LOS ANGELES--It's been a busy Electronic Entertainment Expo for Konami and its star development house, Kojima Productions. On Monday, Microsoft announced that Kojima's Metal Gear Solid series was coming to the Xbox 360 with Metal Gear Solid Rising. On Tuesday, Konami's stealth-action series made more headlines when Sony revealed that Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker would arrive for the PSP.
It's Wednesday, and there's still one more project that Konami has been teasing for an Electronic Entertainment Expo reveal. The project--referred to on Konami's E3 teaser site as "Mask"--is likely to be unveiled today. Kojima Productions further teased the Mask reveal with a series of posts on the company's Twitter feed. Though parts of the posts are encrypted, when deciphered, they read as such:
There is a shadow, it lies within us all
It consumes us: it devours us
We cannot escape it. Lest we destroy ourselves
This shadow makes us who we are. It is we who are the monsters
Join me: Together, leucothea, we can turn this world to darkness
But I can't! This world needs me, and it needs you too
The shadow dissipates...
The silence sets in...
And a never adventure begins.
Will the mask of darkness conquer?
Or will light shine through at last?
Another possible piece of news could be multiplatform confirmations for Metal Gear Solid Rising. Microsoft (obviously) didn't mention other platforms when it revealed the game at its press conference, but the industry-standard press-release service Games Press did. When the UK site created an entry for Metal Gear Solid Rising in its database, it did so with PlayStation 3 and PC editions tabbed with "TBA" release dates. Another entry on the site proved prophetic when it listed Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for the PSP before Sony had announced the game at its media briefing.
The riddles will likely end soon when Konami has the last word on the E3 media briefing circuit today at its press conference in the Los Angeles Convention Center auditorium. The same hall also hosted ESA president Michael Gallagher's State of the Industry address, Square Enix's press briefing, and the roundtable where Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that a new Wii Zelda is in the works.
[3:01] Sorry folks, it looks like this is going to start late--act surprised! Reporters are still lining up outside the theater atop the LACC's West Hall.
[3:03] The gates have parted! The reporters are rushing to their seats now.
[3:04] And for those of you at home, GameSpot wasn't able to stream this live via video.
[3:06] As much as the background music before most E3 press briefings can be a bit grating, its complete absence at Konami's is off-putting.
[3:06] It's quiet...too quiet!
[3:07] Now all we hear is the din of the crowd and frequent mic checks from the sound technician. "Testing, one, two. Tsk! Ch!"
[3:09] The last of the seats are filling up, so the show should be starting soon.
[3:11] It looks to be a standing-room-only crowd, with the back area behind the seats crammed end-to-end with cameras and A/V crew.
[3:13] This is the same room where ESA president Michael Gallagher delivered his State of the Industry keynote yesterday. One major difference: It's packed to the gills with people.
[3:15] Also FYI: GameSpot Live will have video of this presentation later today...if Konami doesn't shut down our cameraman.
[3:16] It's 15 minutes after the supposed start time of the show, but there's little sense of restlessness from the crowd. Perhaps that's because the end of E3 is almost in sight. Konami's event is the last major press briefing on the schedule.
[3:17] "Welcome to the 2009 Konami press conference." Mute laptops and cellphones, and here we go!
[3:17] "Konami is Legendary," declares an opening trailer.
[3:17] We see clips from Metal Gear Solid 4, Winning Eleven, Silent Hill, and more.
[3:18] There's the Saw puzzle game, Dance Dance Revolution, Pop n' Music, Zephyr, and a few more.
[3:19] What would a Konami sizzle reel be without Digimon? There's also a little Zombie Apocalypse thrown in for good measure.
[3:20] The executive VP of the company takes the stage and pauses to introduce some VIP guests.
[3:20] The VIPs are Konami suits from the US and Japan.
[3:21] He talks about the company's success in the past year, starting with Metal Gear Solid 4, and reannounces that the game will become a PS3 Greatest Hit.
[3:21] As for today, it's time to show what makes Konami unique in the industry.
[3:23] "We are much more than just a gaming company. We are a multi-entertainment company," says the VP, whose name was unintelligible.
[3:23] Trading cards, mobile phones, arcade games, and more are part of the company's focus on cross-platform announcements.
[3:23] He says that today's announcements are some of the biggest in the company's history.
[3:23] He leaves the stage and a trailer comes up, showing the stormy scene from the Kojima countdown trailer for E3.
[3:23] Hideo Kojima takes the stage to loud applause.
[3:23] Kojima talks about the economic crisis and swine flu, saying that times are tough.
[3:24] But that's why he came to LA, to brighten the world with his announcements.
[3:24] So even though it might be too early to show, he brought something special to show us.
[3:24] He's presenting FOUR new games today, which gets oohs and aahs from the crowd.
[3:24] He brings up Aki Saito to translate for him.
[3:24] The first title is Metal Gear Arcade.
[3:25] Metal Gear comes to coin-ops.
[3:25] It has the "Tactical Online Action" kicker above the title.
[3:25] This is a game with a special machine and interface. eKonami will be used to connect the machines together.
[3:25] The game will also be in 3D, if the player wears special goggles.
[3:26] They show more of the teaser storm footage, and it looks like Peace Walker will be the next game talked about.
[3:27] Cue a trailer, and it's apparently the same clip shown during Sony's media briefing on Tuesday.
[3:29] Snake is shown in a variety of different costumes and infiltration situations.
[3:30] He ties a rapidly inflating balloon to an unconscious soldier, who floats quickly into the sky. An unusual method of body disposal, to be sure. Wonder what happens when the poor sap wakes up...or his balloon pops in the stratosphere.
[3:31] The trailer also has the extended comedic bit at the end, complete with multiple Snakes sharing the same cardboard box.
[3:31] "Where does deterrence end and true peace begin?"
[3:32] Kojima explains that two people can go into the cardboard box this time.
[3:32] The main character is Naked Snake, set 10 years after MGS3 in 1974
[3:32] He insists again that it will be a true entry in the series.
[3:32] Peace Walker comes out in 2010.
[3:33] Here's the stormy teaser scene again.
[3:33] It's time to talk Metal Gear Solid Rising.
[3:34] Kojima starts it with a trailer.
[3:34] There are drawings of demons and close-ups of the Raiden teaser image.
[3:35] That's about it, but there was a PS3 and a PC logo on the screen next to the Xbox logo--so much for rumored 360 exclusivity.
[3:36] It's primarily a stealth-action game, with Raiden as the main character.
[3:36] Kojima refers to his Game Developers Conference keynote and the way that US and Japanese developers test new technology.
[3:36] This is a test of the philosophy he expressed at the time, with the tech savvy of the West and the design philosophy of the East.
[3:37] Now it's time for "one little surprise," as the Mask teaser image comes up on the screen.
[3:38] Here's the first trailer...
[3:38] MercurySteam logo flashes.
[3:38] Patrick Stewart narration that "These are dark times." A figure holding an ornate cross looks at a castle across a foggy landscape.
[3:38] Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) and Jason Isaacs (Showtime's Brotherhood) are also credited.
[3:39] Natasha McElhone (Showtime's Californication) also appears.
[3:39] This looks like a God of War-style action game with lots of supernatural enemies.
[3:39] There's a frost giant, cave troll, werewolves, giant spiders...
[3:39] "The Mask is a powerful device..."
[3:39] "Can it really bring the dead back?"
[3:40] The music swells and the audience erupts as "Castlevania: Lords of Shadow" appears onscreen.
[3:40] Castlevania will be reborn in 2010.
[3:40] Coming for 360 and PS3.
[3:40] "Did you like it?"
[3:41] Lots of hoots and hollers provide Kojima with an answer.
[3:41] Today gives birth to a reborn Castlevania, with the game's producer, Dave Cox, coming to the stage.
[3:41] He's from Konami Europe, and talks of taking the epic adventure and reimagining it on a grander scale than ever before.
[3:42] It's a "rich, open gameworld" about a hero looking for retribution and salvation.
[3:42] Spanish studio Mercury Steam is developing the game, working with Kojima Productions.
[3:42] This has been rumored ever since Konami unveiled a game called "Lords of Shadow" in 2008 that looked distinctly Castlevania-ish.
[3:42] Cox thanks the audience, and it's time for more loud applause.
[3:43] Kojima says that Castlevania was created in Japan, but in order to be more appealing in the years to come, this project needed to be done this way.
[3:44] Kojima says he's known Cox for a decade, and believes that he's one of the most passionate gamers in the company and will be great for Castlevania. He also praises the talent at Mercury Steam.
[3:45] As for Kojima's role, he says he's there to support the team, likening himself to a midwife helping the team give birth to the new Castlevania.
[3:45] In the "very near future," they will show more and more of the game.
[3:45] Cox promises to deliver something special that will meet our expectations about what a 3D Castlevania should be.
[3:46] It launches worldwide in 2010.
[3:46] Kojima says those are the four games he mentioned earlier, and is pretty sure we realized the stormy imagery in the teasers. He said it was a deliberate choice to reflect the state of our reality.
[3:47] So what he's trying to say is we're in a stormy time, but everyone here today is in the entertainment business, and we need to work together to clear up the storm.
[3:47] There's more to the show than Kojima, though, as we are "treated" to a trailer for Saw.
[3:48] A man in a facial mask (a cruel reverse bear trap) is tied to a chair in a dingy, dimly lit room. Hooray, gorno.
[3:49] Film villain Jigsaw appears on a TV and issues a warning of sorts.
[3:49] Tobin Bell, star of the Saw films, takes the stage.
[3:50] The actor talks about developing the character of Jigsaw over the last years and how he's loved every part of it.
[3:50] He talks about visiting the developers on the game and the effort put in to keeping the Saw franchise "smart and edgy."
[3:51] Bell talks about how the developers came up with marvelous ideas for the games in keeping with the distinctive style of the movies.
[3:52] He was honored to voice Jigsaw and Billy the Puppet in the game. Bell asked his son what was so scary about Billy, and the answer came back that he was like a clown.
[3:53] Bell has drifted away from the game now and has started rambling about the history of the films.
[3:54] He just finished filming Saw 6, for instance.
[3:56] Bell wraps up the presentation by thanking everyone involved with the series, and introduces Mark Burg, producer for the franchise.
[3:56] Burg thanks everyone for coming and says that he set out to make a little movie for a million dollars seven years ago.
[3:56] At the time, all he wanted was to make his money back. He never dreamed it would become a roller coaster or a video game.
[3:56] He asks if anyone has any questions (they don't, apparently).
[3:56] He then introduces the game's producer, John Williamson.
[3:57] Williamson takes the audience through the reverse bear-trap puzzle, and how the game leaves clues in every room and hall that will help keep gamers alive.
[3:58] A trailer shows a bunch of the game's puzzles--some of them very traditional, others much less so.
[3:58] He goes over some of the characters in Jigsaw's asylum in the game, and its many inhabitants.
[3:59] The game comes out this fall for the PS3 and 360, and will be downloadable on the PC.
[3:59] In a less-than-natural segue, we get a trailer for Karaoke Revolution.
[3:59] The game includes customizable avatars and will be out this fall for 360, PS3, and Wii.
[4:00] The game's producer takes the podium and talks about how the new game's virtual world will push the boundaries of the karaoke genre.
[4:03] He touts the fan base of millions of players around the world, and talks about improvements made to the singing interface.
[4:03] All of the key features will be included, and the game will feature acts such as Kings of Leon and Lady Gaga.
[4:03] There will be new performance venues such as a tiki-torch beach and a rockabilly stage.
[4:03] There are a few more empty seats now than when Kojima was onstage...
[4:03] The game will have weekly DLC releases, and will be backward compatible with content released for previous installments.
[4:03] The next presentation is Dance Dance Revolution.
[4:04] The game's producer comes out with a translator, who has been with Konami since the very first installment of the game.
[4:04] Through all these years, we've stayed true to what makes DDR so fun and addictive.
[4:05] He shows off a slew of album covers. Moby, Vanilla Ice, Black Eyed Peas...
[4:05] Was that New Kids on the Block?
[4:05] First up is the standard DDR for PS2.
[4:05] With the series still popular on the PS2, Konami is adding master tracks and a new board-game-style mode to the game.
[4:07] On the Wii, the use of Miis and the Wii Remote controller has added new tweaks to the Wii formula, and the producer says there will be a new revolution to the formula this year with the Balance Board.
[4:07] It's supposed to be fun, and a good workout, "especially around the waist."
[4:08] We get a live demo and an explanation beforehand. There's a "Punch" arrow that comes up and "hip bump" and "hip roll" arrows.
[4:09] The hip roll is an extended motion. The live demo is getting a great reaction from the crowd.
[4:10] With the player standing on the Balance Board, there are no normal arrows to worry about, but hip-bump arrows (which specify a direction) mixed with punches and hip rolls seems like plenty to keep track of already.
[4:10] "This is a completely new style of entertainment," he says.
[4:11] For people who don't own the Balance Board, there's also a different mode that incorporates a different style of dancing.
[4:12] Finally, the DDR series will maintain the theme of evolution and revolution. He thanks the crowd and asks them to visit the Konami booth to try the game for themselves.
[4:12] Next up is a DS game called WireWay.
[4:12] It comes out this fall, and the producer Hymie Bencia is out to talk about it.
[4:13] Bencia introduces the main character Wiley and explains his quest to defeat an alien and win the heart of his chosen love.
[4:14] To play the game, players need to propel him through levels by sling-shotting him off of wires that he automatically grabs on to.
[4:14] There are power-ups and combo sling-shotting techniques, as well as breakable walls and hidden items.
[4:14] Next up is Deca Sports 2.
[4:14] A number of conveyor belts and pinball bumpers mix things up, as do large boss battles against dinosaurs, kittens, and other strange enemies.
[4:16] There's also a "strategery" mode, in which players place bumpers and wires in limited numbers to make it through levels.
[4:16] The game's Versus mode is a race for the finish line, but it's made more difficult because players can sabotage each other's wires.
[4:17] The trailer shows hockey, tennis, kendo, mogul skiing, and more as a handful more attendees get up to leave the auditorium.
[4:18] The game will have online multiplayer, and a Hudson representative is here to introduce it.
[4:18] The sequel arrives on the Wii this fall with 10 events and new features.
[4:18] Team customization and online play with leaderboards are about it.
[4:18] He moves to the next presentation with lightning speed, which draws hearty applause from the audience.
[4:18] The next trailer appears to be Silent Hill for the Wii.
[4:20] The clips show a man in search of his daughter through spooky environments.
[4:21] The Wii cursor serves as a flashlight for the player to see all manner of creepy happenings, from mutating street lights to hairless, faceless, twitchy zombies.
[4:21] Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is coming this fall.
[4:22] The producer talks about the game and the trailer's creepy cover of "Always on My Mind."
[4:22] The developers wanted to play on people's fears, and cues up some gameplay footage.
[4:23] To be a horror game in 2009, it's all about immersion. The player moves with the Nunchuk and controls the flashlight with the Wii Remote.
[4:23] "There's really no better way to explore the virtual dark."
[4:24] There are a variety of Wii Remote puzzles and physical interactions, whether it's upturning a soda can to find the note within, or unzipping a jacket.
[4:26] The game will also have a psychological-profiling component. The game supposedly looks at the way the player goes through the story and adapts the game in response.
[4:26] The producer was a little vague on that point, moving quickly to the theory of scaring people in games.
[4:26] There's the surprise scare and the suspense scare, which requires buildup. BOO!
[4:27] The scares aren't scripted, canned, or preplanned, he says. The game's adaptive system makes it so that every run through a sequence will play out differently.
[4:28] He specifies that the creepy things hunting the main character aren't zombies. They're intelligent, hunt by smell and sound, and work together to catch you.
[4:28] The enemies don't attack you like in other games. They just cling onto you.
[4:29] If too many cling on, the main character (Harry) is dragged to the ground and smothered.
[4:29] He shows off footage from the PSP game "for the first time."
[4:30] He promises that the PSP and PS2 versions will be "as wildly inventive" as the Wii edition of the game.
[4:30] He turns it over to Konami VP of marketing Anthony Kratz, who has "one more surprise."
[4:31] It's another trailer, this one starting with Dance Dance Revolution. It's apparently a 360 and PS3 edition with an eight-arrow mode. The trailer also shows the Wii edition of the game.
[4:32] The game is coming to the PS3 for the first time this fall, and will have eight directional arrows and a DDR mat with eight directional pads.
[4:32] The other four directions are diagonals.
[4:32] That's it for the press conference, which is the last of this year's E3!