E3 2008: Sony's Press Conference – The Best Yet

Thus far, Sony’s has been the best press conference of E3 2008, hands down. Their turkey melts were delicious, as were the mini-quiches and those fruit drinks they were passing out. The wait staff was prompt and efficient, particularly around the open bar. All I had to do was say “beer,” and there’d be one in my hand within seconds. Oh yeah, and they talked about games or something like that, I think…

Jack Tretton kicked off Sony’s press conference with pretty much a recap of everything we already knew (Blu-Ray wins the hi-def format war, the history of their company, etc.). He concluded by stating that 2008 would be “the year of the PS3″ and that this year they would be “all about the software.” Thankfully, he seemed to stick to his word as the show went on.

Ted Price from Insomniac then came out to give a live demo fo Resistance 2. He showed a part of a level where you encounter a 300-foot Leviathan, a building-sized beast that starts tearing through a 1950′s city trying to get at you. It was a pretty sweet show actually, and really showed off their emphasis on scale for this game. He also showed a new trailer for a game that basically set up the story and showed off more creepy monsters.

Then Jack Tretton stepped out again to run through the basic “numbers talk” we’ve gotten at all the other press conferences; like how many consoles they’ve sold to date and such. Luckily, they came up with an inventive way of conveying this information. As Tretton spoke, a live demo was shown for Little Big Planet that had been specifically created for the show. Instead of the usual graphs and charts, we got to watch Sackboy run through a level tripping switches to reveal facts and such. Besides being just more entertaining to watch, it also showed off the incredible versatility of Little Big Planet.

Tretton then went on to talk about the PS2, but of course didn’t really have much to say. All he really announced was that there were 130 titles coming out in 2008 and that a new Lego Batman bundle was slated to come out for $149…so…moving on…

Then he turned to the Playstation Network and actually had a couple cool things to announce. For one, there’s Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty coming out on the PSN, which will retain the same quality graphics as the previous game. It’ll be shorter than past full games, but it will also cost only $14.99. We also got to see more of Home, including the “living game spaces,” which are rooms that are decortated to reflect certain games. You can also meet people and launch an online match from these rooms. Tretton also announced that movies and TV shows were coming to the PSN for both sale and rental. This content can be transferred and viewed on your PSP, and some movies are already available for download right now.

The next discussion centered around the PSP. Another bundle was announced, which will include Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, National Treasure 2 on UMD, and a voucher for Echochrome; all for $199. The biggest announcement though was for a new title called “Resistance: Retribution.” As you’d expect, it’s essentially a Resistance game for the PSP, though the trailer we saw seemed to show the gameplay form the third-person.

Finally though, we got the PS3, which of course had the most surprising announcements. It started off small with the announcement of “Life With Playstation,” a new program that will update you on news, weather, etc. My favorite part though (probably because of my inner comic book geek) was when Jim Lee came out to talk about the upcoming MMO, DC Universe Online. The game will allow you to create your own superhero or villain and then enter the DC Universe to either fight or help classic heroes like Batman, Superman, and The Flash. Hard to say how the gameplay will work exactly, but the short trailer we saw played like a who’s who in the DC catalogue.

Tretton also announced that the new core system will essentially be the 80 GB model (guess those sales of the Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle tipped them off onto what people wanted most). We were then shown a video montage of developers basically saying that they’ve now figured out how to use the PS3 effectively to create some awesome games, which was actually a little reassuring to hear. There was also of course the expected announcement of God of War III, acompanied by a cool teaser trailer. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be a few more months before we get any more details on the game other than the fact that it exists. Same goes for a brief trailer we were shown for Infamous, which is due in Spring of next year.

They ended the whole press conference by announcing a brand new game that they claim couldn’t be done on any other console, and they’re probably right from the sounds of things. The game is called “MAG: Massive Action Game,” and the title pretty much says it all. The game’s main feature is that that you can have huge 256-player online matches. You can also split up into eight-person squads, with one person as the leader; and each person can expand their skills as they play. The trailer didn’t show much though other than a typical military exchange in a typical Middle Eastern setting, though with a few noticeable highlights, such some paratroopers dropping out of a carrier. It should certainly make for some spectacular-looking firefights.

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24 Comments on E3 2008: Sony's Press Conference – The Best Yet

Rollett

On July 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm

That Turkey melt looks tasty… Should tell me what was in it so i can make one… lol

Evismang

On July 16, 2008 at 9:58 pm

I don’t know about that title…

Sure the food and service look great, but it seems like they didn’t beat the FFXIII announcement for 360.

And, since 2008 is the “Year of the PS3″, where’s everything for the PS3? The year is already half over. So far, it looks to me like they got a crappy exclusive (Haze), shared a great game with 360 (GTA 4), and lost an exclusive (FF13). Although, admittedly, I don’t really keep track of game releases anymore, so I don’t know what all either PS3 or 360 has had released in 2008. But browsing through all of the holiday-release stuff, my tastes are saying that 360 has a better holiday line-up (holiday for me includes september through december). Gears of War 2, Fable 2, Left 4 Dead (releases same day as Resistance 2, will be interesting to see how that turns out), and Infinite Undiscovery. Compared to PS3′s SOCOM, MotorStorm 2, BioShock (which 360 owners got to play a year earlier), and Resistance 2.

Dunno. I’d love for PS3 to finally start coming into it’s own like it’s supposed to be doing this year, but I’m just not seeing it.

prodesk

On July 17, 2008 at 12:57 am

I’m pleased with Sony’s press conference, and in my opinion I thought it was excellent. But, the whole thing about losing (FF13) is no big deal at all, I mean c’mon its just ONE game xbox360 got from 1 console, and Sony don’t mind losing it at all. I don’t know why people focusing only on (FF13), it’s retarded. SE is forced to lower the quality of that game to fit it in dvd format for 360.

lol

On July 17, 2008 at 2:05 am

sony is slowly progressing its still a baby man let it grow.

Evismang

On July 17, 2008 at 2:14 am

@prodesk

I have to respectfully disagree. FF13 is actually a pretty big title, and quite a significant blow to PS3. There are lots of people that were going to buy a PS3 exclusively for FF13, and now they won’t, especially since 360 is cheaper.

Square Enix has always provided quality games. They won’t lower the quality of the 360 version or the PS3 version. I have a feeling that they’ll be able to fit it on 1 DVD, and if they don’t, well they can always put it on more. Blue Dragon came on 4. Lost Odyssey came on 4. It’s sort of like how people don’t think that Metal Gear Solid 4 could be done on 360 because of the DVD size limitations. The only reason that MGS4 used all 50GB of the Blu-Ray Disc it was on is because the PS3 can’t read compressed data, so it all had to be uncompressed. If the data was compressed, I’d imagine that it could be fit on 1 or 2 DVDs.

@lol

How is Sony still a baby? Sony has been in the gaming industry longer than Microsoft has. Compared to Nintendo, yes, they’re both young companies. For pure money, yes, both Sony and Nintendo are tiny compared to Microsoft, but still not truly small. But Sony has a lot of experience compared to Microsoft, so I don’t see how they’re considered still growing. Sure, the PS3 is still growing, but not Sony.

Dave

On July 17, 2008 at 3:40 am

@Evis

I think lol was referring to the PS3 still being a baby console, which it is in comparison with the 360.
The 360 still has the bigger range of games (which, lets face it, is the reason the PS2 beat the XB-1 originally), but the whole thing is looking a lot healthier than at release and you’re starting to see some of the potential of the system being tapped.

prodesk

On July 17, 2008 at 3:46 am

@Evis, SE said it themselves that the only difference we’ll see the quality on Blu-ray vs DVD. How can you even compare DVD to Blu-ray?? Thats just silly.

Gamble me

On July 17, 2008 at 4:22 am

Infact Sony is the father of all gaming hubs. Apart from one of the early movers and developers their grasp on the gaming world in simply mind blowing.

Norbit

On July 17, 2008 at 4:53 am

@ Evismang

They are getting just half of the FFXIII (not Versus) release in just 2 regions in about 2 years time so Sony still have exclusivity on the entire game in its biggest region and anyone who was going to buy a PS3 for FF in the west will still do so or they will miss half of the release.

The announcement of M.A.G. is a far bigger deal. A brand new 256 player online title is a bigger deal imo and it would have been the highlight of Microsoft’s speech if the had announced it.

Steveo

On July 17, 2008 at 6:58 am

We must have been watching different press conferences. I thought Resistance looked good but i hate playing FPS on a PS controller

Mikouen

On July 17, 2008 at 7:44 am

@ Gamble me
Sony is nowhere near anything like the father of the gaming world. They didn’t start it, they won’t be the ones to finish it, and they won’t be the ones to ensure the industry’s survival. Nor will Microsoft, for that matter.

Suggesting that either of these companies is anything important to the gaming world, is just ludicrous, and an insult to those who created gaming technology, the gaming industry and thus by default made the modern gaming industry possible in the first place.

Nintendo and Sega have done far more than Sony or Microsoft for the gaming industry. Without those pioneers there wouldn’t *be* a gaming industry. Don’t forget your roots, and don’t give Sony nor MS more credit than they deserve – it’s not their technology that’s maintaining or advancing the industry, it’s the technology of others which they use to build their units.

On the topic of FFXIII, I can honestly say that having followed the FF series from the start, I won’t be buying anything in the XIII line, and I strongly urge any other FF fans to avoid it like the plague. SE have, for a long time, been releasing sub-standard games, and everyone accepts them like mindless drones. If you want FF to come remotely close to reaching it’s former glory once again, then we’re all gonna have to hit them where it hurts – in the bank book.

I’m not shouting “BOYCOTT!!!” – I’m saying, ignore the Final Fantasy label, judge the games on their own merits, and stop buying the crap ones. SE won’t go to the extra effort to make high-quality games if they know they can throw out junk and people will buy it anyway.

Davn Kincade

On July 17, 2008 at 10:04 am

@Mikouen

“Everyone accepts them (Them being -any- Final Fantasy game after FF8?) like mindless drones”

:shock:

Thank you for your input, but i think i can judge what i’m going to like for myself….and you’re not shouting boycott…but you don’t want FF fans to buy Square-Enix games?!?….erm…Ok….moving along.

-Back on topic-

The PS3 has it’s work cut out for it, hopefully the game line-up will be worth dusting off the system for.

Mikouen

On July 17, 2008 at 10:51 am

I’m not saying don’t buy SE games. I’m saying don’t buy the crap ones.

The Ivalice Alliance subseries has been great thus far. It’s the main series that’s losing sight of what it is and always has been. Evolving a formula is one thing. Throwing it out the window is entirely different.

If you like sub-standard products, by all means go for it. Just realise you’re wasting your money on a game based on it’s label. Final Fantasy is a shadow of it’s former self, and no matter how you work it out, there’s no denying that the recent FF games are sliding further and further away from what FF games have always been.

Ron Whitaker

On July 17, 2008 at 11:51 am

When I first heard the FF XIII announcement, I thought it was big. Then I heard that Square had announced at their Q&A session that development on the 360 version wouldn’t even begin until the PS3 version was finished and localized.

In case you don’t know what that means, it means that we won’t see FF XIII in the US until 2010 at best. Basically, MS paid Square enough money to get the game onto their console, and to cause Final Fantasy fans to have to wait an extra year to get their FF XIII fix.

Way to go, I guess.

Davn Kincade

On July 17, 2008 at 1:09 pm

@Mikouen

That is your opinion and your entitled to it….there are gamers out there that do not and will not agree to your incredibly absurd statement as it has no basis or facts to back it up…it’s an opnion, nothing more nothing less….and the sales figures and fanbase that is the Final Fantasy series do not seem to support it.

Calling millions of consumers “mindless drones” simply because they enjoy something that you don’t is both proof that you -seriously- need to get over yourself as a gamer and turns your entire statement (i.e. rant) into an attack…not a good way to get people in your corner, no?

In my humble opinion, i think you should take your dedication to informing the masses about how incredibly ‘bad’ the FF series is to the fans themselves…here, i’ll be more than happy to give you a few links.

http://www.thefinalfantasy.com/forums/

http://forums.ffshrine.org/

http://finalfantasy-xiii.net/forums/index.php

That’s all i have to say on this subject….good luck to you friend.

Matthew

On July 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

I really enjoyed FFX, I didn’t play 8 or 9. I have a feeling that XIII is going to be like 8 or 9 was to me, something that looked neat but didn’t have enough of a hook to warrant picking up. I enjoyed XII as well, and haven’t played XI. The DS games have been fun, and I am enjoying Tactics A2 right now.

Which game is so bad that buying it makes me a drone? Everything they’ve put out since the launch of the PS2 has been a lot of fun to play.

As to this announcement, they really needed more than Jim Lee to really excite people about the system. I am an avid PS3 player, I play mine far more than I touch the Wii we own, and I’m really enjoying Fatal Inertia (even if I am stuck at a difficulty bump I cannot get over).

I am just saddened that Microsoft is paying money to delay PS3 owners from playing a game that has been a system mainstay. This is a slap to the face just so the XBox can get a port that’ll have to compromise quality for size.

Shawn Sines

On July 17, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I think you’re the first person to get that Matthew, I see Norbit rail and rant and proclaim the second coming of God in the PS3 but this choice was a business move by a Japanese company looking to have the broadest impact in the market and they don’t think that PS3 numbers will even that market advantage out in time for the game’s release.

Steve

On July 17, 2008 at 3:04 pm

If I were to guess, I’d say the majority of exclusive 360 owners could care less about this game. I’d also go as far as to say that the west really doesn’t get excited about Final Fantasy quite like those overseas do. It’s pretty much a niche title these days.

And I debate the compromise part. The title is being designed using PCs. It will be co-ported (I think ‘port’ is a poor choice of words) to each console as Square/Enix sees fit.

If this sells a few more copies, more power to them. Final Fantasy (insert iteration here) isn’t the only title Square/Enix are banking on in the near future.

Davn Kincade

On July 17, 2008 at 5:51 pm

@ Steve

I dunno man, the 360 or even the Xbox for that matter isn’t exactly known for it’s massive RPG library, having a Final Fantasy title will be a welcome relief for at least some of 360 owners….is it going to break sales records? doubtful…has it gotten attention? oh yes.

I think it’s a good move on both sides to be honest.

Steve

On July 17, 2008 at 6:40 pm

@Davn Kincade

That is somewhat true in the sense of “memorable” RPGs. I doubt the typical 360 owner has any idea what Eternal Sonata, Blue Dragon, or Lost Odyssey are about. Mass Effect and Fable are certainly “memorable” to that effect. I guess when you are comparing a single page list of RPGs to the massive library of that of the PS1/PS2 (and even the Gamecube to some degree), you come up looking pretty short. Ironically, the Wii isn’t exactly shining in this area. Something you would expect otherwise.

For the RPG afficionado, the 360 horizon does look pretty good though:

Fable 2, Tales of Vesperia, Infinite Undiscovery, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Last Remnant. Add FFXII to that growing list now.

Steve

On July 17, 2008 at 6:42 pm

I typo’d FFXIII, obviously.

Davn Kincade

On July 17, 2008 at 8:14 pm

@Steve

Agreed on both counts, i tend to be a tad less skeptical on 360 owners…Blue Dragon for example is, IMHO of course, a RPG for an extremely selective RPG fan..Blue Dragon has some old school roots to be sure and i can understand some people not being able to dig it.

At the risk of repeating myself, the 360 (and the Wii which i forgot about) really needs a jumpstart in the RPG market, hopefully this’ll be the year for it.

Francis

On July 24, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Hello everybody, first i think that the sony conference was truly the best one of all three with games like resistance 2, littlebig planet, killzone 2, inFamous. Live with playstation is also another cool feature that aims at making your console something else than a videogame station (we can also think of home).

With all those exclusives coming plus other great games such as far cry 2 and mirrors edge well, i dont see how the loss of an exclusive title could make such a mess in the ps3′s future.

Also, can someone please explain to me what is ffXIII ? I know that if i go to reviewing sites, they will say its the best game ever because its called final fantasy but can someone honestly tell me about the good and the bad in FF ? And just what is it?

Francis

On July 24, 2008 at 10:48 pm

forgot to mention mag as one of the great-looking exclusives