"We constantly have to revisit 'Why would Donkey Kong do this?' or 'Why would this environment be like this?' And then we start thinking: 'We're making a game about a gorilla wearing a tie.'"
-Michael Kelbaugh of Retro Studios on Donkey Kong Country Returns
"I have to say it's kinda scary how much you know about this game."
-Nicolau Chaud creator of Marvel Brothel
Sony had to come in to E3 and address the issues of "the PSN outage." From there they had to build momentum to the big reveal of what they planned on doing with their Next Generation Portable. They had to build consumer confidence back.
They did that.
However, what took place was still an awkward night full of nervous energy. Something that didn't take place during Microsoft's press conference.
If there is one thing that I will always give Sony credit for, it's hiring some great spokesmen to represent their company. Jack Tretton comes off as a likable dude. With all the heads of Microsoft walking on stage yesterday, I couldn't tell you which one did what at the company. When Jack walks in the room, you want to see what he has to say.
For that reason alone, he was a great tool for getting Sony sympathy for the hacking. Unlike Kazuo, he has a softer personality for handling this issue. Unfortunately, you can't call the PSN the life blood of your new portable guys. I still get errors when accessing the store. It's not quite a functioning concept right now.
So, Jack walks off and brings out Naughty Dog to showcase Uncharted 3. Showcase, they did. Comparing this to the Lara croft reboot is almost silly. Naughty Dog are just a step above and that is expertly showcased by the fact that the ships swaying animation worked on everything. Drake would stumble awkwardly while the chandeliers swung from overhead. The way the gravity shifted around the entire ship throughout the demo. They are playing in two different leagues.
To put it simply, it looks fantastic.
Oh look, we get a trailer too. Well that's nice. Subway's doing something as well? Umm...okay? I don't really eat there so can we get on with the other stuff? Oh hey, there's Insomniac.
What Insomniac brought to the table should surprise nobody. I haven't played Resistance, so all I knew to look for was the weapons. They looked ridiculous and in turn I really wasn't able to wrap my head around what I was supposed to be looking at. This just wasn't as good a demo as what Sledgehammer brought to the table with Call of Duty. Of course, PS3 owners will get to play both of these. So that's another score for Sony, though at the end of the day the presentation just wasn't there.
The stroke of brilliance is pushing the Move bundle with the game at the same price point as Microsoft's Kinect. It's a smart way to grab the less knowledgeable consumer. Show them that you get a controller, game and camera for the same cost as Microsoft's Kinect. Except Microsoft doesn't give you a controller for their system. Clearly it's not as good a deal as this bundle. It could work for those consumers that only use the Playstation as an entertainment device. The ones that make up for 30% of Netflix streaming services.
The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus picture was nice to hear, but where's Ueda? Where's a Last Guardian update? Actually, what's with all of the PowerPoint? Why go from here to a pitch for a new TV. Oh because it's 3D!
The TV was a bit of a mixed bag. It is an awesome concept utilizing the 3D to give completely separate screens for multiplayer. That just sounds like future tech even though I'm completely skeptical. It seems like a really cool TV to give to my kid when she heads off to college. Of course that's more than a decade away and I'll buy a larger and cheaper TV over this smaller magical one. Also, glasses are still too expensive.
These bundle deals might seem like a push for the average consumer from Sony, which in turn showcases their attempts to appeal to the working man. It isn't working though. The issue is that even my mom can see that a 24" TV at $500 is a bit too high. She isn't going to care about 3D. She isn't going to care about the awesome split screen tech. She see's a 32" TV for cheaper and she'll buy it.
Everything 3D just didn't sell me, mostly because I couldn't see it on my stream.
It's nice that you are adding a 3D God of War game, but what's a really cool idea is the fact that you have PSP games remastered and bundled. It's a good value and that's what you need to showcase. Pull out something shocking. Persona 1 and 2 bundles. This could be a great showcase for cheaper and better deals for gamers. God of War HD PSP Collection is still good just because it's God of War.
Enough with the games we all want, let's get to Move games. I kid, but Sony really has been soft touching the Move instead of pushing it in to Kinect territory with it's marketing. I mean what can they actually do to make me want this thing?
Oh hey, it's Kobe. He plays basketball in LA so that's something we can all relate to. And he's getting dogged on by the NBA2K12 guy. That's a bit awkward. And the awkwardness continues as he grabs the controller and helps Kobe play the game. He's grabbing a grown man's controller to help him play. This should have been ironed out in pre-planning. It's not like Kobe's too busy with anything right now.
It's good to see that the 2k guys get a nod after EA's debacle with NBA Elite last year. They deserve the stage time just because they didn't settle on a decent NBA game when they had no competition. They went out to make a great one.
Medieval Moves seems like a cute little Elder Scrolls knock off. It looks generic and Umrao Mayer just doesn't have the stage presence to really present it well. It could be a fun distraction for my friend that only has a PS3 for Move. I'll stick with Skyrim.
The Infamous 2 trailer just wasn't epic enough when Sony almost guaranteed that everybody with PSN access is getting a copy of the first game. Infamous 2 should have been a no brainer especially since people could leave their house the next day and pick up a copy in store. If they wanted to advertise it with Move, put a guy up there dressed like Cole and get him playing Infamous 2 in parkour fashion. I'll be honest, I was only really excited about Infamous 2's trailer after playing the first game later the next day. Ideally, it should be the other way around.
User generation should definitely be the platform that Sony attacks since nobody else seems to want to do it. On that note, Move support for Little Big Planet 2 seems like a no brainer. Basically giving people a mouse for their TV's makes creation better with easier movements. This is a strong move and shows me that I would have something to use my kid's Move for on occasion.
Dust 514 looks to be that "Halo Killer." Not in what it actually does, but just the fact that it looked more interesting than Halo's reveal. The cross connectivity is pretty novel, but it isn't the first time this has happened before. Maybe with a first person shooter, but not within gaming. It seems pretty generic, but a good showing is all that was really needed to separate themselves from Microsoft.
On to Elsa's baby, Starhawk. It looks an awful lot like Red Faction from that trailer. It isn't until we get in to space that I really start seeing a difference. Personally, if I had done the trailer, I would have done the exact opposite. Start with a cut in to ships above fighting it out and work your way down to a planet where a war is battling out with the motorcycles and mech planes. Then it all ends with the two guys staring at each other. That's just my opinion. Take it for what you will.
Also, apparently people like Sly Cooper and we got a trailer without Sly Cooper in it. Did that satiate those of you that have been patiently waiting?
Ken Levine! The highlight of the press conference had to be this big stud here. He came in with some sexy Bioshock Infinite footage. Told us that he wanted our friends to get in to the game by starting up a Move based project. We would only find out later that he plans to tie this in to the Wii U, but hey it's Ken Levine and he's going to bundle Bioshock with Bioshock Infinite. I already have the first two games, but who couldn't use another copy! He's so dreamy. He can put whatever he wants in my handheld.
We transition from Ken to some thing about Star Trek, I don't know. I was too high off new Bioshock stuff to care about all that. Live long and prosper or something.
Anywho, since Sony didn't want to put an FPS on stage to really counter Call of Duty, they just stood up and said it out right. Battlefield 3 is going to contain Battlefield 1943 prepackaged in the box. Why? Because Bluray. It's a smart move to get multi-console users and new adopters to think more about the PS3 in the terms of FPS machine. I don't know if it's going to be that big push as Microsoft's controller just feels sooo good for FPS games, but it's a start.
Also SSX on PS3 will happen. I don't have any proof, but I have promises!
If there is one thing I love, it's that Kazuo is a cocky badass. His English is nearly flawless too which helps make Sony feel more international in representation than it actually is. So after all this time with Jack, Kaz jumps on stage and owns it without batting an eye. He whips his Vita out in front of everyone and stands their proud as can be.
I'm not really sure why nobody likes the name Vita. Nobody says the Portable in PSP, so why would you ever say Vita for PSV. It's the fifth console to come out from Sony and I think calling it PS V is pretty clever. Though announcing it as an ATT 3G exclusive wasn't.
And there Kaz stood, smiling at all the boos to the ATT announcement. In a room filled with people that cut their service short just to get an iPhone from ATT, they boo at the fact that 3G is through ATT? That was a bit of an overreaction, even if they are a soulless and evil corporate entity.
Sony did a pretty good job selling the tech to us. Every single thing that was social and or PSN based just left me thinking about all the errors my PS3 is getting. However, the game concepts were cool looking in execution. I think we all had one too many Uncharted demos and trailers, but Street Fighter Cross Tekken is comforting. Tekken on Playstation devices is just natural. It feels good.
Likewise, Mod Nation Racers hand drawn courses looked pretty fun. I can't wait to see the iPod app come out that's exactly like it in a month, but that sold me on the touch screens.
The Diablo clone however was absolutely terribly presented. The idea was simply to just have cloud based saves transfer to the PS3 titles. Something that is completely badass. What we saw however was a guy play through a level, load his save and start back at the beginning. That's not what we should have seen. Paired with the awkward stage presence of the developer and it just wasn't there.
Microsoft's fake families and presentations at least present what the idea is. This just didn't. At least we had one Japanese developer show up and showcase his game. For that, Ono-san I thank you.
At the end of the day, $249 is simply the perfect price for Sony's hardware. It's at the same range that most of us are paying for high end cell phones, and it's competitive with the 3DS. Am I going to buy it at that price range? Hell, no. However, it's a price that any marketer could sell with all the features. It one ups Nintendo with processing power and the only thing we'll have to wait on is the battery life.
That's the big question.
Sony brought the beast this year. That big awkward beast that stumbles in and out of a room, but still gets the job done. As far as presentation goes, it was a head above the 360's offerings in gaming. It was way below in content and actual presenters. So at the end of the day, they kinda tied it up. I felt happier throughout the Microsoft conference, but a lot of the Sony games stood up and did their jobs.
I was content with both conferences in completely different ways. Which is a pretty good thing for me overall.
I'd have liked to have seen more games geared towards my interests from both parties, but I've learned to accept that throughout the years.