Max has been kind enough to fill in for Jay on covering the Sony press conference. When not reading videolamer, he runs the excellent website GameLemon.
I’ve already bitched elsewhere on this fine site about Sony’s presentation skills, but that little rant was small and only mildly satisfying, so I am going to say it again: Sony, please, for chrissakes, hire some presenters that are at least remotely cool and entertaining, and forbid your executives from ever appearing in public. I am sure they are all fine people and very important to the business, but they couldn’t excite a crowd worth a crap even if their bonus depended it.
Next, fire the idiots who wrote the script for the presentation. Those dudes need to get out waaay more if they think this is the kind of stuff that excites the gaming demographic. I mean, they brought out Chewbacca. Bad enough. But then they had Jack Tretton talk to him. On stage. Repeatedly. In front of an audience full of journalists. None of whom were seven years old. It was the saddest sight ever.
Then they spent a whole chunk of time using their avatars within Home. I swear you could hear people yawn during these parts. I mean, seriously, haven’t you people heard? The Sims has been out for YEARS. No one gives a crap about that stuff anymore. Nope, even if you let it exchange pictures with our cell phones. We still won’t care. Good GOD.
And then there was the whole PSP thing. Lame, lame, lame, ok video out to TV is actually remotely cool, lame, lame. New color? Please. Just come out with a “gravestone” design already and let it die in peace.
Moving on to it’s bigger, and hopefully, eventually, better brother, the PS3, Sony made a fairly decent push in terms of announcing a game lineup. They were really trying hard to play up the Playstation Network and games that are supposedly only possible on the PS3 platform. How true those statements really are is very debatable, but that’s certainly the message they were trying to deliver.
A PSN game that could actually be called innovative was shown – Echo Chrome – a perspective based puzzle game that did look rather cool. The game basically involves navigating a simplistic mannequin through a 3-dimensional world, which changes based on the player’s perspective. So if your little mannequin is facing a gap between two platforms, you can turn the world in such a way that the gap is obscured by another piece of the puzzle, and voila – you can cross! I could actually see myself playing this one.
Several of the standard PS3 games did look interesting, notably, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, Folklore, and Uncharted – a new game from Naughty Dog. Of course its very difficult to tell what’s what from promotional videos, and I am mostly putting my money on the games that are being developed by teams with a solid track record, like the Jak II and Ratchet and Clank guys. Last year’s favorites Warhawk and Heavenly Sword still stole a lot of spotlight, for the last time before release. Next stop: reality check.
And then, of course, there was Hideo Kojima. Who came out in a Gears of War t-shirt. Buuuurn!!! He announced MGS4, which looked great as always, and also said that it would be the final game in the series – and the last game for him as a game developer. Because he kind of seemed serious this time, I cried, but only on the inside. Gotta stay strong. As good as the game footage looked (particularly the last fight sequence), I must say Hideo himself appeared rather tired and worn out. He kept the presentation pretty short and to the point, promised a playable demo at the Tokyo show, and wrapped it up. Either he is really getting old, or those Sony PR people bored him to death backstage.
Finally, one of the Sony execs took stage again to wrap it up in the only way Sony knows how: with a final blow of boredom to the collar bone, and a room full of shavings of applause. Atta boy.