For a few short hours every year, Sony stocks a conference hall with sweaty, temperamental game journalists and gives them a peak behind the curtain for the upcoming year. Last year, we got a sneak peak at the unreleased Vita, Uncharted 3, Dust 514, Resistance 3, and an up-and-coming basketball player by the name of Kobe Bryant—who showed off the new PS Move controls for NBA 2K12.
Granted, in retrospect, some of these titles have left bad taste in many gamers' mouths, but that shouldn't stop us from getting excited about this year's E3 lineup. Reality is always less magical than we hope, and if you haven't already learned this, adulthood is going to suck.
But, just like previous years, the second Sony started rolling out the red carpet, everyone seemed to forget about the year's disappointments.
Typically, publishers tend to kick things off with a stereotypically action-packed title that's complete with automatic rifles and a perky female lead. But this year Sony surprised everyone by trotting out an upcoming title by Quantic Dream, the makers of Heavy Rain.
The decision to lead with Quantic Dream's latest title, Beyond: Two Souls, shows the incredible amount of confidence that Sony has in David Cage, the founder and president of QD. When it came out in 2010, Heavy Rain wasn't exactly a commercial success, but it was incredibly popular among industry folk and journalists. So, it's good to see that Sony's still on board with Cage's vision for the future of gaming.
Just like previous Quadratic titles, Beyond: Two Souls will cross genre lines and attempt to find a balance between emotional suspense and deep character development. Don't panic though; the acts will be punctuated with intense action sequences, so you don't need to worry about falling asleep.
Beyond: Two Souls follows Jodie Holmes, a young woman who has a "link with an invisible entity." Cage was proud to announce that Holmes would be played by Ellen Page, the actress who received an Academy Award nomination for her role in Juno. And it probably won't surprise anyone who's played Heavy Rain, but this game focuses on death. Beyond follows the protagonist's story as it's told over a fifteen-year period. Cage says that players will help her character evolve over the course of the storyline, which may suggest some kind of dynamic storytelling in the same vein as Heavy Rain.
After David Cage left the stage, Sony fired up a game that everyone is dying to get their hands on: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. It wasn't exactly a surprise, but we're already antsy to see All-Stars in action, so any amount of airplay is nice.
We got a chance to check out a live-action four-player battle between Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Fat Princess, and Sly Cooper. The gameplay is pretty straightforward, but focuses heavily on power-ups and supers. We didn't get a chance to see many high-level supers, but at one point, Sweet Tooth did manage to put on a mech suit and shoot everyone with a giant machine gun.
The presenters also surprised us by showing off a couple of previously unannounced characters. Unsurprisingly, one of them was Nathan Drake, but the other was BioShock's Big Daddy. Well, at least I think it was. We only really got a look at the iconic yellow faceplate.
When Jack Tretton, the President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, took the stage, he spent a little time talking about the cross platform features that Sony plans to release over the next twelve months.
Last year, Sony's presentation was obviously pretty Vita-centric. But, after a Sony shuffled the price point around and rolled out a disappointing collection of launch titles, the shine has faded on the little console. However, Vita fans will be happy to hear that Sony has big plans for 2013.
"The Vita becomes an enhanced controller for the PS3," Tretton explained, as a LittleBigPlanet 2 logo faded in behind him. Obviously this little feature is horning in on the Wii U's territory, but Sony got there first, so why not plant the flag?
This, coupled with their plans to roll out 60 new titles on PlayStation Plus, including inFAMOUS 2, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Saints Row 2, which will be available tomorrow, should be enough to start making Microsoft worried about their market share. Not to mention the fact that Hulu Plus and Crackle are headed to the Vita very soon.
Sony then spent a good portion of their presentation discussing the Assassin's Creed series. For instance, Vita owners will be excited to know that a new AC title is about to land in their pocket. Assassins Creed: Liberation is a companion title to Assassin's Creed 3. In fact, when you crosslink the two titles, you unlock a few extras like exclusive skins and a multiplayer character.