E3 2001: Sony announces new PlayStation 2 software

Sony unveiled several previously unannounced games and told us more about games we've been expecting during its press conference at E3.

At its pre-E3 press event today, Sony's VP Andrew House introduced the company's concept of "content is king," and continued along that line by revealing Naughty Dog's work in progress, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. A release date for Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec was also announced. The game will hit stores on July 10th. There will also be a GT3 bundle available, offering consumers a package containing a PS2 and GT3 for $329.95.

EA Sports showed Madden 2002, as well as a few titles in the EA Sports Big series, SSX Tricky, Sled Storm 2, and NBA Street. A video message from Square's vice president, Hironobu Sakaguchi addressed Final Fantasy X and Square's relationship with Sony, and then spoke briefly about Final Fantasy XI, and the decision to take the game entirely online in efforts to do something "entirely new." A brief demo with scenes from Final Fantasy X was then shown to the audience, followed by a trailer from the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within animated film, which is due in theaters July 13.

Capcom's Resident Evil series creator, Shinji Mikami, was on hand to talk about Devil May Cry, starting with a demo of the game's characters, environments, and a variety of rendered sequences. Mikami spoke about some of the game's characteristics and objectives and of traveling to Spain and Europe to study castles for the game's environments. We'll have new impressions of the game shortly.

Producers from Konami showed and discussed their coming 3D horror adventure, Silent Hill 2 and Konami's goals for the game on the PS2. The game appears to continue the tradition of bone-chilling terror, utilizing the graphics and sound capabilities available on the PS2. The game will be available this fall. Be sure to come back for full impressions and details throughout the show.

The final presenter, Hideo Kojima, hand-delivered a new, as of yet unforeseen series of trailers for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the highly anticipated sequel to Metal Gear Solid, expected to ship by the end of the year for PlayStation 2. The new trailer took place mostly on the boat, but showed a few new interesting things, such as a boss character named Fortune, who was armed with a large electricity gun that packed enough of a punch to totally dismantle the room Fortune and Snake were fighting in.

In the online realm, SOCOM: US Navy SEALs was announced and shown in some detail. SOCOM is a military action game where you play as an elite field commander trained to take down hostile forces in the world. The team at Sony is working with Zipper Interactive to create an authentic military environment, utilizing motion captured animation, scanned faces, and sound sessions with Navy SEALs. The game will take place in four locales: Turkmenistan, Alaska, Congo, and Afghanistan. The game will be one of the first online PlayStation 2 games, offering support for up to 16 simultaneous players and a microphone, which can be used to speak to teammates when online, or the game will feature voice recognition, which can be used to order around your computer teammates.

Aside from SOCOM, Sony also announced four more online games: Tribes 2, Twisted Metal Online, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and Frequency.

Sony also reiterated its early morning announcements involving the company's partnerships with Cisco Systems, RealNetworks, and Macromedia, as well as showing off the PlayStation 2 Network Adapter. The adapter will feature jacks for both analog modems and Ethernet connections. It will hit shelves in November and will retail for $39.99. A separate 40GB hard drive will also be available in November, though the price wasn't announced.

In other hardware news, the DVD remote that was released in Japan several months ago will finally make its way to the US PS2 in September. The $19.99 remote will plug into your second controller port and is much more full-featured than all the third-party remotes currently on the market. Also, Sony will be releasing two different LCD screens for the PSOne in November. Both will be five-inch displays.

We'll have hands-on updates for Sony's new games as well as more impressions of Sony's online hardware as E3 commences.

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