Sometimes, being last is the last thing you want to be in these conferences, most of the time however, it gives you the chance to make a mockery of what the other two hardware companies are doing.
Sony, choose the latter for a good deal of their conference, but also managed to show of quite a few games in its long two-hour running time…
President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Jack Tretton started the show taking about have Sony was just getting into their stride, and how the plans to make the PS3 “Something for all the Family” with Blu-ray and a hard drive and other such things. This hyperbole leads to talking about HD3D and Kazuo Hirai -president and Group of SCE- comes to talk about how 3D will bring content and innovation to a whole new level; and that an update means that 35 million PS3 have already been updated to 3D.
Managing Director of Guerilla Games was introduced to talk about Killzone 3, and that it was being built from the ground up for the 3D tech, he played a portion of the fourth level, the sections of the game looked amazing even in 2D (the 3D limited to the audience).
A slew of games that were going to be released with optional 3D was giving, from the new Motorstorm and Gran Turismo 5, to Crysis 2 and the new Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
Tretton returned to the booth to talk about how “life-cycles” are a thing of the past and how the PS2 was still enjoying very strong support (in user-base at least if not new games). And also to talk about Netflicks and the changes it would be going through.
Peter Dille, Senior VP of Marketing and Playstation network was introduced and talked about Sony’s motion controlling device move; talking about the challenge of making sure that it was appealing to the hardcore gamers and that it would be rewarding. A montage video of representatives from various companies like Supermassive and Farsight Studios talk about the item and the game ideas it would bring.
Christian Busic came to talk and show some footage of one of two new games: Sorcery, a game based on the Sorcerer’s apprentice. He showed us how it utilised move, the game looks good, and the powers seem cool, it will be interesting to see the game closer to it spring date. EA sport’s Andrew Wilson talked about how move makes the game “outstanding” before proceeding to hit the ball into the bunker. To be honest, while it’s nice and all, it really feels as though it is just a HD version of the Wii’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10.
A trailer for Heroes on the Move, a game starring various Sony mascots like Jak, Daxter, Ratchet, Clank, and Sly Cooper; it looks like some sort of action game, but due to the ambiguous nature of the trailer, it could be any genre, from platforming to a fighting game in the vein of Nintendo’s Smash Bros..
Sony announced a Coca Cola partnership, from adverts to promotions, it felt extremely corporate and throwaway, like an advert in and of itself.
Kevin Butler came to provide some much needed comedy in an otherwise humourless, corporate conference. Talking about core gamers; he then went on to further talk about move and how it will bring more gamers to gaming and how that was a good thing for the industry.
Prices and release dates for move were announced: September for Europe and Japan, October for the States. $49.99 for the main unit, $29.99 for the stick; the latter is a bit high methinks. And the announcement of games that will support the devices: like Toy Story 3, SOCOM 4, and games that will be retrofitted for the device: like Heavy Rain and Resident Evil 5.
Tretton returns to talk about the much malnourished PSP and the PSP Go; starting by announcing a new “Step Your Game Up” campaign, starring a motor-mouthed black youth. The advert was cringe worthy and properly won’t do much to repair the PSP, generally because the PSP’s real problem is a lack of game third-party developer support. PSP games were announced, and trailers shown: a new God of War, subtitled Ghost of Sparta; Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep; Patapon 3 and a PSP version of Eyepet.
Alex Evans from Media Molecule came to talk about the new Little Big Planet 2. Talking about the power of the creation tools, then showed-of some levels that select Planet designers had made in twenty-four hours, a puzzle game, a shoot-em-up game, and a platform shooter. From the looks of things, it’s coming on well and if it has even 1% of the goodness of the first game, then it will be worth watching.
Tretton came back – again – to talk about the Playstation Network and their new Plus service, which provides things like early demos/downloads, updates and other services. The details were rather vague, unlike the price, at $49.99 a year, although the normal service will still remain free to use.
COO of EA John Schappert came to talk about exclusive content for the PS3 that their company was working on; starting with a special edition of the new Metal of Honor which will include the Front Line instalment, re-mastered for the PS3 hardware. Greg Goodrich joined him to say that DICE – who make the Battlefield games – were to be working on the multiplayer engine. Steve Papoutsis from Visceral Games came next to announced that the PS3 version of Dead Space 2 would also host a limited edition, from which would be included a remake of the Wii lightgun game, Dead Space Extraction.
Then, something unprecedented happened, Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell, long known for his outspoken comments on the Playstation3, took the stage to tell the audience that not only would Portal 2 be coming to the console, but that it would be the best version of the game on the consoles. He also talked about the introduction of Stream Works, a downloading system for the PS3 that works in a similar way to Valve’s incredibly success Stream service on the PC.
Square Enix had a new trailer for Final Fantasy XIV, and announced that the game will be a console exclusive for Sony’s machine (it will still be coming to PCs). In turn Ubisoft announced that the PS3 version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, will feature exclusive missions.
Yet more trailers padded out the two-hour conference, this time for: Grand Turismo 5 one also saw a proper release date for once, November 5 and will apparently include 3D; inFamous 2 briefly shown itself to the masses, complete with new elemental powers and a new landscape to explore.
Finally the show wraps up with David Jaffe turning up in Sweet Tooth’s iconic Ice Cream truck to introduce a new instalment in his Twisted Metal car combat series. The new entry will include the ability to fly and centres on a battle between two factions: the Clowns led by Sweet Tooth and the Dolls, the game will feature extensive multiplayer and will be also be a PS3 exclusive. The question is, is a game solely about car combat still relevant in today’s market.
This post can also be read on Gaming Till Disconnected.