E3: Sony Connects the Dots Between its Devices

E3: Sony Connects the Dots Between its Devices

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Upcoming AAA games explained as one part of a larger Sony cycle.

With more than one hotly-anticipated title slated for the next twelve pages of its calendar, it would have been easy for Sony to simply rely on its upcoming stable of games to woo the crowd with beautifully rendered environments and gory battles at its 2012 E3 press conference. And while, yes, there were pretty graphics and blood sprays galore, that wasn't the message Sony asked gamers to take home for the upcoming year. Jack Tretton, SCEA President and host of the proceedings, spoke of connectivity, as well as the bridges that his company has attempted to form between different types of platforms, as well as different types of gamers.

Tretton began by thanking all of Sony's fans, plastering the giant, multifaceted display behind him with a smattering of gamer portraits (composed of a noticeable majority of women). Everyone in the room clapped for themselves, and after a handful of obligatory "we couldn't do it without you"s, the conference began in earnest.

The first speaker brought on stage was Quantic Dream's David Cage, who took the microphone amidst heavy applause. Cage spoke briefly of both Heavy Rain, his company's latest work, and the recent tech demo Kara, which showcased the graphical capabilities of the engine with which his team has been working. Soon, he dropped the lights and rolled a scene from what's next, a project called Beyond: Two Souls, a cinematic experience following fifteen years of "spiritually sensitive" girl's life. The girl in question, Jodie Holmes, was then revealed to be acted by none other than Ellen Paige, who most of you will likely remember as Ariadne from Inception. The scene played went from quiet and tense, to showcasing everything from a vicious dog attack to an exploding helicopter. It was difficult to say exactly how the game will play, but the crowd didn't seem to mind. The video closed to a hearty reception.

As Cage left the stage, Tretton returned with a groan-inducing transition. After recapping the successes of online advert Michael, Tretton asked the question, What exactly happened to all of those game character after that toast? The answer? They all fought in Superbot Entertainment's upcoming PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale. Of course they did. The rest of the game's presentation involved a recap of previously announced fighters (PaRappa was easily the crowd fave) and a three-minute battle. After the score was tallied, Superbot gave a quick reveal: two more playable characters. Uncharted's Nathan Drake and a BioShock Big Daddy (who may or may not be listed as one "Mr. Bubbles") will both be playable characters.

With slightly a smoother transition than the Michael-lead-in, a version of All-Stars was announced to be in development for the PS Vita as well, featuring "cross-play", the ability for PS3 owners to compete live with Vita players. "Cross-save", the ability to save on one device and play on another was also brought up, as was "cross-controller", the ability to use the Vita as a controller for the PS3, initially coming out in the form of DLC for Little Big Planet 2.

After discussing the many merits of owning both Sony's major console and its handheld, Tretton moved to the shared online service, PSN, and specifically, its $5/mo special service, PlayStation Plus. Plus subscribers will be receiving an even larger library of games beginning immediately, including Little Big Planet 2, Infamous 2, and Saint's Row 2. People looking for new content for their Vita should be happy as well, with a slew of PS One classics also on their way, with Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Arc the Lad, Twisted Metal 2, and Wild Arms getting specific mention.

Tretton further discussed the merits of Vita, but quickly transitioned into an announcement of a new title developed specially for the system, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, a handheld exclusive featuring a female assassin. In keeping with Sony's new love affair with the word "cross", "cross-goods" were also unveiled - essentially exclusive DLC unlocked by owning both games. The PS3's Assassin's Creed III also got some presentation time, showcasing a previously unseen ship captain mechanic. Our new assassin was shown piloting and commanding a massive late-1800s-era vessel, engaging in multiple full-on cannon battles.

Next, we got a quick look at FarCry 3, which we learned has a dedicated four-player coop mode. A fast demonstration of four people working together to take a bridge from some baddies proved that they weren't lying about the new mode's existence, but didn't show much more than we've already seen of how the game plays.

As FarCry finished, Tretton took a break from the hardcore games to speak briefly of Move and lead into a new peripheral, the Wonderbook, a augmented reality book-shaped accessory that works with the PlayStation Eye to bring stories to life. Wonderbook will launch with The Book of Spells, a new, interactive story by J.K. Rowling featuring some fun, extra lore from, guess what, Harry Potter.

After a live demo of someone learning Incendio, it was back to the games showcase with God of War: Ascension. There wasn't much new there: Kratos unabashedly neglected to help hapless pedestrians from impalement, then beat up a variety of personified goats, snakes, and elephants. He did have an interesting green power that he used to rebuild some blown up scaffolding, though, which seemed like a surprisingly constructive ability for someone used to doing the opposite.

When the long-gore-fest of God of War finally ended, Tretton was expected to take the stage again. Instead, the auditorium went dark. Then, we heard buzzing, a few chirping birds, and a gusting breeze, each taking advantage of the auditorium's surround sound. Soon, the screen slowly faded to life, and without so much as a one-word introduction, a segment of The Last of Us began to play. The scene followed the game's Drake-styled protagonist sneak through a bandit-infested building accompanied by a cute, yet terrifyingly stabby teenage sidekick.

Sony knew exactly what it was doing wrapping with The Last of Us; the audience gasped and jumped during most the visceral, tense sequence shown, meeting its end with the loudest cheers of the conference thus far.

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See all our coverage directly from the E3 2012 show floor.

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It looks like Sony and M$ are making sure to jump on the bandwagon early this year. With the "connect all the devices you have" concept from M$ and the "use your vita as a controller and to play your games while mobile" idea, they are just copying Nintendo. Now if Nintendo would take a page from Sony's book and let us use the 3DS as a controller...

The Harry Potter Move portion, and the All-Star Battle portion were horrible to watch. :( Beyond looks really good, though.

Not a surprise that this was a Vita-heavy conference this year. I had doubts about the rumors of both Sony and MS possibly showcasing new consoles, especially with Sony if they just released a handheld that was meant to go along with their current console. This is more the year of introducing and sustaining cross-platforming rather than the year of big announcements (hardware wise that is).

I'm a little more excited about The Last of Us now that more is being released, my only hope would be is that if this is indeed an adventure with an AI-controlled partner that they put everything they can into making the partner actually work.

I also could have sworn that Wild Arms was already on PSN as one of the Playstation Classics, unless they're talking about an upgraded version for the Vita.

My guess is that the Wonderbook is what Tretton was referring to as one of the ways to target more audiences. It seems to be something that tries to compete with things such as the Kobold, with an appeal towards younger audiences.

Do the games you get with the Plus subscription still go away after your subscription runs out?

So now they have two games staring Juno.

Mike Kayatta:
E3: Sony Connects the Dots Between its Devices

Upcoming AAA games explained as one part of a larger Sony cycle.

the whole thing sucked, but that Beyond:Two Souls trailer OMFG that looked amazing!
and Tomb Raider looked just like I wanted it too, not that it matters its still a year away >:/

Xannidel:
Do the games you get with the Plus subscription still go away after your subscription runs out?

Yep, if your subscription runs out, your free games go away and you have to buy them.

And honestly, there were a lot of people hoping to see more for the Vita. The handful they showed was definitely a good start, and I'd like to see more shooters on the only handheld so far that could reasonably play them... but a lot of people are aching for an RPG. Now if the PS1 compatibility opens up in the next month, that opens up a flood of awesome RPGs to play on it. And yet... give me something new. Persona 4 the Golden can't come fast enough.

I also kinda hoped that PS+ would be extended to the Vita. Maybe later on this year. I'm curious to see how many Vita games will be previewed in the next few days. They did talk about a dozen games coming out by year's end.

As for stuff not involving the Vita... God of War is God of War, the fact that he's something other than just Angry Blender and is showing a little compassion might get me interested. Last of Us is just plain awesome... I can't wait to get a true survival game to play.

I'll be honest, I was expecting Sony to have a pretty lame E3 this year.

Beyond:Two Souls and The Last of Us completely blew me away.

I was always excited for Beyond, Heavy Rain is one of my favourite all time games, but the subject matter seems really good, and that was some amazingly high quality story. It feels like it's going to be a bit maturer and more cohesive than Heavy Rain too.

And The Last of Us... I don't know what to say, I was expected Uncharted but with zombies... but they did so many things in that short little trailer.

Non-regenerative health! When was the last time a game did that? And the seemless way he took cover was unbelievable! And ammo conversation! And the way the relationship was built up with the girl! And strangling people took a long time, the whole game was quieter and smaller and it turns out that after the Uncharted blockbusters and the CoD arms race to see who can nuke the world and kill all the orphans the fastest it turns out that a quiet hard, despondent tone is the perfectly powerful contrast.

The whole setting feels more post apocalyptic in terms of it's despair and the way you have to let go of your civilities and have nothing left came across so well.

And the smoothness of the hand to hand combat, the way the guy surprised you with the gun. The way the flames on the molotov worked. Uncharted's exploration works a lot better in this beautiful but broken world setting too.

My only quibble is it feels like he killed too many people. For this to work, deaths have to be much rarer than in other games and more time needs to be spent wandering around, with short moments of escape or flight or fighting.

Eternal_Lament:

I'm a little more excited about The Last of Us now that more is being released, my only hope would be is that if this is indeed an adventure with an AI-controlled partner that they put everything they can into making the partner actually work.

I think it's going to work pretty well, the AI in Uncharted never felt like it was getting in the way too much and they're putting a lot of work into it.

Did you see how she did the thing with the brick? I don't know how they managed to make that work in a non cutscene sequence

Quiotu:

Xannidel:
Do the games you get with the Plus subscription still go away after your subscription runs out?

Yep, if your subscription runs out, your free games go away and you have to buy them.

And honestly, there were a lot of people hoping to see more for the Vita. The handful they showed was definitely a good start, and I'd like to see more shooters on the only handheld so far that could reasonably play them... but a lot of people are aching for an RPG. Now if the PS1 compatibility opens up in the next month, that opens up a flood of awesome RPGs to play on it. And yet... give me something new. Persona 4 the Golden can't come fast enough.

I also kinda hoped that PS+ would be extended to the Vita. Maybe later on this year. I'm curious to see how many Vita games will be previewed in the next few days. They did talk about a dozen games coming out by year's end.

As for stuff not involving the Vita... God of War is God of War, the fact that he's something other than just Angry Blender and is showing a little compassion might get me interested. Last of Us is just plain awesome... I can't wait to get a true survival game to play.

I agree, I am HOPING for a Persona 4 the Golden bundle similar to the Assassin's Creed Liberation bundle they revealed. If they release a bundle like that I will insta buy that in a heartbeat but the games right now make the Vita as likable as the 3DS was when it first launched.

I'm kind of seeing, 'Beyond' as Indigo Prophecy done right. I love me some Indigo Prophecy, my first Quantic Dream game, but I remember all the random insanity they crammed in the end.

I hope Beyond will layer that evenly in a delicious ghosty sandwich.

Otherwise, 'Last of Us' and 'Beyond' completely stole the show and the only game that can even rank in with them is 'Watch Dog(s)' (which looks superb)

Mike Kayatta:
The scene followed the game's Drake-styled protagonist sneak through a bandit-infested building accompanied by a cute, yet terrifyingly stabby teenage sidekick.

Stabby? Is this a typo or does the chick stab alot of people?

Edit:

Saw the trailer rather incidentally... no typo... she's just stabby.

 

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