Sony E3 Conference Finished
Sony has delivered the last platform holder E3 keynote address and what a response we got.
We saw an impressive motion-sensing controller prototype that claims (and appears to deliver) true 1:1 replication by using in-built sensors and PlayStation Eye input. We heard that PS3 will get an exclusive Rockstar North game called Agent, as well as Final Fantasy XIV Online before any other console. We also saw GT5 in action, plus got an on-stage demonstration of God of War III and Assassin's Creed 2. And, of course, we saw Trico, which is now officially called The Last Guardian.
The PSP Go! was unsurprisingly revealed, alongside the brand new Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker game that may even have four-player co-op. We saw Gran Turismo PSP in action, too.
Read on for our full, blow-by-blow report of Sony's E3 Conference. The earliest entries appear first. No graphs, either.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Ellie is travelling from Nintendo to Sony and she'll be with us soon. We hope there are no shops on the way.
She's in. Phew. We're nearly ready to go.
Hello and welcome to Sony's E3 conference! Slightly late start but we're off. A film of the shapes, the PS3, the PS2, the PSP and the PSN symbol is playing.
Now we're seeing game footage. SingStar, Bayonetta, Army of Two, Brutal Legend, Tekken 6, WipEout HD, Uncharted 2, White Knight Chronicles, LBP, Heavy Rain, Buzz, all to a Queen soundtrack. Contemporary.
Ninja Gaiden, more SingStar, Final Fantasy, Batman, BioShock, The Saboteur, SAW, Uncharted again. "One vision," says Freddie. "Halo, Mario," says Matt [Martin, editor of GamesIndustry.biz - Ed], unhelpfully trying to mess up my live text.
Tretton is on stage. "Thank God you guys showed up... Thanks to the industry's ability to keep information confidential, I didn't expect such a turnout."
"The biggest sens of pressure I feel is trying to do justice to the 364 games we have coming out on PS platforms this year." We're going to see "a ton" on this 40' by 80' screen.
"PlayStation is going to continue to be the mainstay of this industry." Has it really been 15 years? "2009 will be our best year ever, even better than the record year we had in 2008."
PS generated 30 per cent of retail sales in 2008, says Jack. Back in April, at the pre-E3 gamers' day, they showed some tip top titles - "And many of you were saying this is the best line-up on PlayStation to date." He's namechecking Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Heavy Rain, Modern Warfare 2, Beatles: Rock Band. "If you want to have the ultimate gaming experience, you need PlayStation. Let's get started with the PlayStation 2." Must we, Jack? IT'S 2009.
"We don't intend to see an end to PS2 after ten years." Yes readers, PS2 is going to LIVE FOR EVER, like Mumm-Ra.
This year PS2 will get nearly 100 new titles, including Guitar Hero, Buzz, SingStar etc. And now on to PS3. Phew. "A year ago I said our goal was to sell 10m PS3s, and that's what we did." 22m sold globally last year.
PS3 coming to Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay later this year. Meanwhile, PSN accounts now at 24 million worldwide. "Let's talk about what consumers really care about - great games."
He's namechecking inFamous, "This summer's biggest blockbuster title." It's one of more than 35 titles in 2009 you'll only find on PlayStation. And on to Uncharted 2.
Evan Wells of Naughty Dog is here to show it off. "It's easily our most ambitious project to date." Starting tonight, you can join us in the multiplayer beta. If you're American, presumably?
Time for some in-game stuff. Nathan is running round a pool on top of a building, the Hotel Shangri-La. Looks like Kathmandu. "Are we going to have to climb that thing?" says his female sidekick. "Yeah, that's usually what happens." Now we're surveying the city and mountains from a great height - it's highly impressive. There's whooping.
As Nathan tries to shimmy across a pole, a helicopter appears and starts shooting. He and the lady start racing along falling platforms, all the while being shot at by the helicopter.
Aha, time to duck behind some walls. Then leap into a building, only to be blown to the floor by a huge explosion - the helicopter has taken the wall out. Nathan presses on, hiding behind a table before peeking out to shoot some baddies. The helicopter blows open another wall and Nathan hides behind another table. SHOOT THE HELICOPTER IN THE FACE.
Nathan jumps down a floor and fires at more baddies. More big explosions and another wall is gone. The helicopter backs up then send two huge missiles into the building. The whole thing is shaking now and Nathan is rolling around on the floor. He and the lady jump through a plate glass window and the shooting subsides. It's over.
That looked marvellous. "You have to agree it's one of the best-looking games you've ever seen," says Jack. You don't have to, but you could. Now on to MAG.
Here's Andy Bodewin from Zipper Interactive to show it off. MAG, in case you've forgotten, is a new FPS for up to 256 players. Andy's going to show us a live battle. "Every action you're about to see and hear..." Can't hear over the whooping of the crowd as all 256 player photos appear on the screen.
The mission in this level is to secure a landing zone and push forward to the enemy facility. Four platoons are assaulting the base. There are loads of enemies knocking around though. First, the player we're following embarks on a bit of recon. He's creeping round a rocky landscape. It's all a bit yellow and, it has to be said, brown.
Our hero's trying to destroy a bunker. He creeps stealthily through the brown, taking cover behind a tank. An on-screen option shows you can press X to get inside it.
"Because this action has been assigned to the squad, he's going to get bonus points for every action he takes." He's destroyed the bunker. Now he's going to defend an anti-aircraft battery, which will let commanders call an air strike.
Helicopters are coming in - if anyone dies, they'll be able to respawn in the helicopters' positions. Now our hero is calling a cluster bomb air strike so his team can push forward.
There's a huge amount of stuff going on - blokes running everywhere, tanks rolling in, helicopters flying about. The Zipper man ends the demo before the full assault on the base, but invites us to go and try out full 256 player matches on the show floor.
On to the PSP now. Tick off "content and services" on your E3 bingo card.
PSP offers a "richer, deeper and more engaging" gaming experience, says Tretton. More than 50 million now sold, thanks in part to bundle "offerings". Assassin's Creed Bloodlines will be out on November 10th. The Hannah Montana bundle is out this July and is pink. Big whoops from the audience. Petz, LocoRoco 2 and Rock Band bundles to follow.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's... Kaz Hirai! Hai! I can has Ridge Racer!
He's off, with that brilliant futuristic android waffling he does so well. Sony's been asking developers and publishers how they can make the new PSP better. Touch screens? Oh: "It's my pleasure today to introduce the next step" for those who lead "a more digital lifestyle. He's got one in his pocket! It's an iPhone! No wait.
"First we call this, The Worst Kept Secret of E3. And we call it PSP Go." This represents a new evolution. An image is spinning round on screen, showing how it slides open. They will continue to support the PSP 3000 and the UMD. "It's got the same screen, integrated Wi-Fi, it plays the same terrific game, but it's 50 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter than the original PSP 1000." 16GB of internal flash memory.
Integrated Bluetooth. You can see how the screen slides up to show the d-pad nubbin, select and start, shape buttons, from left to right in that order.
Say hello to Media Go, which replaces the Media Manager. It makes it easier to transfer music, pictures and the like. They're also introducing a thing called Sense Me, which will analyse your music library and deliver a playlist based on the moods you select. It "really enhances the music experience".
The price of the PSP toolkits are coming down by 80 per cent. Gosh. That means more developers and individuals will be able to make PSP content. The plan is to make it all much easier to connect, wherever you go.
Whether you want a PSP 3000 or a PSP GO, all the functionality will be in every device. PSP GO is "one more proof point that PlayStation offers the future of entertainment technologies". It will launch in the US and Europe at the same price point as the original PSP on October 1st - USD 249.99. EUR 249.99.
Starting today, the video delivery service will be available "natively" on the PSP as well. It will be easier than ever to download content direct to your PSP. For the PS Store, they've signed deals with Showtime, G4, E, HD Nett, Magnoila films, Manga and more. "PS has something for everyone, wherever they want to go. But our news does not stop there." It's Kazunori Yamauchi!
Bye, Kaz! Hi, Kaz! Ah, he's brought a translator. Who's taking notes. Or writing a shopping list, who knows. "I am very honoured to announce Gran Turismo PSP, that I know everyone has been waiting for for so long." He's holding up a PSP Go. Apparently it's running on it, but he's so far away it could be Mario Kart for all I know. "It's running at 60 frames per second. It's a full-scale Gran Turismo."
"GT PSP contains 800 cars, 35 tracks" and er a load of layout variations on those tracks. Single-player mode has standard racing, time trials and drift trials, and there's a legacy licence mode.
This is "A full-size GT experience. This is not a shrunken down subset," says Kaz Y. Ad Hoc mode will let you race with up to four players. You can share and trade cars between your garage and other people's garages. It will be hard to gather all 800 cars by yourself, so you can make it easier by getting together with friends. Top Gear meets Pokemon.
"And finally, take a look at a video we've prepared, and thank you for your time today." THANK YOU FOR THE DREAMS, KAZ. A close-up of the Go - nice buttons. Race cars cruise around on the screen. They're shinier than a varnished diamond. Loads of cars of all the colours of the rainbow spinning around. And it's over. That was nice.
Kaz H is back, babbling on about best in class gaming or some such. Anyway, Gran Turismo PSP is launching alongside the new handheld on October 1st. But can you use it as a wing mirror?
It's Hideo Kojima! The slut. First Don, now Kaz. He's not tapping him on the shoulder in an amusing way, however. He's here to show of PSP title Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. It will feature Solid Snake.
"The setting is ten years after Metal Gear Solid 3," 8 out of 10, "In the 1970s. So I can say this is a true sequel of the MGS franchise." Does Kaz know where you were yesterday, Hideo?
Kojima will be "very deeply involved" in the development. Not retiring after all, then? It's "not a spin-off and not a side-story". He will take account of all the PSP's unique features. He's brought us a trailer. Soldiers in a trench, watching a nuclear test, looks like the fifties. Voiceover mentions "Mutually Assured Destruction" and explains what it was. The US and the Soviets were in turmoil the Cuban missile crisis, and in the midst of it, "one government remained without a military". A tank and soldiers roll through a dusty landscape. Now we see Snake stalking on a rainy beach towards fighting troops. He's in Colombia. He's taking his shirt off! Gosh.
Snake is seen running through a jungle, creeping hind a wall, across a tin roof. He races across a beach. More tin roof running. He pops a sleeping soldier with and activates a parachute to lift the body clear into the sky. He hangs and shimmies under a bridge, undetected by the sentry above. Wow! Loads of Snake, all lined up! [Four-player co-op? - Ed] They all raise their guns and fire at a big robot aircraft thing overhead. Is that the Peace Walker? "Piss Walker?" says Matt, who should pay more attention.
To finish we see Snake hiding in a box. Then another Snake comes along and gets in the same box. They scurry off. The end. Date: 2010.
Kaz is back. Nice slacks. It's quite hard to follow what he says sometimes. Best just to listen out for the nouns. "Booth", "PSP Go", "Products and services". Jack's back. Ahh, remember "I'll chill here on the deck?"
Resident Evil Portable is on the screen. There's a still of zombies shambling through a city street. Resi is coming to PSP "next year, in a whole new game designed specially for the platform".
Time for a montage! Roll VT. Looks like stuff we've seen before. LBP, to start with. Oh, that's Jak, and Daxter. Lava level! That's two already this morning! The new Motorstorm. Some chicks who can do lightning. Piss Walker. Giant enemy crabs! I mean Monster Hunter. Fighting. More fighting. "Was that Soul Calibur?" asks Matt. Looks like Eye of Judgment or some kind of variation now. Turn-based battling. Tiger Woods. America football, or is it rugby, I don't bloody know. Tennis. Or badminton. Turn-based battling again. Fat Princess! On PSP! Hooray!
Hannah Montana! A dog, a cat and a mouse. More American Rugby. Rock Band Unplugged. The end. Hello again Jack.
Come on now, enough PSP and "content and services". WHERE IS PS4. Oh, PSN. 24 million registered users have downloaded more than 475 million pieces of content. More than 250 titles on the PS Store, and more than 90 are exclusive. You forgot to mention more than six of them are good, Jack.
More than 50 PSone classics are coming to PSN, starting today with Final Fantasy VII.
PlayStation Home. Oh no. Please don't chill here on the deck. More than six and a half million users. 85 per cent are return users. More than 100 virtual items are introduced each month.
"Killer new content" for inFamous, Buzz, SOCOM promised, plus stuff from Namco, EA, Capcom and "Ayedoze." Does he mean Eidos? Video time. An avatar with a mohican wander round his apartment. A Chun-Li woman goes out on her balcony.
More avatars strut about. Unusually, the male ones don't gather round the single female one like she's a penis magnet.
The end. That was... Home. Jack, again. PS3 now. WHERE IS PS4. ALSO CAN WE HAS A NEW KRASH BANDYCOOT.
Footage of Uncharted again. inFamous. American Rugby. MAG. Batman. Brutal Legend. WHERE IS CRASH BANDYCOOT. White Knight Chronicles. Fast cars. Ghostbusters. Ninja Gaiden. Buzz. Saw. Some old Disney tat. God of Warez. Tiger Woods' Amazing Golf Party. Some sort of hamster with a gone. More American Rugby. Cage David's Game About Crying. Snooker. These are PSN titles now. Katamari. Fat Princess MASSIVE PROPS. That weird thing with the monkey that comes out in your lounge and probably eats your face off or something, I mean EyePet. I've had three and a half hours sleep. LBP. Nazis. The Saboteur. I've not even had any breakfast. Ratchet! Boxing. Convicted rapist punching a man in the face. God of Warez again. Aaaaa.
Lost Planet 2 shipping in "early 2010". Did we know that? Anyway, Rockstar logo is on the screen.
A new property from Rockstar North - Agent. Exclusive to PS3. A logo is on the screen. The space in the G is formed by a gun. Expect assassins and espionage in the late 1970s. Coming "exclusively to PlayStation". Is this what they bought instead of the GTA DLC?
And we're on to Assassin's Creed II. Some Frenchmen are here to show it off. Unfortunately not the fit one I fancy who works on the games about the bald man who likes the hiding.
So far it looks like the same scene we saw in the trailer at the Ubi conference yesterday - the Venice masked ball. But this is in-game footage. Ezio is stalking round, then running up some boxes, leaping across ledges and climbing up to a rooftop. He's climbing all the way up a big tower now, pulling a guard off a ledge and sending his body flying into the canal below. Turns out Ezio is mates with Leonardo Da Vinci. On top of the tower is a flying machine, and you get to fly it.
Ezio uses the contraption to swoop around Venice, between the buildings and over the rooftops. The view is stunning. He drifts across St Mark's Square before dropping onto a rooftop, leaving the flying machine to catch fire on a stray firework and flutter flaming away. Now we cut to daylight, and Ezio taking a giant leap off a pillar an onto an enemy. Stunning.
Ezio uses the double-blade to punish a pair of enemies. Hay! Now he's taking on three baddies at once with a big old spear that he nicked off one of them. If you play the PSP version you can unlock six extra weapons in the PS3 game. Ezio walks up to the man he was stalking and grabs him by the neck. The world around him disappears, then comes back.
That's it for the demo. "But I must inform you, the game is massive in scope. You'll have the opportunity to experience it at its fullest soon. This holiday. " Thank you, Frenchmen. Oh look, it's Madonna! Not really it's Jack Tretton.
Jack's on about Final Fantasy. You all know FFXIII will be here in the spring, he says, so here's a video. "The whole world was against us," says a voice. The chap with the afro and the girl with the fringe are cruising round in some super-fast, out of control space vehicle. They zoom around an amazing city. Some kind of monster is trapping people with blue tentacles. It's all well Phantom Menace, though not as good obviously.
Turn-based battling! Spiky haired people fight spiky monsters. There are coloured bars everywhere. Explosions! Glowing balls! Blue thingies! Rubbish hats!
Fin. "Square Enix isn't stopping there," says Jack. He's going to show the first footage of Final Fantasy XIV. PS3 "will be the only console you can play it on when it launches in 2010"
"On a forgotten page of eternity there lies a land embraced by mighty gods. Her name - Eorzea". A huge dragon thing flies above a ship on a stormy sea. Another dragon swoops between explosions as towers fall. The towers are flying themselves, and a man with spiky hair in armour appears to be piloting one. Him and a few friends and one of those big chicken things survey an amazing vista across mountain tops and lush jungle. It's Final Fantasy XIV - Online.
"There's one that didn't leak out, huh?" says Jack.
He's on about motion-controlled gaming. What? Sony did EyeToy, of course, and the PS Eye, says Jack. "This technology will continue to grow in many ways." Dr Richard Marx and Dr Antony Mikhaeloff are coming on stage. Richard Marx who sang Hazard? No.
This "far surpasses any technology on the market now", says one of the doctors. But what about Microsoft's yet to be released invisible steering wheel? Wow it's a prototype of a new controller. Looks purple from back here. It has motion sensors "and a glowing sphere on the end the PS Eye can track. Imagine you're playing n RPG game, you choose a fireball spell, and the sphere changes colour." Indeed, it goes from purple to red.
On screen we can see a virtual TV set. The controller moves one to one as the player moves it. This is really hard to explain, but "it's true one to one tracking" says the doctor. The image of the controller on screen is now replaced with a virtual racket. Not an invisible one, a CGI representation of one. Now he has a CGI baseball bat. A golf club. A Stop sign. He manages to hit a ball with it. It all looks a bit jerky and hit and miss, but this is early days. A huge sword now.
He's swinging a mace, now holding a fan. Spikes extend from the fan though. Now he's got a torch. Alan Wake would love this. You can move around and point from any position. A foam dart gun now. A gold desert eagle. No bullets are shown flying out though. It's being designed for casual experiences but also "Gamers' games". We're in FPS mode now - the demo man crouches and moves around and on screen, the gun follows his movements.
"There's no way to do this without a trigger, it just wouldn't feel right." Now he's swinging a laser whip. Light sabers, anyone? The demo man has two controllers now. He's using them to pick up building blocks. This is bonkers. Now he's using the controller as a pencil to write with precision on a virtual piece of paper.
You can use the controllers to distribute dominoes, then knock them down. Or select troops - "Finally we have an interface on a console that lets us do real-time strategy." You just draw around the troops you want to select. Then you can zoom down into the game to take control of a tank directly.
Character control now. The demo man is holding one controller like a sword, the other as a shield. A translucent avatar is shown on screen, matching his thrusts and parries. He dispatches a skeleton enemy, then shows off the defensive postures. Horned enemies are creeping towards him now and the avatar as disappeared. Instead, a pair of virtual hands swat the enemies away.
Archery now. Demo man reaches behind his back, pulls out an arrow and fires. It all looks very precise. Headshot! "I hope these real-time tech demos sparked your imagination." More info in the near future, apparently. Let's hope so.
"Prepare for a launch in spring 2010," Tretton says of the new controller. Gosh. LittleBigPlanet is on screen now. Yes, we know about the PSP game. You'll be able to dress Sackboys as Jack Sparrow, Cinderella, Mr Incredible and other Disney characters from this autumn.
A new franchise, exclusive to PlayStation 3. Two chaps from United Front Games are coming on to show us ModNation Racers.
A trailer is playing as they talk. No wait, it's concept art. Animated cars and cartoon drivers. Not unlike Sackboys with their huge heads, but more humanoid. "It's a thoroughly modern take on classic car racing."
Here's a character the speaker created - a monkey with big shades and a smart white suit. Hi, Cammie! Now let's not be unkind. You can give him a Pinhead head, racing goggles and so on. He's jumping in a dune buggy, but there are sports cars too.
We're into a race now. Zooming round wide tracks between carton style buildings. It's all quite smooth and colourful. Karts bash into and bounce off each other. Power-ups and ramps which launch you flying over gaps. Looks like you pick up power ups as you drive.
The track was made using a tool called track studio. We're being shown how you can lay track by driving round in a little golf cart. As you drive, track gets laid down. There's elevation on the right stick so you can make hills.
In seconds, he's made a working race track. Now he's dressing it up, adding dirt roads as if dragging a paintbrush over the track. Now he's building mountains with another special brush, and now he's adding water with another brush. Finally, he flattens out another bit of the track before spraying dirt around the edges of the track. And sticking some trees on too.
You can add whole villages, in super-fast time it looks like. It's just a case of picking another brush. He's putting safety cones on the track, and now sheep at the edges. "Baa." Cute. Finishing touches - he's raising the level of the water in the lake, putting in a sunset at his chosen angle to determine the lighting.
It's LBP meets kart racing, essentially. The track is now all ready to be driven on, or to share online. ModNation Racers is out in 2010.
Time for another peek at a PS3 exclusive, this time from Fumito Ueda. It's the Mysterious Cities of Gold With the Flying Fox Cat! Or as it's properly titled, The Last Guardian. Trailer.
We've seen this before. It's the chain going down into a moss-covered well. An eye opens and a shadow of a dog fox cat eagle thing hovers above. The boy out of The Mysterious Cities of Gold races along a stony corridor and into the light. He stumbles off the edge but grabs a pole. The foxeagle picks him up, and the boy strokes him. As Oli put it recently: Climb the monster on the face!
They're soaring over stony ruins now. Isn't this the music from The Flying Doctors? Anyway, the boy in the towel and the monkeyrabbitweasel share some tender moments. Neverending Stooorrryyyyyyyyyyyyy, aa aaa aaa aaaaaaaaa aa aaaaaaaaaa.
The dragonotter climbs up mossy ruins and the boy leaps off his head, then climbs up a chain and fights some enemies. Now he is crossing a stone bridge and the music has gone all Riverdance. He sleeps nestled by the ratpigeon.
Nothing new there then, but nice to see all the same. Time now for a teaser of Gran Turismo 5. London. A man striding onto a race track. The US flag in the breeze. Super sleep sports cars cruising through city streets. Red white and blue smoke in the sky. Cars zooming round a racetrack, amazingly realistic. World Rally Championship logo appears on screen. Cars cruise through cornfields. NASCAR now. More speeding cars, more impressive realism.
And it's over. Crumbs. But can you put sheep round the tracks?
God of War 3 now - we're going to see the first few minutes. Stig's on stage. It's a live demo, "The final chapter in our fantasy chapter. We will see how the story ends."
The demo begins. The camera pulls out to show Kratos in all his glory as flaming dragons sweep across the sky. A group of skeleton warriors thunder towards Kratos. He flings them over the side of the cliff he's on, then dispatches some other ones with bursts of flame before heaving open a pair of huge stone doors. Now we're in a cavern. A giant vulture is feasting on a corpse. Kratos grabs it and lets it fly him across a chasm and up a ledge as he whacks it with is sword.
Back into open air now and some kind of huge arena. An enormous meteor monster appears over the edge. Kratos extends a pair of wings and flies into the arena before whacking a load of enemies with lightning fast and some slow-mo attacks.
Now a centaur stalks in along with hordes more footsoldiers. They crown round Kratos but he gathers strength and flings them all away at once. Now he's fighting the centaur, who has a huge spear. But Kratos uses bursts of white energy to whack him before lassoing him with a rope of orange fire, and pulling the Centaur to the ground. He disembowels him with a flourish. The bowels spill out and everything.
We're focused on the meteor monster now. But there's a serpent coming up from behind! Turns out it's attached to some kind of lion goat thing! It's a bit like The Last Guardian! More Kratos slices off his serpent tail bu the monster still flails about on its hind legs. Eventually Kratos climbs up to its chest and repeated stabs away. The monster turns all goaty again and gets back on all fours. Kratos uses giant chains to whack him into submission, rip its horns off then STABS HIM IN THE EYE.
Oh no! The demo ends just as we finally get to the big meteor monster. More on the show floor though. [Our hands-on impressions soon! - Ed]
March 2010 for God of War 3.
Back to Jack. Whatever, he's not exactly a giant flaming meteor monster with a lion's head, is he? Never mind. "Thank you so much for your attention," says Jack. Thank you Jack, for your big monsters and crazy torch remote controller thingies and the new PSP and everything. Byee!