E3: Sony Conference - PlayStation Vita, Uncharted 3, Resistance 3, PlayStation Move, 3D

By Andy Daniel

Normally running on the second day, Sony this year finished up the first day of E3 with their briefing conference. One thing was on nearly everyone’s mind: The Sony NGP. But that is yet to come...

First we have to address "the elephant in the room" that is the recent PSN outage. Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, compères the briefing but starts by apologising for the recent outages and thanks the developers and publishers for their support through the crisis. It seemed like they needed it. Everything is back online again now, so we can rest in peace, and move on with the conference.

Naughty Dog showed off a new scene from their upcoming sure-to-be blockbuster hit Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, with Nathan Drake running around a rocking ship and, as ever, the game is looking fantastic. Set for release on November 1st 2011, Naughty Dog also announced a multiplayer beta available for inFamous 2 owners and PlayStation Plus subscribers on June 28th, with the rest of the world on board on July 4th, until the beta ends on July 13th. The beta features two maps and 9 multiplayer modes.

Next to be shown off was Resistance 3 which looks almost as good as Uncharted 3, and is set for release on September 6th. Sony also revealed the Sharp Shooter bundle which includes a PlayStation Move controller, Navigation controller, PlayStation eye, the Sharp Shooter peripheral, and of course, a copy of the game itself. All for $150 which roughly converts to £99.

It wouldn't be a Sony conference without mentioning God of War and even more, 3D, so they combined the two. The upcoming remake of the PSP God of War titles, God of War Origins Collection, will feature full 3D and we can expect a release date in September. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, another HD remake bundle, will feature full 3D too, and is also due in Europe this September.

It's pretty clear that Sony are really pushing 3D on their consoles, through 3D Blu-Ray movies or gaming entertainment. The problem is that the uptake of 3D TVs isn't as great as Sony would like. They want as many people as possible in on the 3D experience, so they came up with a solution; to release an affordable 3D TV suitable for everyone. It has a screen size of 24" and features 1080p and 3D. Even better is the news that the screen can support full screen local multiplayer, meaning that two players on the console will have a full screen each, instead of a split screen. An individual price wasn't announced but a bundle was mentioned. Expect a TV, a pair of 3D active shutter glasses (retailing at US$69.99) and a copy of Resistance 3 for US$499.99 this Autumn. At least in the US - no word on a European release yet.

Now we move on to all of the Move supported titles. NBA 2K12 from 2K Games will now feature Move support, in a lacklustre "point at a teammate and you'll pass to him" sort of way. Medieval Moves: Deadmun’s Quest by Zindagi games will feature the motion controller, and a menu-less inventory. Players can switch between sword play, shuriken and crossbow by simply changing stance and use of the controller. This autumn will see Move controls embedded into inFamous 2's and LittleBigPlanet 2's level creation systems too, extending the Move compatible list beyond new titles. Finally Ken Levine from Irrational Games shows off some more BioShock Infinite and announces PlayStation Move embedded controls as an optional way to control your character in game, oh, and that they’re working on an NGP title.

So what's new to PlayStation 3? What is exclusive to the platform? Well we got to see a bit more of the recently announced StarHawk, from LightBox Interactive, which seems to be a space western-themed shooter from the WarHawk team. We saw a tease of a new title from the Sly Cooper franchise, with nothing more than a small video from both of these games. We also got to see CCP's new FPS, Dust 514, which appears to be another space-based shooter but here’s the kicker: the game will fully interact with popular PC MMO EVE Online. It'll also be free-to-play, supported by microtransaction, and will be coming out next Summer only on the PS3 via the PlayStation Network. Sony also have some exclusive content for upcoming games; for PS3 only, a recreation of Mount Fuji as a level in EA's SSX, 7 additional cars for Need for Speed: The Run, and the inclusion of Battlefield 1943 on the same disc as Battlefield 3. Nice additions, albeit not wholesome to the effort of the ever-increasing exclusivity wars for Sony.

Now, for the NGP. Sony officially revealed the new name of the PSP successor; the PlayStation Vita. Vita means life, according to Sony (and Italians - Matt), and is a fresh attempt to take the mobile platform market by force. The Vita retains it's original details regarding input controls; dual anologue sticks, front and rear touch screens and a 5" OLED screen. No confirmation on tech specs however, but we're hopeful that the beasty quad-core processor remains. Social software is embedded from the start. You'll be able to interact with nearby people in application 'Near', and interact with your friends via text and voice, no matter where they are or what games they are playing in 'Party Room'. Expect more details soon, and more social applications to follow. Priced at $249/€249.99 (around £223) for the WiFi model and $299/€299.99 (around £268) for the 3G model, we know that the Vita is priced very competitively and will launch in the US by Christmas, and possibly in the UK too.

As they were announcing the Vita, Sony demonstrated a couple of titles soon to be arriving on the platform. Of course we saw PlayStation’s current flagship franchise, Uncharted, making its debut with Golden Abyss, looking just as stunning as its console brethren and taking full advantage of Vita’s diverse inputs such as touch screen and Sixaxis motion. Sony continued to show first party titles with ModNation Racers, a new title in the franchise, - again using the touch screen interface - and LittleBigPlanet, which is another new title in the series. Finally Capcom joined in the fray by announcing a Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken, featuring an exclusive appearance from inFamous' Cole.

Eager to show off ways for the Vita to interact with the PlayStation 3, Sony bring in Idol Minds demonstrate Ruin, an action RPG akin to Torchlight, which features cloud saves. When you save your game on Vita, the save file gets pushed to the cloud and the game can resume when playing on the PlayStation 3. We also see online interaction between Vita and consoles for ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet in the form of content sharing and co-op play. Finally, Sony gave confirmation that upcoming Vita/PS3 title WipEout 2048 will feature cross-platform online multiplayer, which is an industry first. No word on release dates, or confirmation on launch titles for Vita, but this is but just the start for this new era. Either way, we are very excited to get our hands on these powerful little devices.

This could be Sony's chance to take the portable platform market, surpassing the 3DS with high quality and powerful technical specifications under an impressive price point. First party and third party titles are a sure-fire hit with apparently nearly every publisher on board with Vita. We all look forward to seeing more from this impressive portable in the rest of E3.

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