Friday, 18 June 2010

Sony E3 2010 Press Conference Round Up

Coming in with what they describe as market momentum, Sony’s representatives ooze confidence throughout the conference and with the content they had to offer, frankly I am not surprised.

The conference opened with President and CEO of Sony, Jack Tretton boasting about the top end exclusive titles the Playstation offered including God of War, Heavy Rain, Little Big Planet and Uncharted. He swiftly passed the torch to Kaz Hirai who began discussing Sony’s involvement with 3D and their take on innovation and content. He confirmed that a system update was coming to the Playstation 3 that would make it 3D ready alongside Sony’s 3DBravia TVs and that Super Stardust, Pain, Motorstorm Pacific Rift and Wipeout were all going to get 3D compatibility through software updates.

The first big game to be demoed came in the form of Killzone 3, a massively anticipated title in Sony’s catalogue. The audience were asked to put on their 3D glasses to enjoy a live demo of the game, something unfortunately those of us watching on the internet, could not be part of. Nevertheless, it was emphasized that the future of 3D games is not merely a 3D makeover (I’m looking at you Clash of the Titans), but rather being built in 3D from the ground up, like James Cameron’s Avatar. While I could not be involved in the 3D goodness, I can mention that the Killzone 3 demo introduced jetpacks on enemies and to use and vehicle capability in the form of a flying bike with a mounted Gatling cannon. Killzone 3 is set for launch worldwide February 2011 and will also be fully compatible with the Playstation Move.

Kaz Hirai noted that lots of top end titles were going to be built using 3D technology including Motorstorm Apocalypse, Gran Turismo 5, Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat, Ghost Recon Future Soldier and numerous others that will also take advantage of Move technology. It is very important to note that Sony hold a huge advantage with regards to 3D games because of their Blu Ray discs massive storage space. This will allow publishers to put both a 3D version of a game and its normal counterpart, on one disc, giving variation to the customer and not forcing 3D on the consumer.

Jack Tretton then returned to the stage to discuss the Playstation Move and it’s involvement with not only social gamers, but the core and more hardcore gamers as well. This hypothesis will have to wait but what we do know at this moment is the Playstation Move is completely body respondent, is essentially a Wiimote with Wiimotion Plus and has no lag response time unlike the Kinect that has a 150 m/s response and can only be used when standing up.

Move demos were up next, first of which was Sorcery, a 3rd person action adventure title. The game resembled Zelda like game play in a Harry Potter like environment, with the Move controller being your magic wand. I was very impressed with the intuitive and fluid controls the game showed off and how accurately the character’s wand moved with the movement of the controller. It is always a welcome treat to see new titles revealed and receiving positive praise from the audience.

EA sports were up next with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. Again the demo really portrayed an absolutely accurate representation of holding and swinging a golf club, including momentum and strength of the swing. While we may have seen this already on the Wii, I have a feeling that Sony’s Move technology alongside the processing strength of the Playstation 3, will really allow motion gaming to step to new heights.

A very exciting compilation gets demoed next titled Heroes on the Move, depicting a roster of Sony’s favourable adventure game characters including Ratchet, Clank, Jak, Daxter, Sly Cooper and Bentley. This could be a very exciting adventure because as solo titles they were all incredibly successful, let’s just hope they don’t ruin their great reputations.

The Sony press event proceeded to take a comical tangent with the arrival of Kevin Butler (played by actor Jerry Lambert) on to the stage. KB is a fictional character used by Sony in their marketing campaigns with huge success as he proceeded to throw a memorable and powerful speech at the audience containing some epic quotes such as ‘’gaming is, having a ridiculously huge TV in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment’’ and ‘’gaming is, staying up till 3 in the morning to earn a trophy that isn’t real, but is.’’ The moral of his speech was to not hate on casual gamers, every gamer is a true gamer and we should all join the MOVEment! The Playstation Move information was coming to an end with a trailer showing off Move games such as The Fight Lights Out, Sports Champions, Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition and a few others previously mentioned. Also the launch details were announced with the Move coming to Europe September 15th.

Next up Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), which was speared forward by the incredible Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker. I really hope this game sees a Playstation Network release. God of War Chains of Olympus was teased next and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep but nothing noteworthy was shown in the trailer videos. A final video wrapping up the PSP’s content wasplayed showing off more titles we can expect in the near future including a new Dragonball Tenkaichi game, Patapon 3, Ace Combat, Valkyria 2 and Madden 11.

The conference then changed it’s attention to Sony’s Playstation Network. Favourably, Sony recreated it’s entire E3 booth line up on the Network and all of us at home can go online and see and play most of the games mentioned here today. The attention moved rather quickly towards Sony’s staple ideas of play, create, share, established and headlined by hit titles Little Big Planet and Modnation Racers. With this in mind, Little Big Planet 2 got a demo run. Essentially the demo showed that players will have the ability to create more than side-scrolling levels, but rather you can change genres and game styles. Media Module had a team showing off an FPS style game, a racing game and a few other nifty ways to use the intuitive and vast creation tools Little Big Planet 2 has to offer. Following this, the Playstation Plus service was announced, giving exclusive features, lots of content, features and discounts to those willing to pay the subscription fee.

The conference really needed to get back on track to games and EA most certainly had the answer with Medal of Honor. This first person shooter will be set in modern Afghanistan and will be released world wide in October 2010. The demo revealed some pretty impressive looking multiplayer and being made by the same guys who created Battlefield 2, DICE, the multiplayer will surely impress. The actual in game footage looked like a mix between Call of Duty and Battlefield 2, a cheeky mix but taking the best from both FPS worlds, this could be a winner. The Playstation will also see exclusive content as the game will come with a remastered HD version of Medal of Honor Frontline.

EA announced what is my most anticipated title in the upcoming gaming year, Dead Space 2. I am still a firm believer that Dead Space 1 was the best game of 2008 and if it wasn’t for Metal Gear Solid 4 coming out in the same year, the former would have won unprecedented amounts of awards. That is neither here nor there, what is important is the footage of Dead Space 2, was beautiful, action packed, immersive and will see exclusive content in the form of Move compatible Dead Space Extraction arriving with the game in a limited edition bundle.

Next on stage was a rather surprising visit from Valve and their announcement that STEAM will be coming to the Playstation Network and Portal 2 will be released on the home console. The previous instalment of the series was such a hit that it’s nice more gamers will be able to experience what was one of the most thrilling puzzle adventure games to date.

A quick sneak peak at Square Enix’s mass media online game Final Fantasy 14 was next but other than a small trailer, little to nothing was revealed so not much can be said yet.

It was also revealed that 2K Games would be shipping Mafia 2 on August 24th for the Playstation 3 with lots of exclusive missions and content only on this console.

Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed Brotherhood was next to be shown off on the big screen, most notably was the inclusion of a thrilling trailer depicting some pretty epic multiplayer action as different characters go about the different worlds trying to best each other. The multiplayer beta will exclusively be on the Playstation Network for those wanting to get a taster as quickly as possible.

Next up, the eagerly anticipated Gran Turismo 5 in 3D was given a release date of November 2nd 2010 and a beautiful trailer showing off some top end graphics. One of Sony’s youngest and more impressive new series was next to have a sequel announced. inFAMOUS 2 sees the main character develop the ability to control ice and we could also see that there will be plenty of trouble in a rebellious city you inhabit.

To end the game packed conference, Sony surprised the audience by bringing back one of the company’s most prized series Twisted Metal the action packed racing shooter. This quick presentation showed off the Team Death Match mode and a new game type called Nuke. The game looked like a lot of fun with plenty of carnage coming in from every angle.

On that note the conference ended and Sony could leave the theatre pretty happy with another decent outing. While nothing magnificent was unveiled, plenty of solid exclusive titles and lots of Playstation only content helped brighten up Sony’s next year.

CeX (UK) Contributor

Igor Kharin

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