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Previews & Release Schedule

2006 E3 SHOW

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This is it... PS3 with control.
INTRODUCTION
If you thought last year's E3 show (which you can read here) was big then think again. Last year Sony showed off some stunning visuals and a prototype of the Playstation 3. We have, of course, since learnt that many of the movies were only indications of what the games would be like. While running on Cell processors the PS3's weren't complete and many demos were only what the companies hoped to achieve. The 'Boomerang' control was one which has cause much debate - before people even get to hold it. Sony have promised to show the final console design, and controller, at E3 2006.

This year the E3 coverage is broken up into various sections. At the top you will see a list of all the previews, next up the news from the show, including details of the three main conferences and finally a section with each companies press releases of upcoming games. Naturally we will only be covering the important systems - PS2, PSP and of course PS3. So sit back, and enjoy the ride...

GAME PREVIEWS

PS3 Previews PSP Previews PS2 Previews
Interstellar Marines Sonic Rivals Yakuza
Frontlines: Fuel of War Power Stone Collection God of War II
Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway Field Commander X-Men: The Official Game
Untold Legends Dark Kingdom LocoRoco God Hand
Virtua Tennis 3 HOT PXL Ace Combat Zero
Full Auto 2: Battlelines Miami Vice Final Fantasy XII
The Darkness Battlezone Okami
Sonic the Hedgehog D&D Tactics Coming Soon!
Virtua Fighter 5 Bomberman Coming Soon!
Warhawk Tekken Dark Resurrection Coming Soon!
Resistance: Fall of Man Ace Combat X Coming Soon!
Heavenly Sword Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Coded Arms Assault Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Hellboy Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Haze Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Indiana Jones Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Rainbow Six: Las Vegas Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Genji 2 Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Madden NFL '07 Coming Soon! Coming Soon!
Gran Turismo HD Coming Soon! Coming Soon!

GENERAL NEWS

SATURDAY MAY 13, 2006

It was one of the big moments of Sony's pre-E3 presentation when they rolled out Gran Turismo HD running at 1080p on the Playstation 3. Here's a preview with some gorgeous screenshots of this prototype game.

I've added a couple of PSP previews to the site from Namco Bandai. The first is the stunning looking Tekken: Dark Resurrection, a game which certainly looks like setting new benchmarks on the PSP. Not to be outdone the company is bringing over their very popular flight sim series to Sony's handheld. We've put up a brief look a Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception which is due out in America later this year.

FRIDAY MAY 12, 2006

Electronic Arts have released the first screens and info for Madden NFL '07. The game should be a launch title on the Playstation 3 later this year - althogh Electronic Arts are only confirming a 2006 release to date.

Sony has announced two new Buzz! based titles. The first is a game for younger gamers called Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party while the second will continue the trivia traditions with a genre most guys should love (no, not porn). That game is Buzz! Sports Quiz.

THURSDAY MAY 11, 2006

2K Games have announced their lineup for E3 and there's a bit there for Sony fans. The Playstation 3 is going to be catered for with sports games NHL 2K7, NBA 2K7 and College Hoops 2K7 (all also on PS2). The other PS3 title is The Darkness which looks pretty awesome. PS2 owners will also be keen to hear that the following games are heading their way: Family Guy, Ghost Rider, and The Da Vinci Code. PSP owners will be getting Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony, Family Guy and Ghost Rider. Phew!

Capcom has confirmed that Okami won't be released in PAL territories until Q'1 2007. This is one of the most original, and impressive looking games on PS2 and should be well worth checking out.

Ubisoft have announced that their Playstation 3 game being worked on by Free Radical Design (the team behind TimeSplitters) will be called Haze. The game, which looks absolutely stunning will be released in 2007 - but you will be able to check out a preview right here later tonight.

Eidos has confirmed that Reservoir Dogs will be released on the Playstation 2 this August. The game takes, and expands upon several events in the movie.

LucasArts have announced that Indiana Jones will be released on Playstation 3 in Q'3 2007. We've just put up our preview of the game with screens and info so check it out.

Namco has confirmed that their motorbike racing game MotoGP will be coming to the PSP. There's not much info as yet other then the game will include wireless multi-player racing.

Nintendo has confirmed that the majority of their games on the Nintendo Wii will run at 480p. In contrast Playstation 3 games run at a maximum resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive) and, despite the doubts that Microsoft cast claiming it was impossible, several Playstation 3 titles on the E3 show floor are running at 1080p or 1080i.

WEDNESDAY MAY 10, 2006

Konami has announced two other PS3 titles today. The first is Hellboy which is currently in development at Australia's own Krome Studios. The second title is Coded Arms Assault which is due out in 2007, but already looks spectacular.

Konami has announced Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops for release on PSP. The game is the first time a 'real' game in the series has been release on Sony's portable. The single player campaign of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops follows the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, as Big Boss establishes Foxhound in an attempt to hunt down the treacherous Fox unit, which has started a bloody revolt in South America. Set in 1970, the game will be the missing link in the ongoing Metal Gear saga, as players will learn more about returning characters such as Para-Medic, Major Zero and Sigint and also witness Big Boss' greatest tragedy that sets into motion the events of later games in the Metal Gear Solid timeline.

Konami has announced several other PSP titles currently in development. They include a World War II strategy title called Steel Horizon, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX (working title), Winx Club: Join the Club, Rengoku 2, Marvel Trading Card Game, Bomberman, Coded Arms Contagion (working title), Brooktown High: Senior Year (a dating game!) and Death Jr 2: Root of Evil. Talk about a monster list of titles which we'll be covering in the coming days. Two thumbs up to Konami for the PSP support!

Some details about the Playstation 3's controller have emerged since Sony's press conference. We all know about the 6 degrees of movement, which means you can tilt and move the controller to move characters (or planes) in games. What has also been confirmed is that due to the motion sensing the rumble feature in the controller is not possible, or it generates vibration on the in-game characters. The controller also has two analogue triggers for the L2 and R2 buttons, rather then the digital button presses. Finally Sony haven't confirmed the battery life of the controller, however some developers have mentioned it lasting at least 6 hours without going flat in early testing.

Sony has confirmed that Eye Toy Kinetic Combat is in development for the Playstation 2. The original game was a wonderful fitness program, and while this second game will contiue that idea, it is now focused on more combat styled fitness.

Capcom have confirmed that Monster Hunter 3 the game where, ermm, you hunt monsters and other animals will be coming to the Playstation 3. The game, while receiving mixed reviews, has been a monster (get it!) success in Japan with the PSP version being one of the highest selling games on the handheld since its release. No details on the PS3 version are available yet.

It looks like Sony are going to have a fight on their hands. As well as having the highest priced console in the current generation, and Nintendo announcing the Wii will be released in Q'4 at a lower price then both Microsoft and Sony's systems Microsoft has today announced they expect to have 10 million 360's sold by the time Sony ship the PS3.

Microsoft pulled another one on Sony today by announcing that Alan Wake from Remedy will in fact be a PC and XBox 360 exclusive title.

TUESDAY MAY 9, 2006

Rockstar has announced that Grand Theft Auto 4 is in development for the Playstation 3 (no word on a current-generation game so probably going to be out of luck PS2 owners) and will be released in North America on October 16, 2007 and in Europe on October 19, 2007. As yet no details or screens have been released.

Konami has announced they will be releasing a game based on Hellboy on both Playstation 3 and PSP in 2007. The game is based on the movies (there's a second one in the works now) as the Dark Horse Comics books. The game is currently in development at Australia's own Krome Studios.

Sega of America has confirmed yet another Playstation 3 game is in development. The title, Golden Axe. Many of you will have fond memories of this side scrolling action title although the next-generation game will be quite different with RPG elements. The PS3 game is in development at San Francisco-based studio, Secret Level and is due out in 2007.

Well we've received a press release from Sony Japan which sheds some light on the Playstation 3 specs, or rather what's not going to be included. The spec sheet indicates that the cheaper 20GB system will be missing many of the features of the 60GB version. Missing is support for Memory Stick/SD/Compact Flash. Also missing is the 802.11b/g wireless networking and most concerning is the removal of HDMI outputs in the cheaper system. HDMI is, of course, the cable which will allow you to view 1080p movies on Blu-Ray - without HDMI you may get a lower resolution image. Also interesting to note is that the 60GB PS3 will have HDMI, but the spec sheet now only lists one HDMI connection, not two as Sony originally announced last year. Also the system only has one ethernet port now, not three as announced last year, and the number of USB ports has dropped from six to four.

MONDAY MAY 8, 2006

Confirmation from Sony Australia that the Playstation 3's will launch here for $AU829.00 for the 20GB version while the 60GB version will launch at a rather steep $AU999.00. Given that the American 60GB one will sell for the equivalent (at today's exchange rate) of $AU779 we're finding the extra $220 pretty hard to stomach. Hopefully, as happened with the PSP Sony Australia will drop the prices before launch. We also don't know why the extra 40GB HDD space should cost an additional $170 - especially when you can by a 300GB PC HDD for that amount of money. We are hearing rumours though that the cheaper model may cut back on other features such as no HDMI - although that is unconfirmed.


SONY PRESS CONFERENCE NOTES

4.00: Conference scheduled to get underway, but no one is permitted inside yet. Expect a delayed start to Sony's conference. How long? Who knows. Stay tuned.

4.12: Still no start. Atendees are still lined up outside the building waiting to get in.

4.33: Still waiting... Go make a coffee, or better still check out some of the previews we've already done for E3 which are all listed above!

4.52: No we're not asleep, but perhaps Sony are... Only 52 minutes late, and still waiting.

4.53:Kaz Hirai has taken the stage, and apologises for the delay. Starts off immediately talking about Playstation 3's power, and that the power is with developers. Talking about the PS3 being a major risk, not a gimmick, and that it is a 'real change'.

4.55: Reconfirmed November launch for Playstation 3. Talking about Playstation 2, reconfirms 103.69 million shipped in half the time it took for the original Playstation. 1.047 billion PS2 games shipped worldwide.

4.57: Kaz has a two Playstation 3's on the table behind him while talking. 216 new Playstation 2 titles to be released by years end.

4.59: Talking about PSP. 18 months young, 17.03 million units shipped worldwide, almost 1 million per month. 545 PSP titles on the market today, 47.3 million games sold. New games on PSP due this year (video shown) LocoRoco (puzzle/platform wierdness), World Tour Soccer 2, Ape Academy 2, Killzone Liberation (looks hot!), B-Boy (Street basketball), Syphon Filter Dark Mirror, TalkMan (translation software), Gangs of London (looking very GTA/Getaway).

5.03: PSP Greatest Hits (Platinum) program to launch in America. Games must sell 250,000+ units and on market for 9 months to qualify. ATV offroad Fury, Ape Escape On the Loose, Hot Shots Golf, Twisted Metal, Wipeout Pure are first 5 titles.

5.09: Just saw a video clip of people loving PS3 and anticipation around the world. Kaz talking about the key features of the PS3, most already known.

5.11: Backwards compatibility re-confirmed. PS3 will support PS2 and PSOne, and PSP will interact with PS3 as well via Wireless, USB or Memory stick. Removable hard disk drive confirmed again, and gigabit ethernet. 1080p video output re-confirmed.

5.14: PS3 will ship with a Hard Disc Drive. Downloadable content and improved game performance. Early November 2006 launch mentioned and on slide - still no date... 10,000 development systems in developers hands, shipping final development kits six months before launch. Games on show floor running on dev kits.

5.16: Welcome Phil Harrison to the stage. Phil introduces Kazanori Yamauchi (Polyphony Digital/Gran Turismo).

5.20: Showing an E3 exclusive demo of Gran Turismo HD. Assets from PS2 GT4 increased in detail, and ported on PS3. The game will run in 1080p (1920 x 1080p). Demo of the Tokyo track first up, then another different track. Kazanori mentioned to take note of the small loading times. in GT4 it was 10-15 seconds, in Gran Turismo HD with optimisation from Hard Drive it's a matter of 2-3 seconds.

5.27: Showed difference between PSOne, PS2 and PS3 GT's, now showing Grand Canyon track.

5.30: The next Gran Turismo will have full network capbilities. Hope to deliver the next Gran Turismo not too far from launch, and not the 1 1/2 years it took to get GT3 onto the PS2.

5.32: Phil Harrison back on stage. Dr Richard Marks, creator of Eye Toy, announced Eye of Judgement. Very strange game where you can add cards onto a table, which is picked up by Eye Toy and then projects characters. Strange!

5.35: Kaz takes the stage once again. Talking about network strategy for Playstation 3, and how it is important to consumers. Includes voice and text messaging, rankings, player profiles, friends lists to create a virtual society. These will be free of charge. Now showing PSP downloadable game - Ridge Racer.

5.41: Phil Harrison back on stage to show online shop interface on Playstation 3. Items can be purchased including levels and weapons for Warhawk being shown. Demo of Singstar on Playstation 3 with downloadable HD content which can be bought through the online shop. Won't show pricing strategy yet, hence bought song for $0.00. Downloaded to PS3's HDD.

5.44: Genji 2 is being shown by Game Republic. Dozens of characters are in a major battle on screen while being played. Gorgeous smoke and fire effects. The game does appear to have some minor slowdown and pauses when you hit each enemy, but certainly looks impressive. Boss encounter with a crab like enemy is very impressive.

5.48: Formula One 2006 being demoed by Phil on Playstation 3. Impressively a PSP can be connected and used as the rear view mirror to sit next to the TV as you play. Impressive.

5.51: Ninja Theory showing off Heavenly Sword. Interestingly the controller the developers are using to show the games appears to be either a PS2 controller, or the new PS3 one (which has gone back to a PS2 design rather then the boomerang shown last year). Heavenly Sword looks spectacular with gorgeous visuals, and very fluid animation. There were monents of, press a certain button at the right time, but the action looks very impressive. God, if all the games look like this we'll be in heaven!

5.56: Video of games further off from release, and possibly not playable at the show. Games include: Lair, Getaway, Afrika (working title) - and very interesting looking Safari styled game, Hot Shots Golf, the very creepy Monster Kingdom (I think!?) from Game Republic.

6.01: Two brand new titles. First is from Studio London. It's the game with the desert diner, shon last year. Some great car sequences, crashes and gunfire, cars setting damaged by bullets, as seen in the recent tech demos. It's called Eight Days.

6.04: The second new game is from Naughty Dog (creators of Crash and Jak). This new game looks to revolve around pirates and treasures with more then a hint of Indiana Jones and some gorgeous jungle locations. No name give, or I missed it.

6.05: Ted Price, President of Insomniac takes the stage to talk about Resistance: Fall of Man. We now have someone actually playing the game which appeared in a trailer from last year. Graphics are stunning. Plenty of enemies on screen, missiles and explosions look awesome. Includes 32 players online competition.

6.10: Phil mentions that concludes the playable game section of the conference. Hands back to Kaz. Time for the third party lineup. Lists titles in development: Assassins Creed, Gundam, Coded Arms Assault, Ridge Racer 7, Call of Duty 3, Tekken 6, Sonic the Hedgehog, Virtua Tennis 3, Virtua Fighter 5, Stranglehold, Fatal Inertia, Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War, and Armored Core 4.

6.18: Electronic Arts' Larry Probst welcomed to the stage to show two brief demos. The first is NBA Live '07 where they show procedural awareness, players following targets, also demo foot planting, lifting feet and so on. Also demo responsiveness of players with slick movements. The second demo is showing character creation with Tiger Woods the first person to use the new capturing software. Realtime demo of tiger woods, looks photorealistic. I have to say that overall Electronic Arts had a pretty piss-weak showing, Where's the games EA?

6.27: Kaz introduces Square-Enix and shows trailer for Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Looks pretty stunning.

6.29: Hideo Kojima and Konami introduced. New trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. All running on PS3 and out in 2007.

6.33: Ken Kutaragi, father of Playstation, and Sony President is brought onto the stage. He shows off the new controller for the Playstation 3. YES! It looks similar in design to the Dual Shock 2. It is, of course, wireless. The controller has six degrees of freedom built in. That means if you tilt the control it tilts in moves in the game world too! This is quite similar to the Nintendo Wii controller in that movement controls the games. Of course it includes analogue and digital sticks, and the buttons.

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This is it... the final controller.
6.39: Phil Harrison introduces Dylan Jobe, producer of Warhawk, and shows the game running with the new PS3 controller. As the control is tipped from side to side the plan banks and pitches fluidly. Graphics in the game really are quite stunning.

6.41: Kaz is back on the stage. To conclude the conference Sony announced worldwide shipments include 2 million at launch, another 2 million by December 31st 2006, and a further 2 million by March 31st 2007. Playstation 3 available in two configurations, one with a 20GB HDD, and a second with 60GB HDD. Prices and dates are as follows.
RELEASE DETAILS
Details Japan America Europe/Australia
Date 11/11/06 17/11/06 17/11/06
20GB Version 59,800 yen $US499 €499
60GB Version Open Price $US599 €599

6.48: That't it folks. There were quite a few playable titles on show, the new controller looks impressive, but the price of the system was a bit higher then expected - and certainly two versions was an interesting take on things. Interestingly no launch titles were announced, Motorstorm, Killzone, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 5 and Eyedentify weren't seen at all, but there were some new games. Anyway that concludes our coverage of the Sony's conference, but stay tuned we we start covering the games in detail. Until then...


Square-Enix has just held their press conference with the big surpirse being the announcement of Finak Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII for the Playstation 3. The games, the latter of which is an action based sequel to the RPG, don't yet have release dates. We do know that the games are being developed by the team that created Kingdom Hearts and is being directed by Motomu Toriyama. The company also confirmed Final Fantasy XII is coming out in America this October.

This is it. At 4.00pm Pacific Standard Time today Sony will be kicking off their conference. The event will last for some time, and naturally the Playstation 3 will be a focus. A release date? Very likely. A price? Hopefully. New game footage and announcements? Is the Pope a Catholic? Stay tuned for plenty of news tomorrow.

While trawling around the web looking for the latest PS3 screenshots and information we came across some extremely interesting information. According to Sega Sonic the Hedgehog on Playstation 3 is due out on November 3rd 2006. What is interesting is that we've been hearing about an 'early' November launch for the system and given that November 3rd is a Friday this is certainly a possibly launch date for the system. With Sony's conference less then 24 hours away we don't have long to find out for certain (hopefully).

Details are still scarce but Sega has announced that Virtua Fighter 5 will be an exclusive title on the Playstation 3. The game is apparently due out in Q'2 2007 and will feature an all-star cast of 17 fighters, including characters from the previous iterations along with two new characters named El Blaze and Eileen.

SUNDAY MAY 7, 2006

The E3 show kicks off in a little over 2 days, well the pre-show conferences do anyway. In a surprise move Sony is first up with their presentation on Monday afternoon in America (Tuesday morning in Australia).

COMPANIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS

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