E3 2011 – Sony Keynote

Keeping the ball rolling with our E3 coverage, Jamie moves on today for the Sony Keynote! Heads up, it’s a long one!

It’s funny, one of the few things Microsoft did right, a surprise announcement at the end, Sony missed out on. Thank Christ the rest of the conference was a Godsend.

The conference kicks off as you’d expect. Jack Tretton walks out to a round of applause.

“Now, a few of my journalist friends tell me that nothing makes their editors more happy than controversy”, he begins by saying, “So too all the journalists here – You’re welcome”

The quip get’s a healthy laugh from the audience, as Jack goes on to apologise for the outage, and then goes on to talk about how the outage has taught them to value the customer experience more. In a bizarre way with words, he almost makes the outage seem like a good thing. Thankfully he keeps the apologies short but sweet before moving onto some media stuff. We’re told about services already on PSN like Netflix, services coming, like a TV on Demand thing, stuff we don’t really care about. Bit of a dodgy start, but they come out punching from here on out.

Uncharted 3 demo next. We’re shown Drake sneaking around in the rain. The gameplay would usually look boring, but with Uncharted’s high cinematic values, it’s all perfectly watchable. In fact, I was disappointed when the demo ended. Uncharted 3 is definitely looking to live up to the hype set up by it’s phenomenal predecessors.

Next we’re briefly shown Resistance 3. The game seem’s like “The Next Killzone” – and by that I mean, a way for Sony to try to push the Move and 3-D by using one of their big games. I’m more of a Killzone guy myself, and bought a move just for Killzone 3, but I’m sure some people are convinced by Resistance.

3-D seem’s to be a big thing this year, and we’re told that God of War Origins Collections is coming to PS3. Showcasing both PSP games, this game will sport full 3-D integration. That’s quite nice. But your body will not be prepared for what’s next.

Ico/Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection was confirmed a few weeks ago. But now we know, it’s in 3-D. Even I, as much as I scorn 3-D, have to admit the thought of playing Shadow of the Colossus in 3-D is a sweet one. This one move may have converted me, I have to wonder how many it converted as well!

Maybe sensing the growing interest in the room, Sony switches gears for a minute. Instead of shoving 3-D games in our face, they tell us about their new TV package. A reasonably priced deal, which would net you a 3-D TV, Resistance 3, HDMI cable and 3-D glasses for $499. Considering the glasses themselves are near-on a hundred dollars, that’s pretty nice. No word on the british price though.

Next up we’re shown a new title called Medieval Moves. The game looks a little dodgy, with a fairly shaky presentation. However, the game looks like it might be some fun – it doesn’t look as good as the Moves other fantasy title Sorcery, but it definitely looks like something worth picking up in the sales.

We’re shown a few brief trailers (Including an amazing Starhawk trailer) before a more interesting trailer sneaks in. Oh yes, the first trailer for Sly Cooper 4 makes its way onto the E3 stage, which Playstation fans will all appreciate. Twisted Metal one year, Sly the next. Medieval 3 2012, anyone?

The FPS Dust 514 has had a quiet development cycle, but has still managed to garner interest. However, at E3 it was announced the title would be a PS3-exclusive game. This is apparently due to Microsoft XBL rules, but their loss is Sony’s gain. You see, Dust 514 is a title set in the Eve Online universe. And you know what Eve Online users are? Loyal. Expect this one to be a hit.

Next, Ken Levine enters the stage. He spends a few minutes telling us how much he hated motion controls. However, one day, Sony called him up, and rather giving him a PR lecture, they asked “How would you feel, i someone who enjoyed the Bioshock universe, but couldn’t get their head around controllers, could play Infinite?”. This interested Ken apparently, as he announced that Bioshock Infinite would support the move. Also announced is that the original Bioshock would be on the same blu-ray disk as Infinite, meaning you get double the Bioshock than other consoles. Most interestingly? The small tidbit Ken left us with. Mentioning a pet project him and Irrational games have had for a few years, he said that they could never think of the right home for their new game. He then presented an NGP, and said until this thing came along. A game set in the Bioshock universe is coming to portables!

Now, if you watched E3 last year, you’d remember that Sony managed to win a lot of brownie points by having exclusive stuff in Mutli-Plat games. Dead Space Extraction was bundled with Dead Space 2 at no extra cost. Medal of Honor Frontlines HD crammed with the new Medal of Honor. Continuing this, Sony announced that SSX will feature an exclusive Mt. Fuji level, Need for Speed: The Run will come with seven extra cars, and Battlefield 3 comes with Battlefield 1943 stuffed on the blu-ray. A lil’ something extra to try to convince people with multiple consoles to go with the big black box for their EA games this summer. More interesting to me though, is that Saints Row 3 will get an exclusive game mode. No details said, but it will involve a “Unique Weapon”. Very exciting.

Kazuo Hirai walks out. He usually has the biggest announcements in the show. And as expected, this year he’s announcing Sony’s newest handheld, the PS Vita. Yeah, let’s just skip right ahead to calling it the PSV, shall we?

At a rather nice $250 price-point (or $299 with 3G), the Vita boasts almost a full suite of features. Most interesting is the party-chat system. Similar to the party-chat system on X-box Live, this one fits in your pocket. I believe Sony just obsoleted the mobile phone.

But what’s a handheld without games? Sony were ready to show a rather impressive lineup. They first show off their big one. The franchise that’s quickly becoming Sony’s Mario, their Halo. Uncharted on the PSV. The game is a full Uncharted experience, showing off the consoles hardware. I am a massive Uncharted fan, and this game alone sells me on the console. I can’t wait to stick Nathan Drake in my pocket. We’re then treated to a nervous black man talking about a new Isometric RPG. The game looks solid enough, but it’s sandwiched between Uncharted and Modnation Racers, so it’s never really given a fair chance. LBP was after Modnation, as expected. LBP will be a whole new game on the Vita, which is nice. I hope we get some decent creation modes with full multiplayer, I heard the PSP version was lacking.

Next up, we get to hear about Street Fighter X Tekken. We knew this game was coming to consoles, but did we know it was coming to Vita? Well we do now! We’re shown a brief trailer, before the developers happily announce that Cole McGrath, the star of inFamous, would be playable only in the PSV version of the game. We’re shown gameplay, and he fits in the world so much. His lightening powers go right up against Ryu in a short fight. It’s definitely a smart move, and gives SFXT PSV it’s own identity.

We’re shown a trailer for the PSV, before the conference closes. We weren’t given a surprise announcement like at the end of Sony’s conference last year (Twisted Metal) or at the end of Microsofts conference (Halo 4) – but to be honest they didn’t need one. Surprise End Announcements are always the best ways to drum up hype, but I think Sony pulled off the makings of a large hype machine without needing one. The 3-D stuff looks rather tempting, they’re showing support for the Move without going overboard (Ahem, Microsoft) and their new handheld looks like a damn fine competitor to the 3DS. On top of that, the new PS3 games all look amazing.

A general rule of E3 is that you tend to enjoy the company you prefer the most. Well, I’ve been a Playstation fan since the first one came out, so I might not be the best person to say, but I think this conference works for everyone. I saw X-Box owners on twitter last night tweeting about their jealousy at some of the stuff coming out. I think this is a good sign that Sony is continually learning from its mistakes, to give users a better E3 and a better console each year round.

Yeah, I might be a fanboy, but with E3′s like that, it’s hard not to be.

Conference Score


~ Jamie ~

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