E3 2010: Sony Press Conference
With a number of initiatives and many titles revealed prior to E3, I found myself wondering what the focus of Sony’s 2010 press conference might be; the answer was it had no focus. Running nearly two full hours, Sony delivered the most exhausting press conference of the season, saved only by a few dashes of excitement peppered throughout its bloated running time.
Jack Tretton began the show discussing the PlayStation 3’s future proof design via system updates. The monologue moved towards initiative one of Sony’s master plan: 3D. At this point Kazuo Hirai arrived to elaborate on Sony’s plans for the third dimension; he noted the PS3 would have twenty 3D titles by March 2011.
As the highest profile 3D title in Sony’s arsenal, Killzone 3 was the obvious choice to demo the new tech. The demo was from the ‘single player campaign,’ which sounded like the door was left open for a cooperative campaign, but nothing was specifically mentioned. The demo followed Sev through an arctic Helghan facility. There were some impressive ‘Jump Pack’ moments, which is Killzone 3’s all-new jetpack. Acting like a boost and hover apparatus over pure flight, a bit of platforming was shown before taking on several troopers from above. The last bit saw several drop ships firing upon the facility before a brief chase sequence, which was where the demo ended. Killzone 3 is confirmed for February 2011, as well as full PlayStation Move support.
Next to the stage was Peter Dille and initiative two of Sony’s master plan: PlayStation Move. Complete with its own montage, over forty publishers were confirmed on-board with Move. Dille also mentioned many PlayStation 3 titles would ship with traditional controls and Move controls on the same disc, such as Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4.
Sony’s first original title of the show was the 1:1 controlled Sorcery. Arriving unexpectedly and featuring some slick 1:1 magic wand command, Sorcery came out of nowhere to wow the crowd. Played from a third-person perspective, Sorcery employs a number of clever hand motions to conjure spells and easily cast them at enemies via flicks of the Move. At one point to pass through a small corridor a potion was shaken, than tilted back over the player’s head to drink, turning the young sorcerer into a rat. Spells could even be mixed together, such as a fire spell and whirlwind being combined to create a flaming tornado. The demonstration ended as a massive golem-like boss came down upon the hero, cutting to the Spring 2011 launch date.
Next up Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 was out to show a total different type of 1:1 control. During the demo there was driving, pitching from a bunker, a short chip and a straightforward putt, each of which required noticeably different precision. Having found the cup, Peter Dille unveiled a final Move title, tentatively named Heroes on the Move. Starring all three PlayStation 2 mascots (Jak, Ratchet, Sly) and their most trusted sidekicks (Daxter, Clank, Bentley), Heroes appeared to be a lighthearted 3D platformer mash-up. It looked quite early and a bit unpolished, it had no firm release and was stamped with the dubious ‘Coming Soon!’
Dille proceed on with an upcoming partnership with Coca-Cola to promote PlayStation Move awareness. Realizing no one wanted to listen to this sort of ‘news,’ it was the perfect time for fictional VP of any and everything Kevin Butler to make his entrance. In his slightly arrogant, but mostly clueless way, Kevin stole the show during his call to arms. Butler went on to validate each and every one of us in our choice to be gamers, saying we all worship the same king, known simply as ‘Gaming.’ It was the perfect moment for Sony to let the games do their talking, but alas, they had other plans.
PlayStation Move will land September 17th in Europe, the 19th in the US and October 21st in Japan. Each Move controller will retail for $49, the Navigation sub-controller for $29, while a Move bundle that includes the PS Eye, the Move and Sports Champions sells for $99; finally a PlayStation 3 could be had with a bundle for the whopping price of $399. The only saving grace of the numbers was the suggested MSRP of first-party Move titles coming in at $39 – think EyePet.
Onwards with initiative three: the PSP. While Sony was rumored to have an all-new portable they instead revealed a new marketing drive for the aging handheld, starring a smart mouthed kid named Marcus, who’s out to let y’all know you need to ‘Step up your game.’ The entire PSP segment felt underwhelming. There was a new teaser for God of War: Ghosts of Sparta, some footage of Patapon 3 in a montage and talk of PSP exclusive InviZimals, but nothing else especially noteworthy and new.
Alex Evans arrived to show off LittleBigPlanet 2’s new features including the grappling hook, sackbots and the direct control seat. A few of his colleagues then demoed a handful of mini games that were whipped up to show what’s possible in LBP2, which is billed as ‘A Platform for Games.’ One had the players matching button presses while the other two were a couple of different battle arenas that employed different physics, camera views and items. Alex confirmed the stock levels would remain a platforming adventure but any other genre was fair game once all of us creators get our hands on the game this fall.
Confirming what’s been circulating for months Tretton finally announced Sony’s forth initiative: PlayStation Plus. It costs $49 a year or $17 for a three month subscription, but basic PlayStation Network access will remain free to everyone. There will be a three month trial period and as a subscriber you’re entitled to early demo access, betas, select free PSN titles, themes and minis, new download options and various discounts. As long as you’re a subscriber you’ll be given access to WipEout HD, Rally Cross, the inFamous ‘title trial’ and eventually, Qore, PSN’s digital magazine.
Not content to watch Microsoft and Activision locking up over their Call of Duty timed DLC exclusivity for the next several years, Sony and EA announced their own exclusivity deals. Medal of Honor will ship with a PS3 Limited Edition version that includes an HD remake of Medal of Honor: Frontlines, while Dead Space 2 will be bundled with an HD, Move enabled port of Dead Space: Extraction. Beyond EA, both Mafia II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood both will ship with day and date exclusive missions, with the latter’s multiplayer beta only on PlayStation 3.
Immediately after the Dead Space news the auditorium was thrown into a craze as Sony brought Gabe Newell on stage; yes, the same Gabe Newell from Valve who’s publicly hated on the PlayStation 3 since it launched. Long story short, Portal 2 will arrive on PlayStation 3 in 2011 and according to Newell personally, it will be the best version on any console. Apparently it will have some sort of integrated Steamworks features, including Steam Cloud, but no details were given. During the brief Portal 2 video Glados is seen reassembling herself, eluding to the all but assured rematch.
At this point in the conference Sony finally got around to announcing a firm November 2nd release date for the finest piece of racing vaporware, Gran Turismo 5. Next up was an all-new trailer for Sucker Punch’s inFamous 2 that takes the freshly redesigned Cole from the dirty neighborhoods of Empire City to the neon streets of its New Orleans style locale. Cole seemed to have gained some ice manipulation powers between games and has since decided to carry something that could only be described as an electic club, which he used to pummel several lowlifes with. Cole will electrify PS3s once again in 2011.
And finally, closing out the E3 presentation was one major ‘surprise’ title. Closing out the show a sadistic looking ice cream truck entered from stage left with Sweet Tooth riding shotgn; David Jaffe’s been lying about his new project. Jumping right into a demo of Twisted Metal, Jaffe said the game would feature 16 player deathmatch, air combat, as well as classic splitscreen support and co-op options.
Leaving deathmatch Jaffe revealed his all-new Nuke game type which pits factions against one another in a twist on capture the flag. Within each faction’s base is a leader, who needs to be abducted. Stealing the leader, they’re strung to the back of your vehicle flapping around behind you but taking them is only the beginning. Each team has a missile launcher which they need to stuff the opposing team’s leader into to charge and trigger a missile launch. The missile is needed for the actual objective, the destruction of the other faction’s statue and each missile needs to be guided manually and protected. It all seemed rather ludicrous, but this is Twisted Metal after all. The return of the iconic car combat franchise certainly looked impressive but we’ll have to see how fondly it’s remembered come 2011.