E3 09; Sony’s keynote round-up. The Megaton Edition
From the new NATAL technology to Milo to the Modern Warfare 2 timed exclusive content, we admit to thinking Sony were going to stumble and let us down a little.
How wrong we were. Sit back and forgive us the staccato nature of its presentation but here’s all the big announcements Jack Tretton and friends bestowed upon us at Sony’s 2009 E3 conference.
After a montage of some PlayStation titles including Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted 2 and God of War III, Jack welcomes us to Sony’s E3 event with a nice quip about the amazing amount of leaks we’ve witnessed over the previous weeks. “Thank God you guys showed up. Given this industry’s ability to keep confidential industry information confidential, I was amazed anyone came.”
The Sony president follows his light-hearted jibe with a statistic (Jack does like his figures you’ll remember) – 364 games are coming to all PlayStation platforms this year. Kudos to the person who obviously had to sit down and count them all.
We’re going to skip over the PS2 discussion somewhat as this isn’t www.ps2attitude.com but, needless to say, Sony’s stalwart console had another bumper year with Jack even getting in the low blow by mentioning how the aging console even managed to trump some of its next generation counterparts in terms of sales.
60% of the time, it works – everytime
More figures followed with 10 million PS3s sold last year bringing the total install base to 22 million. Not as impressive as the 360’s 30 million of course but, considering the year head-start and the PS3’s exorbitant price compared to its rivals – that’s an impressive accomplishment. You want more stats? 24 million PSN numbers. How do you like those PS3 apples?
On with the games
Game time with Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells taking to the stage to discuss all things Uncharted 2 while not forgetting to mention the previously reported beta that starts tonight. More footage of Uncharted 2 ensues and, if we’re being honest, we’re not sure if any of it was new. We’ve definitely seen that HIND chopper before. Somewhere …
After some more Drake goodness, we get a live demo of Zipper’s upcoming mammoth 256 online fragfest – MAG. Eight Zipperites take to the stage and form an eight man squad who then proceed to take a bunker and call in an air-strike. The last bit of good news is that MAG is playable on the E3 show-floor. Check back later when our very own Majiesto (hopefully) gets his hands on it and gives us all some first-hand impressions. MAG hits this fall.
GO GO PSP!
Though we’re also not www.pspattitude.com (where would we find the time?), it should be mentioned that a large portion of the event was devoted to Sony’s handheld device, or what Jack also refers to as: “the worst kept secret of E3″ – the PSP GO. All the leaked details are true, no UMD, lighter, smaller, wifi, bluetooth, the works. Something you may be interested in is Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines on the PSP which will have exclusive tied content with Assassin’s Creed II (more on that later) and a Hannah Montana bundle. Danny will probably wet himself in glee.
What you probably won’t like is the device’s price point. â‚¬249.99/$249.99. British sterling was oddly not mentioned but it’s probably in the region of Â£229.99. Pricey – especially considering you only get one analogue stick. There’s a lot more about the PSP we could mention such as a new video delivery service, Resident Evil PSP, Gran Turismo PSP and even Snake’s return in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (a direct sequel to MGS3 which depicts Outer Heaven’s creation) but we’ll move on as it’s getting late. Oh, finally, Fat Princess: A Fistful of Cake is coming to the PSP which is great news.
Final Fantasy Redux
As discussed quite recently – Final Fantasy VII is now on the NA store to download (as is Medal of Honor). This probably got the biggest “Oooh” of the night. So far …
Jack spent some time with Home but, to be completely honest, there was not a lot announced we didn’t know. It’s popular you know. He also mentioned an inFAMOUS space coming soon. We definitely remember hearing that.
The “We Told You So” Moment #1
Remember all those cagey “no comment” statements regarding Lost Planet 2 and what platforms it’s coming out on? Well, as expected, and straight from Jack’s very own mouth (in a very off the cuff manner we thought – like he didn’t want to dwell on it) Lost Planet 2 is confirmed for the PS3.
MEGATON! #1 – “Agent”
Up comes the Rockstar logo and Jack talks about the legacy of games such as GTA getting their start on the PlayStation brand. And then he drops the first real bombshell of the afternoon. “Agent”, a new PS3 exclusive from Rockstar North. Set in the clandestine world of 1970s spy territory, have we just seen the birth of a new super-franchise? No other details at the moment but expect more over the coming days.
Ezio: The Making of an Assassin
With the crowd still reeling from the Agent announcement, Ubisoft take to the stage and demo a few minutes of Assassin’s Creed II – and it is amazing. Like a Caravaggio come to life, we get to see how Ezio takes out some targets, climbs around Venice and even takes to the skies with the use of a daVinci flying machine.
Interesting to note is how Ezio is not the full article of death at the start of the game. Through training and assistance from the likes of daVinci and Machiavelli you will become proficient at the dark art of assassination.
It’s Final Fantasy XIII
Another gorgeous trailer showing off female protagonist Lightning. It looks lush and the crowd ooh and ahh at all the right places …
MEGATON! #2 – Did he just say FOURTEEN?
… and then Jack mentions another exclusive on the PS3 – Final Fantasy XIV (checks roman numerals, yep – that looks right). Touted as an MMO, Old Jack confirms that this is “only for PlayStation” in terms of consoles. We’ve since learned that it’s also coming for the PC. Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. We black out for about 10 seconds and come to with …
MEGATON! #3 – PlayStation Waggle!
… creator of the EyeToy, Dr. Richard Marx, and friend (we can’t remember his name, we’ll watch the footage again when it’s available and update this incessant ramble – sorry guy!) taking the podium. We finally get what we all knew was coming and also known as “We Told You So” #2: a PS3 motion controller. Words can’t really do justice to what the “wand” can achieve in conjunction with the EyeToy so we highly recommend seeking out footage and checking it out for yourself. Let us just say that, hand on heart and console allegiances aside, we think it’s a more practical and realistic representation of what motion controlling is all about. Is it as “new age” and earth-shattering as NATAL? No, we don’t believe so. Will it lend to better games and a more rounded experience? Yes, we firmly believe it will. Final point about the controller: what was on display was a prototype and it looks really unpolished and clunky. Let’s hope they make it more compact and less like a sex device. There, we said it. Moving on.
Pirates of the Sack-i-bean.
New costumes announced as a tie-in with Disney shocks few. Cinderella and even Jack Sparrow. Nicely done in our opinion.
Speaking of Sackboy – LittleBIGRacer
Continuing on the theme of “Play. Create. Share.” Jack is almost giddy announcing a new IP for the PS3 – United Front Games’ ModNation Racers. This is another one of those “you have to see it to get it” games but basically it’s LittleBIGPlanet for racing enthusiasts. You get a similar to Sackboy cute character and vehicles along with the ability to create your own race-tracks to upload, download, tweak, share, race through, battle in – you get the idea. This is the user-created dream equivalent to what MediaMolecule did for platforming. But for Mario Kart. Yes, we went there.
MEGATON! #4 – The Last Guardian – Get the tissues
Though pretty much a spruced up version of the leaked footage we’re sure you’ve already seen from a couple of weeks back, Ueda-san’s beautiful, poignant and unbelievably touching “The Last Guardian” (the game previously known as codename Trico) brings the auditorium to tears.Â It’s polished, it’s breath-taking, we tell our significant others we’re not actually crying – it’s just eye strain from watching Jack Tretton for so long. He’s a handsome man. *sniff*
Look who came (late) to the party
Gran Turismo footage appears like the drunk grandmother who always turns up that everyone loves, but who also secretly wishes would just get it over with already. It’s sublime and contains more cars than California and Europe combined. There’s NASCAR and WRC in there, too. And crash damage, in case you were wondering. It’s scheduled for release – when it’s ready. Drat.
They call him “The Closer”- God of War III owns all
Jack finishes up with bringing Sony Santa Monica out to bring the show to its (overdue) conclusion with some actual footage on display of Kratos laying waste to minions, skeletons and harpy-wenches alike. Jack mentions it’s the first few minutes of the game but we’re not sure if that is actually accurate. Either way, it’s astounding. People cry. Someone faints nearby and Majiesto rushes to their aid – just as soon as the God of War III video ends of course.
Just another quick thing to mention. Though not discussed during the keynote, Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley spoke to Jackie a little after the presentation where the SCEA head honcho categorically confirmed that Metal Gear Solid: Rising is coming to the PS3. Phew!
PS3 Attitude’s Impressions
What do we think now that we’ve sat through the keynote both in person and thanks to the the magic of the internet? Sony’s offering was polished, relevant and, thankfully, promising with some real surprises in there. This has to be seen as something of an achievement in itself considering the leaky bucket that is Sony at the moment. We would have preferred not to have already seen the Team Ico leak and enjoyed the footage for the first time with Jack standing there, beaming like a beacon of hope beneath the huge screens (only the PS3 can project on such a screen-size by the way) but such is the nature of the gaming industry.
The controller is surprisingly good which is only a small shock considering how downright pessimistic we are of any alien technology. We’re old school and prefer to use our hands. The PSP, both the GO and the slightly antiquated 3000 model, is going to have a stellar year though the price of the new version is steep and likely to be a barrier – just like the PS3’s price point.
We would have liked Jack to finish up by just pointing to the screen with the figure $299 appearing and cooly walking off the stage but that’s just us being overly optimistic. We still think a price cut is coming but knew the likelihood of it being announced at E3 was slim.
Speaking of slim, we were confident a trimmed down PS3 wasn’t going to appear and we were right. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist – it just doesn’t exist right now.
If we had to call the pissing contest between the three wise companies, we’d say Microsoft and Sony would be difficult to separate for different reasons. If we had to pick a winner we’re obviously biased and we’ll go with Sony but only because we know people in SCEE would frown on our cowardice for not picking an outright victor. Nintendo, once again, didn’t really show up – but that’s their problem.
Expect more news to filter out of E3 over the coming days. Don’t forget, we’re still there and have lined up some really cool interviews with some of the mavens of the industry. Check back soon, check back often.