The most exciting time of year for gamers has come again! No, not Christmas, the other one, in which all the publishers and companies come together to show us what’s coming up in the next year, leaving millions drooling and scraping together every last penny to fill their moth-eaten wallet. That’s right, this week hosts E3 and it’s definitely an exciting one so far, with more announcements than you can shake your credit card at, but what did Sony have in store for us?
As we were getting ourselves ready for the conference at 2 in the morning, many friends aired a concern that you no doubt were thinking too. Will Sony start half an hour late and give us some steaming faeces on a stick like last year? As the clock ticked away, these worries were only heightening, the clock passed the hour and Sony were officially late once more. Our group let out a simultaneous sigh as we prepared to drag ourselves back to bed, when all of a sudden the room was lit up by the warming glow of life! That minute sure did seem long though. However, the conference was underway and excitement filled the air, both in LA and rainy England.
6:01pm (PT) – An Extended Advert
The great thing about adverts or trailers is that they only last a minute or so (if that) and show you the best of what you’re getting. However, the difference with Sony is that they seem to think everything they produce is the best in the world, and so feel the need to showcase it all across a drawn-out four minutes. This would be fine, were it all brand new and interesting, but unfortunately after the first two minutes, your brain realises that this advert may possibly never end and begins to shut down. Come on Sony, where are the games and new projects?
6:05pm – Tretton Says Hi!
What would a Sony conference be without smiling Jack Tretton appearing on the stage? Well actually, it’d be a lot shorter and we’d see more game footage, but tough, we’re stuck with him. This year his welcome is just him singing praises of both the gamers and his friend in the audience (don’t worry, we’re quite aware it wasn’t just any random dude). On top of that, he announces that once again, gamers at home can visit the PlayStation booth virtually, via the use of Home, with some additional surprises. Well that’s just lovely. Can we see some games now? And almost like a mind reader, he goes on to say ‘we’re excited to show you [the new games] tonight’. Dear Mr Tretton. If you were that excited, you’d get on with it alrea- oh look, it’s Quantic Dream!
6:09pm – Quantic Dream Announce Beyond (PS3)
As David Cage walked onto the stage, the audience knew something spectacular was about to be shown. Everyone was blown away by Heavy Rain and the Kara demo, meaning that Quantic Dream had set their own bar exceedingly high. After speaking about the success of real-time 3D and the emotions it displays to the viewer, he announces their new project as Beyond: Two Souls, before showing this beauty of an extended trailer. While everyone is busy getting their knickers in a twist, hoping to see it released as soon as possible, we at Cubed Gamers decided to cut the trailer into tiny pieces and share what we’ve learnt.
You play as Jodie Holmes (played by Ellen Page), who has some contact with the world between the living and the dead, the spirits who never moved on if you must. Due to this, she becomes a typical teenage girl, claiming that no-one understands her and that she’ll show them (actually, her exact words were ‘I’ll kill everyone’, but we’re trying to be nice to her). After creating havoc in the streets, you’re taken to a police station where a bewildered, sweaty cop asks a silent, sweaty you just what happened, but you’re in moody teen mode and won’t say a word. As he gets freaked out by the coffee cup being smashed against the wall by your superhuman powers, you (Jodie) states that you know they’re coming, just as a SWAT team comes in looking for you, probably because you saw them in the window, they’re not trying to be discreet are they? Throughout the rest of the trailer, we see your fight against the men in the armour, with powerful guns and the rest of the world, who probably just ‘don’t understand how I feel!’ Action ensues. You also have an invisible friend called Ivan, who’s probably been there since you were four and you’ve never managed to let him go. Basically you’re a slightly deranged girl who claims to see spirits, though they’re probably just your imagination. You also have telekinesis.
Okay, maybe we’re not quite on the ball, but whatever the story turns out to be, Cage claims it will last with us forever. We look forward to it!
6:20pm – PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Vita and PS3 Cross-Play)
After Tretton talks about more seemingly pointless subjects such as how good the graphics are on the PS3, the next game is announced – the one with all the speculation and arguments constantly surrounding it. That’s right, it’s PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, which takes far too long to say to keep anyone interested. After announcing the two latest characters as Nathan Drake and Big Daddy, the screen lit up once more. What’s great about this trailer is how dramatic and powerful the music is, especially as it’s showing the least threatening characters such as Fat Princess, who’s main move will probably turn out to be eating some more and sitting down, causing an earthquake that kills everyone else. As gamers are huddled around their screens, we’re given a running commentary on how well the battle is going, which not only gets a bit tedious for us to listen to, but no doubt the players are growing exceedingly annoyed when they hear comments such as ‘Kratos isn’t doing well’ (or things to that effect).
What we do learn about the game though is that the scenery pops up every now and then out of pure jealousy to join in with the battle, which could be detrimental to the match proceedings. As well as this, we learn that the only way you can effectively use your strength is to level up and unleash your ‘super’, which deals more damage than a normal attack. Despite furious swings and war cries, it’s difficult to tell whether anyone is actually taking damage at all or whether they’ve all got metres of padding on. The match final ends with a win from Fat Princess. Well, this game sure is hardcore badassery, right Sony?
6:27pm – PlayStation Network (Vita and PS3)
Between Tretton gushing about how amazing this service is (did we expect any less?) we learn quite a few interesting yet easily missed announcements about the network. However, they were brushed over so quickly that it’s probably just easier to list them.
- Later this year, you’ll be able to use your Vita as an extra controller on Little Big Planet 2. This feature will primarily be useful for level creation (I mean, have you ever tried playing through levels wielding two controllers? No, they’re not pistols and you’re not Lara Croft.) It will allow you to see your level from many different views as well as allowing multiplayer from your Vita and PS3 at the same time, playing with friends has never been so… complicated.
- Journey is announced the best selling PSN game of all time. But we all saw that one coming.
- PlayStation Plus is offering 12 new free titles this month alone, with North America receiving Infamous 2, Little Big Planet 2 and Saints Row 2 (because two is the new magic number?) very soon. Also, everyone in the conference is receiving a year of PlayStation Plus absolutely free. As you can expect, this was greeted by many cheers and furious clapping, because the best way to get people on your side is bribery.
- Vita will be receiving PlayStation One classics as well as new video services and apps, such as Hulu Plus and YouTube, starting right now. It will also be receiving Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified exclusively. That’s almost enough of an incentive to fork out all our money.
6:36pm – Assassin’s Creed III Liberation (Vita)
(Although the video says October 31st, the game was said to be released on the 30th, we’re just as confused as you)
Although it’s quite a big and largely talked about release, not much was said about this game, besides the trailer. However, if you connect this to Assassin’s Creed III on your PS3, you’re in for a nice surprise, consisting of more weapons, multiplayer characters and a better ammunition pouch. It is also being released in a bundle with a crystal white WiFi Vita and a 4GB memory card. That’s the very same Vita you can see in the video. Yeah, that’s what we thought, she’s absolutely gorgeous (the Vita looks nice too.)
6:39pm – Assassin’s Creed III (PS3)
As you can see within this trailer, due to the game being based around the American Revolution, not only do you fight on land but also on the sea. The weather system being able to change at any second looks to be an interesting feature, meaning that each playthrough of the game will offer new challenges, especially if you have to fight through stormy seas while bringing down numerous ships. Watching this video though, there’s just one question on our lips: where’s the stealthy assassination? Why are we just fighting in the open? What happened to sneaking on tops of buildings and jumping onto our targets? Okay, so three questions, but extremely important ones at that. As well as its little brother, this game is also being released in a bundle along with early DLC and a brand new PS3.
6:45pm – Far Cry 3 (PS3)
Although Far Cry 3 was announced a while ago now, Dan Hay takes the stage to tease gamers by announcing that really, they made a second game at the very same time that hasn’t yet been revealed. In order to soften the blow of being told you could’ve had more games in the last year than you really did, he uses a list of three to remind you just how amazing Far Cry 3 is. He then grabs a controller and proceeds to play with three friends, showing off the all new four-player co-op missions. Despite the main player almost dying numerous times, providing more entertainment than the game itself, they do manage to show off how everyone works together, defending, attacking and completing missions. Now, not only does Far Cry 3 offer single player, but also multiplayer and map editor, creating hours of entertainment. Enough with the list of three. As well as this, PlayStation users will soon receive exclusive DLC for this game, eat that other consoles!
6:49pm – Wonderbook (PlayStation Move)
According to Andrew House, PlayStation has been known to be about innovation and an experience to remember (we thought it was about headshots and exploration, but the big men obviously know best). However, if nothing else has been so far, the new Wonderbook project sure is an innovative experience. A whole range of books will be released, from Moonbot’s Night Crawler (a story based off film noire) to a non-fictional adventure through the stars, but these aren’t just ordinary books. When placed in front of your Move camera, the book will come to life, creating what can only be described as fantastic family fun. It’s not all just turning the pages and seeing pretty pictures either, you’ll have tasks to complete and can even change the direction of the story, say goodbye to traditional paperbacks!
What really brings this project to life though is the surprising new book by JK Rowling, set in the Harry Potter world. Yes, the Book of Spells is being released purely for Sony fans to read and marvel over, taking that one step closer to becoming a real wizard (as can be seen in the very long-winded video). Rowling herself describes Wonderbook as ‘an extraordinary device that offers a reading experience like no other’. It may be for a younger audience but we are sold… come fall that is.
7:05pm – PlayStation Suite (Multiple Devices)
In order to offer everyone a break from games and a sigh of relief from their wallets, the next announcement was that of the extension of PlayStation Suite. This has been around for a little while now, providing extra services to phones and tablets, such as games and other PSN features. Before now, this was only accessible if you owned a Sony device, so was limited to the fanboys among you; however, it’s now extending to other companies. Due to its ever growing popularity, HTC is the first non-Sony partner to host this suite. That’s not all though! In order to reflect this compatibility and togetherness, the suite has had a name change; it’s now to be known as PlayStation Mobile. Tell me again Mr House about how innovative PlayStation is.
7:08pm – God of War Ascension (PS3)
Break over! Back to the games! And to bring us back to the main, most exciting part of the conference is Kratos in a brand new game. As can be seen from the gameplay video, our main man is as angry and powerful as ever, splashing around in blood and guts as though it were rain puddles. Although, then again, imagining such a well built person playing around in the rain does make a mockery of the series somewhat. It all ends with a release date of March 12th 2013. Countdown initiating!
7:17pm – The Last of Us
All of a sudden, the room is plunged into darkness and silence swept the audience. Minds all over wondered if that was it. Was it all over? Just as the thoughts became more prominent, birds started tweeting followed by a hurried ‘go!’ ‘this way!’ and the screen came back to life with gameplay of The Last Us.
Right from the off, the scenery lit up, showing bright powerful colours that gave a sense of calm and beauty to the destroyed city. Not only does it look impressive, but the gameplay mechanics seem fairly unique too. As you watch, you notice that the characters push off the walls and use the furniture to their advantage; enemies get cocky when they hear your empty barrel and beg for forgiveness as you point the gun towards their brain. It boasts excitement and action, though does so in a modest way. It was definitely the game to end the conference as it showed the quality we can look forward to in the next year.
7:25pm – Goodbyes Are Said!
After leaving the audience in awe, Tretton makes one final appearance to say goodbye for yet another year, finishing with the quote ‘the best is yet to come’. The future sure does look bright and should all these promises come true (fingers crossed they will) Sony is looking at a very successful year indeed. But remember kids, throwing your money at the screen will not result in these games appearing on your doorstep. At the most it will result in a broken monitor, and we all know that won’t be replaced any time soon.
Which conference won E3 in your opinion? Has Sony raised the bar of gaming in any way? Will you have any money this next year? Does Tretton get on your nerves too or is that just us? Answer all these questions and share your comments below.