Friday, June 3, 2011

E3 2011: Konami's Pre-E3 Press Event

With less than five days before the upcoming stampede of gaming announcements, impressions, and other bits of tomfoolery, Konami came forth and unleashed its first annual Pre-E3 Press Video to the masses, and while it was not as awkward as the infamous press conference of last year, it did leave some desire to see Tak Fuji once more.

The Press Event began with a look at the company's major 3DS effort for the year: Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater. The game's producer took a moment to highlight how the game's appearance on the 3DS would bring depth to the stealth action title, and he unveiled two of the new rendition's additional features. Using the 3DS camera, players can take photos of real world objects and implement the photos into Snake's camouflage. Furthermore, at some crucial moments in the game, players will need to keep the 3DS balanced so as to prevent Snake from losing balance on high terrain. The trailer unveiled a little twist at the end, but overall, the game is still pretty much Metal Gear Solid 3 with a 3D display.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 was the second game on the agenda, and it looks as good as the previous entries in the series. Additional motion captures have been taken to improve the fluidity of the animations and help create a highly-immersive soccer game for all.

Entering its second E3, NeverDead is a third-person shooter which puts players into the place of an immortal demonslayer, and the results are both intense and humorous. Bryce is a demon hunter who has been cursed with immortality, and in modern times, he is given the task of stopping a demonic invasion of the city and potentially seek peace in his immortality. Players have the benefit of immortality, but in its place, they must find ways to put their body parts back together so as to finish the fight. The game is developed by Rebellion Developments, known for the most recent Aliens Vs. Predator. It is expected for a winter release.

Silent Hill got a fairly large chunk of the press video, particularly with an emphasis on the upcoming adventure title, Silent Hill: Downpour. Footage of the game was shown heavily while actors from the upcoming Silent Hill movie discussed how the movie was coming along. Downpour, originally slated for fall, will be releasing this winter. Downpour follows Murphy Pendleton, a convict who enters a raining Silent Hill after his prison transport crashes. The game was shown last year with little gameplay, but this time, the game seems very close to completion, and it looks pretty good thus far. The game is being made by Vatra Games, which produced this year's Rush'n Attack: Ex-Patriot for XBLA and PSN.

Before moving along with the franchise, Konami announced Silent Hill: Book of Memories for the NGP, but nothing other than the logo was shown. It has not been approved by Sony, and without any footage shown, this game is most likely quite some time off, so keep hype on the low end for that game.

Hideo Kojima will not be at this year's E3, but he appeared in the Press Video with Mark MacDonald of 8-4, a video game translation company. Here, Kojima gave a number of announcements, but none of them were entirely new Kojima Productions games. Metal Gear Solid: Rising is still slated for a 2012 release, but no new footage was shown. That is not to say Metal Gear Solid will only be on 3DS this year.

Konami announced Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Zone of the Enders HD Collection, and Silent Hill HD Collection, all for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. These collections take the Playstation 2 originals and upgrade their graphics to a full 1080p resolution, so your eyes will not be cut by the jaggies ever present in previous-generation games. The Zone of the Enders HD Collection, slated for 2012, will have both games in the series, while Silent Hill HD Collection contains only Silent Hill 2 and 3 (why 4 is missing, I do not know). This year's Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is the most robust one, containing not only Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 but also an enhanced port of the PSP original, Peace Walker. Notice the oddity in releasing Metal Gear Solid 3 for 3DS during the same timeframe? We do.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is the first game to use Hideo Kojima's newest interface: Transfarring. Transfarring is a system which allows game saves to be transferred from the console to the mobile versions of Kojima Production games; for the HD Collection, this specifically means sending saves between the PS3 version and the PSP version of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Kojima says that he eventually plans to extend Transfarring to NGP and PS2 games in the future.

Before leaving, Kojima unveiled his other development: the Fox Engine. This game development engine will allow Kojima Productions to develop highly-competent graphics for multiple platforms at the same time, giving the potential for multi-console releases in a much shorter timeframe. He demonstrated a little technical demo of the engine, but he did not specify what the project will be. Based on the video, the engine is implied to work with PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Clearly if Project Cafe is involved, too, we will not know until a later date.

As the press event concluded, a small teaser video was shown, and it seems to be that a Contra game, possibly a massive reboot, is currently in development. Rumors spread of a 3DS Contra title, but others believe the game is a full-blown HD project a la Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

This brings up a final question: why did Konami's President mention Castlevania's anniversary if no game was shown? He mentioned Frogger, as well, but the announcement of Frogger 3D came just yesterday, so that is not an area of concern. Perhaps there are more surprises for E3, but if not, Konami appears to be playing it quieter this year compared to previous years. We will just have to wait until next week to see if Konami is sneakier than Snake at game-unveiling...

Expect an impressions video in the near future.


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