E3 2012: Sony Conference Round-up
It’s that time of year again, with the industry descending on Los Angeles to show off their wares for the press and the public alike. Sony took to the stage late on Monday (early Tuesday morning here in the UK) and managed to convince that there is plenty of life yet in their current hardware, despite all the recent rumours of looming next generation consoles.
Here’s our round-up of their conference with plenty of juicy details and trailers to feast your eyes on.
Heavy Rain developers Quantic Dream were the first to kick off the event with a look at their new title Beyond: Two Souls. It tells the story of a young girl, played by actress Ellen Paige, who has some unique powers that a lot of people seemingly want to get their hands on.
While there was no actual gameplay on offer, but the trailer did its job by teasing an intriguing story that leaves a lot of questions begging to be answered. It’s clear that Quantic Dream have been hard at work improving upon the game engine that brought believable character emotions to Heavy Rain. The trailer below shows of some of the superb animation and realistic visuals we can expect from the game; this is certainly one to watch very closely:
Next up on the stage was SuperBot, the developers behind Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale. Their studio lead, Chan Park, confirmed that the fighter would also be coming to the PlayStation Vita with cross-platform play possible, allowing Vita players to battle it out against PlayStation 3 gamers. The stage demo showed this working smoothly, as well as showing off the gameplay in action:
Two new playable characters were also announced, Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series and Big Daddy from the Bioshock franchise, bringing the current revealed roster up to eight fighters. While Nathan Drake was a dead-certain inclusion, the appearance of Bioshock’s infamous behemoth should have come as somewhat of a surprise. However, the reveal was in actual fact no surprise at all, as the games official Facebook page announced the new characters earlier in the day by mistake.
There has been a lot of discussion recently around Sony’s plans for its paid subscription service PlayStation Plus, so expectations were high for its time at E3. Some may be disappointed to hear that their ‘big’ news is simply a lot more free games starting from 6th July. Dubbed ‘Instant Game Collection’, this new initiative will see 10 games available for gamers to choose from. The European list includes Stranger’s Wrath HD, inFamous 2, MotorStorm: Apocalypse, LittleBigPlanet 2, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, Renegade Ops, Chime Super Deluxe, Outland, Darksiders, and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. There will also be an additional ‘PlayStation Plus Game of the Month’ that changes every 4 weeks.
Overall all this did was just further represent how much value Sony are offering from their premium service. So while this is of course a good thing, it just came as an anticlimax for many who were perhaps expecting more features than just ‘new’ games.
Despite being mentioned earlier in the day as part of Ubisoft’s conference, Sony took some time to show more of Assassin’s Creed III via a new trailer featuring lots of running, sneaking, jumping and of course plenty of assassinating:
The more significant announcement from the Assassin’s Creed franchise was the reveal of a PlayStation Vita exclusive title dubbed Assassin’s Creed III Liberation. Liberation features the series’ first female lead and seems to bring the same action as its home console titles to the small screen. This will launch alongside the main game on 30th October this year:
Sony Computer Entertainment’s American CEO Jack Tretton confirmed that the Call of Duty series is coming to the Vita in the form of Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. While this branches off from Black Ops 2 it is aiming to be a “triple A” title, although there was unfortunately no gameplay or trailer shown.
Yet another Ubisoft title was shown at Sony’s conference with a demo of Far Cry 3, the latest shooter from Ubisoft Montreal. On display was the four player co-op mode which showed off some intense, all-out action in a lush jungle environment:
The PlayStation Move saw plenty of stage time by way of a brand new game called Wonderbook. Utilising the PlayStation Eye and the lacklustre PlayStation Move, players can open an augmented reality book and see the pages come to life on the TV screen. The first book to be published will be Book of Spells, a Harry Potter tie-in created in conjunction with J K Rowling herself. Clearly this is something aimed at the younger generation but nevertheless it’s an interesting way to utilise the Move and push the technology to more users:
Naughty Dog’s latest adventure — The Last Of Us closed the show. The gameplay footage shown seemed a bit too familiar, a bit too much into Uncharted territory. There’s clearly a lot more focus on the limited resources available as well as the concept of having an intelligent, adapting AI companion but it’s still hard to ignore the similarities with Nathan Drake’s outings. Hopefully more will be shown to separate the two in the coming months.
That was the hand that Sony played at this years E3. It wasn’t the biggest that they’ve ever done, and the surprises were kept to a minimum mainly containing upcoming PS3 titles, but there’s plenty of reasons left to be excited to to be a gamer with all these titles on their way.
The whole conference can also be found on YouTube here if you feel inclined to watch it in its entirety.