Sony took the stage at 9pm EST (6pm PST) Monday night.
Typical of Sony, they opened with a huge cinematic show, featuring all of their characters and IP’s to a soundtrack of…you guessed it: Dubstep. Seems to be the popular choice this year.
Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Entertainment then took the stage. He started with thanks to the gamers. He thanked them for their loyalty and their dedication to the brand. He also thanked Kaz Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Corp. who stood up and received a short standing ovation.
Then the show kicked into high gear.
Quantic Dream, the creators of Heavy Rain, were the first studio to take the stage to demo their brand new – and heavily anticipated – title, Beyond – Two Souls. David Cage says the game deals with the other side of death, and our lack of understanding and knowledge as to what comes after we die. Main character is Jody(ie, i?) Holmes, and for the first time, we’ll follow her through 15 years of her life. Apparently she has a connection with an invisible entity. We will live her life, grow with her, and help her become who she is. This game looks “are you kidding me” awesome. In the trailer, she’s being interrogated by a sheriff that has found her in the street, when all of a sudden a SWAT team breaks in, tries to capture her and all hell breaks loose. She destroys an entire city block and then walks away. Looks awesome! Check out the video below! (all videos are property of their respective creators)
Tretton takes the stage again, and says PS3 in the 6th year of its life cycle, yet they are still producing great games, effectively ending any PS4 announcement dreams.
Then, in a somewhat wonky introduction, he reminds the audience about their “Michael” commercial, where all of their main characters are sitting in a bar talking about a gamer that has led them through all their collective stories. Apparently after they toast “Michael” they all started to fight. This apparently is the premise to Playstation All Stars: Battle Royale. You decide who wins by playing the game! Ok, so he was probably joking, but it was still pretty bad. Chan Park and the Superbot Entertainment team come out to demonstrate PS3 and Vita cross play. They have 4 players, 2 on Vita and 2 on PS3 playing PSA: BR. We watch their match and see some of the “Supers”, special moves that are extremely powerful. The backgrounds come into play, attacking and changing the tide of battle. Cross play looks great, with no lag or interference that I could see. Sony also announces the two newest characters: Nathan Drake and Big Daddy from BioShock. Pretty awesome, though whether gamers can get over its similarity to Super Smash Brothers remains to be seen.
Tretton then talks a little about Little Big Planet cross controller/dual screen gaming and making the Vita an enhanced controller for the PS3. He also mentions simultaneous multi-player on PS3 and Vita. Plus new DLC for LBP including story, stickers, objects, etc.
He then mentions that over 80 percent of their consoles and handhelds are online using the Playstation Network (PSN), and that those people are privy to over 1500 downloadable titles. He says that there are more than 200 games coming to PSN in the next few months; PS+ gets a shout out, citing value and such. Also mentioned: there are going to be free games for PS+ subscribers, games like Infamous 2, Little Big Planet 2 and Saints Row 2…starting tomorrow, and new games will be switched in all the time. To top it all off, he says that in order to understand the value you need to experience the value and throws everybody in the audience a free one year PS+ membership. Pretty slick.
As for the Playstation Vita – Tretton says that there will be 60 new titles for the handheld in 2012. But the bigger news is that Vita owners will now have access to PS1 classics! This includes hits such as Tomb Raider and wait for it…Final Fantasy 7! It’s not the remake we were all hoping for, but it will definitely hold me over until one comes out! He then talks about the Vita and PS3 video and streaming capabilities, referencing Amazon, Cinema Now, Hulu +, MLB TV and NHL Game Center. Lots of video offerings. Also of note: Crackle and Hulu Plus are coming to Vita, which is more for our US readers, but important none the less. Music Unlimited also got a shout out.
Activision gives us a little teaser of Call of Duty for PS Vita. It’s officially called Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified. We don’t see it, but it will be the first triple-A FPS for any handheld system ever, so hopefully it lives up to the hype. I’m really hoping here, because if Resistance: Burning Skies is any indication, we could be in for a HUGE disappointment if CoD:BOD doesn’t deliver.
Assassins Creed III Liberation for the Vita gets a short game play trailer. We will play as the series’ first ever female assassin, in an open world game. The game will also utilize touch controls. Cross goods between PS3 give exclusives such as something called Connors tomahawk, ammo upgrades etc. ACIII: L Bundle comes with the new WHITE vita and 4GB memory card and game. Ubi crew then comes out to give us a game play demonstration. The game looks great, and not just for a Vita game! They then give us an Assassins Creed 3 naval warfare demo, showing main character controlling the ship in the oceans of the 18th century cannons and everything – in a battle with YOU in full control. Apparently weather can change and everything. Looks great! See the videos below!
The developers of Farcry 3 then let us in on a little info – they’ve kept a secret. They made 2 games…the original FC3 and a 4-player co-op version that lets you play a different(?) story with up to 4 friends. They claims it’s a completely different game and show a game play demo which looks great. 4 players on stage successfully complete a mission talking and yelling commands and such to each other. Full single player, Dedicated 4-player co-op. Online multi-player. Map editor. Booya.
Tretton comes back out to talk about Playstation Move, and how it’s integrated into games not as a requirement but as an option.
The presentation then shifts to a more family friendly gaming angle and we get a demo for the more casual gamer/kids. Interactive books and stories are going to be available with the new Wonderbook for PS3. Wonderbook will bring stories to life with the PS Eye. This will allow kids to utilize interactive atlases, astronomy, and do some virtual exploration. They hint at educational and scientific experiences as well. Moonbot, a developer already well-known for their interactive books on mobile platforms has created Diggs Nightcrawler, a new IP for Wonderbook. They said that more info on this new character will be shared later.
The biggest news to come out of the new concept is that Sony is collaborating with J.K. Rowling to create “Book of Spells”, the first title for Wonderbook. In doing so, Sony has also partnered with Rowling’s online presence, Pottermore. Book of Spells is the latest invention to bring fans closer to the world of Harry Potter, and the book comes to life as you read, casting spells with the move, like a student at Hogwarts. A demo of BoS shows dragons flying out of pages and burning the book, with the user then wiping the ash off with her hands. There is also a pop-up story that shows the birth of Wingarduim Leviosa, the levitation spell. Another part shows the user unlocking gates with a certain spell, although it didn’t work at first, but she got it eventually. Good ol’ live shows! She is flinging fire at bugs on the ground and fighting dragons with the Move. Pass each chapter test to access the conundrum which you will need to decipher to find out more of the story. Looks like an interesting creation, and if it can catch onto the success of Rowling, who knows how big this could be!
Playstation then announced that it was bringing the PS experience to Android and Smartphones through Playstation Suite. It’s basically an OS based Playstation. Tretton claims that this will bring the PS entertainment experience to a wider audience around the globe, with developers worldwide working on games that will be available soon. he notes that there are many PS certified phones coming to the market soon. HTC is the first non-Sony group partner with which they’ll share their PS expertise and he applauds HTC for their design and ingenuity, saying that they’re a good fit. He then announces Sony is renaming Playstation Suite to Playstation Mobile.
Tretton introduces God of War Ascension and we get a sneak peek. It looks amazing. Highlights: Kratos pulls sword out of a dead guys back and kills him with it. Kratos switches to his trusty chain blades to dispatch the rest of the foes before heading to the boss. Boss comes in and Kratos uses the boss to hit other enemies. Kratos has the lego power to build things? It looks like Kratos can pick up weapons and use them later. he even unleashed a super move that blasted everything on-screen (his facial expression while channeling it is epic!). The last scene shows him finishing off a boss and jumping into the mouth of a huge sea creature…AWESOME.
Finally, we get to see Naughty Dog’s highly anticipated new game, Last of Us. We got a game play demo, and I was blown away. This game looks brilliant. We see the two main characters trying to get to a bridge across town. The game is very quiet and natural sounding…quite ominous. Hearing nature and footsteps makes the whole atmosphere really quite nerve-racking. We get to see some 3rd person shooting which looks great, and the levels seem pretty open world, with our main character running into other rooms while fighting. The hand to hand combat looks great. Apparently you can use people as human shields, players react to getting shot by holding the appropriate areas. At one point, out guy lights a baddie on fire with a Molotov cocktail. This game looks SO GOOD, and I really can’t wait to get my hands on it.
In closing, Tretton says to keep playing, keep pushing Sony, driving them and they’ll raise the bar higher every year.
I think they had the best presentation so far…what do you think?