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Konami E3 2009 Media Briefing Summary

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on June 4, 2009 @ 5:02 a.m. PDT

Not only did Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have E3 briefings, but Konami had also organized one, albeit with less fanfare. This year, it touted "revolutionary" announcements, and while a new Castlevania was unveiled, the Saw voice actor revealed, and it was clarified that MGS: Rising is also coming to PS3/PC, there wasn't really anything otherworldly.

Konami's E3 2009 press conference ended up being extremely top-heavy, but that's what you get when Hideo Kojima shows up from the start to announce Kojima Productions' four-game lineup.

After a bit of the mysterious storm footage, Kojima revealed Metal Gear Arcade. Currently planned for Japanese arcades, it's basically a 3 version of Metal Gear Online with save cards. A U.S. release will hopefully be coming, possibly with a different cabinet. For the arcade debut of Solid Snake, it's nothing exceptionally special, except for the fact that the machines will be connected to the Internet so that you can battle other players.

This was followed by some more storm footage and a trailer. Costa Rica is conquered by an unknown force, leaving the country without an army to be saved by the army without a country. Big Boss is back in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PSP. There are beautiful designs, an awesome mechanized enemy, and now, not only can you hide in a cardboard box, but you can also hide in someone else's cardboard box! Kojima pops in now to explain that the game is intended for 2010 and is being developed to take full advantage of the PSP's features, like its predecessor, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Most notable is that Kojima is more involved in this title than the other games in the set.

Next up, we saw Raiden as Metal Gear Solid Rising was announced for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. No gameplay was shown, but Kojima noted that this title would mark the first time Konami is seriously using U.S.-style, engine-based development. He also used the word "series," indicating that we may have more than one Raiden adventure coming ….

Then we heard Patrick Stewart offering some slightly cryptic voice-overs about the nature of monsters, as we see a guy kicking some monster butt with a whip. Then we see a flaming whip, and four words pop up on the screen, and the crowd goes wild:   Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. The title is being developed with Mercurysteam, but Kojima is taking an advisory role in what is being described as a "rebirth" of the series, which traditionally hasn't done so well in 3-D.  Kojima, along with Mercurysteam's Dave Cox, promised a larger scale than any previous Castlevania title, and the focus is on reimagining the series while making sure it stays familiar in many ways when it comes to the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2010.

Finally, the reason for the storm imagery is revealed. It turns out that the Raiden thing was a coincidence, and the real reason for the storm, as Kojima explained, was to reflect "yourselves" and the hard realities of the global economic turndown — a storm that he feels the entertainment industry will need to work together to clear.
As Kojima left, it was time for the rest of Konami to start showing its wares. First came Saw: The Game, as in the film franchise. Tobin Bell, the actor who plays Jigsaw in the movies, came on stage to introduce how games were bigger than film in his family, and how he was involved in the development process. Notably, the game doesn't offer any sort of tutorial. You wake up with the Reverse Bear Trap on your character's skull, and after some introduction from Jigsaw's clown puppet, you're left to figure out how to remove the trap.  You then face the next trap and the next one … and the next one.  During this time, you get next to no information other than the little clues that you may find by looking around. The game is planned for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC release (download only) this October, around the time the "Saw 6" film hits theaters.

Konami announced a new Karaoke Revolution. Not a lot of new information was provided, since the format is familiar to anyone who has played Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Singstar.  Aside from greater customizability of characters, the series will finally see the introduction of some serious DLC.  Over 200 songs from previous games will be made available as soon as possible, with weekly DLC to follow.

Dance Dance Revolution also gets a new edition or two, with new Wii and PS2 releases. Naoki Maeda introduces the new releases and announces the Wii version's big new feature: Wii Balance Board support. Since you can't jump on the Balance Board, this mode has you leaning to the music while still handling the Hottest Party trademark Wiimote-Nunchuk craziness. Combined with "several" new modes, Konami hopes to give the series a good kick in the pants with this release.
Finally, they announced Wireway for the DS, which is a new IP that features a spunky little hero who wouldn't be out of place in prior-generation games. The gameplay is obviously intended for the Nintendo DS, though; you can move the character by grabbing onto wires, which you then stretch to catapult him around. Some other tricks include wires on pulleys that you can manipulate with the stylus, but at the core, the game is about taking wires and occasionally supercharging them to rocket you across maps. They also demonstrated the Strategy mode, where you draw in bumpers and wires to climb to the top of the level. Ad-hoc four-player racing will also be available when the game launches this fall. The story mode is expected to offer 48 maps, the special modes will offer another 32, and Versus mode will provide a modest 10 maps.

We got a Hudson announcement. Demonstrated was Deca Sports 2, with 10 new sports, including five-on-five ice hockey and the lawn game P├ętanque.  The title will also introduce player "teams" and online multiplayer, but we'll provide some more information when we write up our Hudson coverage at a later date.

Silent Hill jumps back a generation and then jumps forward another with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Wii, PSP and PS2. Planned for a fall 2009 release, this game will be a new take on the first Silent Hill. You're playing as Harry Mason again, and you're looking for your daughter Cheryl. Things change almost completely from there, though ....

They promised solid and distinct versions for the PSP and PS2, but the game's core, as demonstrated on the Wii version, has you moving with the Nunchuk and manipulating a flashlight with the Wiimote to look around. The idea is to try and better immerse you in the game, a task aided by a full elimination of loading and any visible UI elements.  The only time there are obvious signs that this is a game and not a prerecorded animation is when you see helpful button prompts, and even those are planned to be rare. Your menu is a cell phone, which you can use while walking and doesn't pause the game.  You can send and receive calls during play, and the phone's camera can even see things that you sometimes can't.

Perhaps one of the most interesting ideas, though, is how Silent Hill: Shattered Memories will keep players more scared than before. The game's "therapist" will analyze your personality based on your play style, and, in the style of the AI director of Left 4 Dead, adjust how the game tries to scare you accordingly. The monsters, which only show up when the area changes into a nightmare (per the series norm, though now they're frozen and devoid of all non-monstrous life), are advertised as being smart enough to round off and cut you off.  While you can't fight, you can try to hide or pull things into their paths to slow them down, as well as scare the pants off of them with the occasional flare.

As the Konami press conference starts to wrap up, one last surprise is offered:  Xbox 360 and PS3 DDRs. It will feature eight-arrow play per player with support for the usual up, down, left and right, as well as all four diagonals.  They also advertised 150 pieces of DLC for these versions.


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