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2012 E3 SHOW COVERAGE

INTRODUCTION
Another year, another E3 Show and this one is a little more exciting then usual with the slight sniff of next-gen hardware in the air. I say slight, as both Sony and Microsoft have stated there won't be any next-gen hardware shown, but you never know. Nintendo on the other hand will be Wii U central with their new console due out within months. Sony on the other hand will be looking to keep the PS3 ticking, and pushing the PSVita very hard. Microsoft? Well expect them to roll out another Halo... Should be an interesting year.

E3 Related Previews

    Previews will be added in the coming days...

WEDNESDAY JUNE 6, 2012

After the last couple of days of conferences it's now over to the show floor where all companies can show off their wares and make their announcements. Rather then prattle on here's the main news.

So there was no PS4 or XBox 720 unveiled at this years E3 Show, but that's not stopping us getting a peek at the next-generation with Square-Enix showing off their next game engine. Two things to note - this is not pre-rendered as the developers changed parameters during a live demo which changed the look. The second is that while this is Final Fantasy themed - Square-Enix have stressed this is not from any upcoming title. Now, prepare to set resolution to 1080p and pick your jaw up from the floor.

One surprise for many was that Sony didn't show off The Last Guardian their conference. The game, which has been in development (hell) at Team Ico for years, should have been shown if the game was going to be released soon. Issues became apparent last December when the games director Fumito Ueda, left (although he is still acting as a consultant) and now Sony Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed that the game has been experience some development difficulties by stating "we are working through some engineering effort". He also denied the game was shifting to PS4 by stating "What does that question mean? It is a PS3 game" when asked if it was Still a PS3 game.

Ubisoft have confirmed their very impressive looking stealth/technology games Watch Dogs will be released on PS3, PC and XBox 360. Sadly there's still no release date.

Nintendo Conference
After all the bells and whistles the Nintendo Conference was the last, and promised the most "next-gen" excitement. We put that in inverted commas as the Wii U apparently has a similar, or perhaps slightly increased, power over the PS3/360. It does, though have a large touchscreen controller, and a few other bells and whistles, but it's not cutting-edge technology.

In terms of the actual Wii U while no date (besides "Holiday") or price were given the games on display were fairly impressive looking and it hsa been confirmed the system uses an AMD Radeon GPU running up to 1080p, an IBM Power based multi-core CPU and can support two Wii U GamePad controllers. Speaking of which the Gamepad Controllers will take 2.5 hours to charge, and last 3-5 hours. The console also has four USB 2.0 connectors (no USB 3.0 disappoints), and six-channel PCM audio. I still have reservations about playing games on the large tablet-like controller (think an iPad with buttons and many times thicker), but Nintendo knows it's about the gameplay. Games shown for the new console include Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros U, a Wario game, Mass Effect 3, Lego City Undercover, Assassin's Creed 3, ZombieU, Darksiders 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Sing, Wii Fit U and the very odd Nintendo Land.

As expected the 3DS got very little coverage while the good old Nintendo Wii wasn't given much love at all, as one would expect. Overall Nintendo didn't really build the Wii U excitement as much as we expected.

TUESDAY JUNE 5, 2012

Sony's Press Conference starts at 11am Australian Eastern Time so make sure you tune as we'll be liveblogging the event. Earlier today Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft held their conferences and there were actually only a couple of big surprises - EA grabbing the UFC license from THQ, and Ubisoft showing off a fantastic looking new IP called Watch Dogs.

Sony Conference
So many questions about Sony's conference will contain. Plenty of new games for sure, almost certainly no PS4 after no next-gen at Microsoft's no-show but who knows. Stay tuned... We'll be updating the blog below, or you can watch the live stream from Sony's site below (this kicks off around 10.30am).

  • (10:10) Sony's Conference begins in 50 minutes - keep refreshing this page for updates as they come in.
  • (10.30) Sony's video feed is live now, we've embedded it below if you'd rather watch (probably not advisable, despite the temptation, if you're at work and likely to get fired!)
  • (10.35) Confirmation that The Last of Us and God of War: Ascension will be shown.
  • (10.40) Announcement that one purchase of Sound Shapes will allow play on PSVita and PS3.
  • (11.00) And it's showtime... Show kicking off with sizzle video showing a tonne of games; God of War, Darksiders 2, Tomb Raider, Sorcery, Vita Games, Madden, Bioshock Infinite, Hitman, Mickey Mouse, LBP Karting, and many more we don't have time to even name!
  • (11.05) Jack Tretton hits the stage (President and CEO of SCEA). Talking about the scrutiny that presentations at E3 come under. 17 years of E3. Pay tribute to the "true heroes" of the industry - gamers. Millions watching online, in blogs and in PS Home.
  • (11:08) Kaz Harai (CEO of Sony) is attending - front row seat of course.
  • (11:09) Completely new IP from Quantic Dream (makers of Heavy Rain) - David Cage on stage. New project is called Beyond: Two Souls. Tells the story over 15 years of a woman's life including what's beyond life. Jodie Holmes is the characters name, to be played by Ellen Page (maybe that's why her likeness was chaged in Naughty Dog's The Last of Us). Demo of an early scene in the game in realtime, very impressive.
  • (11:18) Jack's back. Ps3 in sixth year of life cycle. Bringing loved characters together (Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale). It's coming to PSVita and cross compatible with PS3. Lengthy on-stage demo given and it looks pretty slick.
  • (11:27) Big Daddy (Bioshock) confirmed to be in the brawler, as is Nathan Drake (Uncharted).
  • (11:31) Playstation Plus talked about - for $5 per month gamers will be given selection of free games to play every month.\
  • (11:33) PSOne classics coming to PSVita including Final Fantasy VII!
  • (11:34) Hulu Plus and Crackle to join Youtube on PSVita.
  • (11:38) Assassin's Creed III Liberation coming to PSVita and a bundle pack for the system.
  • (11:38) Assassin's Creed III on-stage demo for PS3. Unveiled that the game doesn't just take place on land, but also at sea. Demo showing battle between large sailing ships is show. Out October 30, 2012 as we know. A PS3 bundle including the game and exclusive DLC will also be released at launch.
  • (11:44) Jack's back - Assassin's Creed III bundle with PS3 including exclusive DLC.
  • (11:45) Dan Hay from Ubisoft is on-stage for Far Cry 3. There game will include 4-player co-op! On-stage demo of this looks very slick indeed with some jaw-droppingly gorgeous visuals.
  • (11:49) Jack is talking Playstation Move - 250 titles available. Epic Mickey 2, Sports Champions 2, LBP Karting, Bioshock Infinite.
  • (11:50) New President and Group CEO Andrew House takes the stage. "Playstation is about innovation, hard at work on completely new experience". From London Studio comes all new interactive books using Augmented Reality. Think EyePet but as a book where you can afffect the stories. Looks interesting. It's called Wonderbook. One title is Diggs Nightcrawler. J.K. Rowling will be creating Book of Spells for the platform which is given a live demo. Kids will probably love this when it lands Fall 2012.
  • (12:04) Playstation experience coming to Android tablets and phones through Playstation Suite - Beta opened in April. HTC will be first non-Sony group partner for the Suite. Playstation Suite renamed to Playstation Mobile.
  • (12:08) Jack Tretton introduce God of War Ascension with on-stage demo. It's looking super slick, and violent, as expected. Yes, there is some massive mutated elephant walking around on two legs smashing Kratos! The game is due out March 12, 2013.
  • (12:17) We've moved onto The Last Of Us which looks just as spectacular in motion as we've seen in the screenshots. Animation, texturing, locations all look spectacular. Plenty of dialogue between the main characters during gameplay too.
  • (12:19) This has been a very impressive showing from Sony, but do they have much more up their sleeve? Killzone 4, GT6, PS4? - stay tuned
  • (12:22) Action in The Last of Us looks intense, plenty of swearing, a cover system, inventory system where objects can be created (they showed a molotov which looked great). Certainly a mature game, much moreso then the Uncharted franchise even. Massive cheers from the crowd for this one!
  • (12:24) Jack is looking pretty happy with those last two games, and rightfully so. Sadly that's it.. No major surprises or announcements. That disappoints a bit actually, but the quality of God of War and The Last of Us were phenomenal.


    Broadcasting live with Ustream

    Electronic Arts Conference
    Electronic Arts had a somewhat muted presentation this year, primarily as pretty much everything that was announced had been previously seen, but there was one major surprise with the company announcing that they had secured exclusive rights to the UFC license after purchasing it from THQ. THQ will continue to sell their UFC games until March 31, 2013. Of course the company did demo their jaw-dropping titles including Crysis 3 and Medal of Honor Warfighter. In other news the recently leaked news about Dead Space 3 was confirmed with the game introducing co-op drop-in/out gameplay. The game takes place on an ice planet and will be released on PS3, PC and Xbox 360 in February 2013.

    Battlefield Premium was also announced and is launching this week for PS3. This essentially gives you access to all the downloadable content (there are five packs promised), as well as other perks and benefits. Premium costs $US49.99. Battlefield 3 has now shipped over 15 million units.

    The other big announcement and showing at E3's Presention was a new Need for Speed: Most Wanted from Criterion which sees the return of Autolog and will be released on October 30 in America and November 2 in Europe on PS3, PSVita, XBox 360, PC, iOS and Android.

    Ubisoft Conference
    Ubisoft's press conference was held earlier today and there was a large focus on the Wii U games (which included Rayman Legends and Zombie U) which the company has in development. Beyond that though the company showed off Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed 3 and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Each of these games looked quite magnificent and are sure to sell in massive numbers. Just Dance 4 was also confirmed for release on PS3 on October 4 (we well as Wii and 360 with a Wii U to follow at a later date).

    The biggest surprise of Ubisoft's presentation was the unveiling of Ubisoft Montreal's latest title Watch Dogs which seems to combine stealthyness and gadget utilisation with a large open world location (which is filled with people we might add) and plenty of action too. As yet no platforms or release date was announced, although it did appear to be played with a PS3 controller on-stage (who knows, a temp controller for PS4?). Visuals certainly were stunning.

    Microsoft Conference
    Microsoft had an interesting conference, some big games announced, but also lacking some exclusivity really with many big games shown also coming to other platforms. Halo 4 (exclusive), Resident Evil 6 (non-exclusive). Black Ops 2 (non-exclusive) were given on-stage demos with the latter announced to have DLC exclusivity for a period of time (as per previous COD titles). Microsoft also announced an XBox music service (which will also be for Windows 8), as well as SmartGlass streaming service which allows content to stream between XBox 360, Windows 8 tablets and Windows phones.

    Gore Verbinski (director of Pirates of the Carribean films) announced as working on a Kinect exclusive game. Harmonix working on Dance Central 3 for Kinect. LocoCycle from Twisted Pixel announced for 2013 release while Signal Studios announced Ascend: New Gods for XBLA.

    Crystal Dynamics and Microsoft that the first DLC for Tomb Raider will arrive on XBox 360 before PS3 and PC (no time period of exclusivity was given - we assume a month or so).

    Forza Horizon, the open world racing game has been given an October 23 release date.

    MONDAY JUNE 4, 2012

    Just a reminder that we'll be blogging the events from Sony's Press Conference as they happen, and we may even get to have a go at a couple of the others too as they happen. We have no idea what to expect from Sony's conference (well, we have a few ideas), but we're hoping for a couple of big surprises. Tune in at 11am Australian Eastern Time tomorrow.

    Well the E3 Conferences haven't even kicked off yet but Nintendo have released a video on Youtube, running for just over 30 minutes, that outlines their upcoming Nintendo Wii U console, the Gamepad with touchscreen (with discussion of changes over the model shown at E3 2011), and also the new (XBox 360-like) controller. It's quite an interesting video and something to do while we wait for the main conferences in the coming hours/days. Check it out...

    Square-Enix have announced that Tomb Raider will be released on March 5, 2013 around the globe.

    Warner Brothers Games have confirmed that LEGO Lord of the Rings is in development and will be released in late 2012. The game is based on the three Academy Award winning feature films from Peter Jackson. The game will also feature dialogue taken directly from the feature films. Anyone want to bet the line "YOU... SHALL... NOT... PASS!" makes the cut?

    We're pretty excited by this news with Konami announcing that developers Mercury Steam are currently working on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 for PS3 and XBox 360. We loved the original game (you can see our full review here. A release date is yet to be revealed.

    Konami and Platinum Games have confirmed that Metal Gear Solid: Revengence will be released in early 2013. Perhaps more exciting in the near future is the fact that a demo of the game will be included in the Zone of Enders HD Collection which is due later this year, while the demo will also be released on PSN at a later date.

    LucasArts has announced a new third person action game in the Star Wars universe. Called Star Wars: 1313 the game - which has no release date or announced platforms as yet we must add - sees you playing the role of a bounty hunter in the criminal underworld on Coruscant. Perhaps more interestingly the game has a mature rating. More details should be revealed in the next few days.

    SUNDAY JUNE 3, 2012

    So here we are yet again for another annual E3 coverage and, wouldn't you know it, the day we start to kick it off we have a power outage and then loss of Internet Connectivity which won't be resolved until Wednesday! Oh, the humanity. Fortunately we have 3G connectivity which should keep us going (we hope).

    So what about E3 2012? Well this is an interesting time for all platform holders. The Nintendo Wii U will be the main hardware launch this year - it is due out in a matter of months after all. But the question remains - will Microsoft or Sony pull out their next-gen hardware for a showing? They've both said no, but one can hope. Microsoft may struggle this year - no new hardware - and a system that is reaching the end of its life. Sony on the other hand also have their aging PS3, but do have plenty to show off for the Playstation Vita, and we suspect there will be a big push on that platform this year, leaving 2013 free for PS4 domination.

    SATURDAY JUNE 2, 2012

    It's like Christmas! Oh yes it is for any gamer and right now, with days before E3 kicks off, it's time for me to make my E3 predictions... Who knows what will come true or not...

    My E3 Predictions

  • 1. Playstaion Vita will get a price drop worldwide, or have several games bundled in with the system (we think the former is more likely, hopefully). PS3 may also get a price cut, but more likley no announcement - I suspect an announcement around September.
  • 2. Sony show off Killzone 4 due for release in February 2013.
  • 3. Playstation Plus gets revamped and expanded with different tiers offering different bonuses (there are plenty of rumours about this already).
  • 4. Quantic Dream to announce next game, again a PS3 exclusive, no date and few details.
  • 5. Sony announce Diablo III to be PS3 console exclusive.
  • 6. The Last Guardian is still (remarkably) absent from E3.
  • 7. Sony's megaton announcement to be Gran Turismo 6 for PS3 due 2013 (which means 2015).
  • 8. Sony and Electronic Arts announce some more exclusive bonuses - will they keep their promises though?
  • 9. Final Fantasy Versus XIII shown in trailer form.
  • 10. God of War Ascension, The Last of Us given major on-stage playable demos.
  • 11. Sony announce new game in Jak & Daxter franchise, not developed by Naughty Dog.
  • 12. Sony suprise by announcing Tokyo Jungle for release outside Japan (not likely at all, but here's hoping).
  • 13. Playstation Vita to have large focus, announcement and first showing of games including Call of Duty, Killzone, Resident Evil, Medal of Honor, and PS2 remakes.
  • 14. Nintendo will dominate this show due to Wii U, with plenty of games, but no price announced. 3DS gets decent support whie Wii to have minimal showing.
  • 15. Microsoft have a poor show with some new games for XBox 360 but little else.
  • 16. Sony will have a very good show with plenty of strong PS3 titles, and a big focus on PSVita. The Playstation 4 could put in a surprise "last minute" teaser video show to steal the glory from Nintendo and Microsoft. Fingers crossed...