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2009 E3 SHOW COVERAGE

INTRODUCTION
This years E3 show is again a scaled down version, but the majority of the core companies will be present with few exceptions. Some companies have reduced the numbers going due to fears of Swine Flu which is doing the rounds. Still we expect some massive announcements this year, particularly from Sony. PSP2? PS3 Slimline? Price Cuts? All will be revealed next week.

E3 Related Previews

Want previews of the hottest games from the 2009 E3 show. Well stay tuned. We're going to have dozens of updates for you soon with all-new screenshots and details:

THURSDAY JUNE 4, 2009

Hideo Kojima has confirmed that he will be hands-off for development of Metal Gear Solid Rising which is coming to the XBox 360 and PS3. Instead he will be writing and directing the PSP exclusive Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker which he considers a true sequel to the franchise.

Well it appears that another Metal Gear game is currently in development. Titled Metal Gear Arcade the title is a 3D game (which means you need the 3D glasses) which is essentially Metal Gear Online for the arcades (yes, video game arcades still exist apparently!). No release date nor mention of a port to consoles yet.

Konami have announced that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is currently in development for release on PS3 and XBox 360 in 2010. The game is a co-production between Kojima Productions, Konami Europe and Mercurysteam in Spain. The most exciting aspect is that Hideo Kojima will oversee the project which is being developed by Mercurysteam and produced by Konami Europe. Patrick Stewart and Robert Carlyle have been confirmed as providing voiceovers for the game.

Square-Enix have confirmed that they are working to getting Final Fantasy XIII relesaed in Europe in 2010. The game is scheduled for release in Spring 2010 in America.

Well we speculated about a new game, and we were partially correct. Sony has confirmed a new expansion pack for Wipeout HD is coming to the PS3. Titled Wipeout HD Fury the expansion pack adds 8 new tracks, 13 new ships and three new game modes. Sounds good.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 3, 2009

Phew. Sony America's Jack Tretton has confirmed to Geoff Keighley that Metal Gear Solid Rising will be coming to the PS3. The game was announced at Microsoft's Press Conference, but the subsequent press release omitted any mention of a PS3 version. It was also very strange that the game was not confirmed or mentioned at Sony's Press Conference, even as a quick side-note. Sony fans can relax...

A bit of a clarification this morning. During the Sony press conference they announced Final Fantasy XIV would be a PS3 exclusive. Well that's sort of true. It is a PS3 exclusive for consoles but the game will also be hitting the PC in 2010. Square-Enix has just put up the official website here.

In what will surprise no one at all THQ has officially announced WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 at the E3 Show. No surprise there, out in late 2009 on both PSP and PS3 (and other platforms).

Something we missed reporting from the conference is that 50 PSOne titles will be hitting the Playstation Store this year. Now that's all exciting, but we have to say it would be great if these games would come to Europe as well, we're way behind America on this.

Sony has confirmed that Vidzone will launch in Europe on June 11th. The service will allow you to view music videos, create playlists and so on.

One game which wasn't shown at Sony's E3 show beyond a very brief clip in video form was Eye Pet. This made a splash at E3 2008 and its absence this year disappointed. We have a theory though, the game seems perfectly suited to the new motion controller. If so, a delay until Q'2 2010 is likely. We may hear more from the show floor.

Sony has confirmed that SingStar: Motown is in development for release later this year. The game will include songs from Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder to name a few. Sounds great. Sony are also going to launch new online community features for the game in September including a video editer and SingStar Clubs (which works like a clan).

Rockstar have just issued a press release about their PS3 exclusive title Agent. No date or screenshots yet, but here's what Rockstar say in the press release:

    "We have always enjoyed making action games, and with Agent we are making what we believe will be the ultimate action game," said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. "Agent is a game we have wanted to make for a long time. The team in Edinburgh is doing an amazing job combining intense action, atmosphere and story in a great period setting to create something that feels quite unique. We cannot wait for people to experience this game."

    Agent takes players on a paranoid journey into the world of counter-intelligence, espionage and political assassinations during the height of the Cold War at the end of the 1970s.

Sony Press Conference LiveBlog

So here we are ready for the Sony Press Conference. Stay tuned as we report the big news as it unfolds (Times are in Australian Eastern, show starts at 11am in LA)...
  • (4:07) Seems that Sony's conference, as seems to happen every year, is going to be starting a few minutes late...
  • (4:11) It's starting. A video reel showing off a tonne of games is being shown. Jack Tretton, President and CEO, takes the stage, Makes a joke about people actually turning up seeing as so many press leaks take place. Pressure to do justice to the 364 games coming out on Sony platforms this year. 40 x 80 foot screen to show the games!
  • (4.15) Modern Warfare 2, FFXIII, Ratchet & Clank Future, Batman Arkham Asylum, Heavy Rain, Beatles Rock Band coming to PS3. No doubt this is to re-confirm that many of these are multi-platform (except R&C and Heavy Rain which are PS3 exclusives).
  • (4:17) PS2 Talk. 9 million PS2's sold in last year, $US99 and it was the highest selling console in April, 100 new games in 2009. PS3 Install base growing, 22 million units sold globally. More territories to get PS3 in late 2009 (mainly South American countries).
  • (4:20) Infamous gets mentioned, and applauded (check out our review here).
  • (4:21) Evan Wells from Naughty Dog is on stage to show Uncharted 2. Multiplayer Beta starts midnight in America. Gameplay shown, the game really does look amazing with some great comedic moments "We have to climb that thing?" "Yar, that's usually what happens". Crowd laughs. Nathan then battles a helicopter gunship, intense, spectacular.
  • (4:25) Jack's back. MAG is introduced, live gameplay with Andy Bodewin from Zipper Interactive and 8 participants on-stage in a squad. They are demoing with 256 players live around America. All in-game, realtime, a very large map and very impressive overall. Will be playable on the show floor.
  • (4:32) Moving onto the PSP. 15 million PSP's sold last year pushing the system to over 50 million units. Bundles with Rock Band Unplugged, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Assassin's Creed Bloodlines, Hanna Montana bundle with purple unit coming out late this year.
  • (4:34) Kaz Hirai introduced to stage. Talking about digital technology on the PSP. Introducing a new PSP, for those no longer needing tangible media. It's called "Worst Kept Secret of E3" Hehe. Actually it's the PSP Go (as we all know!). It will not replace PSP-3000 or UMD. Specs as leaked a couple of days go. Built in Wi-Fi, 16GB Flash Memory, Bluetooth, M2 Memory Expansion support.
  • (4:39) Media Go - new software to access Playstation Store from your PC. New PSP applications, Sense-Me. Will release in Fall and is a music selection software which goes by your mood. PSP Toolkit for developers price drop by 80%! All PSP titles from now on will be UMD and downloadable through Playstation Store. PSP Go $US249 (current unit is $US169 so a bit dearer - we have to question that somewhat given the smaller screen, removal of UMD drive etc) and 249 Euro October 1 release, 26,800 yen on November 1 in Japan.
  • (4:42) Video Delivery Service available now on PSP - where is Europe guys!! Plenty of new video content providers announced including E!, Magnolia, Weinstein Company and so on. (No mention of Vidzone?)
  • (4:43) Kazunouri Yamauchi introduced. Gran Turismo PSP announced running on PSP Go. Runs at 60fps! 800 cars and 45 tracks with 60 layout versions of those tracks. Ad-Hoc racing for up to 4-players. Trading and sharing of cars between your, and your friends', garages so you personally don't need to unlock every car. The game is playable on E3 show floor. Video of the game shown, not much in-game footage though. October 1, 2009 release!
  • (4:50) Kaz talks Metal Gear Solid. Hideo Kojima on stage. Snake is coming back to the PSP Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker confirmed. Setting is 10 years after MGS3, 1970's. True sequel to the Metal Gear franchise. Kojima is writing the script, main MGS4 team is working on this game. Trailer, very impressive with great in-game footage. Out in 2010.
  • (4:57) Jack is back on stage to talk another big game - Resident Evil. 40 million games sold. Resident Evil is coming to PSP in 2010 in an all-new game. No details.
  • (5:59) Reeling off a heap of PSP games, and showing a video. Video shows LBP, Jak and Daxter, Motorstorm, SOCOM FTB3, Monster Hunter Freedom, Soul Calibur, Harry Potter, Tekken 6, Tiger Woods, Pixeljunk Monsters, Madden NFL, Tennis?, Fat Princess, Star Wars, Dogz, Hanna Montana, Rock Band *and a couple I missed). Impressive.
  • (5:04) Playstation Network. 475 million downloads, 24 million registered users, 200 titles of which 90 are exclusive to PSN. Final Fantasy VII downloadable today through the store - America, not likely Europe we must add.
  • (5:06) Playstation Home has 6.5 million users worldwide. 100,000 SF4 and RE5 virtual items sold in 2 months. inFamous, Buzz, SOCOM spaces coming soon. Home video shown.
  • (5:09) PS3 Video for upcoming games. Here we go... Uncharted 2, inFamous, Madden NFL 10, White Knight Chronicles, MAG, Batman Arkham Asylum, Brutal Legend, Dirt 2, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Wet, Mafia II, Buzz, Saw, Ice Age 3, Tekken 6, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, Bionic Commando, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, was that Yakuza 3?!, Pixeljunk Shooter, Trash Panic, Katamari, Fat Princess, EyePet (dam this should be a feature game), SingStar Queen, Spider-man, Lost Planet 2, DC Heros, LBP, Saboteur, Bioshock 2, Ratchet & Clank, Fight Night Round 4, God of War III. Tried to get them all, that was most I think.
  • (5:14) Rockstar Games... will this be DLC or the exclusive? Here we go. It's the PS3 exclusive new property which is called Agent. Sadly no video or images shown which probably means it's a way off.
  • (5:15) Assassin's Creed 2 shown on PS3 being played on-stage. Crowds look great, Visuals look better then previous game, again great animation, will have Da Vinci as a friend so you can use his inventions such as his flying machine. Double kill is pretty awesome. Out November 17, 2009.
  • (5:22) Final Fantasy XIII coming to PS3 in Spring 2010. New trailer shown, damn that looks gorgeous both in-game and pre-rendered.
  • (5:25) Square-Enix also at work on Final Fantasy XIV!!! Playstation 3 Exclusive for 2010!! (Audible gasps from the crowd on this one!). Trailer being shown, again it's damn impressive. (is this a new name for Final Fantasy XIII Versus?) No, it appears to be an online game? "There's one that didn't leak out huh!" says Jack Tretton.
  • (5:28) Motion controlled gaming. New controller? Yep, they have a prototype, looks ugly, but they stress its only a work in progress. Going to show some tech demos. Everything is live, no video playback. Controller can detect movement in all directions, including distance from TV. Has trouble hitting the ball, they change to bigger and bigger items. Looks very accurate, and in a slight dig at Microsoft they state you can see the live video with the PSEye. Pretty funny, and fairly impressive demo. Damn it's accurate - especially with writing and drawing. Showing off a RTS game, and also character animation and action with the controller. Archery really looked awesome with two controllers. Launch in Spring 2010.
  • (5:40) Jack's back talking LBP. Re-confirms LBP is heading to PSP. New costumes from Disney Interactive Studios coming out in Fall.
  • (5:42) Jack announces a new game in Play, Create, Share genre. ModNation Racers from San Diego Studios and United Front Games. Create, share and remix characters and cars. Racing looks slick but gamers will be able to build and design their own tracks for sharing. Tracks are made simply by driving around an open area. You can literally race on the track within seconds. You can then change the road surface type, add in terrain such as mountains or lakes in the backgrounds, and then set the objects on and around the tracks. An impressive title due in 2010.
  • (5:51) Team Ico time... The Last Guardian. Trailer shown, same as the one leaked a while ago, but perhaps a bit expanded? Can't remember. Damn, it's impressive though.
  • (5:57) Teaser video of Gran Turismo 5. Has WRC, NASCAR, branding on it. No date or details. I'm going to assume then that a 2009 release is out of the question with the focus on the PSP title instead.
  • (5.59) God of War III first few minutes to be shown according to Jack. Design Director takes controls (it's a demo - will it be released on the Store? Fingers Crossed). The game looks super-slick already with some gorgeous animation, plenty of blood and some epic battles. The giant boss (Helios?) looks epic. Due for release March 2010.
  • (6:07) Jack Tretton sums up. End of conference.
  • (6:08) That was a pretty damn impressive demonstration no doubt about it. Some great games, but no PS3 Slimline, and no PS3 price cut disappointed - particularly the latter. The lack of Vidzone news also lends support to my belief it will be Europe only to begin with. Surprising the Heavy Rain wasn't shown given recent showings in Europe. Then again the Yanks didn't 'get' Fahrenheit when it came out. The lack of Eye Pet, given its showing last year, disappoints too. The biggest bombshell was Final Fantasy XIV - due for release next year. How are they going to release two games in the franchise in under 12 months! Uncharted 2, God of War III and The Last Guardian looked stellar as did Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker and Gran Turismo on PSP. Thats it for now. Expect a flood of videos and previews soon...

    Well Nintendo have held their press conference and, to be honest, it was quite disappointing. Games shown and announced include a new Super Mario Brothers, a new Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resorts, Kingdom Hearts on DS, Mario and Luigi RPG on DS, Style Savvy (clothes designing game/program!) for DS, Super Mario Galaxy 2 (no date given), Resident Evil and The Conduit on Wii and finally a new Wii Metroid: Other M for 2010.

    TUESDAY JUNE 2, 2009

    Well Microsoft have had their conference (details on that below) and Sony are putting the finishing touches on theirs which will take place at 11am in Los Angeles (4am Eastern Australia time). If we can we'll try to update out website as the event takes place, if not, it will be soon after. Best of all though if you want to watch it live I would suggest you check out G4TV, IGN or GameTrailers. The Nintendo Conference takes place 2 hours earlier and will also be streamed.

    Ubisoft promoted Assassin's Creed 2 at their conference today and while only a pre-rendered trailer was shown, a release date of November 17, 2009 was announced. Here's a copy of the trailer to check out:

    Speaking of Ubisoft the company showed a couple of other games at their press conference including Avatar which is based up on James Cameron's upcoming movie, RUSE which is a great looking action game, and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle being the bigger titles. One surprise was the lack of showing for Alive, a game which was rumoured for a 2009 release.

    Microsoft held their E3 Conference today and there were indeed some impressive games shown including Beatles Rock Band, Tony Hawk with new motion sensing board, Modern Warfare 2, Final Fantasy XIII (which are all coming to PS3). Other games include Crackdown 2, Shadow Complex a downloadable game from Epic, Left 4 Dead 2, Splinter Cell Conviction, Forza 3, Halo ODST, Halo Reach, Alan Wake and Metal Gear Solid Rising (which is rumoured for PC and PS3 as well). Beyond that Project Natal was the big news, a motion sensing camera / controller which even has face recognition for signing in an voice recognition for controlling the system (turning on and off). Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux showed off Milo, an AI styled interactive game which uses the Natal (which, by the way, isn't due out in 2009). Finally the XBox 360 will also get Facebook and Twitter integration and Last.fm for streaming music. Oh wait, how about a portable XBOx to compete with PSP Go? Just kidding... All-in-all though we have to admit that this was a very impressive showing from Microsoft.

    Electronic Arts also had their conference today and showed off a tonne of content. One of the most interesting games is the Pandemic developed Saboteur. The E3 trailer is pretty impressive so check it out below:

    MONDAY JUNE 1, 2009

    Apparently Microsoft has a very special surprise for their conference. To accomodate this they have moved their conference up 5 minutes earlier to 10.25am PST (which is 3.25am Tuesday Eastern Australian Time by our books). Exactly what will be announced, will be known in hours.

    Electronic Arts has just announced that Crysis 2 is currently in development for PC, XBox 360 and PS3. The game is currently being worked on at Crytek and will use the all-new CryEngine 3. One of Sega's biggest titles due out in the coming year is bound to be Bayonetta. A trailer has just been released for the E3 Show and it looks pretty special for those after some hack and slash action.

    Activision and id Software have confirmed that Wolfenstein will be released on the PS3 on the 7th August with the American release three days earlier. Retro gamers will be overjoyed to hear that Wolfenstein 3D will be released on the Playstation Store (in America at least) on Thursday June 4th.

    Square-Enix has unveiled a new action game called Neir. The game, which is due in 2010, is currently being developed by Cavia and is along a similar vein as Devil May Cry or God of War in terms of gameplay. Here's a trailer:

    LucasArts has confirmed that LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues is currently in development at Traveller's Tales for release in Q'3 2009. The game will be released on PS3 and PSP and will includes parts of the original trilogy, and the fourth movie which hit cinemas last year. The games big new addition though is the addition of user-generated content and levels.

    Another of the biggest games due out soon is Mafia II from 2K. It certainly looks impressive and if reports of a 2010 release are true that's a bit disappointing, but we'll give the developers time to polish it off.

    Apparently those interviewing Polyphony Digital's Kazanori Yamauchi at the E3 Show have been asked not to ask questions about Gran Turismo 5. No reason has been given, but speculation is that Sony wish to focus on the PSP version of Gran Turismo as mentioned by John Killer in the PSP GO leaked video.

    It's not really game news but Gore Verbinski has told The LA Times that if a Bioshock movie is to be made it will have to be shot outside America which is too expensive. He then mentioned two options - the UK and Australia! The movie was put on hold in April due to excessive production costs. Borderlands is one very hot looking title and the trailer for E3 2009 is available now. Don't delay, just check it out:

    SUNDAY MAY 31, 2009

    PSP GO Information Leaked Early
    Someone working on the Playstation Store is going to get their ass kicked - big time. Someone uploaded and made available an issue of Qore (an American video newsletter on their Playstation Store) a couple of days early with one focus being on the PSP GO which was due to be announced at Sony's press conference at 11am Tuesday morning (4am Wednesday morning Australian Time). The video includes confirmation of Gran Turismo and Metal Gear on the PSP as well as LittleBigPlanet and Jak & Daxter.

    The system is indeed a slide-out system, will include 16GB of internal flash memory, no UMD Drive, is 42% lighter then the current PSP-3000, Blutooth, and a 3.8" screen. It doesn't appear to include a camera though which is disappointing. Interestingly the current UMD system will remain on sale for people that prefer physical media (good call we say!). Anyway here's the video currently on Youtube:

    SATURDAY MAY 30, 2009

    Sony Related E3 Predictions
    People always ask me what to expect from the E3 show, what games will appear, and the big announcements. Here I'm making some predictions (admittedly some based on leaked info) of what may occur at the event:

    • 1. The PS3 Slimline will be announced and detailed with pretty much the same spec as the current system. The Slimline will be launched around the globe in October.
    • 2. A heavily revised PSP will be announced which omits the UMD drive, includes 8GB in-built memory and a camera. It will also have a slide out control panel with either a larger screen as a result, or a smaller unit (the latter being the most likely).
    • 3. There will not be a price drop for the PS3 announced at the E3 show. Sony will want to run down stock of the current model first (but they won't say that of course!).
    • 4. Sony will have a large focus on downloadable games through the Playstation Store primarily for the new PSP, but also the PS3.
    • 5. Sony may announce development of new titles in the following key franchises: Warhawk, MotorStorm, Twisted Metal and Wipeout.
    • 6. Heavy Rain is confirmed for a 2010 release (instead of 2009), God of War III is confirmed as a late 2009 release.
    • 7. Gran Turismo 5 is confirmed for late 2009, damage may be included but is scrapped for inclusion in Prologue.
    • 8. Gran Turismo Portable is finally confirmed for a launch title with the new PSP.
    • 9. Project Trico is shown, no release date given (We suspect that will be announced at TGS).
    • 10. A new Metal Gear title is confirmed and will be a PSP exclusive. A new PS3 Metal Gear game is also possibly but a long way off.
    • 11. Capcom's new secret game is a new Onimusha title.
    • 12. Vidzone is confirmed for immediate release (June) and will launch in Europe first. There won't be any way to save video clips to the Hard Drive though.