Roundtable: Sony E3 2011
Sony capped off the opening day with the naming of the previously shown “Next Generation Portable”, some news on Uncharted 3, a couple of new titles, as well as some Sony exclusive deals for a few EA titles. And thus begins our second E3 Round Table.
So first a quick recap: Sony opened with an apology over the PSN outage of the past month and a bit. Then wasting no time they showed off some more Uncharted 3 footage, a quick top up on the now released InFamous 2 and had a chat on Resistance 3 and Starhawk. They announced Sly 4 and revealed DUST 514 to be a PS3 exclusive title. Ken Levine was on stage for a bit to talk about adding Move controls to BioShock Infinte, as well as a free goody for PS3 buyers. EA highlighted their PS3 exclusive deals for SSX, BF3 and NFS: The Run. Sony announced the first of their new hardware with the Playstation 3DTV. Kaz Hirai was back on stage to announce the NGP’s new name as Playstation Vita, while spending some time to show off some of its new titles and a surprise price point.
Dean: Well, let’s open the round table with the big topic Sony had to cover this E3: The PSN hack and downtime. Now as a minor re-cap, Sony was hacked in late April and the PSN was down for well over a month, only just going up late last week with the “Welcome Back” package. During the downtime, Sony were criticized a bit for their lack of communication throughout the downtime, so all eyes were on Sony to rectify this at E3. The first thing they covered was the hack, Tretton getting up on stage and seemingly apologizing from the heart. I can’t remember the specifics, but I remember feeling it was adequate. Of course this was after a mammoth session of WipEout HD so I may be a teensy bit biased. Anyone else feel they did well here? Or a bit lacking for anyone?
Miodrag: I thought they handled it pretty well. For one, they didn’t make the abysmal call of getting Kevin Butler on stage at a time like this. I think Sony actually knows how to hold a conference and act on stage, unlike MS and Nintendo. The overall atmosphere during the show was pretty good.
Johnny: They handled it well enough, I’d say. It’s a bit late, but it could have been much worse. Oh and, yeah, the rest of the show was actually somewhat fun. It’s like they fired on all cylinders to make up for the bad PR the downtime caused.
Declan: I think they made the right move getting Tretton out to speak from his heart but I think Kevin Butler could have helped lighten the mood afterwards. It was very much treated as a necessary apology and then quickly left aside to get around to the rest of the show and I think that was the right thing to do.
Mason: I think most will agree they handled it pretty well, a quick “Our fault”, a little one liner and then moving onto Uncharted. Moving from the lowest point to the highest point like that was a smart move on their part. The fact that Dean mentions he may be a little biased after playing alot of WipEout HD however, shows that Sony’s Welcome Back plan may have been more successful than people originally thought it would be.
James: I second Miodrag. I brought it up in the Steam group chat we had that if they brought out a joke character like Kevin Butler after all that happened, it’d be feeding him to the wolves and nobody’d be able to take Sony seriously after it. Good call to have Tretton do it, he came off as meaning it and, this morning before the Nintendo press conference, talking to Geoff Keighley on the GameTrailers livestream, he came across as genuinely sorry and wanting to make it up to the userbase. More on how he did that later.
Dean: I’ve heard a few people a bit sad Kevin Butler wasn’t on stage, but I think with something like this a marginally badly-done joke would have made the wrath of gamers a million times worse than just a plain old apology from the real head of SCE.
Declan: Yeah, Butler would have needed to be on top form after the apology to succeed.
Miodrag: Butler had his moment last year. Getting him up again would wear out the novelty. Tretton did a good job. Not too corporate nor overly friendly.
Jon: It’s always nice that they had an exec apologise. They could have quite as easily swept it under the carpet and neglected to mention it, or just gone “whoops, nevermind, hey? You’re getting free stuff, stop whining.” There was also no point in dwelling on it, so it was nice that they moved on fairly quickly to talking about their new releases. I mean, obviously it’s in their best interests to be apologetic and such, but they could have considered the free games apology enough. An actual real life apology was great though.
Dean: Well, as you’ve all mentioned, Sony were swift to move onto the meat of the presser with Uncharted 3. They also showed off Infamous 2, Resistance 3 and Starhawk for good measure, as well as announcing Sly 4 and the now PS3-exclusive DUST 514. Also cropping up was a 3-D re-release of the God of War collection and mention of, but little information on, the Team Ico Collection. For me, Uncharted 3 will be a day one buy, and it was nice to get a bit of new footage in, though given it was announced last year we’ve seen a fair bit already. Starhawk is on my “one to watch” list. I came in too late for Warhawk, but Starhawk’s building system looks funky. DUST 514 is certainly a bit of a surprise. I’ve played EVE in the past so I’ve being keeping an eye on it, but didn’t expect it to be anything but a PC title. So coming to PS3 as a free-to-play title was a genuine shock. Shame very little (well, no) info on the crossover between that and EVE was shown off. Team ICO collection I think is on my shopping list regardless since I missed the boat in the PS2 days.
Declan: Uncharted 3 is a game I’m very much looking forward to and it was good to see some new footage; the ship level looks like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun. inFamous is a game I never had any real interest in and I passed on the chance to get it with the Welcome Back package but inFamous 2 seems to up the ante suitably for a sequel. Starhawk, Sly 4 and Resistance 3 don’t seem like they’ll be making waves but I’m sure fans of the respective series will enjoy them. DUST 514 was probably the title I was most pleased to see footage of. Having played EVE quite a bit up to a year or so ago and hearing rumours for a long time about something like this happening, it was great to see it in action. It seems like it’s going to be a competent FPS but I think its success lies in how well the dynamic between DUST and EVE Online works.
Johnny: Uncharted 3 looks impressive. Having no PS3, I’ve played roughly five minutes of Uncharted 2, so I’m not invested in the franchise. Looks good though, and will be on my list whenever I do get a PlayStation 3.
I remember enjoying the Sly games when they were released but in my opinion they haven’t aged too well. If they can tighten up the controls and really put some good thought into the execution, I could see myself enjoying another Sly. For the rest of the “PlayStation 3” part of the show, I wasn’t really interested. DUST 514 looks cool, but I’m honestly more interested in how it will affect EVE Online than how the game itself will play.
Miodrag: As a member of the PC Master Race, I’m not all that interested in the actual games (except maybe Sly Cooper), but I’d be silly to think those weren’t all big titles. All are sequels to well-established IPs. Starhawk, I’m not sure what to think, given that it’s just a CGI teaser and I have no knowledge of the IP. Like Johnny, I do look forward to seeing how DUST works out. It’s bound to help make wonderful Eve Online drama I can read about on Rock Paper Shotgun.
Mason: I think everyone was impressed by Uncharted 3 but, after the quality of the second, it’s safe to say we all expected to be impressed. I’m glad they showed off this new tanker level as I was afraid that most of the game would be taking place in desert environments, as had been previously shown. Showing off inFamous 2 seemed liked a weird decision considering it’s coming out a day after the conference but the audience seemed to enjoy it enough, and it was a nice trailer. I’d personally like to know a little bit more about that Uncharted/Subway deal. Are they giving away the entire Multiplayer? That seems crazy! I played alot of Warhawk back in its heyday so I’m certainly interested in Starhawk, but the trailer failed to show a lot of the actual guts, a fault of many trailers I guess, all flash no substance. Still, I like the aesthetic and the mechs looked like they could be a fun addition.
Jon: Uncharted 3 was one of the few games I was really looking forward to when E3 was announced, and so I was excited to see what they had in store for us. Obviously Uncharted 2 was a runaway success, and so everyone had high hopes for the sequel, and it didn’t disappoint. It looks good, which is always nice, and the controls seemed fairly good. I also don’t understand why they were showing off inFamous 2, but I mean technically it still hasn’t been released, so fair play to them. I have only got about half an hour into inFamous so I wasn’t that interested in the sequel, but I’m sure the further I get into it, the more my interest will grow. I’m interested to see how well DUST’s cross-platform support will work, but I’m sure it’ll be an experience one way or another. I haven’t ever played any of the Sly games, but they were something I was meaning to pick up, so maybe I will look into getting the new one. I have no interest in Resistance and its Move capabilities because I have no interest in Move, but it clearly appeals to a market, so fair play to Sony.
James: I was very impressed with Uncharted 3, moreso because while it was very cinematic, much in the way Uncharted’s presented, there was a clear difference in what was gameplay and what was an in-game cut-scene, and it worked well. Starhawk, I’m rather on the fence on that. I picked up Warhawk a few months after its release and just wasn’t digging it at all. Hopefully, Incognito have made major improvements, although while my gripes was mainly with how clumsy the on-foot combat was, it looks like there may not be a lot of that in Starhawk. The Ico/Shadow of the Colossus collection finally having a concrete date is great news, but no news on The Last Guardian was a bit disappointing. I was hoping that they’d follow up one with the other but it never happened. I’m not an EVE Online player, so chances are DUST 514 will probably sail right over my head, but it’s worth keeping an eye on, as it’s one of the first console games to have a direct link to a PC MMO game, and if it works out well, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Blizzard try something similar for World of Warcraft to try and one-up CCP.
Miodrag: I do find it odd that we’re getting PSP games re-released in 3D… I mean, it’s doable, I just never expected something like that.
Dean: It’s where the industry is at. Re-releases ‘n’ such. Maybe it’s just to get the few last drops out of the PSP?
Miodrag: 3D ports of old games are the future? Dammit, now I remember the Nintendo conference again.
Mason: I think it’s where the industry’s been at for years. Re-releases on different platforms serves to pull in those who loved the original, nostalgia too if the game’s old enough, as well as pull in a crowd that didn’t get in on it the first time around, as some of you are talking about with the ICO/SoTC collection. I really don’t have a problem with it, the PSP has some great overlooked titles that would be fantastic on the PS3.
Declan: I’m all for it, to be honest. The idea that I’ll be able to retire my PSP but still play some of my PSP games long after on my TV is nice. More than anything though, I hope they release more PS2 HD/3D collections. We don’t all have backwards compatible PS3s after all. I thought there would be more commotion over PSP titles coming to PS3? Wasn’t that what everyone was asking for?
Miodrag: I hope they release a 3D HD God Hand next… I don’t really mind the idea of PSP ports being on the PS3, I just never expected that. I’m used to having Wii games ported to the PSP and PS2. My brain is probably still processing playing handheld games on something like a PS3…
Jon: A prettified version of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus will be nice though. Think of those worlds in glorious HD. I mean, they’re still damn pretty on the PS2.
Miodrag: Oh yeah, that will be glorious.
Dean: They also showed off a couple of Move titles. Medieval Moves was a new title, a puzzle-platformer. NBA 2K12 was shown with some Move support in what frankly looked like a horrendous implementation. And last but certainly not least was Ken Levine, who didn’t show much off but did bring news that BioShock: Infinite will be sporting some kind of Move functionality. Medieval Moves looked quirky but, to be honest, I mostly wanted Sorcery which was nowhere to be found.
Mason: Move still seems pretty forced to me. Sure, I suppose it could be fun for a little while in BioShock but I’m still not sure what it adds to the experience of just using a normal controller. I’m not a big sports gamer but the implentation in NBA 2K12 looked very, very poor; something that wasn’t aided by them using a celebrity who clearly didn’t know how to play the game to show it off. Declan does have a point though, by integrating move into existing games like Resistance and BioShock they’re not separating their markets like Microsoft has done with Kinect and they’re not alienating anyone. You wanna play BioShock with a controller? Go right ahead, says Sony.
James: I’m with Dean, I wanted more Sorcery; that game looked amazing last year. But Medieval Moves was pretty alright in a Torchligh-ish sort of way too, so I’m not going to complain. As I mentioned in the Microsoft Round Table, having a celebrity play your game on-stage might not be the best idea, and it didn’t pay off for 2K Sports with NBA 2K12. Kobe Bryant was all over the place and he looked like he was never given a briefing on how to play the game. I get that they were trying to push the “so simple, anyone can walk in and play it” idea, but they obviously failed to put the word “well” at the end of that sentence. Honestly, Kobe’s failings certainly didn’t do anything to make me want to play the game with Move controls, and instead made the game look awkward and clumsy.
Declan: I bought the Move not long after it was released and I’ve still got no games for it. It works well as a motion controller but that’s about it. There’s a fair amount of games out now that use the Move to some degree but there’s none that rely on it. I think this is how Sony wants it. They want to try and keep both markets playing the same games rather than separating their markets into controller-users and Move-users.
Jon: I’ve not really got much of an interest in Move, even though I’m a PS3 owner. It seems too expensive for what’s tantamount to waving your arms around like a special case. I’m sure that it’s more sophisticated than that, but really, if I want to waggle my arms, I’ll play a Wii. That being said, when I saw Medieval Moves being announced, I got momentarily excited, having fond memories of the PS1 MediEvil. Then it said “on-the-rails shooter” sort of thing and my excitement disappeared. Also, using Move to play a sports game seems like a really terrible idea to me. Just no FIFA with Move ever, please, Sony.
James: Yeah, Jon, I thought that was a bit weird, reusing the name of an old game of yours, that had expanded as a series, and then making a game that had absolutely nothing to do with aforementioned series. I heard the name and thought, “About time we get a full sequel that isn’t on the PSP” and this is what I got. Not amused by the lack of Sir Daniel Fortesque.
Miodrag: I only like how there were enough announcements to know it existed and not enough to have the conference revolve around it. (Unlike SOME companies…)
Jon: Miodrag, that is also an excellent point. I don’t think that the motion-sensor gimmick in general is enough to keep gamers interested, unless you started as a motion-sensor gimmick (ie. the Wii.) I still don’t understand MS’ motivation, but I’m glad Sony aren’t going down that route, as I imagine there would be a lot of miffed gamers.
Johnny: I still don’t care about motion controls.
Dean: Apart from the exclusives there were the third-party titles too. A majority of these were shown at the E3 event so we won’t go too in-depth. What was mainly interesting was the deals Sony had secured for the PS3. EA titles such as SSX and Need For Speed: The Run gained some extra content, Battlefield 3 netting PS3 owners a free copy of BF:1943. BioShock: Infinite on PS3 will also be coming with a free copy of BioShock. Given Sony’s very, very strong first-party showing, and exclusive content I can see why they wouldn’t spend much time on the multi-platform stuff. Was kind of neat to see that a few of them will be getting some extra content. Just a shame that I own BioShock and BF:1943 already, though I’ll be getting BF3 ‘n’ BS:I on PC anyway.
Mason: I don’t own an Xbox so SSX was always going to be a PS3 game for me but the inclusion of an extra course is great news. I’m really looking forward to the new SSX and I’m glad that, based on the trailers shown, they haven’t changed the gameplay too much. Now all they need is an awesome soundtrack. As for BioShock and Battlefield, I think these are great additions. Both the original BioShock and BF1943 are fantastic games but the problem with these kinds of preorder bonuses, as opposed to ones like those that come with SSX or NFS, is that many people already own the original BioShock or BF1943, making these bonuses essentially useless as EA clearly knows, putting 1943 on the disc and not giving a download code that could be given away by those who already own it.
Miodrag: I love SSX. I honestly hope they don’t mess it up… I’m not really sure the “extra old game” is enough incentive to win people over to buy the game, though. It’s mostly games you have probably played before or you won’t touch because of the new one. I mean, I’m not gonna complain about free stuff, but it’s kinda how you got Portal 1 with pre-ordering Portal 2. Nice gesture, but not really an offer that would win you over if you were on the fence.
Johnny: SSX was the big one there for me. I’ve been waiting for a sequel (not that disgrace known as Blur) for ages now. However, as an Xbox 360 owner I can’t get it on the PS3, and that “extra content” starts to feel more like stuff they just chose to not include in the 360 release. The other game that interested me here was BioShock, but to be honest I’d rather know as little as possible about it until I play it. I’m already sure I’ll enjoy it.
Jon: As I only own a PS3, the third-party titles will only be bought for the PS3. However, extra, exclusive content is always welcome, if only for boasting privileges. As long as they don’t use the extra exclusive content as an excuse to justify a higher price, I will be a happy bunny. Also, new SSX will be awesome.
Declan: I’m still waiting on the PC version of 1943 to see a release so that exclusive DLC didn’t do anything for me. SSX is a game I could really sink my teeth into and the PS3 DLC should help me decide which version to buy. Is there anyone who hasn’t played the original BioShock at this stage?
Dean: 1943 was canned for PC a while back. I will say it’s not that great an incentive, I play it earlier today, and it’s fun, but very scarce on the ground for players. I don’t see many people choosing to play their free BF:1943 when they have BF3 instead.
Miodrag: Yeah, that’s what strikes me as odd too. Why the heck would you play BF:1943 if you have BF3? Unless they include Trophies…
James: The extra PS3 content from EA, expanding from last year, was a nice touch to round out the conference near the end. I was on the fence about getting a new dedicated PC for Battlefield 3 but by throwing in a new full game for free, I’m definitely going to be picking this up on PS3 now. I can see the cars in Need for Speed being released later as DLC on the other formats anyway (much in the way pre-order bonuses get released later) so that might not be much of a big deal, and the same goes for the Mt. Fuji addition to SSX. Nice to see PS3 owners getting it not only first, but free as well.
Dean: So, before we get on to the main hardware of the show, let’s talk a bit on a kind of surprise announcement, the Playstation TV. Sony’s PlayStation-branded “low cost” (I’ve yet to check their claims) 3D TV. Sony have their own TV brand, so it does seem a bit odd to go with PS branding, but I guess it does have some sway. Sony are certainly really pushing 3D as a whole company, and PS3 does seem to be at the front of this. I’ve written a very small bit on 3D gaming in the past, and I’m quite a fan. Yet to do any on consoles though. Not sure a PlayStation-branded TV would sway me, and not with the 24” size they had.
Mason: While I’m still super skeptical on 3D, I would consider buying a 3D TV if only for the new Full-Screen Split-Screen technology that Sony showed, allowing two players on a single console to both see the full-screen instead of traditional half-and-half split-screen. I’m curious to see if the technology could be used with more players on TVs with more than 120Hz. Aside from that it seemed like an OK deal, 24” is an ideal size for bedrooms or dorm rooms but the $70 price tag for an extra pair of glasses stings, even if it is the norm for 3D glasses at this point in time.
Miodrag: I don’t know why you think it’s odd, Dean. Of course they’ll slap on the PS brand if they can sell it as a special über elite gaming TV. No idea if the price is right. I’ve heard people say it is fairly priced as far as 3D TVs go. But yeah, 24” size… I’d rather use that as a 3D PC Monitor than a TV.
Johnny: I am personally not at all interested in 3D (kids, get off my lawn!) so I won’t be buying this. As for the price point, whether this will be worth it or not is entirely dependent on the quality of the TV. It may be an overpriced piece of shit, or it may actually be something worth buying.
Declan: This, I think, was the highlight for me with Sony’s show. I’m at the point now where I’m seriously considering a new monitor for my PC and consoles so if it’s a good quality TV with all the ports I could need, I have a feeling I’ll be throwing my gaze on the PS-branded TV first. I also really liked the “no more split-screen” they showed off. Finally, an end to screen-peeking!
Jon: 3D gaming is something I’d like to try out, but the price would have to be right. The one thing that did interest me was the multiplayer 3D gaming aspect, where you had two players in two pairs of 3D glasses and you can play on the same TV and not have any screen-peeking. Seemed like a cool thing to have, but that’s only if it works.
Dean: Regarding the split-screen tech, which did look cool though I’d imagine requiring games to implement it, I’ve seen a video of it done with any old 3D TV. Let me dig it up. Here we go. It’s not really a Sony-exclusive concept, but it is a neat feature and if it’s something that would drive sales of 3D TVs then so be it.
Miodrag: I thought the split-screen tech was neat, but didn’t developers stop implementing split-screen support in games? *waves fist*
Jon: Yeah, isn’t split-screen a dying artform anyway? Who needs real life friends when you can play with people from the INTERNET!~
Mason: That’s my motto. People seem to think I’m weird for it, haha.
Miodrag: I need them when PSN is down.
Declan: It brings a tear to my eye when I think of it. We still like to play locally, you know!
James: The PlayStation-branded 3D TV definitely caught me a bit off-guard. I figured Sony might do some sort of tie-in all right with Bravia TVs, but for a TV to directly carry the PlayStation branding from the get-go is huge. The price plan with the Resistance bundle is also very affordable too, so it’s not one of those gizmos you see that has limited use and a ridiculous price, but everyone’ll buy it just because of the branding. I’m hoping that some games that implement split-screen will post-patch support for this (the likes of Gran Turismo, which is already 3D-compatible, will be huge)
Jon: Maybe that’s why they’re bringing it back. Just in case PSN dies again.
Johnny: It’s a cool idea. I’d assume it still requires the wearing of glasses and whatnot. I’m not too keen on sitting around with those on. But this could be neat, especially for people with small TVs and real life friends. Meaning, not me.
Jon: Johnny, yeah. At least you’d both look as ridiculous as one another!
Dean: And last but not least, Sony capped off their show by naming their new handheld as the PlayStation Vita. Sporting a variety of inputs for whatever the occasion it sure looked sparkly. We’ve already seen the hardware in January at a special Sony event so there was nothing new there, despite rumours that the insides had been scaled back. They announced the American carrier for the 3G version as AT&T which drew some gasps from the audience (as a Brit I have no opinion of their quality). However, the part that most shocked everyone was the announcement of a base model starting at $250. Which I think is bloody fantastic for Sony. Everyone had assumed it would be at least $100 more than the 3DS, but matching it dollar for dollar is a very bold move and certainly makes the console very appetizing.
Miodrag: Yeah, the pricing was totally unexpected… That thing looks much more worthwhile now. I was expecting it to be yet another piece of hardware you wait three years before buying. I’m glad it’s taking on the 3DS, considering that’s a DS with a gimmick and mostly N64 ports so far.
Jon: The best thing about the Vita is the price. Easily. The fact that it’s the same price as the 3DS means that when it comes to choosing, I’ll have no qualms in choosing the Vita. Even if the name isn’t that great. Anyway, the reason I neglected the PSP was the price difference in comparison to the DS, but that’s been eliminated. Plus, it looks really nice and sleek, and the touch screen is a lovely addition. The 3G version will cost more, but to be honest, I don’t really care about 3G. I probably won’t get it with 3G but it’s nice to have the option. I think that the hardware blows the 3DS out of the water. The launch games are immense as well.
Johnny: Well, first off, the name is ridiculous. Really, if they were gonna go with that they could have just called it “PSP2”. I’m impressed by the price; I’d have predicted $300 at least.
Declan: I hate to say it (no, I don’t), but I called the price from day one. When everyone was talking about $/€500 pricetags, I could only think “Nah, they need to offer it at a reasonable price” and $/€249 seemed like the sweetspot. So yeah, I was surprised I was right in my prediction but I had a feeling they wouldn’t go over $/€300. If they can get some of those 80 titles in production out by the time the system is in the three major regions, I think they’ll be onto a winner.
Mason: Vita is why Sony’s press conference takes the cake this year for me. The hardware was sexy, the games amazing and price point sealed the deal. I think the name is a little silly, I’m still not sure what was wrong with PSP2 but it matters very little in the grand scheme and isn’t as bad as some other new hardware names I could talk about. I’m glad they’re getting it out this year and if they can have Uncharted and WipEout ready for launch I think they’ll blow the 3DS out of the water. I really wonder what this means for Nintendo, especially in the short term. Do they keep running at the $250 price tag or do they do an early price drop to try and maintain an edge of the PSV? Time will tell.
James: The price was a massive hook for me. $250 for the wifi model is an absolute steal, but let’s face it, in today’s smartphone world, I can’t see how 3G fits into things on a portable consoles. A lot of people will have iPhones, Blackberries, or if we’re talking Sony fanboys, their phones, or the Xperia Play, so the 3G won’t be a massive thing, unless we’re talking about anywhere infrastructure play over a cell network for a flat monthly rate or something. Siding with AT&T is a bit hit-and-miss though, as we have heard many an iPhone user’s tale about dropped calls and poor signal quality that it could be rather worrisome. It’ll be interesting to see what carriers in Europe get to pick the PSV up, I’m hoping for Vodafone myself but even with O2 I’d still be happy.
Dean: Any hardware is nothing without its games. And they had a few neat titles to show off. Uncharted: Golden Abyss is obviously aiming to be their flagship launch title and it was a very pretty title. The mixture between traditional and touch controls was very fluid, though I wonder how many people will choose to take their hands from the controller to tap on someone to kill them. It being a non-Naughty Dog Uncharted does slightly sour the deal. Ruin, a Diablo-clone, was shown off with a very nifty trick of stopping play on the Vita then picking up where you left off on the PS3. I’m unsure how this works, I assume the PSN+ Cloud Save feature. SF X Tekken was shown with a Vita exclusive Cole McGrath. A Vita version of LBP was also announced, along with a very brief mention of a specially-made BioShock title hitting it too. It’s certainly a good lineup, though I’m unsure how well Sony will do with the old “Let’s do spin-offs of mainline console titles” the PSP had.
Mason: While it is a non-Naughty Dog Uncharted they’ve said that Naughty Dog is checking in on it regularly and that Amy Hennig, creative director at ND, is working closely with Sony Bend. I’m sure that Naughty Dog doesn’t want them to have free rein on what’s arguably their most popular franchise yet.
James: Uncharted looked immense, I have to say. As Mason said above, I’m slightly worried that it’s not Naughty Dog handling it all themselves, but they still have their people overseeing development and making sure that it’s up to snuff. ModNation Racers Vita’s track editor using the touch screen was an utter joy to behold, as well as some of the sample games that had been shown off on LittleBigPlanet Vita like air hockey, reversi and a few other things. Ruin looked great, and its cross-compatibility with the PS3 looks amazing. Street Fighter x Tekken could be a great portable game too for quick blasts, but I’m rather skeptical as to the inclusion of Cole McGrath from inFamous to the roster. I assume he’s there to add balance to the Street Fighter side of the game, due to already being pretty proficient with projectiles, which is the only concern I have with that game as a whole. An original BioShock game from Irrational also has my interest, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing more news filtering down the grapevine about that at a later date.
Jon: Uncharted without Naughty Dog could spectacularly backfire, but as Mason says, there’s no way in hell they would’ve let someone else use the Uncharted Name and not have some form of input into it. If it was a terribad game, then it would tarnish the franchise, and I’m sure that’s something that neither Sony nor Naughty Dog would want that. The touchscreen to kill thing might work well, especially if it’s hard to aim with the sticks, since you could just poke an enemy in the face and he could die, that would be really cool. The other launch titles look alright. Street Fighter x Tekken could work really well. I need to see more of Ruin but it looks like it could be a fun title to play. Spin offs are fine, as long as a) they don’t suck, and b) we get some original games as well.
Johnny: I am really impressed by some of the titles they are showing. The announced library so far is pretty small, but games like Street Fighter x Tekken is right up my alley. I’m a sucker for fighting games on the go.
Miodrag: When I saw the games that were featured, first thing that came to mind was “It’s like a pocket PS3!” Then I realized what my major gripe with the PSP was when a friend lent it to me. A lot of the games are really unplayable in handheld form… You need to set aside time for them. I can imagine SF x Tekken and BlazBlue (wasn’t on the show, but announced as a launch title) since you can play fighters in short bursts but stuff like Uncharted? I’m not really sure. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the game lineup looks great! I’m just getting Game Gear flashbacks since that was another handheld you had to play at home (for completely different reasons, but still). Ruin looks more pickup-friendly though.
James: I agree with this. The games on the PSP mostly seemed like they tried to be big huge adventures and just portable versions of their console compadres. The PSV looks like it could be going down that road as well, but with games like Ruin that can share across to the PS3, quicksaving states could be a big thing if that’s what developers opt to do, especially for powerful, battery-munching games.
Declan: The announcement of BioShock and Street Fighter X Tekken certainly piqued my interest more than it had been and the footage they showed of Uncharted was looking as well as ever. WipEout will hopefully be out at launch but the real question will be how much new content they can fit into it. Ruin looks like it could be a lot of fun to pick up and play but I have to see more of it before I can form any real opinion. One thing that annoyed me was that they’re still insisting on using montages. We saw many new PSP games relegated to this treatment at previous E3s and they’re at it again with the PSV. Sony needs to do a better job of marketing the games the PSV will have. It’s fine focusing on the flagship titles but who remembers half the titles that the montage showed?
Dean: I remember the name Little Deviants, but that’s ’cause I like the name. That was the one that used the back touchpad. But Sony do need to drop the whole montage stuff. Maybe just play them in the background while showing main titles?
Dean: So, everyone, what were your highs and lows? I’d say the low point was the lack of Last Guardian. I think it’s now three E3s in waiting. As for the high point that would be the Vita’s price. I’m very happy with my PSP, and have been afraid that the NGP would be announced costing close to $500. While £ and € users do get shafted, it’s still close to the 3DS in price. My bank balance certainly enjoyed the price announcement.
Jon: A low point for me is probably the lack of brand new games that aren’t sequels or whatever to pique my interest. I mean, I will probably play a lot of the sequels, but some brand new games are always nice, particularly ones that make you want to talk about them. The high point has to be the pricing of the Vita, along with how good Uncharted 3 looks.
Johnny: My low point was probably that Resistance game. That franchise bores me to death. I don’t even remember if it was a PS3 or Vita game. The high point, for me as well, was the price of the Vita.
Miodrag: I’ll go with Johnny as far as the low point goes. The franchise doesn’t really bore me, and I don’t think it was bad/awful, it’s just lacking compared to everything else shown. I’m picking it as a low point more because I have to pick something, and complaining about a lack of God Hand 2 isn’t fair. High point? I’d say the delivery. No one on stage was boring and all Sony officials were people who look and sound good on stage.
Mason: Low point for me? The complete lack of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, it didn’t even show up in a montage! For a game that was first shown in 2005 the fact that we’ve only had one gameplay trailer, and that it’s nowhere to be found either this year or last, is seriously disappointing me. High point for me was the Vita by far, the price, the games, the design, everything. This holiday season can’t come soon enough
Declan: Low point? I’d have to agree with Dean and say the lack of anything on Last Guardian was disappointing but I’d also like to have seen something on Agent but I guess Rockstar isn’t ready to show that off just yet. I feel the PSV didn’t get as much time as it should have, making me think Sony’s going to treat it as they’ve treated the PSP. The high point for me, as I mentioned earlier, was the 3D TV bundle and its pricing. I think that’s what’s really needed right now: an affordable 3D TV to force the rest of the sets down.
James: My high was pretty much the same as everyone else’s: the PS Vita’s price point. For what you’re getting in it, it’s ridiculously affordable, even though their starting price points in Europe leave us getting shafted against the US dollar yet again (as a day 1 €630 PS3 user, I know how bad it is, believe me). I don’t really have a low point per se, but the lack of info on both The Last Guardian and Rockstar’s Agent is a bit worrying now. I’m also a bit annoyed that Subway in the US are able to dole out the entire Uncharted 3 multiplayer early, although that’s mostly a personal gripe because all the Subways in my area recently lost their franchising, so I lose out on getting in on that action early.
Right that’s us done, I think. As mentioned in the Microsoft post these are our first “Round Tables” so any feedback, as well as your thoughts on the Sony E3 conference, are greatly welcome.