Speaker: Michael Denny, VP of Sony Worldwide Studios
This session highlighted what the Vita is capable of doing and some of the games that can exist on the platform. It was pretty much a hey have a look at how awesome the Vita is going to be and it seems like it will suffer from some of the same problems that the PSP did in attempting to have a full console experience in a handheld form but I think I'm like one of the 3 people in the world who kind of wants that in a handheld (and given the rise in popularity of mobile gaming I think that's kind of the direction that makes the most sense for a dedicated handheld).
First up was Wipeout 2048 which will have cross play which will allow Vita players to play against people on the PS3. It's set, oddly enough, in the year 2048 at the start of the Wipeout sport. One of the cool things was that when it comes to the architecture of the world the shorter buildings are very familiar architecture and as the buildings get taller they get progressively more and more futuristic. They've also changed up the track design a bit, so in quite a few places there won't be a boundary for the track but to compensate for this they've widened the track a bit to allow for more combative play so shunting opponents off the side of the track and so on.
The game will have 10 exclusive tracks and 20 exclusive vehicles as well as a persistent XP system used to unlock new vehicles (did I mention that I'm getting really sick of unlock systems for content, seriously guys it's getting old). There wasn't any mention if there would be any classic Wipeout tracks with the game but given the new setting it would seem possible that it would be only just those 10. It does support motion and touch controls for steering for velocity and turning and while it did seem functional, it did look like it has all the caveats that come with having motion controls and them being less precise than their button counterparts. And here's some gameplay footage of the game.
Next up was Little Big Planet, and it did look very impressive particularly the use of touch with the creation mode. The idealology behind incorporating touch and tilt was to increase accessibility in the game. Anyway here's another gameplay link.
The only part of that gamplay demo I didn't like was the part where he had to tilt the game to move something. That just doesn't quite feel right to me. Perhaps it's not often but given how I play games I'm generally fairly anti-tilt I can't help but be a little skeptical about it's inclusion.
The create mode was where the touch screen really shined though. It showed basically how you could do free form drawing with the touchscreen. You could use the cameras to take photos of things in the real world like a cup and then cut away the other parts of the photo with your finger and then use that cup as part of you level. It looked really seamless and I expect that if you ever got into the creation parts of LBP this looks like a fantastic way to create content. The sharing was confirmed that you would be able to use 3G for uploading and downloading new levels, but given the speed of 3G connections I'm not entirely sure if that will be actually possible in reality.
The last part of the presentation was really about augmented reality and all the things they could do with it. The game showpiece was Reality Fighters and how they would use the camera to find the ground plane for the arena, ultimately not the most impressive thing they showed but it was an actual game. The most impressive thing that was shown about all this was with markers. This was part of the trailer reel and not actually done on stage but it showed putting multiple AR markers on a table just in starting places and then on each of those markers there would be a tank. Those tanks would then fight and the shells from those tanks would bounce off of objects in the real world like a mug that just happened to be on the table. It was pretty cool to see that level of real world integration and hopefully developers will be able to do something with that in the future.
They closed out the session by giving away a Vita to an audience member by them having a special red brochure taped to the bottom of their seat. I've wanted the Vita for a while now and while I'm still not likely to buy it at launch it looks like a cool platform.