I missed the start of this conference, so I'm not 100% sure how it kicked off. As I got on, they were introducing the PSP redesign. Smaller, lighter, in a bunch of colours - and the original will be dropping in price. Also has TV connectivity. Very nice.
Jack Trenton introduces the limited edition StarWars PSP with Chewbacca. Very cheesy. The PSP is white, with a screenprint of Darth Vader on the back. Cool design. Having Chewbacca on stage is still laden with cheese. Not quite as bad as the MS dude trying to be gangsta, but still really bad.
Phil Harison takes the stage to talk about the PS Network - 2 million sign ups since launch. New games - Echochrome, WipeOut HD, Pain, Warhawk and SOCOM: Confrontation. A couple of these (I believe Warhawk and SOCOM) will also be on BluRay. Echocrome is of particular mention, because it has increadibly simple graphics (stick figures, all in black and white) but is just a clever gameplay mechanic. It will be coming to both PSP and PSN.
Moving on to PS Home. Beta is going well for Autumn roll-out. New additions to the service - firstly, Home client on mobile phone. This is a simplified interface for communicating with Home. Phil takes a picture on the phone, and puts it back in his pocket. Shows the new lobby for Home on PS3 - It's an outdoor area which replaces the old lounge we saw previously. Showreel of some of the new spaces under construction for Home. Phil's character goes into his Norwegian Chateaux Home space, and he has Singstar on his in-game TV. Throws to a movie about SingStar.
Dev talks about the competitively of SingStar, and that it's "like iTunes meets MySpace".
Back to Home. The photo taken earlier is now on the wall in Phil's Home space. Talks about the social networking aspects of Home - online social networking website, the ability to take ingame experiences and put them out onto the web.
Last feature - can launch games from in Home with other players, and will jump straight into the game with those people. Awesome. Demos this with Motorstorm (ha - go Phil). Gets absolutely creamed. :) Any game can be launched like this, and it's seamless to jump in and out of games from Home.
Back to Jack Trenton for a Playstation 3 update. Two basic goals this year: broaden the install base, and deliver a wide selection of game services that take advantage of the system's capabilities. Talks about the new 80Gig package and says it's for the "audio visual enthusiast". Talks about the price cuts. Goal of 11 million units in homes this year. Talks about the inclusion of BluRay, and the success of the format.
Now to the games: 200 BluRay games worldwide, 120 PS Network games coming.
Announces that NCSoft is joining Playstation studios - will be developing networked games exclusively for PS3. Now about Ubisoft and Haze - exclusive this holiday season to PS3. Shows some footage. This game looks awesome. Not overly graphically intense, but lots of cool gameplay features - weapon stealing moves, vehicles, melee combat, a variety of weaponry. Looks like fun.
Epic's Unreal - Unreal engine to be fully optimised for PS3, so that game creation will improve. Unreal Tournament 3 will be a PS3 exclusive, and will allow the use of PC-written mods on the PS3. Wow. That's huge.
Shows a trailer - looks massive. Note that there's a "From the studios that brought you Gears of War" title during the trailer. Dodgy PR poke!
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Resident Evil 5
Madden NFL 08
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Simpsons Game
Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock
Medal of Honor: Airborne
Rock Band (woohoo!)
Jack back to introduce one last 3rd party game as an exclusive - Metal Gear Solid 4. Kojima comes to the stage! The crowd goes wild! :) His translator relays the following:
This is the final Metal Gear Solid in the series. The story about Snake will end, and Kojima will finish his involvement in the series. All the story lines will wrap up, and mysteries be revealed. The game will include new elements of stealth in the battle field. He's going to show the new trailer. It's real-time footage from the PS3, and it will be the premiere of this new trailer.
OK - trailer rolls. Oh gosh - Graphics are incredible. Not photo realism, but very nice. Think Final Fantasy: Advent Children. If it's rendered in real-time, that's incredible. Meanwhile, the story line looks a bit disturbing, but very good. Trailer ends with a massive anime/matrix style fight scene where the characters really should have died like multiple times. But the action happens very quickly - it's good stuff. Finishes with a title indicating simultaneous worldwide release. Kojima says there will be a playable demo in Tokyo next week, and he hopes everyone can come. The crowd laughs.
Throws back to Phil for the first party line-up. His Home avatar is dressed as Ratchet, and is in the theatre in Home.
First, (obviously) Ratchet and Clank: Gives some story details - the game delves into Ratchet's past a little more. The game was only possible on PS3.
Back to Phil in the theater - now looking at Folklore: Dev says it's a good mix of genres. Talks about the controls as being immersive. Trailers play in the background - looks very nice.
Back in Home, Heavenly Sword gets it's own special theatre. Nifty! Trailer plays - Dev talks about Heavenly Sword - gives a rundown on the story. Says it's very story driven, and very graphically expressive. Without BluRay they couldn't have done it.
Back to Home again, Phil talks about NBA 08. Trailer plays - Dev talks about it: 1080p, weekly updatable content, online play. Looks a lot like the old one! :)
Now to LittleBigPlanet! Phil sums it up as "Play, Create, Share". They focused on the Play at GDC, and now they're looking at Create. Trailer plays - Dev talks about how the game won't be "out" when it's released, because the addition of content is what will make it really a fantastic game.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune now showing - Dev talks about the animation engine and the use of Cell. Main character has over 3000 animations. Going to be "the best game Naughty Dog has ever made."
Back to Phil on stage - that was 6 of the 15 exclusive games.
The makers of the PS2 game "Sly" are working on an "emergent gamplay sandbox" game called "inFamous". Sounds kind of like an action MMO, but no confirmation of it being persistently online. Will allow you to choose to be good or evil. Gameplay looks great, but doesn't show too much. Cars flying through the air. Guy running up the side of a building. Very dark. Coming 2008.
Back to Phil - talks about Gran Turismo and the success of the franchise. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is coming as a prelude to the full game. Features full online, but no indication of what else is/isn't in the game. Graphics for this, as you would expect, look phenomenal.
Jack in Home - says that Phil forgot one thing. Throw to Killzone trailer - Phil says "everything you are about to see, is realtime." Wow... like... Wow. Particle and weather effects are awesome, character animation is fluid and detailed, gameplay looks fast and crazy. This does look like a GREAT game. Kotaku made a comment about the mouth movements being a little odd, and I see what they mean. Aside from that, the facial animations are incredibly detailed. Attention to detail is really what I'd say is this game's strong point. Things like the glass effect on the gun's scope visible when you're using your weapon normally are done just right. This game will be rated quite highly too - there's a heavy use of bad language, and a lot of blood when someone gets shot heavily.
Jack on stage now - talks about their commitment to the gamers. Leading innovation, etc. Fade to black. OK - conference over. Did I miss the rumbley SIXAXIS? Surely it was there. Maybe not... Hmmm...
All in all, this was much what I was expecting. I'll need to look up what was shown at the beginning, but a PSP redesign was entirely anticipated. The things that were missing were some new announcements - these were incredibly light-on, and that's pretty disappointing. To be fair though, most of their line-up for the next 12-18 months is already on the table. The other thing, unless I missed it, was the rumble. I really want them to get that out there so I can buy some new controllers.
Anyway - all in all it was good, but perhaps slightly less on show that what I had hoped for.
Looking at the game line-ups across 360 and PS3, there's nothing that Xbox360 has that isn't matched by the Playstation, except for Katamari/Viva Pinata. However, the video service with Disney is a big punch by MS, and Sony really didn't answer that with anything. Video on demand from Sony must be on the cards, but they're cards that Sony are keeping close to it's chest at this point.
EDIT: Saw an interview with a Sony rep on Gamespot later in the day, and the rep indicated that there are people working hard on a video/music store but there's nothing ready just yet - as soon as it is ready, we'll hear about it. This was kind of known, but it's nice to have it so openly confirmed. Yes it's in development, but no it's not ready yet. I'm happy with that for now.
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