After Microsoft and Nintendo made some impressive announcements at their respective E3 2009 press conferences, all eyes were on Sony to deliver equally noteworthy revelations, with many rumours (and confirmed rumours) floating around in the form of a new project from Kojima Productions, the PSP Go and further showings of their announced and unannounced games.
Read on below to see just what went on at Sony’s E3 2009 press conference:
(Update: Now includes footage accompanying the announcements at the conference, including Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the PSP Go and others.)
After a slight delay (probably due to the Nintendo press conference taking place directly before, with journalists hurrying off to Sony’s conference), Sony’s E3 2009 press conference began with a video montage showing a mix of PS3 and PSP games, including Singstar, FFXIII, Tiger Woods, LBP (PSP), Tekken, Ratchet and Clank Future: Crack in Time, Uncharted 2, God of War III, Monkey Ball, Tiger Woods 10, Final Fantasy, inFamous, Batman and Champions Online, all set to the music of Queen’s ‘One Vision.’
Jack Tretton (President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America) then appeared on stage after the montage was done to talk about how Sony is the market leader in all thing, including, he jokes, “press leaks,” which lead to him hyping up the show to come by saying it would reveal to you why PlayStation is here to stay, and why 2009 will be even better than 2008, simply because Sony has “something for everyone” ‒ every taste, every budget and every need, with 364 games head to PlayStation platforms this year.
This was followed by a few bits of swank about the PlayStation 2(with reminders that there are 2000 games for the PS2, that the PS2 outsold next-gen systems in April, that the PS2 is the perfect family console, there will be100 new titles available for the console this year, how today’s PS2 owners are tomorrow’s PS3 owners, and that there were 9 million new PS2 owners last year) and other areas (there are currently 24 million PlayStation Network users worldwide).
Naughty Dog developers then arrived to show off Uncharted 2 in a live demo, reminding everyone that the multiplayer beta for the game kicks off tonight (June 2nd). The demo showed protagonist Nathan Drake in an impressive tropical area, while climbing over a building to be rewarded with a view of a city, then running from helicopter gunfire along the tops of buildings while fighting off other enemies as the scenery was ripped to shreds with gunfire, after which the building began to collapse. This scene brought on a lot of cheering from the crowd.
Tretton again took to the stage to demonstrate a live 256 player MAG demo, showing a bunch of developers playing against each other online, with some players in Seattle and others in Los Angeles, including eight players on-stage, each playing in their own squad to compete against the opposing team and complete objectives. MAG features an experience system (like Call of Duty), while bonus points are awarded for completing squad objectives to encourage teamwork, and simultaneously encourage small skirmishes to happen all over the playing field.
This demo was then followed by PSP announcements, as Tretton spoke about how the PSP “has no equal” due to its unique abilities, such as access to Skype and range of games.
The focus then turned to talk of PSP bundles (with a new nail polish pink/purple model to launch with Hannah Montana), stats (PSP now sitting at over 50 million units sold) and game announcements (Assassin’s Creed heading to PSP in 2010).
Kaz Hirai then appeared to introduce the PSP Go, saying how the design came from market research, and also reassured everyone that it is not meant to replace the current PSP, or the UMD format, but is instead a new evolution of the PSP, designed for your digital liftestyle. The device will include 16 GB of internal memory, built-in Wifi, integrated Bluetooth and M2 memory port, is more than 50% smaller and 40% lighter than the PSP 3000, with slide-out controls and is for people who “no longer need or desire tangible media.”
Hirai then spoke of a new application for the PSP that you can install on your PC, called Media Go, while another application for music, SenseMe, will become available soon. The PSP Go will be available on October 1st in North America and Europe (for $249 and 249 Euro respectively) and on November 1st in Japan (for 26800 Yen). PSP development kits were also announced to be reduced in price.
New Sony media content partnerships were then discussed, with partners such as Showtime, G4, TNA, E, Starz and others, to deliver more than 1900 movies and 9400 TV shows, which will all be available natively on the PSP.
Gran Turismo PSP
Next up was a showing Gran Turismo for the PSP, as the founder of Polyphony Digital, Kazunori Yamauchi, stepped on stage to demonstrate the title (which is reported to include 800 cars, 35 tracks) on the PSP Go, and described the game as “a full version” (and not “shrunken down”) of Gran Turismo, running at 60 frames per second. Other features mentioned were the ability to trade cars between PSP players to make acquiring cars much easier for players (which will be a PSP-specific feature), as well as a four-player ad-hoc mode. GT on the PSP is heading out to stores on October 1st.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Suddenly, a Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker splash hit the screen, as Hideo Kojima took to the stage to talk about the PSP game starring Snake in the 1970’s (1974), ten years after Metal Gear Solid 3 and slated as “a true sequel” to that game. Kojima and the Metal Gear Solid 4 team will be participating in the development of Peace Walker, and he promises that he is “deeply involved” in the project.
A graphically impressive trailer for the game was then shown, revealing the backstory involving the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War and taking place in Costa Rica. Snake has apparently been called upon to infiltrate the base (Outer Heaven), much like in Metal Gear Solid 1. Mysteriously, the trailer also showed four Snakes (as two of them hid under one box and snuck up behind a guard), while the game was revealed as the ‘missing link’ in the series, with scenes showing Snake clones.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will be out in 2010.
Resident Evil Portable was shown next, announced to be designed specifically for the PSP, and releasing next year, as a PSP video montage revealed additional titles heading to the system, such as LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, Dissidia, SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3, Monster Hunter, Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny, SMT Persona, Invimals, Warriors Orochi 2, echocrono, Fat Princess, Hot Shots Tennis, Unbound Saga, Hannah Montana, Petz and Harry Potter.
Tretton once again took to the stage with some more PlayStation Network facts (475 ‘pieces’ of content downloaded over the service, 200 titles in the store, over 90 exclusives, no hidden fees) with an announcement that they’ll be adding 50 original PlayStation classics, such as Final Fantasy VII available today (! ‒ June 2nd)) in the US.
Talk then turned to PlayStation Home and its statistics (6.5 million users, Capcom has sold 200 000 units of virtual items) and announcing that more will be done with Home in terms of inFamous, Uncharted and Guitar Hero content, while other publishers, including EA and Capcom, wish to continue their support of the service.
Another montage was then shown, this time to do with the PS3, with footage from inFamous, Uncharted 2, Madden 10, Final Fantasy XIII, MAG, Batman: Arkham Asylum, White Knight Chronicles, DIRT 2, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Mafia II, West (?), Tekken 6, Buzz Quiz World, SAW, Overlord II, Tiger Woods 10, Dark Void, G Force, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, Pixel Junk Shooter, Fat Princess, Zombie Apocalypse, EyePet, SingStar Queen, DC Universe Online, Fuel, GI Joe, LittleBigPlanet, Saboteur, Brutal Legend, Bioshock 2, Ratchet and Clank Future: Crack in Time, Lost Planet 2 and God of War III.
Developers from Rockstar then took to the stage to talk about their new PS3-exclusive game, Agent, in development at Rockstar North, which is an espionage game set in the 1970s during the Cold War (Peace Walker?), set to become a property that is as important as Grand Theft Auto.
Assassin’s Creed II
The focus then moved swiftly to Assassin’s Creed II, as Patrice Desilets walked on stage to talk about the game and provide a demo, showing off the architecture and setting of the Italian Renaissance, while the backstory to the game is set directly after the events of the first (if you’ve played the first Assassin’s Creed, you’ll know what that means).
The demo showed the use of a Renaissance-era flying machine made by a friend of yours (in the game), Leonardo Da Vinci, who will also provide you with other inventions during the course of the game. The ability to swim was also demonstrated, while the protagonist was also shown taking out two enemies at once with his two wrist-blades.
Connectivity between the PSP and PS3 versions of Assassin’s Creed games was also announced, as you can unlock additional weapons once the two versions are connected.
Square Enix Announcements
Moving at a steady pace, the conference moved on to Square Enix’s work, with a new Final Fantasy XIII trailer on show, comprising both pre-rendered footage and in-game battle sequences. Then:
Final Fantasy XIV (14), a massively multiplayer online game, was announced, and revealed to be a PlayStation 3 exclusive in 2010, with a trailer shown after the revelation confirming that the game is indeed in development.
Sony Motion Controller
After that shocker, Sony’s focus moved to that of motion controls, seemingly a hot topic at this year’s E3, as they proclaim that their EyeToy was actually the first motion controller released for games. Now, Sony are working on new motion control technology that has been in development for a number of years.
The technology features a 1 to 1 ratio of movement. Using a wand-shaped device (looking like a microphone), a camera picked up the motion of the device and translated that movement on-screen, with various objects being swapped in and out virtually where the object was being displayed.
On demonstration were a series of tech demos, including a first-person view using two wand devices to shoot bricks out of your own hands (in-game, of course), using “sub-millimetre accuracy” to track the movement.
Another demo showed an avatar standing in an arena with a sword and shield, as the demonstrator attacked a skeleton with a swirling motion, translated in-game as a sword attack, followed by defence and archery demos. This new technology will be available in Spring 2010.
Moving quickly on, more content was promised for LittleBigPlanet, heading straight from Disney, including Jack Sparrow, Cinderella, Mr. Incredible Sackboy costumes and themes.
Next were a few announcements regarding games exclusive to the PS3, such as ModNationRacers from United Front Games, which seems to take its cue from LittleBigPlanet in that you can create, play and share, only this time in a racing genre, as the developers showed off the creation aspects of the game (such as the character creator and track designer), and then some in-game footage (looking a little like Mario Kart) which they promise harnesses the full power of the PS3.
Creating a track was shown to be as easy as driving the little cars around, as tarmac (or any other surface) is automatically drawn on the surface after you drive on it, essentially allowing you to ‘drive out’ your track’s design, as other niceties (a mountain, lake, trees, sheep, houses, a sunset, some gravel) were also added very easily. Additionally, game related items (such as power-ups, track start positions and obstacles) were similarly added very quickly. After creating a track such as this, you can save it on your hard-drive and share it with the community. ModNationRacers is heading out next year.
The Last Guardian
After ModNationRacers, another PS3 exclusive title was revealed, and this time it was a big one ‒ The Last Guardian (from the developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, and previously known as Trico) was shown with the leaked footage from weeks ago, only looking a little sharper this time around, which lead into brand new footage from the game, with new interactivity shown between the boy and the Griffin. No date was announced for The Last Guardian, unfortunately:
Gran Turismo 5
Jack Tretton appeared back on stage, as Gran Turismo 5 began to rev up behind him in trailer form, showing off the usual racer fair, with cars racing around a variety of tracks (such as a desert and city track), with a pitstop in-between the racing action. Car damage for this iteration of the game was also confirmed to be present, from the looks of the trailer.
God of War III
It was then onto a showing of God of War III (the entire conference was pretty highly paced) as Tretton introduced it as “the most eagerly anticipated game of this gen,” and the final chapter of the trilogy. The demo showed Kratos smashing his way through enemies and opening two enormous doors, as a giant fire-breathing demon flies off after spotting Kratos hurtling towards it, but not before Kratos manages to hook himself onto the creature and fly himself over a canyon.
Kratos then manages to throw enemies at enemies, take down a minotaur (with QTEs), after which he took down a demon with snakes for a tail, while all the while an enormous fire golem plodded around in the background.
God of War III releases in March next year.
That demo concluded the Sony press conference for E3 2009, as Jack Tretton said his goodbyes and thanks.
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Tags: assassinscreed2, assassinscreedii, e3, finalfantasy14, finalfantasyXIV, godofwariii, granturismo5, littlebigplanet, mag, metalgearsolidpeacewalker, modnationracers, psn, pspgo, sony, thelastguardian, trico, uncharted2