’s science fiction world of robots, fashionable rogues, and hot sauce-loving aliens. While the trailer went for Overwatch’s cinematic charm, complete with a unique band of characters players are meant to become attached to, the world itself was a little too reminiscent of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Considering Marvel’s current reputation, the similarities aren’t flattering. The CG trailer posted to PlayStation’s YouTube channel currently has 2,600 likes and nearly 10,000 dislikes.

The gameplay that accompanied the cinematic didn’t fare any better — it currently has 3,000 likes and 16,000 dislikes. The two-minute trailer showed players using heavily choreographed use of generic powers and familiar-looking weapons (bubble shields and proximity-based mines are nothing new), with little context as to what players are fighting for. I’m left with many questions: What are the modes in Concord? What’s exactly at stake here in this universe? Why are these characters “free” in this universe compared to others who live in this fictional galaxy?

“With Concord, we leaned on the strengths and background of our team to make a tight and well-balanced FPS that feels great to play,” Concord’s design director Josh Hamrick said during Thursday’s stream. “We focused a ton of our attention and our tech on building a strong gameplay foundation, tight core movement, precise, visceral shooting, and expressive abilities.”

Hamrick’s words make it clear that the team put lots of effort into making the game fun. While this could be true, these comments are woefully inadequate if the game wants to stand out. Meeting the baseline expectations of the genre is not enough to gain a sustainable foothold. What’s more important is how Concord plans to pull players away from established games in the genre like Valorant, Overwatch 2, and Apex Legends that already accomplish all of this. For players who are looking for something new, how will Concord compete with the likes of the upcoming Star Wars: Hunters or Ubisoft’s recent XDefiant? Even Playstation’s 2024 mega-hit Helldivers 2 has the potential to steal Concord’s thunder.

Would you rather play as the wisecracking gunslinger Lennox? Or beloved Marvel hero Spider-Man in Nexon’s superhero-shooter?

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Perhaps the most befuddling thing about Concord’s reveal was the simultaneous decision to announce Netease’s Marvel Rivals is coming to PlayStation this Fall. Marvel Rivals is looking to entice the same audience as Concord, but features some of the most recognizable characters on Earth, an important hook that PlayStation’s new service game just doesn’t have. Presented with the choice of playing as a wisecracking alien or Spider-Man, it's a safe bet that most players will likely give the beloved webslinger a look-in before the generic gunslinger.

An unremarkable reveal shouldn’t be a condemnation of the final game. In an ideal world, every game finds an audience to keep its developers gainfully employed and perpetually creating cool new projects forever. But recent distressing trends suggest players aren’t willing to leave their current service game of choice for something new. Concord doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so addressing what sets it apart from the pack is paramount to creating early buzz, and a failure to do so can mean sink or swim in the industry’s current financial climate.

There’s still plenty of time to turn the ship around. Firewalk can take the summer to better explain what makes Concord special. And the game being free to play means strong, distinctive gameplay and word of mouth can always overcome negative preconceptions. But with Sony’s plans to release at least nine other service games in the next two years, it’s hard to parse how exactly Concord is expected to overcome such unfavorable odds when it’s off to such a shaky start.

Concord is coming to PlayStation 5 and PC on August 23.

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