Sony & Nintendo E3 Press Conference Reports

Sony & Nintendo E3 Reports

SONY

After Microsoft’s show-kick-off press conference, where they revealed exclusive downloadable content for multi-platform game Fallout 3 and the huge coup of Final Fantasy XIII no longer being exclusive to the PS3 (outside of Japan), the pressure was on Sony to put on one hell of a show at their E3 presentation. After recounting the amazing success of the Playstation 2 and assuring press and fans that the Playstation 3 is “just hitting its stride,” Sony moved on to the games.

Resistance 2 is the marquee first person shooter, exclusive to PS3, due out this fall. The demo showcased a 350ft tall boss villain, and promises to pick up where the first game left off, that is, with a world in which the villain certainly hasn’t been soundly defeated yet. The game features, as has been previously announced, 60 player deathmatch and an 8 player co-op campaign; like for Microsoft, co-op seems to be the name of the game for Sony.

Little Big Planet is aimed at all gamers. The unique create-a-game comes in October 2008, also as a PS3 exclusive.

The Sony Greatest Hits PS3 re-releases games at a $29.99. First batch includes Resistance: Fall of Man, Assassin's Creed, Oblivion: Elder Scrolls, and several others.

Focusing again on the PS2 and its remarkable staying power, Sony pointed out over 130 games have been/will be released for the 8 year old system this year. A new bundle, at $149, includes the PS2, Lego Batman, and Justice League: The New Frontier on DVD video.

Sony finally announced video coming to the PSN Store. Tv and Movies will be available immediately, including Sony, LionsGate, and Funimation videos. Pricing is pretty standard for the download set, ranging from $1.99-$14.99 for rentals and purchases. The videos are playable on PS3 or PSP.

Lots of new games coming to PSN, as well, including an expansion of sorts to Ratchet and Clank: Future called Quest for Booty. It is unclear if the game will be stand-alone or require the retail edition, but it will continue the story, using the same engine and gameplay mechanics.

Speaking of the PSP, a new bundle appears this fall. At $199, buyers will get the PSP Slim, Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, a 1 GB Memory Stick, National Treasure 2, and a download voucher for Echocrome. Also coming to PSP is Resistance: Retribution, an all-new third person shooter featuring series hero Nathan Hale. That one comes next Spring. In addition to already known upcoming games, a “new Lego Franchise” was teased, implying something beyond the upcoming Lego Batman.

After re-introducing the PS3 and showing some internet-integration features in upcoming games such as MLB The Show, a man familiar to Newsarama readers took the stage to talk about his upcoming game.

Jim Lee, Creative Director of DC Universe Online, came out and did one handed push ups to pump up the crowd. He talked about how he’s been immersed in both comics and games for years, and this is his “dream project.” He promises “every DC Star” to appear in the game, and you’ll fight alongside or against them as your own hero or villain. The environments and character models are all based off of Lee’s own artwork.

Not wanting to be left out of the price-reduction game, Sony announced a full month and a half early that the 40gb PS3 will have an 80gb hard drive instead in September, keeping the price of $399. It will not retain the partial, software-supported backwards compatibility the current 80gb model has, however.

After a laundry list of games available (exclusively and otherwise) for the PS3, God of War 3 was FINALLY officially announced, with an all CGI trailer shown, and a general date of Spring 2009 still attached.

Infamous, a third person action game featuring an electrically powered protagonist, is due in Spring 2009, as well.

MAG (Massive Action Game) will be a, yup, massively multiplayer action game, featuring 256 (!) player battles, with players broken into 8 player squads. Leadership of squads is determined by ability (presumably tracked throughout your play time in the game). Zipper Interactive, developers of SOCOM are at the wheel, and the trailer shows the game’s pedigree.

And with that, the press conference came to a close. No real surprises, at least none that will have immediate consequence on the current console war. Sony is making strides, but not leaps, and seems to be content doing so, at least for the time being.

NINTENDO

Since the launch of the Wii, Nintendo’s conference press junkets have been filled with fun facts about how well the Wii is selling (as well as it’s little brother, the handheld DS), and not much else. This year at E3, gamers hoping for a change were treated to, well, more of the same. While it is very impressive that 200k DSes are sold every week and 700k Wiis are sold every month, it was disappointing to see more time spent on those stats than on any one game. There were a few tidbits and announcements worth noting, but not much happened for an hour and a quarter long press conference. Here are the bites:

Shaun White Snowboarding will use the Wii Balance Board for enhanced control on the Wii. However, the graphics, at least of the current build, are equal to early PS2 games at best.

Animal Crossing: City Folk is launching this year, along with a new peripheral called Wii Speak. This wide range microphone sits atop your Wii Sensor Bar or TV, and can pick up the whole room full of people. When traveling to another AC town, players will be able to have voice chats with their friends. No word on use outside of the game at this time.

Wii Sports Resort will include the Motion Plus, a device that plugs into the bottom of the Wiimote, and gives a much heightened level of control to the player. Power Cruising (jet ski game), Disc Dog (where the player throws a Frisbee to a dog), and Sword Play (you can figure that one out) are three of the mini-games shown to be included in the new package, which is due Spring 2009.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the DS was easily the biggest surprise of the conference. No real details, screenshots, or trailers were shown. All that’s known so far is it will be a sandbox style game with a brand new game engine (presumably to take advantage of the touchscreen), and takes place in modern Liberty City.

Wii Music was the last of the bigger announcements, and features the ability to play 50 instruments in “air,” as in “air guitar” or “air drums” style. For a wind or brass instrument, you blow into the mic on the Wiimote. Seriously.

There were a few other tidbits. Guitar Hero: On Tour is doing well enough to warrant a fast sequel, a cookbook that’s popular in Japan is coming to America, and shock of all shocks, there will be more Pokemon games. There were not, however, any announcements about new Mario, Zelda, or Metroid games, let alone revivals of series like Kid Icarus as many fans and journalists alike had guessed. Apparently when you’re sitting at the tippy top of the heap, all that’s left to do is leave fans wanting more.

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