Friday, June 3, 2011

Pre-E3: Konami "Press Conference"

Developer Konami prepares for this year's E3 with a showcase of the games to be featured at the event as well as fans to anticipate in the future in a very conventional fashion.

To get the gaming press as well as fans hyped up for the latest game, some press conferences occur before E3 begins with others during.

Konami is one of the least popular companies out of all to have such a conference as well as being sometimes fascinating in presentation. Their previous efforts have turned to provide really interesting stories of awkwardness as well as memes that many gamers know including the popular "ONE MILLION TROOPS" phrase by Ninetly-Nine-Nights producer Tak Fuji from last year.

For 2011, a countdown was initiated for what was believed to be the next Konami live press conference and being their first before E3. As the time elapsed to its deadline, the website hosting as well as other major video gaming sites revealed that it was actually a well-edited pre-recorded video previewing the publisher's latest games.

Introducing the video was Konami Digital Entertainment America President Shinji Hirano behind a 3D backdrop showing off what might look like for the company's games in E3. Prior to introducing the games, he brought out his thanks to fans grateful for their support after the major Japanese earthquake and tsunami that damaged the country months back.

Hirano finishes off by quickly announcing downloadable content for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow as part of the franchise's 25th anniversary and a Nintendo 3DS version of Frogger.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D

The perspective shifts to creative producer at Konami's Kojima Productions Yoshikazu Matsuhana who talks about the development of the upcoming remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for the 3DS.

"First and foremost, we wanted to make good use of the stereoscopic 3D feature," Matsuhana-san said who intends to have the hardware take advantage of the game's jungle forest setting. "With 3D in mind, we were able to create a natural depth-of-field. It's on a completely different level than an interior setting where you might not have as many rich textures or as wide in scope.

Matsuhana-san expands on some specific hardware characteristics such as the gyro sensor and the camera being used for the game. With the ability of using different types of camoflauge to blend to the environment made ever since the original game's inception, Snake Eater in the 3DS allows players to take pictures such as a flower from their handheld and create their own known as "photocamo." When Snake Eater protagonist Naked Snake does a particular action involving balancing including crossing bridges and climbing a tree, players must steady their 3DS or else Snake might fall off and be in danger.

"We are hoping for a new kind of experince whereby holding the 3DS in your hands, you could in a sense be 'one with Snake'," Matsuhada-san said.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011

Next up is the latest iteration of Pro Evolution Soccer (previously Winning Eleven) with the game's creative producer Shingo "Seabass" Takasuka.

Seabass comments that the 2012 entry should provide players who are not controlling players managing the ball with more abilities after looking at 2011's mechanic of handling the ball freely when in possession. Improvements over the offense also carry over to the defense and the AI who manages the security including animations and zone-defense.

"That's the realistic kind of experience we want to achieve," Seabass said. "I believe we are able to make a 'one body, one mind' type game."

To prevent simplicity from their reinforcements, the development team expanded their one-on-one game with improved dribble techniques.

The video feature concludes with Team Barcelona's forward and PES cover boy Lionel Messi about following for more news on Facebook.


In Oxford, England, producer Shinto Ojira takes on a small tour with one of Konami's own development team working with the country's own Rebellion Developments to help work on the upcoming 3rd person shooter NeverDead.

One of the main topics was about the main character Bryce's ability to never die, originally conceived by Ojira.

"Even though he loses limbs on occasion from the attacks, he still can't be killed," Ojira-san said. "So what happens is he picks ups he limbs and puts it back on."

He expands the concept as not just losing and regaining the limbs but how it can be used as an advantage for the game's progression. Footage shows Bryce able to detach a limb in order to fight a particular enemy.

Ojira concludes with showing off the latest trailer as well as reveal that thrash metal band Megadeth contributed a song exclusively for the game.

Silent Hill
Silent Hill: Downpour and its developer Vatra Games, situated in the Czech Republic, would be the next featured game in Konami's presentation.

Silent Hill: Revelation director Michael J. Bassett and actress Adelaide Clemens, portraying Heather Mason, comments on the upcoming game entry and the rest of the series as an influence on the film. New footage of Downpour as well as the development process including live motion capturing in the forest plays as they speak out.

Before showing off a new trailer, it was announced that Silent Hill 2 and 3 would be made for HD consoles as well as introducing Silent Hill: Book of Memories planned for Sony's upcoming NGP handheld (yet unconfirmed by Sony Computer Entertainment of America as of the message).

Kojima Productions

To help finish off is Mark MacDonald, executive director of localization group 8-4 Ltd., visiting Kojima Productions in Tokyo, Japan in hopes to clarify the news of Hideo Kojima being unable to come to E3 this year.

After a humorous entry to the offices, Kojima-san presents MacDonald a huge reveal for Metal Gear Solid with assistance from video game comedy group Mega64. Member Rocco Botte plays as a janitor interrogated by other members Derrick Acosta, Shawn Chatfield, and Garnett Hunter acting as military like guys breaking in an after hours Konami building. Actosta acting as a sort of outrageous parody of Metal Gear Solid's popular bad guy Psycho Mantis "invades" the janitor's mind.

The visions show Botte trying to play Metal Gear Solid on the go while physically moving an external electric battery and a big TV in public. While providing many laughs, the skit also confirms Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 3: Snake Eater, and even the once-PSP exclusive Peace Walker to be available on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as an HD optimization set for a Nov. 2011 release. To add to the HD updates, both Zone of the Enders games will also be available in the format in 2012.

These HD editions does not use emulation and properties such as user interface, art, and audio have been rebuilt and optimized for the consoles. Characteristics in both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles such as right analog stick use and trophies/achievements will also be available. A new featured called "Transfarring" is also introduced to the PS3 and PlayStation Portable versions of Peace Walker.

"[Transfarring] is the ability to bridge distance and gaming hardware by transferring your game between platforms," Kojima-san explained when talking about his concept. "With Transfarring, you can play the same game 24 hours a day, whether at home or on the go."

A demonstration shortly begins with how it exactly Transfarring works featuring members of Kojima Productions. From the PS3 version of Peace Walker, they "transfarr out" the save data onto a PSP via USB cable. To avoid save issues, the data from the PS3 version is locked until it's "transfarred in" from the PSP.

"[Peace Walker] is just the first phase of my plan for the Transfarring system." Kojima informed about his future plans. "The next step will bring PlayStation 2 class games onto PS3 and NGP and allow transfarring between those platforms."

He would also conclude that is to have PS3 games transfarr between NGP versions after day one of release.

MacDonald brings up Metal Gear Solid: Rising which Kojima responds that the game will release in 2012 as originally intended. Metal Gear series mechanical designer Yoji Shinkawa would then pop on by and explain more of the concept art MacDonald sees when interviewing Kojima-san.

"It's an extension of the concepts from Metal Gear Solid 4 but we wanted to take it in a more futuristic and sci-fi direction," Shinkawa-san said. "Our teamwork is mostly complete however we got one more task that still remains."

MacDonald then asks Kojima-san of any future projects which the prolific developer responds that it's in the planning stage aimed to be multi-platform as well as Transfarring-enabled.

"We are experimenting with some of the ideas we have as well as researching, conducting interviews. From there we take the necessary info we need and move forward," Kojima said. "So when it comes to the title, the game system, or any kind of visuals, there is nothing I can really show at this time."

Kojima-san didn't seem that footage of the project can be seen from MacDonald's view. Kojima-san then let a bit of info in including it proprietary game engine dubbed the "Fox Engine."

"Up until now, we have been developing games exclusively for specific platforms," Kojima-san explained of the development process for their previous games in comparison to Fox. "We are paving the road to go multi-platform for future titles.

Kojima-san aims to have the Fox Engine help shorten development time thanks to the tools provided. What is shown ran by the engine is a test bed of a dynamically-lit forest with a horses and other various objects built for the developers to research.

Kojima-san plans to visit E3 next year.


As the video ends, a small teaser of a moving fire ball moves everywhere until it finally settles in a C positioning and the phrase "They are coming...," ultimately to tease that Contra is getting a new entry.

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