BitSnark

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Sony E3 2010: Previews, Predictions and Speculation

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In all probability Sony will provide a more balanced offering when compared to Microsoft’s Natal focused showing, due in no small part to a stronger software line-up on show.

Beginning with their first party line-up, the oft mooted triumvirate of Killzone 3, Resistance 3 and Motorstorm 3 will almost certainly be dead locks to appear that show.

The most tangible of the trio, Killzone 3 is more so due to the huge amounts of leaked info that has occurred for the title. With the leaks promising everything from snow levels and jetpacks through to full 3D support, it certainly isn’t improbable to see most of that stuff come to fruition. Indeed, with a focus on 3D gaming at the show, Sony will be keen to shout about their tech and there will be few better poster boys than a suitably epic Killzone sequel.

Resistance 3 seems likely to be at the show and it’s equally likely that it will have its work cut out for it coming off of an impressive second entry in the series and of course Killzone 3. Given the huge strides that were made in Resistance 2 toward sustainably awesome multiplayer, I would expect Resistance 3 to capitalise on the advancements made previously with a smattering of a new modes, tighter net code and wider social integration with sites like Facebook and so on.

Next up is Motorstorm 3. In a similar vein to its prequel and PSP spin-off, this newest instalment in the series could very well be based on a specific set of environments. However, with that in mind, I see the game boasting a number of different environments to drive about in, including some urban settings.

All three titles should be ready for release toward the end of this year, with possibly Killzone 3 being delayed into early 2011 to prevent the aforementioned clash with fellow Sony exclusive shooter Resistance 3.

A sequel to Infamous also deserves a mention here, since like the three titles that were just mentioned its previous success should secure it an unveiling at E3, further bolstering Sony’s impressive first party offering at the show. Infamous 2, will likely not tinker with the gaming formula pioneered in the original too heavily, instead, there will be a different (and larger) sandbox, with additional powers to play with and an expanded morality/choice system.

The PS3 exclusive Agent title from Rockstar should also be given a full unveiling at the show after its brief mention at last year’s show one would hope. Absolutely no details have been announced regarding Agent, but I would be surprised if by the end of Sony’s presentation it wasn’t tipped as the Next Big Thing given its sizeable developer pedigree.

The Zipper Interactive developed Socom 4 should also make an appearance again, albeit in a much more completed form. Expect Sony to use the title to extol the virtues of Playstation Move when dealing with traditional genre titles.

Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 5 should make its final E3 display this year. Strangely being 90% complete for the last five months, the title on show should pretty much be a full representation of what we’ll get when they game (hopefully) hits store shelves later this year, alongside a confirmation of the release date in all territories. A focus on the online and community aspects of the title will be expected.

Uncharted 3 will make some sort of splash at E3 2010 I’m predicting, with Nolan North (voice actor of Nathan Drake) heavily hinting toward a third iteration of the game being in production. While 2010 is far too early for the second mega-sequel to be released, I would fully expect a 2011 release window to be a reality. Additionally, I would hope to see another show further down the line (possibly even E3 2011) to give the game a proper demonstration with additional focus on developing the surprisingly solid multiplayer modes seen last time in Uncharted 2.

Speaking of Uncharted, the rumour mill has been churning that developer Naughty Dog may return to their inaugural PS2 platforming series, Jak & Daxter. Given just how consistently awesome Uncharted has been and not to mention the fact that each new Uncharted title is a gargantuan undertaking, I don’t quite see a new Jak & Daxter coming out before Uncharted 3 and I believe that Naughty Dog have outgrown the IP. Don’t expect to see a Naughty Dog developed Jak & Daxter 4, but that shouldn’t preclude another Sony studio from developing it.

Sony would be foolish to not build upon the incredible hype and sheer spectacle of Team Ico’s The Last Guardian, which was leaked shortly before last year’s E3 2009. Given the twelve months that have passed since then with little in the way of news, I would hope to see a 60-70% complete build of the game, with a strong focus on gameplay and expose’ on the gameplay mechanics therein providing Sony with yet another potential show stealing title.

The-oft rumoured but never confirmed David Jaffe produced Twisted Metal sequel stands a small chance of being shown at E3 2010, but if it does exist and is shown, it will be up against tough competition in the face of more modern takes on vehicle combat such as Blur and Split/Second.

It’s also possible that Sony may announce a full-blown PS1/PS2 emulator for the PS3. I generally have mixed feelings about this, since not only was it a huge selling point for the machine prior to its launch (and subsequently scaled back on the sly) but I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable paying for something that should have been there in the first place. With that in mind though, I might be tempted by it if the pricing model was right. Ideally, it should be a one-off fee for an emulator which runs our current games, since I can’t imagine people being too enthralled at having to fork out again for each of their games that they already own.

Moving onto the PSP, I think we can expect Sony to have a solid, if modest showing of decent titles for the handheld.

The amazing looking God Of War: Ghosts of Sparta will and should take centre stage after its announcement last month, reminding folks that the six-year old PSP can still bring the goods when compared to home systems when it comes to generating epic spectacle and gameplay. A demo and release date will both likely be announced also.

Rumours also abound regarding a possible Uncharted title for the PSP and given the cross-platform success of the God Of War franchise, I can see it happening and being shown in some form or another at Sony’s briefing. I would probably rule out Naughty Dog being in charge of coding duties however due to their likely commitment to a third Uncharted title for PS3 as well as a possible Playstation Move project.

A PSP2 announcement? I wouldn’t count on it, but I wouldn’t be surprised either to later hear of behind-closed-doors demonstrations of Sony’s monstrous successor to their current heldheld. The reason for a lack of explicit announcement is because Sony will be keen to see what Nintendo do with their new 3DS handheld, not to mention the fact that they don’t want to overshadow their PS3 and Playstation Move product at the show.

After appearing as a ‘me-too’ on the motion control bandwagon after Natal’s explosive E3 2009 announcement, Sony’s Playstation Move has slowly but surely gaining credibility amongst the internet masses and press outlets alike. With reports of an excellent level of responsiveness and early showings of a number of first party casual titles, Sony seem positively itching to reveal more and more about their device in the face of Microsoft’s practical stonewalling for Natal.

Like Natal, I fully expect Sony to provide complete announcements regarding their launch plans. In terms of their launch line-up, I think we can expect a similar mix of first and third party support for the device. More complete and feature endowed versions of previously shown first party titles such as The Fight will be on show, alongside a number of third party offerings from EA, Activision, Ubisoft and so on.

Just like Natal, you could reasonably expect a number of first party titles to really show off what the device can do, with all eyes on Sony’s internal studios as well as Second-party superstars such as Uncharted developer Naughty Dog, to bring the goods come E3.

Release-wise, we’re looking at a window almost identical to Natal with the device estimated to hit our shelves around September/October time with between 20-30 supporting titles.

Price-wise, I would imagine a pack-in deal similar to the Wii and what MS must surely be planning for Natal, and Sony would be silly to price it above that which Natal will be retailing for, even with the added ‘wand’. Therefore, $80-$90 (£64.99/£69.99) seems like a fair bet.

Like MS, Sony will also likely announce bundle deals with the peripheral and console to optimise sales and revenue over what will surely be a hotly contested Autumn/holiday period.

The only possible misfire that I can see in Sony’s conference is the probable announcement of the ‘Premium’ PSN service, which supposedly gives gamers more access to exclusive content and a free PSN game every month from a choice of four, really poor children’s titles. I simply don’t see the point in it, especially when you consider the fact that more than a few people play the PS3 online because there are no costs attached to it, unlike Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold service.

A lot of what Sony would be trying to sell for this premium sub will be insignificant and inconsequential at this stage and will hopefully sink like a trace while users stick with the ‘standard’ service of free multiplayer. Unless of course, they stop making it free. But they wouldn’t be that stupid.

Right?

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Written by bitsnark

May 24, 2010 at 3:38 pm

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