In their live conference yesterday, Konami started off their presentation with video showing a vault and you heard a voice entering the, now classic, Konami code before going into reel of their upcoming games. Shinji Hirano, President of Konami, introduced himself and welcomed everybody. Hirano-san says that this year, Konami has strong line-up which consists of Konami original IP such as Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Silent Hill, two Castlevania games, Frogger, and Dance Dance Revolution.
In the beginning segment, tech problems plagued the presentation. The live stream wasn’t showing up, the actual Konami website was down, and in the presentation itself they couldn’t show the Def Jam Rapstar Trailer. 4MM CEO, Nick Perrett, could be heard saying “it’s so good they keep you waiting on the edge of your seat” when waiting for it to load. Def Jam Rapstar is being presented as a “revolutionary product” enabling gamers who are playing console game to share info immediately over the web on multiple social networks. Your friends can vote on your performance on their cell phones seconds after you are done with a song. Once your friends have done that, you can then get info on your phone, like with how they judged you. Def Jam Rapstar is a “constantly connected game,” with Perrett saying it will “breathe life into console games” and how somebody is going to become famous. Performances can be found on the Def Jam official website, so somebody could very likely obtain over a million hits. Perrett went on to say how this game is “no joke” because Def Jam Rapstar can make you a rapper.
When 4MM was looking for a partner, Perrett says they wanted a partner that wasn’t just a fan of hip-hop, but was hip-hop. It made perfect sense when Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam, came onto the stage and gave us a little speech. Simmons was up there semi-briefly, touching on how they’ve already ordered a million mics, how they are going to “market the shit out of it,” and that they have the “greatest partners and the greatest minds working on this.” To add icing on the cake, they even got Method Man and Redman to perform at the Konami booth later on that afternoon.
Immediately afterwards they went into a trailer for wrestling game Lucha Libre: Heroes del Ring. Federico Beyer, Slang’s First Party Liason/Director, came out and spoke about the game. They had three real Lucha Libre wrestlers on the stage, and they even did a weigh in. Why might you ask? Well, tomorrow, at 1:30 PM PST, they will be having a real wrestling event at the Slang booth. The winner will be the athlete featured on the cover. Let’s just hope the winner doesn’t get hit with the Madden cover curse.Lucha Libre: Heroes del Ring will be available on Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DSi, Sony PSP, Sony PS3, and Microsoft Xbox 360.
As soon as they all got off of the stage, the trailer for Saw II: Flesh & Blood kicked in. Tobin Bell, Jigsaw from the movies, returns to provide his voice and likeness for this game sequel. Nine Inch Nails fans might get excited that Charles Clouser is doing all of the games music. In the trailer, we saw Jigsaw talking to a woman who was shackled up. She was told that her legs were shackled to the top of an elevator, but her arms were shackled to the ceiling. She had only a matter of time to escape his trap or else she would be torn in half. What a shitty way to go.
John Williamson, Producer at Zombie Studios, talked to us about the game, and explained the title. In Saw II: Flesh & Blood, there will be more action, traps from the movies, new traps, and apparently “not every freed subject will welcome you with open arms.” They chose the title “Flesh & Blood” for two reasons: there are massive amounts of flesh and blood in this game, and the son of the detective from the first game is the main protagonist this time around. Released on Halloween of this year, Saw II: Flesh & Blood will be released for Sony PS3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. Did you honestly expect to see it on the Nintendo Wii?
Onward to Ninety-Nine Nights II, a Microsoft Xbox 350 exclusive. Now, I’ve never played the first one. Based on the screenshots I had seen, I thought it was a rip-off of Dynasty Warriors. Last week I played the demo for it on 360 and I was pleasantly surprised. It was awesome, so if you have a 360 stop reading this and downloading it now. Anyways, Tak Fujii, Producer at Konami Digital Entertainment, dished the details to us. Coming out on June 29th (my birthday… hint hint), they made massive improvements to the last release which was in 2006. Since he couldn’t tell us everything due to time restriction, he did touch on three things. We learned there will be online co-op, that there will be leaderboards, and that you can control up to one million troops. So awesome!
Ninety-Nine Nights II isn’t going to be your everyday hack-n-slash. They are calling it “extreme hack-n-slash,” whatever that means. I can honestly say that based on the demo I played, they have enhanced the graphics, enhanced the gameplay, and enhanced the fighting system. You can’t button mash, so don’t even try to. If you are doing co-op, the level of difficulty will increase. Also, with every level you advance to, the difficulty will increase. Fujii-san told us how we have to think hard about our actions, and that if you play smart, you can beat the game. If not, you won’t even make it past the first level. In different levels will be different armies, each boss will have a weak point, so we will have to just pay attention.
Assistant Producer at Konami Digital Entertainment, Niais Taylor, showed us another 360 exclusive titled Otomedius Excellent. I couldn’t even tell you where this game is coming from or what it’s about. The only thing I managed to catch was that there will be loads of DLC for it, it’s apparently huge in Japan, it’s roots are taken from Gradius (not a bad thing at all), that it has a Winter 2010 release, that you can do multiplayer co-op, and all of the playable characters are female. The trailer they showed was all in anime, with some Japanese pop track playing, but there was nothing from the game. Taylor said that they are giving Konami fans what they’ve been asking for, so I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under.
Taylor then presented the first Konami game for Microsoft Xbox Kinect, Adrenalin Misfits. It’s a game where friends and family are encouraged to play together, but it doesn’t look like something I’m interested in. The development team was easily inspired when working on this title since most of them love to surf and snowboard. I assume this title will be E for Everyone, because they are saying that all ages can play. Using the Kinect, there are obviously no buttons or combos to master. Just move your arms, hands, legs, and feet to make your character perform the same actions. In the trailer that was shown, if you jumped and spun around, so would your character. With Kinect, players can really feel like they are in the game, zooming along at fast speeds.
Adrenalin Misfits doesn’t want to be considered as just a racing game. Although they say it’s a “battle to the bottom,” Konami wants you to have fun while doing so. Performing tricks will help boost your score, and the louder the fans cheer for you, the faster you will go. Taylor said that “replay availability is off the charts” and with the many game modes listed, I believe him. Players can participate in slalom courses, collection challenges where you obtain items, trick competitions, and they will have more than 60 boards to choose from. No release date was mentioned or hinted at, so I’m not too sure if this will be a Kinect launch title, or something that will come out months down the road.
From the creators of Dance Dance Revolution is DanceMasters. DanceMasters is a working title still, but the Producer from both DDR and DanceMasters, Naoki Maeda, and Thomas Nagano were on hand to talk about the game and give us a rather strange demonstration. Maeda-san was a little difficult to understand, due to his incredibly thick Japanese accent, but fortunately I’ve studied Japanese for years so I managed to catch more than others would. Using Kinect, you follow along with the silhouette, and it responds very well. Graphically the game is gorgeous, and from the live demo, the game looks to be a lot of fun. Both Thomas and Maeda-san were grooving and moving up there, and we watched them strike a pose along with the markers onscreen. DanceMasters is unlike any other dance game out there for multiple reasons. One is that you can save your dance sequence and replay it at another time. Friends can come over to play, save their sequence, and later on they can be used as your backup dancers. Thomas and Maeda-san said they are “always trying to incorporate evolution and revolution into our games.” They also told us that if we practice a lot, we will be able to actually dance. Players will be able to challenge friends online, and will have a wide variety of dance numbers to choose from. During the presentation, and in the trailer, no release date, or even an estimate was given.
Keeping in with the music theme, they launched the trailer for Karaoke Revolution Glee. Fans of the game and show can perform their favorite hit songs, with the background being scenes directly from the hit Fox TV show. Christine Catle, Brand Manager at Konami Digital Entertainment, let us know that Karaoke Revolution Glee is coming out this fall for the Wii, and that this is the 10th installment in the Karaoke Revolution franchise. After those tidbits of info, another video was shown of John Burroughs High School Powerhouse Choir. Their videos, which were posted all over YouTube, were the inspiration for the Glee TV show. Once that was all over, the audience sat through the choir performing Queen’s “Somebody to Love” in its entirety. I personally felt the song dragged, but I get what Konami was trying to do. Karaoke Revolution Glee will feature over 30 songs, gamers can duet and harmonize, and there will be unlockables.
Mike Pepe, Marketing Director for Hudson Entertainment, took the stage after to present the Beyblade Metal Fusion game trailer. Gamers can play as Beyblades from the TV show, customize the Beyblades, unlock new Beyblades by battling opponents, and use special powers. Loads of anime from the cartoon was thrown in, so it was a little difficult to get a proper feel for the game. Also, it wasn’t clear if the anime sequences would be in the actual game itself. The game, for Wii and DS, will be out this Fall, and is meant to tie in with the cartoon that airs this summer. Their goal was to have the Wii and DS versions keep the same competitive feel the cartoon has, and there is even interconnectivity between the console and handheld. By doing so, you can unlock even more Beyblades.
The next game Pepe presented was Deca Sports 3. It will feature 10 new sporting events, will make use of the Wii MotionPlus, and gamers will be able to play online against people across the country. Some sports shown in the trailer were fencing, halfpipe, log cutting, volleyball, lacrosse, kayaking, and slalom. This time around, they wanted to improve on past versions of Deca Sports by offering more sports online as the Deca Sports franchise has been an enormous success for Hudson Entertainment. Deca Sports 3 is a Wii exclusive, and no date has been given.
Right after that, Pepe went into another Deca Sports title, Deca Sports Freedom. This title will be for Xbox 360 and will use Xbox Kinect. Like Deca Sports 3, Deca Sports Freedom will have feature 10 events. The game is all in HD, and you can even use your Avatars as the characters. In the trailer we saw tennis, archery, and paintball. Again, no release date was given.
The final title Pepe presented was this gorgeous platformer called Lost in Shadow. If I were Hudson Entertainment, I would market the Hell out of this title. Exclusively for the Wii, and coming out this Fall, Lost in Shadow is stunning. Graphically it reminds me of Ico, and Hudson is really pushing the visual capabilities of the Wii. The story is a shadow of a boy gets separated from his body. Your goal is to reconnect the two, but there is a problem. Inside the city is this massive tower with a shadow mass inside of it. The shadow mass is destroying the city and pretty much eating it alive. The shadow of the boy, who is nameless at this point, is accompanied by a fairy named Spangle. Just based on the short trailer, I am incredibly interested in Lost in Shadow, and I can’t wait for it to be released.
Making a complete 180, the conference went from a light Wii game to probably one of my favorite games of all time: Silent Hill. Devon Shatsky, Producer at Konami Digital Entertainment, was there with another man named Brian to discuss the amazingness that is Silent Hill. I can’t believe it’s already been 11 years since the first Silent Hill debuted on the old PlayStation console. Time really flies. Anyways, Devon and Brian said that Silent Hill “helps shape what horror games are meant to be,” and I couldn’t agree more. By evolving the core combat in the game, staying true to the terror we have grown to love, and still keeping that feeling of helplessness and dread, this game sounds and looks amazing. Again we were shown a trailer for the game where we discovered the main protagonist to be male. He was sitting, handcuffed, on a prison bus. Of course it was dark and raining, and they were on a road going through a forest, because when you really think about it…is there ever a game like this where the weather is nice and the sun is shining? On the bus, the nameless man was shown to have these flashbacks of him running through a forest, having to walk across a log to get over this massive gap, and there was even a woman police officer who stopped him. Then it showed the man running into the town of Silent Hill, still in his prison uniform, and big shocker – the town was completely empty.
After wandering around for a bit, not knowing where to go, it starts raining again so he climbs into a building through an open window. Now that it’s dark, he uses a flashlight he found, turns it on, and starts to explore. At this point in the trailer, it was a little difficult to determine what was just video, or if they threw in actual gameplay because it kind of looked the same. The graphics were great, the sound was on par, and then shit started to get real. The world around him started to turn into that sick, rusty world, and I think I even saw one of those demented Nurses. Right now, the only name they are calling it is Silent Hill, but this isn’t a remake of the PSX original. Unlike previous games, that had the amazing Akira Yamaoka (I’ve met him!) as the composer, we have Dan Licht whose previous work as been the Hellraiser films, Children of the Corn films, and the Showtime TV show Dexter. With a release date of 2011, Silent Hill will be available for both 360 and PS3.
Thomas Nagano took to the stage again, and performed a wardrobe change as well. This time he was accompanied by Shinta Nogiri, Producer from Konami Japan. The two of them introduced themselves and we were shown the trailer for NeverDead. Developed by Rebellion, NeverDead is about this guy who can put himself back together. I know that sounds strange, but the concept is actually pretty awesome. In the trailer we saw Bryce, get knocked into a wall by this massive creature and crumble like stone, but he reattached everything and was back in business, almost like how Iron Giant could reassemble. Nogiri-san actually designed this game, and was very proud of it. Graphics were stunning, it looked like a really fun third person shooter, and I laughed when the trailer showed Bryce dual-wielding and shooting while hobbling around on one leg. Nogiri-san and Thomas did a little joke where Thomas mouthed off a little and Nogiri-san knocked his head down into his chest, only for Thomas to put it back into place, like how Bryce could. They didn’t mention what console the game is for, if there is any multiplayer, co-op, or even a release date. They did say that you should check out the official website, and join their Facebook page.
Metal Gear Solid: Rising…how super sexy you look. Even though they used the same trailer that was shown during the Microsoft press conference, I was still blown away and managed to catch a few new things I missed. I don’t want to go into too much because MGS is so badass it deserves its own article.
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair for Xbox Live Arcade was shown, and Koji Igarashi, Producer for Konami Digital Entertainment, told us all about it. All of the details for Castlevania: Harmony of Despair can be found here along with multiple screenshots and a trailer.
Finally, the Konami press conference ended with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Producer, Dave Cox, went on to tell us now Lords of Shadow should be seen as a different interpretation of the Castlevania story and world, and that the game is being worked on my Madrid, Spain by mercurysystem. Lords of Shadow is meant to pay respect to the glorious franchise, and pays homage to it throughout the game. The trailer they showed goes more into the story of Gabriel Belmont, and shines the light on the stellar voice actors who participated. Dropping Fall of this year, for both PS3 and 360, I need to have this game.
And that was it from Konami. What do you think? Are you excited about some of the games, or are you just ‘meh’ about everything? Share your thoughts below!