E3 Day One: The Sony Press Conference

| Jun 7, 2011
E3 Day One: The Sony Press Conference

Sony was all over the place. But at least we got an NGP price.

While most of the big talk surrounding Sony was going to be focused on the debut of the NGP and new and its new, official name, the Playstation Vita, there was still a lot of information to unload about the many other pies Sony has its fingers in. A pre-show presentation from the Playstation blog team started by talking to Suckerpunch while a delay to the actual press conference got things off to a questionable start.When the show finally did start, a warm up trailer opened things up, eventually moving into the PSV and Playstation Move before cutting to a montage of the various upcoming games.

Jack Tretton, head of Sony America finally appeared, taking the time to actually mention the Playstation Network outage. He offered his gratitude to the 3


party publishers and retailers for their support during the outage, with an apology for the gamers themselves during the period. Tretton then went into a lot of usage percentage data, announcing a new media partnership to CinemaNow.

Things finally got moving into gaming territory when Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra of Naughty Dog came on stage to show off Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, which also appeared at last year’s E3. The demo revealed a ship on a stormy sea, complete with sliding furniture on the rocking deck. Nathan Drake played it sneaky at first, taking out early enemies via stealth. He arrived at a cargo deck, showing off some platforming as he clambered to the ground and then got caught by the crew, a situation that rapidly degenerated into a fire fight as water flooded into the area from a stray grenade. The ship turned on its side as Drake made his way through the ship, fighting against the environment and the incoming flood. The demo ended with Balestra announcing a multi-player beta in June, a promotion with Subway for access to the full multi-player component and a new trailer for the game.

Naughty Dog was followed by Insomniac Games, with Marcus Smith revealing Resistance 3. A demonstration of the urban combat followed. Insomniac’s penchant for gadget-y weapons was evident with force field projectors and other weapons. The demo then cut to a more hectic point of the battle in a devastated urban area as a mix of normal Chimera and a giant spider biomechanoid pursued the human resistance. A sharpshooter/Resistance 3 bundle was announced for September at $150.

Tretton returned to promote the release of Infamous 2 with a new trailer and then mixed things up with the announcement of God of War: Origins, an HD collection of Ghost of Sparta and Chains of Olympus from the PSP to the PS3, as well as the much requested Ico/Shadow of the Colossus HD collection, both of which are slated for September. Then, in an apparently random moment, Tretton talked about 3D, and announced that a new 24” 3D display was coming soon, which sported a new split screen technology that allows two separate players with two separate glasses to view different screens simultaneously. The display will be priced at $499 with a pair of 3D glasses, Resistance 3 and an HDMI cable.

The show moved into sports with 2K Sports showing off NBA 2K12 with a new “on the move” feature using Playstation Move. Kobe Bryant put in an appearance to show off the new feature. The game is slated for an October 4


release. Keeping up with the Move-related news, Tretton introduced Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest, from Zindagi Games, the creators of the original Sports Champions title. The game is based on multiple actions like archery, hurling shuriken and melee based on the position and gestures used with the Move controller.

Things once again became random when a trailer for Starhawk was shown, followed by a not-quite-surprise reveal trailer for Sly Cooper 4: Thieves In Time. Followed by the introduction of CCP Games came to the scene. EVE Online has been a underground success on the PC and now Dust 514 will join it as a PS3 exclusive complete with Move compatibility and a dedicated Home space. The most interesting thing about the game is that it will be completely integrated with EVE Online despite the fact that it’s an FPS, so whatever occurs in the Dust game will be reflected in EVE.

This was followed by Kevin Levine showing off Bioshock Infinite and mentioning that Move functionality would be included in the upcoming game. He also announced that there was a Bioshock related title in development on the NGP. As Levine left, Tretton returned to mention that Bioshock Infinite would get the original Bioshock included on the Blu-Ray disc. He also mentioned that Saints Row will have an exclusive mode on the PS3, while an in-development new Star Trek game will offer a phaser housing for the Move controller when it ships next year. Tretton kept things going with more exclusive content from EA for SSX, with an exclusive mountain, Need for Speed: The Run, with exclusive cars and Battlefield 3 packed in with Battlefield 1943.

Tretton finally passed the baton to Kaz Hirai who promptly re-apologized for the PSN outage, then moved onto “Playstation Suite,” a new certification for Android phones and tablets that can run Playstation content. He then, finally, introduced the Playstation Vita, with the dual sticks, dual touch screens and dual cameras that distinguish the new unit. A surprising feature is the “Party Room” that is more or less cross game chat with both headsets or the built in microphone. Vita will also include “Near” a social networking system for the handheld.

Scott Rhode then took to the stage to show off some games for the new device. Uncharted: Golden Abyss was introduced as a new handheld game, showing off the graphics, and highlighting the touch-based melee and tilt/touch based platforming. It was stressed that traditional controls are still intact for those who prefer it. Rhode then moved over to Ruin, an action RPG for the PSV in the vein of classic dungeon crawlers like Diablo. Social networking functions tied into Twitter and Facebook were also announced with a “rival system.” There is also a cloud-based save system that can carry game progress over to the PS3 where a console version can continue the PSV progress.

 Modnation Racers for the PSV was also announced, and it was stressed that this was not a port of either the existing PS3 or PSP versions. Track construction using the touch-screen was demonstrated, as well as the track editor. The back touch panel was then used to elevate mountains and hills, while depressing the front panel created craters for lakes. The PSV owners of the game would have full access to the user-generated content already created for the PS3 version of Modnation Racers.

Rhodes returned and mention cross-compatibility between games, using Wipeout 2048 as an example where up to eight players could compete on both PSV and PS3 versions simultaneously. He then mentioned that user-generated content would also be coming to the PSV version of LittleBigPlanet from the original game on the PS3, cutting to a trailer showing the new touch functions used in the PSV version. Rhodes then handed the stage over to Capcom as they announced Streefighter X Tekken would also be getting a PSV version, complete with the inclusion of Cole from Infamous.

Things wound down with a trailer showing off upcoming PSV games including Uncharted, Wipeout 2048, LittleBigPlanet, an unnamed RPG, a pool game, Modnation Racers, Super Stardust, Ruin and many others. Kaz Hirai then finally returned to break the news that everyone was waiting for. The PSV would hit shelves for the holidays with a WiFi only and 3G/WiFi model at $249.99 and $299.99 respectively.  Jack Tretton finally came back to close out the conference and urge the press to stick around, enjoy the after-show and play some games.

While Sony’s press conference was clearly heavier on information than Microsoft’s, they too played it relatively safe. There wasn’t the same emphasis on motion controls as Microsoft showed, but they stretched themselves thin broaching numerous topics like Move, 3D televisions, exclusive content for Sony versions of multi-platform titles and of course, the Playstation Vita. While there were more surprises than at the Microsoft press conference, there was also less focus.

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