Leipzig Games Convention Wrap-Up

From the Bionic Commando multiplayer

Fans, developers, journalists, and publishers have been convening in Germany this week for one of the largest videogame conventions in the world. New trailers, new screenshots, and even a few announcements have come out of Leipzig from names like Activision, Midway, and Sony amongst others.

Sony had the biggest announcements of the event, though their much-hyped “twelve big announcements” may have fallen flat for some fans. Hardware dominated this section, with new models of both the PSP and the PS3 coming soon worldwide as well as a couple accessory announcements. The AP made some mention of these, but left out quite a bit, even getting a couple things wrong.

The PSP-3000 will be structurally near-identical to the PSP-2000. It has a brighter, faster screen, and a built in microphone. With GO!Messenger and Skype pre-installed, this version is clearly meant to be a communication device as well as an entertainment system. Europe gets the better deal, as they get several bundles with different game options to choose from, but North American gamers will be able to get their paws on it at the same time (mid-October) in a game or memory stick bundle for the current price of $199.

The next version of the PS3, which makes this the 7th sku of the games system (in North America alone!) will have a 160GB hard drive. Otherwise, it’s essentially the same box as the current 40GB/upcoming 80GB model. That means 2 USB ports, no card readers, no backwards compatibility. The system will ship with Uncharted, a Dual Shock 3 controller, and PAIN (PSN downloadable game) for US$499 starting in November.

The new mini-keyboard for the PS3 is not a separate device, so much as it is an add-on for the controller, very similar to a counterpart on Microsoft’s Xbox 360. The keypad plugs into the mini-USB port on top of the controller, and fits snugly atop. Quick buttons to jump to Communication or Message Box improve the functionality by making your Friends list that much easier to get to. After hitting the touchpad button on the keypad, the face will operate like a laptop touchpad mouse. No firm price or release date was announced just yet, but November for North America and December for Japan, Europe, and Asia was given as a general time.

Europe gets another new multimedia feature for their PS3s, called VidZone. VidZone allows users in Europe (and down under) to stream music videos to their PS3 or PSP through Remote Play for free.

Aside from that, Heavy Rain was shown off, with some very pretty gameplay footage but a bevy of Quick Time Events included. Even with the game mechanic derided by fans, no one can deny these are some of the best looking in game shots ever. Click through the gallery for a couple of the still shots.

A couple new SingStar iterations were announced, including SingStar Disney; the ability to play PS2 SingStar songs through your PS3 Singstar will be coming soon through a software update, too.

Keeping things on the music side, gamers who don’t want a room full of fake instruments got great news this week from both Sony and Microsoft. All the big band games, meaning Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero World Tour, and Rock Revolution, will have 100% interoperability with their instruments on both the PS3 and the 360. PS3 karaoke buffs can also use their SingStar mics with the supporting band games. No word yet on similar functionality with Lips mics on 360.

Tons of new trailers and screenshots accompanied very few announcements from the other major players at the conference.

Mad World looks to bring hardcore gaming to the Wii, as nothing says hardcore quite like throwing people into industrial fans.

EA, in the meantime, will be launching a tennis franchise, using the Wii Motion Plus attachment to do so.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe saw new Kombatants enter the field, with Green Lantern already looking overpowered and Joker having a creepy grin on his face even when getting beaten to a bloody pulp. Oh, and yes, Deathstroke is playable. OH YES, Deathstroke is playable. A new trailer showing much faster, smoother gameplay than the previous one was also released for the fighter.

Quantum of Solace the game will be the first Bond game to be released simultaneously with the movie, and the big name actors from the film lent their likenesses and voices to the spy thriller action game.

Silent Hill: Homecoming will be coming home later than expected, but will also be coming to PC, in addition to the previously announced PS3 and Xbox 360.

Last but certainly not least of the bigger reveals seen in new media this week has to be Bionic Commando’s multiplayer. Every player will have the bionic grapple arm to complement the variety of weapons. Grabbing enemy combatants will be possible, and the maps promise to be virtual jungle gyms conducive to lots of crazy swinging and shooting.

More continues to trickle out of Germany as the conference continues, and Newsarama will continue to give you the latest.

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