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E3 2011: Sony press conference impressions

E3 2011Sony

After a six week PlayStation Network outage there was no way Sony could sidestep the subject during their press conference. When Jack Tretton took the stage he was obviously humbled, apologizing directly to fans of the brand. And with that, Sony moved on, hopefully putting the catastrophe behind them, leaving them to focus on games, the NGP, and of course, 3D.

Big returning franchises such as Uncharted and Resistance were given the early spotlight. A crowd skeptical of Naughty Dog’s ability to outdo the already impressive Among Thieves quickly became believers. A pair of collections were officially unveiled for the fall, one consisting of the two PSP God of War titles and the other having both of Team Ico’s PlayStation 2 offerings. Each collection was confirmed to have full 3D support.

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Noting 3D’s still inhibitive entry price, Sony announced an official PlayStation branded 24” television bundle. The package will include a copy of Resistance 3, a pair of 3D glasses, an HDMI cable and the TV itself, all for $499. But, best of all, the TV features the impressive tech unveiled earlier in the year at CES, which allows two players with two separate pairs of 3D eyewear to see two completely different pictures on the same screen, allowing local co-op minus the splitscreen. Regardless of whether or not this unique feature will catch on remains to be seen, but the implications for a renewed push in local multiplayer are obvious – and exciting.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was disappointingly teased with no gameplay. Considering the game had been unveiled nearly eight months ago with The Sly Collection, the showing left much to be desired.

The next major surprise came when Ken Levine, of Irrational Games, took the stage. Following last year’s trend with Gabe Newell, Sony brought another big time game developer who had been critical of their products in the past – in this case, the PlayStation Move. Wouldn’t you know it, they got Ken Levine on-board, confirming Move support for BioShock Infinite and a free copy of the original BioShock on the same BluRay disc. Before leaving, Levine confirmed his team was also in pre-production for an exclusive adventure in the BioShock universe for NGP.

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From there Kazuo Hirai took over, confirming the rumors that the NGP would in fact be named the PlayStation Vita. He announced Sony’s partnership with AT&T for the 3G version of the handheld, which illicited an audible groan from the gaming press in attendance. Uncharted: Golden Abyss was shown to illustrate the raw power of the platform, as well as the system’s various forms of interaction including traditional controls, touch, rear touch and tilt. Brand new ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet titles were also confirmed, guaranteeing full day one access to the millions of creations both communities have cooked up on their PlayStation 3 siblings.

Ruin (working title), a Diablo-esque hack ‘n slash action/RPG was then unveiled. The game looked solid, but the real highlight was the confirmation of the NGP’s purported ability to allow players to play a game on the go and then continue the same game on their PlayStation 3 at home. This cloud save functionality is clearly something people are interested in. Now, we just need to know how we get both versions, because buying the same game twice isn’t going to cut it.

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Before closing, Kazuo announced the final pricing details for the PlayStation Vita, arriving this holiday season: $249 for the WiFi version, $299 for 3G. This price point drove the crowd wild, putting the Vita on even footing with Nintendo’s 3DS.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2008. Get in touch on Twitter @_seankelley.

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