Wednesday, June 3, 2009

E3 2009 - Sony Press Conference

The 2009 E3 conference continued today with my most anticipated conference… Sony. Try not to think me a PlayStation fan boy if I jump up and shout hallelujah during the briefing. I’m just very excited to hear about what new things Sony going to be offering for my beloved PS3. On to the show.

After a somewhat boring video montage of Sony stuff, Jack Tretton, the President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, came out on stage to start things off. He made a great start by joking with the journalists about press leaks. 364 games are coming out on PlayStation platforms this year. If even one tenth of those games are awesome, I’m in big, big trouble.

According to Jack many of our most anticipated games are coming to PS3: Modern Warfare 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Batman Arkham Asylum, Heavy Rain (lots of applause for this one… and rightfully so), the Beatles: Rock Band, and many more!

With the PlayStation 2 now at $99, it’s selling nearly as much as current-gen systems. Jack says that Sony will continue to support the PS2 as long as consumers see value in it. That being said, there are more than 100 new games coming out for PS2 this year.

More numbers: Sony sold 22 million PS3s last year globally. Sony’s numbers in South America have tripled since last year. Playstation Network is growing rapidly. Games please!

Jack then went on to talk about how inFamous has become the summer blockbuster game. Guess what everyone; it’s only available on PS3!

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is sure to be a big deal. The President of Naughty Dog then came out to announce the multiplayer beta and preview the single player. The in-game footage looks even better than the first Uncharted, which is saying a lot.

Then a guy from Zipper Entertainment came out to show off a live 256-person battle in MAG. The players are divided into small groups and scattered across a huge map. The combat is large-scale and objective based. The graphics looked like they could use more polish before they would be on par with a game like Call of Duty 4. However, as skeptical as I was about this game when they showed the concept footage last year, I think this game could be fun. Look for it this fall.

Then Jack came back to talk about how the PSP is becoming increasingly awesome, and 50 million PSP owners worldwide agree with him. This year there will be plenty of PSP entertainment bundles, including the Hannah Montana bundle with the lilac PSP (I’d buy it!), the Rock Band: Unplugged bundle coming next week, the Final Fantasy: Dissidia bundle coming on August, and Assassins Creed: Bloodlines on November 10th.

Then Jack welcomed Kaz Hirai, the President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, to the stage. Kaz then introduced the and showed off the new PSP Go. The device is 50% smaller and 40% lighter than the original PSP-1000 and slides open to reveal the redesigned controls. The unit will come with 16 GB of flash memory built in and integrated Bluetooth alongside the original PSP features. The $250 device will be offered alongside the PSP-3000 on October 1st.

Kaz also announced the new PC application for the PlayStation Network called “Media Go”. He then talked about some kind of playlist generator called “Sense Me”. I’m not sure how either of these things will prove to be particularly useful. We shall see.

Then Kaz dropped a tasty bit of information, the PlayStation Network video content service has now been integrated into the PSP firmware. If you have a PSP, go update your firmware and start downloading some videos! On top of that, Sony has reached agreements with a ton of new content providers (including: Showtime, G4, E!, HDNet, Starz, TNA, Magnolia Films, and several more). While this is really awesome, I still think the videos are way too expensive.

After that, Kaz introduced Kazunouri Yamauchi to announce Gran Turismo PSP. He showed off the game running at 60 frames-per-second on the PSP Go. The game will contain 800 cars, 35 tracks (as well 60 variations of these tracks). It will feature the expected single-player modes, as well as some unique portable multiplayer modes. Players will be able to collect cars from their friends because 800 cars would be super-tough to gather by yourself! Then they showed some video footage of the game, which looks truly amazing for a PSP game. Look for it October 1st.

Next, (the man, the legend) Hideo Kojima came out to tease Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP. The game will be set 10 years after Metal Gear Solid 3, making it the true sequel to that game. Kojima will be writing the script and producing the game alongside the MGS4 team. The game will also make use of the unique functionality of the PSP. The in-game footage that was shown looked great as well: slightly sharper than Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. As a huge MGS fan, I’m looking forward into playing this part of the story, which will focus on the development of Outer Heaven. Look for the game in 2010.

Jack then returned to announce Resident Evil: Portable for the PSP. Also coming to PSP: Little Big Planet, SOCOM: Fire Team Bravo 3, Monster Hunter Freedom: Unite, Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, Hannah Montana, and Harry Potter.

Then they rolled some footage of PSP games to be released in 2009. Some of the good stuff in the montage included: PixelJunk Monsters, a game that looked to be the remake of Persona, another game that looked like it could be Jen D’Arc 2, Fat Princess, and a new Star Wars: Battlefront.

Alright, that’s enough about the PSP.

Shortly thereafter, Jack spews some more numbers about PlayStation Network that I won’t bore you with. Jack says there’s going be lots and lots of new stuff added to PSN (including more than 50 PlayStation 1 classics). But then, Jack announces that Final Fantasy VII is now on PSN. Go ahead... stop reading and go start downloading this game. I’ll wait.

Now that you’re back, you’ll be excited (right?) to hear more about PlayStation Home. Surprisingly, there are a decent number of people hanging out on there. Go ahead… stop reading and go check that out.

Did you get hit on by a dude with a Mohawk?

I did!

Are you tired of the snarky jokes?

After all of that, they ran a montage of some of the new stuff coming to PS3. It’s mostly things you would expect Uncharted 2, Brutal Legend, Final Fantasy XIII, Batman: Arkham Asylum, White Knight Chronicles, Ghostbusters, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, a new Buzz! Quiz TV, a Saw game, Tekken 6, an Ice Age game, Heavy Rain, a new Katamari game (pumped for this!), Fat Princess, DC Universe Online, BioShock 2, a new Jak and Daxter game, and God of War III. That was a TON of stuff!

Then Jak announced a new PS3 exclusive game from Rockstar called Agent.

Then a couple of foreign guys came out to demo Assassins Creed 2. According to the presenters, this game will have a great deal more diversity, which would fix the one thing that I didn’t enjoy from the first game. The game takes place in a totally different point in time: the French Revolution. The game looks even better than the original Assassins Creed. There are even a few new mechanics that look pretty fun. The game should be out by this Christmas.

After that, they showed off a new Final Fantasy XIII trailer. The new cinematic are as breathtaking as you would expect, and the new battle system looks to be just as complex as previous titles. Spring 2010!

Holy Crap! Then Jack introduces a trailer for Final Fantasy XIV. Who had any idea this was coming exclusively to PS3 in 2010? Oh, wait… don’t get too excited. It’s another MMORPG.

After that, a nervous-looking engineer came out to introduce a prototype motion control. The thing that he demoed looks like a light-up dildo (I know it’s kind of crass). The following tech demo looked pretty cool, but it looks like any practical application is a long, long way off. In any case, this could have some huge potential.

As Jack returned, he cracks another joke about not everything getting leaked out.

Hot on the heels of Little Big Planet, Mod Nation Racers is joining Sony’s exclusive “Play Create Share” genre. The game looks to be a combination of Little Big Planet and Mario Kart. The big feature is the course creation tools, which look supper easy. The presenters built an entire track in about 5 minutes. This could be a hot game to look for in 2010.

And then, we welcomed back Mr. Tretton to introduce some footage of a highly anticipated Team Ico game called the Last Guardian. I’m pretty sure that I saw a leaked version of this trailer a couple weeks ago, but the game looks gorgeous. Previous Team Ico games (ICO and Shadow of the Colossus) were highly regarded, and I’m sure this game will be a big deal in 2010.

After that: a teaser for Gran Turismo 5. I’ve never really been into the ultra-accurate racing simulators, but if Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is any indication I’m sure the graphics in this game will be stunning.

And next up… Sony Santa Monica studio presented a live God of War III demo. The game looked really fast-paced and intensely violent. The boss battles are pretty intense, and there looks to be tons (seriously… tons) of quick-time-event-driven brutalities.

After that Jack Tretton came back to close up the presentation with some words about how Sony is bringing to future of gaming to now. Good, yeah?

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