TOKYO--At the PlayStation Premiere 2007 press conference held in Roppongi Hills yesterday, major Japanese game publishers announced the latest status on the development of their PlayStation 3 titles, and also unveiled a few new games that weren't shown at last week's E3 Media & Business Summit in California.
For the first time in Japan, Polyphony Digital showed off Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Studio head Kazunori Yamauchi played a demo of the game, showing how its menu options have been seamlessly integrated with online features, such as a profile editor and an online event calendar. Going on a race, Yamauchi showed how Gran Turismo 5 can run with up to 16 cars on the track, and with more sophisticated artificial intelligence than in previous series installments.
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is scheduled to come out in Japan in October to coincide with the Tokyo Motor Show, where a number of new Japanese sports cars that are included in the game will make their debut. For those fluent in Japanese, the game's official Web site has more details.
Namco Bandai Games showed a trailer of Tekken 6 and announced that development of the arcade version is almost complete. The game began beta testing in Tokyo two weeks ago, and it is scheduled to officially hit arcades in the fall. A PS3 version of the game is planned for release within a year of its arcade ship date, and will include additional modes and online play. Namco Bandai also reconfirmed that the online-enabled version of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection would be released via the PlayStation store next month.
Time Crisis 4's development for the PS3 is far along, and the game is scheduled for a worldwide release at the end of 2007. Today in Tokyo, Namco Bandai Games vice president Shin Unozawa showed off the GunCon 3, the first gun controller ever for the console. Unozawa appealed to the other publishers at the event, inviting them to also make games that take advantage of the controller.
Though the fate of Beautiful Katamari on the PS3 is unclear, fans of the series got a pleasant surprise at the end of Namco Bandai's stage show. Katamari's creator Keita Takahashi is working on a new title named Nobinobi Boy. The game is apparently still in its early stages of development, but the audience was shown a concept video where a very long and squiggly, green caterpillar-like character wriggled around very naturally through the screen for 30 seconds. Unozawa explained that Takahashi has been thinking about the Nobinobi Boy game concept for the past two years, but it couldn't have become a reality without the physics calculation capabilities of the PS3.
Sega unveiled a new title named Senjou no Valkyria (The Valkyrie of War), an action/strategy RPG that takes place during a fictional European conflict in 1935. A trailer was shown where villages were destroyed by tanks and armored soldiers. The story seems to be focused on a group of civilian volunteers that assemble to protect their homeland. Despite its dark-sounding story, the game's graphics look like watercolors from a picture book. Sega calls this its new "CANVAS" rendering format. Senjou no Valkyria is currently in development by the core staff of the Sakura Wars series.
Sega's presentation was given by Yakuza producer Toshihiro Nagoshi, who appeared onstage wearing a kimono and with two Geisha girls on his sides. Nagoshi explained that he is currently working on two new titles for the PS3, with one being released next spring in Japan. He said he was originally planning to show a trailer during the event, but decided that the game wasn't up to his standards yet.
At Sega's private conference in September, Nagoshi hinted that his outfit was a clue about the game. Nagoshi said that the new game will be the biggest project he's worked on yet, and it will be a new challenge for his Yakuza development team as well. He barely mentioned the second title that he's working on, only saying that it should be announced in the not-too-distant future.
Koei also announced that Shin Sengoku Musou 5 (Dynasty Warriors 6) is currently in development for the PlayStation 3. The game will allow more freedom for players to strategically interact with the game environment, allowing them to climb a ladder to see from above and swim through rivers to get to the opposite shore. The game will feature new weapons, character designs, and new combination attacks. Shin Sengoku Musou 5 is slated for a fall release in Japan and will be playable at TGS.
At the end of the press conference, Sony ran trailers of a number of other titles that weren't covered at the stage show, including Disgaea 3 (Nippon Ichi Software), Tears to Tiara (Aquaplus), Dark Sector (D3Publisher), Wangan Midnight (Genki), Heavenly Sword (SCE), Lair (SCE), Vampire Rain (AQ Interactive), Pirates of the Caribbean: World's End (Disney Interactive), Army of Two (Electronic Arts), and Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (Pandemic Studios & EA).