Tonight at the Staatenhof Rheinland centre Sony’s Gamescom Media Preview impressed a packed house. Why? Because they showed a whole slew of brand new games. Four to be specific. In fact they showed so much new stuff they left people a little disappointed that there wasn’t time for more info about E3 darlings Beyond and The Last of Us.
The event started with wireless network shenanigans, as all good press conferences do. Fortunately they were mostly ironed out as we all switched to our multiple backup internet connections. Jim Ryan, the President and CEO (aren’t those the same thing?) of SCEE took the stage to tell us that it’s an exciting time in the industry. I’d like to see a game company get on stage and say it’s a boring time. Or for the FIFA guys to come up and say this is not the best FIFA game they’ve made. But Ryan did not give us the pleasure. We were given Sony’s version of the recent history of games, and then with the formalities and the obligatory montage out the way they dove into the games.
First up was LittleBigPlanet Vita. This game is coming together well it seems. The Vita does justice to the art style and the use of touch, tilt, rear touch and analog controls make the game a lot more interesting to me than the PSP versions. LittleBigPlanet Vita will be bundled with a WiFi Vita at launch (and I assume sold separately too) for 249.99 EUR. Keen gamers don’t have to wait too long – the game releases on 19 September.
Second up was PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale. The interesting announcement here was the Cross Buy feature, where if you buy a copy of the PS3 game you get the Vita game and vice versa. It’s unclear how this works if you buy a retail copy, and it’s also not certain whether the save game is transferrable (for Motorstorm RC it wasn’t). Other upcoming games are also going to have Cross Buy, namely Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Ratchet & Clank: Q-force.
A brief video of Assassins Creed reminded us that it too was coming to the Vita. Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified was briefly mentioned too, with some features announced such as 4 vs 4 WiFi multiplayer and a variety of maps built from the ground up for the game. The story takes place between Black Ops and the upcoming Black Ops 2. Sony are gracing Declassified with a bundle too – a WiFi Vita and a Call of Duty pouch are included.
PS One Classics are going to hit Vita on 28 August.
Now we were treated to something new: Tearaway from Media Molecule. Alex Evans was on stage to talk about it. Tearaway is a 3D platformer based in a world inspired by the properies of paper – the characters, enemies and environments are all constructed out of paper. You control and help a character called Iota to escape a the world he is trapped in – inside the vita. There are some clever bits like tapping on the rear pad causing giant fingers to burst through the paper floor and destroy enemies. The game is to be a Vita exclusive, and looks to be a worthy one at that.
Next up was Killzone Mercenaries, another new Vita game. This one looks like it’s very early in development because the trailer was mostly live action with a bit of in-game footage.
Sony’s PlayStation Mobile platform was next up. Previously called PlayStation Suite, the platform allows vendors to get their hardware (mobile phones and tablets) PlayStation Certified, and allows games to be released on the platform, which means the games will work on all PlayStation Certified devices. Sony provides the PlayStation Marketplace for gamers to buy games. Hardware devices that support the platform will be made by Sony, HTC, Asus and Wikipad.
Ryan made a brief mention of Assassin’s Creed III for Vita, and we were treated to a trailer showing its unique features.
A new Essentials range of games was announced next – classic games at EUR 19.99. Previously the Essentials range was only for the PSP, but this new range is for the PS3. The range includes Uncharted, inFamous and LittleBigPlanet.