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Sony Pre-E3 2013 Media Briefing Summary

by Adam Pavlacka on June 10, 2013 @ 10:00 p.m. PDT

During Sony's Pre-E3 2013 Media Briefing, it presented new coverage for the PlayStation 4 console, Beyond: Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6, Grand Theft Auto 5, Batman: Arkham Origins, The Order: 1886, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Drive Club, InFamous: Second Son, Knack, Transistor, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, Elder Scrolls Online, Mad Max, and Destiny.

Sony kicked off with an opening montage and a short recap of recent PlayStation history.

More than 85 titles are scheduled to launch for the Vita this year, including Batman: Arkham Origins, CounterSpy, Doki-Doki Universe and Killzone Mercenary. Dead Nation, Final Fantasy X and X-2, Flower and God of War Collection are all being remastered for Vita. Telltale's The Walking Dead is coming to Vita with a new bundle in August that includes the first season plus the new content.

After giving a quick Vita overview, Sony started with PlayStation 3 games. Even though it's finished, the first PS3 title on display was Naughty Dog's The Last of Us. That was followed by two titles from Japan Studio. First up was Puppeteer and then rain, which looks to have a Silent Hill-inspired ghost story.

Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls was next up on-screen, with an extended trailer. One of the goals is to find a warlord and eliminate him. We saw some hand-to-hand combat and some light stealth action. Beyond: Two Souls is coming out October 8, 2013.

The Gran Turismo 6 trailer focused on exterior shots of the cars in motion, which has always been when the engine was at its best.

"Luckily, there ain't a problem in the world that can't be solved with a little bit of money." Those words sum up the story behind the Batman: Arkham Origins trailer. It looks like the main villain is Black Mask, but the Joker also makes an appearance. Arkham Origins debuts on October 25, 2013. PS3 players will have access to exclusive Nightfall DLC as well as a classic Adam West Batman skin.

There will be an exclusive Grand Theft Auto 5 PS3 bundle, available for $299.99 on September 17, 2013.

With the PS3 announcements out of the way, Sony moved on to the PS4.

"With the arrival of the PlayStation 4, we have a console of unparalleled power," said Andrew House, Sony CEO. "We know gamers cannot wait to see the PS4 product design."

With that, Sony played the "blurry video" PS4 teaser before shifting into the hardware reveal. The PS4 looks like a cross between the Xbox One and PlayStation 2 Slim hardware designs.

Sony brought out Michael Lynton, the head of Sony Pictures to talk about the entertainment (AKA music and movie) content that will be available on the PS4. He name-dropped Sony Music artists Daft Punk, Jack White and Nine Inch Nails as an example of how Sony can use Music Unlimited to increase value. Movies and TV shows such as "This is the End" and "Community" were also name-dropped. Sony Pictures is working on an exclusive content plan specifically for the PS4.

"Sony Pictures will do everything in our power to drive the success of PlayStation 4," said Lynton.

Video Unlimited will be available on day one for PS4. Music Unlimited will also be available on day one for PS4. Sony is introducing a Live Events Viewer for PS4, and existing video services for PS3 will also be coming to PS4.

Sony Santa Monica and Ready at Dawn debuted a trailer for The Order: 1886, a PS4 title set in Victorian London. The voice-over talked about defending the line between life and death, indicating that there is a supernatural element at work. Weapons look as though they were inspired by Jules Verne fantasy elements. No actual gameplay was shown, though the trailer was done in-engine.

Guerrilla showed off a short trailer for Killzone: Shadow Fall, which was then followed by Evolution's Drive Club. An updated trailer for inFamous: Second Son hit the screen next. This trailer showed off a handful of powers, as well as interaction between the lead character and his brother. Wrapping up the list of first-party games that were shown at Sony's PS4 Reveal event was Knack.

Drive Club, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Knack will be released alongside the PS4 when it launches. inFamous: Second Son will be released in Q1 of 2014.

Quantic Dream, which has seemingly become Sony's go-to company for tech demos, showed off a clip from the Dark Sorcerer. Sony made a point of saying that this was not based on a game in development, but rather just a demo designed to show off the PS4's power.

The clip showed us an old, wrinkled sorcerer who is trying to conjure a great evil. He is helped by a goblin who provides the necessary elements for the spell. Just as the casting gets to the climatic moment, the sorcerer forgets the words and the whole thing is revealed as a set, with the sorcerer and goblin being portrayed by actors. An extended version of the demo video will be available online.

Supergiant Games came onto the stage to show off Transistor,which will debut on the PS4 early next year. Gameplay looks to be overhead view, isometric action. Transistor will be on the show floor, so look for a deeper hands-on preview later this week.

Building on its indie cred, Sony talked up the self-publishing option for indie devs on PS4. The following indie games were all announced for PS4: Don't Starve, Galak-Z, Merchant Kings, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Oddworld: New 'n Tasty!, Outlast, Ray's Dead, and Secret Ponchos (a full remake of the original). All will make their console debut exclusively on PS4.

Diablo III will have exclusive items inspired by PlayStation content such as Journey shoulder blades and the Uncharted amulet.

Square Enix confirmed a U.S. release for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III were also teased for PS4. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix is coming out on PS3 in September 2013.

PlayStation versions of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will feature Aveline (from ACIII: Liberation) as an exclusive playable character. Any question that the AC IV demo was pre-rendered were quickly put aside when it glitched right out of the gate. First, there was a small sound glitch, which was followed by two hiccups, where the image froze for a second or two before continuing. Like Crimson Dragon at the Xbox One press conference earlier today, though, the crowd didn't care, cheering when things moved on.

The demo started off in a pirate town before the Assassin trailed a man into the forest. A few stealth kills later, and a group of enemies were taken out, but not before they sent a signal to a ship offshore. Suddenly, the lush town was lit ablaze as flaming cannon fire ripped into buildings and vegetation.

Edward hopped onto a ship and the game shifted to naval combat. AC IV appears to be using an upgraded version of the naval combat engine from AC III, though you now appear to have the ability to board other ships at will. Another glitch prematurely ended the demo, but again, the crowd didn't care. It's easy to say that AC IV is highly anticipated.

Watch Dogs, another Ubisoft game, was next up for Sony. Looking a lot like the TV show "Person of Interest," Watch Dogs is shaping up to be an impressive open-world adventure set in the city of Chicago.

The demo started off with Pierce getting a phone call while in his car. Driving through the city, he pulled into an underground alley to avoid the cops. Going into a restaurant, Pierce looked around before going outside. Hacking gave Pierce access to remote cameras around the city. He used the control of devices to provide distraction and cover for an associate who was stealing some evidence. When security came into the room, Pierce remotely activated a stereo to create an opening for his partner to escape.

With his partner outside, Pierce took control of another set of cameras to keep an eye on guard movements and direct his partner on a safe path. Eventually, Pierce met up with his partner and escorted him to an escape vehicle. With his partner gone, Pierce had to escape the police. At this point, the player caused a city-wide blackout and escaped via boat.

The PlayStation versions of Watch Dogs will come with an extra hour of gameplay and an exclusive outfit for Pierce.

Changing gears to sports, 2K Games showed off its player capture technology on the PS4 by running a video of Lebron James talking to his virtual counterpart.

Bethesda is officially bringing the Elder Scrolls Online to PS4 in the spring of 2014. As long as Bethesda doesn't muck up the memory management (hello, PS3 Skyrim!), it should be pretty impressive. There will be an exclusive beta of Elder Scrolls Online on the PS4.

With a new "Mad Max" movie on the horizon, it should be no surprised that a new Mad Max game is also planned. The trailer didn't reveal any gameplay, but it did highlight the level of violence. As an enemy begged Max to kill him, Max checked his ammo and saw only one shell left in his shotgun. Max turned around and left before roaring back in his car, killing his opponent by running him over. PS4 will feature an exclusive Road Warrior survival kit.

After finishing the game trailers, Sony fired a shot across Microsoft's bow, hitting it the topic of used games.

"PlayStation 4 will not impose any new restrictions on used games," said Jack Tretton. At this point, the crowd went wild. "When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that disc."

As far as disc-based PS4 discs are concerned, gamers will be able to trade them in at retail, sell them to another person, lend them to friends or keep them forever. Tretton also confirmed that PS4 disc-based games don't need to be connected online to play.

"If you enjoy playing single-player games offline, PS4 won't require you to check-in," said Tretton, "and it won't stop working if you haven't authenticated in 24 hours."

The popular PS Plus membership will carry over to PS4. You'll pay one price for a PS Plus plan, which will cover PS3, PS4 and Vita. On the PS4, PS Plus will be required to play multiplayer. This is the same as Xbox Live Gold on the Xbox 360. PS Plus will launch with Drive Club: PS Plus Edition (no word on what will be different than the standard retail edition) on the PS4. Other confirmed PS4 titles coming to PS Plus include Don't Starve, Outlast and Secret Ponchos. PS4 PS Plus members will get a new game every month.

Saving the best for last, Sony announced that the last game demo would be the world gameplay premiere of Bungie's Destiny. Set in the future, the demo level starts in old Russia. The two character classes in the demo were a Warlock and Hunter. Just like the AC IV demo, the Destiny demo was hit by unexpected hiccups, but the crowd didn't care, as it was actual gameplay running on a real system.

Although the visual design is quite different, it's easy to see Halo's influence in the mechanics, especially the combat. After clearing out a group of enemies indoors, the action shifted outside, where the pair met up with a third player. She was Titan class and carried a rocket launcher. A large ship crashed overhead, which triggered a public event. The goal was simple: Kill all the bad guys. Because this was a public event, two other fire teams were able to join — one joined at the start of the event, and the other hopped in during the middle.

There is a long-term exclusive partnership regarding Destiny with Bungie and Activision, so expect to see DLC first, if not exclusively, on PS4.

Sony quickly mentioned that the PlayStation Cloud Service will be available in 2014 in the U.S. This is the game-streaming service using Gaikai's technology. Expect to see it on PS3 and PS4, as well the Vita and tablet devices. No word on international availability.

Finally, Sony wrapped up its conference with one final jab at Microsoft, hitting its competitor on price this time. The PlayStation 4 will be available for $399 USD, €399 and £349, with an on-sale date of this holiday season.

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