E3 2012: Sony launches Beyond, showcases The Last of Us, God of War
- — 05 June, 2012 22:00
Sony kicked off its press conference in Los Angeles last night with a brand new IP called Beyond, from Heavy Rain creators Quantic Dream.
Beyond follows a girl named Jodie Holmes through fifteen years of her life as she struggles to cope with her connection to the spirits that haunt the afterlife. In the pictures Quantic Dream presented at the conference, Jodie appeared to be around twelve years old at her youngest point.
“What happens when we die, no one knows. We have our hopes, our fears, our doubts, but what’s on the other side remains unknown,” said Quantic Dream’s David Cage.
“Jodie Holmes knows a little bit more about this than you and I.”
Jodie is voiced by Hollywood actress Ellen Page.
Quantic Dream’s original effort, Heavy Rain, was more of an interactive story than a game at times, and the company alluded to the fact that Beyond would be similar in style, focusing on emotional response and storytelling over classical gameplay.
The company only showed a cutscene from the game, followed by a montage of short clips, but graphically the demo was impressive.
God of War: Ascension
The next game in the God of War series, God of War: Ascension, was an obvious crowd favourite. In the demo, our Spartan protagonist Kratos seemed to summon energy to shift objects around himself and move around his environment more freely.
The game also looked as violent as ever, with decapitations and chopped off limbs being the standard.
The Last of Us
Sony closed the showcase with cover-based zombie shooter The Last of Us from industry veterans Naughty Dog, who created the Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted franchises.
The game is a cinematic, post-apocalyptic story about a man named Joel who finds himself responsible for the life of a 14-year-old girl, Ellie.
The demo was visually impressive, and the similarities to the Uncharted games were clear in the basic combat mechanics of the game. However, The Last of Us appears to be a much darker, grittier game that will have a higher classification than the Uncharted series.
Where Uncharted went easy on the violence, The Last of Us does not hold back. For example, at one point Joel snuck up behind someone and put him in a sleeper hold. In Uncharted, he would have passed out immediately, but in The Last of Us, the man struggled against Joel, scratching at him and trying to escape.
The most notable Move title announced at briefing was Book of Spells, an augmented reality and Move game written in part by Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. As we understand it the game, which is largely for children, comes with a book with augmented reality cards. Players will be able to see themselves on screen, turning the pages of the book, and be able to cast spells and solve puzzles by using the Move wand.
Sony’s answer to Super Smash Bros., PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, was also on display, and the company announced that the game would be available on the PlayStation Vita.
Sony also unveiled two new characters for the game. The first was the obvious choice of Uncharted’s Nathan Drake, who has become something of an iconic figure in the Sony universe, but even more exciting was the sound clip that suggested players would be able to take on the role of BioShock’s big scary bad guy, Big Daddy.
Sony’s partner Ubisoft also showed off a new Assassin’s Creed game for the Vita in a brief trailer, called Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. The game featured a female assassin.
PlayStation Suite is PlayStation Mobile
PlayStation Suite, a program used on certain devices to deliver PlayStation-branded software, was also given a rebranding last night and is now called PlayStation Mobile.
While previously Sony had restricted PlayStation software to certain Sony devices, the company is branching out further into the Android market. The company announced that HTC’s One series, including the HTC One X, would be capable of taking advantage of PlayStation Mobile.
E3 officially opens tomorrow - we’ll have more coverage of events, interviews and hands-on sessions as we get them.