At last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Konami revealed a handful of big-name games, including Castlevania: Lords of Judgment, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. To date, only the last of those has made it into stores, so the first two might be in the cards for Konami's 2010 E3 press briefing when it kicks off Wednesday afternoon.
While those games might be the main event of Konami's briefing, the publisher is likely to field a strong undercard as well. Konami's slate of upcoming releases already includes horror games like a new Silent Hill and Saw 2. In the music category, the publisher has the hip-hop rhythm game Def Jam Rapstar on the way, and new installments in the Karaoke Revolution and Dance Dance Revolution franchises are a strong possibility.
Konami could also tap into interest surrounding the World Cup soccer tournament to hype this fall's Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, or play up its downloadable efforts like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 revamp Rush'N Attack Ex-Patriot. There should also be news on games from external studios that Konami has agreed to publish, like Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes Del Ring and Ninety Nine Nights II.
[1:17] Konami is starting it's press conference fashionably late, only starting to allow the assembled media into the Los Angeles Convention Center conference hall at the show's 1 p.m. start time.
[1:19] The publisher isn't waiting to give the crowd its first celebrity sighting, as Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons is sitting front and center, along with a small entourage of cameramen.
[1:19] The lights dim, the crowd quiets, and the show seems ready to start.
[1:19] Konami US marketing head David Daniels welcomes everyone to the show, and asks for a show of hands for who was at the publisher's recent media briefing.
[1:19] He said there would be some recapping for those people who didn't attend, but there will also be new surprises in store.
[1:20] After some housekeeping reminders about silencing cell phones, he cues up a trailer.
[1:20] Up up down down left right left right B A start.
[1:22] The magical Konami code leads into a sizzle trailer showing off Adrenalin Misfits, Def Jam Rapstar, Dance Masters, Dance Dance Revolution, BeyBlade, Lost in Shadow, the new Silent Hill, Ninety Nine Nights 3, Saw 2, Deca Sports 3, and more.
[1:23] Konami Entertainment America president Shinji Hirano takes the podium and welcomes the crowd.
[1:23] He says he wants to emphasize the publisher's strong lineup, including Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, Dance Dance Revolution, Frogger, and Silent Hill.
[1:24] He references some of the company's external strategic partnerships (AAA: heroes Del Ring and Deca Sports), as well as licensing deals with Hudson, Def Jam, and Slang.
[1:25] Along those lines, he talks about Glee: Karaoke Revolution, based on the Fox TV show.
[1:26] There's a pause in the show after Hirano leaves the stage. Apparently a cue was missed to roll the trailer for the next game. Oops.
[1:27] "It's so good they're keeping you waiting on the edge of your seat," jokes a Konami representative desperately trying to get the show back on track.
[1:27] It's 4mm Games' CEO, who doesn't give his name, but skips the trailer to start talking about Def Jam Rapstar.
[1:27] He says they signed a multiyear partnership with Def Jam for the game, and have been working with different people to develop, promote, and publish the game.
[1:28] But what makes it a revolutionary product, he says, is the way it interacts with your life.
[1:29] Gamers playing the game on the console have their performances essentially broadcast to their friends regardless of social network, who can then respond and comment on your play right away.
[1:29] He talks about the South Park Guitar Hero episode, where getting a million points made the foul-mouthed grade schoolers famous.
[1:30] But with Def Jam Rapstar, getting a million views of a video performance actually could make that fame a reality.
[1:31] He says they've got a long-term plan for Def Jam Rapstar, even if it came together rather quickly. Texas developer Terminal Reality (BloodRayne) made the game in just 18 months.
[1:31] Simmons comes up and talks about hip-hop gaming as a white space where people are ignoring "the most obvious thing in the world."
[1:33] This is a way for kids to create their own music, videos, and careers, Simmons says. The impact hip-hop has on the culture is difficult to understate, he says, pointing out that when hip-hop first emerged, there were no other black people on TV. Now the US has a black president, and kids from all countries and regions--wealthy or not so wealthy--can communicate with each other.
[1:34] "I just talked to the sales guy and he's already order a million mics. I don't know if that's a big number, but s***."
[1:34] Simmons emphasizes that they're going "to market the s*** out of it," but says that Rapstar will sell itself.
[1:35] It's going to be a great, exciting experiment, Simmons promises, calling it a trailblazing game.
[1:36] It's going to be a great, exciting experiment, Simmons promises, calling it a trailblazing game.
[1:36] The crowd gives him a strong round of applause, and the trailer is finally ready to roll.
[1:36] Dr. Dre and Wu Tang Clan albums are briefly shown, then the trailer shows a player going through the career mode, climbing the rap battle ranks online, then receiving a video taunt on his cell phone from Method Man and Redman.
[1:37] The trailer ends, and another quickly follows. It's for the Lucha Libre game AAA: Heroes Del Ring.
[1:37] It shows a handful of masked wrestlers in their pre-fight rituals.
[1:39] "You're allowed to pray, but in the ring, you're only allowed one outcome… victory."
[1:39] The trailer ends, and La Parka and two other wrestlers are here.
[1:39] A Slang executive comes out with the wrestlers, holding a championship title belt over his shoulder.
[1:41] He plugs some live lucha libre matches happening at Konami's booth this week, and runs down the platforms the game will be arriving on.
[1:41] There will be a televised match tomorrow, with not only the championship belt on the line, but also the cover star spot on the game.
[1:41] He introduces El Eligio, La Parka, and Silver King.
[1:41] Dr. Wagner couldn't be at the conference, but will be on hand for the match tomorrow. They're going through with a weigh-in now.
[1:41] Silver King tuants Eligio, telling him to "bailar, cabron."
[1:41] Eligio takes exception, and the two trade loud chest slaps.
[1:42] The Dr. Wagner appears on the video screen, taunting his fellow luchadores and promising that he will be on the official cover art. The three go nuts with chest chops as the Slang representative tries to calm them down.
[1:43] The three go nuts with chest chops as the Slang representative tries to calm them down.
[1:43] La Parka grabs the belt from the rep, and the wrestlers are now starting to turn on him.
[1:43] They shove him to the back as the appreciative crowd chuckles and applauds.
[1:44] The light-hearted vibe quickly disappates as a trailer for Saw II is shown. Yes, they are making another one to go alongside the theatrical release of Saw XVIX.
[1:44] It's a video message from serial killer Jigsaw, telling his latest victim that her legs are anchored to an elevator while her arms are secured to the ceiling. If the player fails a puzzle, the elevator will fall, tearing her in two. Charming.
[1:45] There's plenty of gore in the trailer and the game's producer John Williamson is out to talk about the game.
[1:46] He said this time around, the team has Tobin Bell's voice and likeness, as well as music from Charlie Clouser.
[1:48] Beyond the obvious, the subtitle also refers to the game's story, which sees players tracking down Jigsaw as the son of the detective in the original game. Oh, that Jigsaw. He's incorrigible.
[1:48] Williamson leaves the stage, and it's time for a talk about Ninety-Nine Nights II.
[1:48] Tak Fuji, the game's lead producer, takes the stage and says the game comes out June 29.
[1:48] There have been many improvements since the original game, he said, but he's going to focus on three of them.
[1:48] Players will be able to compete on leaderboards and face armies of up to 1 million troops.
[1:49] When the crowd doesn't act suitably impressed, he repeats the statement and holds his hand to his ear, which gets chuckles, oohs, and aahs.
[1:50] Fuji said the game isn't just hack-and-slash any more, he said it's "exxxxtreeeeme" hack-and-slash, which gets another round of laughs.
[1:51] Despite the hacking, he says it's also tactical. If you just play it like a button-masher, "you'll be sucked," he says.
[1:52] Players need to take into account where the enemies are coming from and how they get to players, and they'll need to stem the tide of reinforcements intelligently if they want to make progress.
[1:52] He introduces a trailer for the game, which lays out the game's back story.
[1:52] The world has crumbled over the course of 92 days, and a thief, a guardian, an assassin, a queen, and a warrior must work together to set things right.
[1:53] The crowd applauds, and Fuji basks in it for a slightly extended moment before introducing the next title, Otomedius Excellent.
[1:54] A new speaker comes out with no introduction, and talks about the game as a combination of the Gradius and Parodius 2D side-scrolling shoot-'em-up series.
[1:54] It is the first time the Otomedius series will be released internationally, and the game will feature high-definition visuals, multiplayer, downloadable content, and more.
[1:55] He namechecks Gradius and Parodious again, and introduces a trailer for the game.
[1:55] A bevy of anime girls--some in school uniforms, some robotic, one part-cat?--jump onto sky sleds and take to the skies.
[1:57] No gameplay is shown, and it's onto Adrenaline Misfits.
[1:57] The speaker talks about the surfing and snowboarding game's goal to make the most of Kinect.
[1:57] He highlights the game's intuitive gameplay, saying that players' actions will be directly replicated by their Xbox Avatars (or custom Adrenaline Misfits characters).
[1:58] It's a race to the bottom of each course, but doing tricks will boost score, allowing players different ways to win.
[1:58] There are eight game modes, from trick competitions to slalom races.
[1:59] He cues a trailer for the game that shows off its fantasy-focused environments and ridiculous jumps.
[1:59] The speaker leaves, and another trailer starts up, this one for Dance Masters.
[2:01] False alarm, it wasn't a full trailer, but a pair of developers are out and walk through some vaudevillian misunderstanding about this being a revolution for the Dance Dance series, a "Dance Dance Revolution," if you will.
[2:01] They ham up the scripted banter and then give a gameplay demo. There's no equipment on stage, so they're just dancing along with a trailer.
[2:02] The game lets players record their performances and save them, then use those old performances for their back-up dancers on screen.
[2:03] There will be a wide variety of musical genres in the game, so anyone who plays it should be able to really master their dance moves, they say.
[2:04] The pair leave and an actual trailer for Dance Masters plays.
[2:06] It's time for Karaoke Revolution, as a trailer for KR: Glee plays, using scenes from the show for people to sing along with.
[2:06] Christine Kelly comes out and talks about Glee, the 10th release of the Karaoke Revolution franchise.
[2:07] She says the show inspired a nation of show choirs, and talks about 12 million "Gleeks" that tune in every week. Yes, there is actually a term called "Gleeks."
[2:07] The game will have 35 songs from season one of the show, with support for harmonies (of course).
[2:09] Kelly introduces a clip from a local TV station news report about the high school choir that inspired the TV show.
[2:09] It's Power House, the John Burroughs High School show choir.
[2:10] There's a live demo of the game now, as a show choir walks out to the front of the auditorium and begins singing Queen's "Somebody to Love."
[2:10] They are better at this than you are.
[2:11] They are also performing to a room full of people with their heads buried in their laptops or busy taking pictures.
[2:13] When one of the singer's matches Freddie Mercury belting out his lines at the height of the song, the crowd heartily applauds.
[2:13] The kids thank the crowd and leave to big applause.
[2:14] Hudson's Mike Pepe comes out and follows the Glee performance with a trailer for BeyBlade.
[2:14] Players will get to play as characters from the TV show and customize their BeyBlades in the game.
[2:15] BeyBlade: Metal Fusion will launch on the Wii and DS this fall.
[2:16] He recaps some of the features mentioned in the trailer, and introduces the next Hudson title, Deca Sports 3.
[2:17] The game will have 10 new events, including fencing, a halfpipe snowboarding game, and lumberjack sports.
[2:17] The game will feature more sports online, and every one of them will support Wii Motion Plus.
[2:17] The third Hudson title is Deca Sports Freedom, which will apparently be for the 360 Kinect.
[2:19] A trailer shows tennis, archery, and paintball games.
[2:19] He said Kinect is perfect for the series because of the simple controls, and introduces the last Hudson game of the show.
[2:21] It's a side-scrolling platformer, but the player exists only as a shadow in the world and must solve puzzles and manage the way light is cast in a room to pass the levels.
[2:21] The game--Lost in Shadow--combines platforming adventure with "graphics never before seen on the Wii."
[2:21] The game comes out this fall.
[2:21] Pepe leaves the stage, and it's time to talk Silent Hill.
[2:22] Devin Shatsky and Brian Gomez are out to talk about the game.
[2:22] Shatsky says the series has taken many different approaches to game design and mechanics, and turns it over to Gomez to explain the new game's focus.
[2:23] Gomez says the team is taking elements that worked in the past like disturbing creatures and a spooky environment, and adding their own twist for the PS3 and 360 game, which comes out next year.
[2:24] A trailer starts, panning the camera over a rain-soaked forest.
[2:24] It comes to a rest on the side of the road, where a prison transport speeds by.
[2:24] The player will apparently control an inmate who suffers visions as he nods off to sleep.
[2:25] They include him in an apparent escape attempt, running through the forest in his jumpsuit, crossing a ravine by tip-toeing along a log, and finding his way to Silent Hill.
[2:26] The town is creepy, of course, with abandoned vehicles and buildings, plenty of fog, and slowly turning ceiling fans.
[2:26] The prisoner navigates his way through one such building with a flashlight until he finds a gun on a table, then things take a turn for the strange.
[2:27] A hallway he walks down begins to disintegrate, revealing that the hallway is actually a metal cage suspending in a creepy sewer-like area.
[2:27] The trailer loops back to the original scene, with the prisoner waking up on the bus as it's headed to Silent Hill.
[2:29] he crowd applauds, and Shatsky talks about the game featuring new music from the composer behind Showtime's Dexter series, Dan Licht.
[2:29] They leave the stage, and it's time to talk about Never Dead.
[2:29] Konami Japan's Shinta Nojiri introduces a trailer for the game first.
[2:29] It begins with a shot of a ruined downtown area, with cars overturned and buildings burning.
[2:30] The game is developed by Rebellion (Aliens vs. Predator).
[2:30] A man and a woman walk through the city as he tells her an obnoxious story.
[2:30] A beast crashes through the wall, knocking his head off.
[2:30] The man's severed head wakes up and complains that his story was just getting interesting.
[2:31] A gameplay montage shows the game to be a third-person shooter where the player controls the undying protagonist.
[2:32] Nojiri says he is working with Rebellion on the game, and PR man Thomas Nagano begins describing it.
[2:32] He's wearing a trenchcoat and begins explaining the inspiration when Nojiri slaps him on the back.
[2:34] Nagano's head appears to be knocked off his shoulders and into his hands as the crowd laughs.
[2:34] Nojiri asks the media to keep it a secret and the pair leave.
[2:34] A trailer comes up for a Kojima Productions game. FINALLY.
[2:35] The camera pans along a sword pock-marked with bullet strikes, then cuts to a warehouse with smoking shell casings piled on the floor.
[2:35] An armored creature is stalking something.
[2:35] That something turns out to be Raiden, who appears from nowhere, cuts the thing in half, and rips out its spine.
[2:35] Metal Gear Solid: Rising gameplay is shown, with the "Cut What You Will" tagline and watermelon slicing finish from the Microsoft conference.
[2:36] Shigenobu Matsuyama and Mineshi Kimura (producer and director, respectively) are out to talk about the game.
[2:36] Matsuyama asks if the crowd liked the trailer, which gets a round of applause.
[2:37] In the trailer, the concept word "Zan-Datsu" was shown. It's a made up word, he explains, and talks about the scene where Raiden yanked the guts/spine out of the cyborg.
[2:38] It also provides items, ammunition, and information. Harvesting the batteries from enemies allows players to proceed in the game.
[2:38] But players have to strategize what they take and aim and angle where they want to cut.
[2:39] Kimura takes over to explain more.
[2:40] The tech team made the "cut at will" concept internally in order to achieve the goal of the Zan-Datsu system.
[2:40] You can cut anywhere and destroy things, but as the watermelon bit showed, players can control how deeply they cut as well.
[2:41] That lets players cut to kill their opponents, or merely wound them.
[2:41] Kimura said the team is working on the controls, but once players get used to the system, he promises they'll have fun "just cutting and cutting."
[2:42] He talks about the stealth of the Metal Gear franchise, and says Rising will speed up the action some.
[2:42] He also wanted players to be able to hide vertically, because Raiden's acrobatic abilities allow him to jump to places where Solid Snake just couldn't reach.
[2:42] The goal is to make it "almost like a hunting stealth."
[2:43] In addition to his blade, Raiden will also have sub-weapons.
[2:43] What he's trying to achieve is the sort of speed and action from the Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer where Raiden took down a walking mech on his own.
[2:44] Finally, he talks a bit about the story. The game will take place between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4.
[2:44] And why he became the Raiden gamers know from Metal Gear Solid 4.
[2:46] He's not allowed to say more about the story, but he assures the game will be a totally new experience thanks to the experience of the sword combat.
[2:46] The goal for the next game is to raise the popularity of the Raiden character even more.
[2:46] The developers leave, along with a couple journalists.
[2:46] The next trailer is for the Xbox 360-exclusive Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
[2:48] Castlevania developer Koji "Iga" Igarashi is out in his trademark cowboy hat to present Harmony of Despair, a "classic 2D" game in the same style as recent side-scrolling Castlevania adventures.
[2:48] It will also be a multiplayer game, and Iga said there was a focus on dot art.
[2:49] That's more than 10 million dots on any given screen, he says.
[2:49] The gameplay will be familiar to players, but there are wrinkles. For example, enemies can now follow players from one screen to the next.
[2:50] There will be five playable characters, though they might add more if the game sells well.
[2:50] They also might add more stages, but that depends on the players.
[2:50] "Please help promote this game," Iga pleads.
[2:51] He turns the stage over to David Kochs, producer of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, in development for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
[2:52] He introduces a new trailer.
[2:53] The trailer starts with a narrator talking about these being dark times.
[2:54] Other voices say foreboding lines about prophecies and bringing people back from the dead.
[2:55] Gabriel Belmont is shown fighting a variety of gruesome adversaries, including a harpy, giant knights, werewolf-like creatures riding other beasts, and some other nasties.
[2:55] Not everything in the world is against Gabriel, as he has a handful of allies (including one voiced by Patrick Stewart).
[2:57] The trailer shows a mask, apparenty a powerful relic rumored to be able to bring the dead back to life. This was the mask used in Konami's teaser campaign before E3 2009.
[2:57] The trailer climaxes with Gabriel crawling up a massive creature constructed of rocks and trees, not unlike Gaea from God of War 3.
[2:58] Shinji Hirani is back out to say there are 5 3DS titles on the way. Frogger, Contra, Baseball, Metal Gear Solid, and one other.
[2:59] That's it for the show as the crowd packs up in a hurry, apparently surprised the show ran until 3 p.m.