What I Learned from Konami’s Pre-E3 Event

June 3, 2011

So Konami shared their Pre-E3 show with the world tonight, and it contained plenty of surprises. The biggest surprise, obviously, is that this year was considerably more produced and far less embarrassing than last year’s community-theater evoking, meme-inspiring train wreck. A disappointment, to be sure, but far better than any attempt to intentionally recapture the magic or mayhem of last year’s unforgettably awful and undeniably endearing display.

Here are the highlights from this Year’s Konami show, far as I’m concerned:

  • Kojima is completely okay with the fact that people will immediately use Snake Eater 3D’s “photo camo” feature to give Snake special scrotum camoflage.
  • Soccer games will never be interesting.
  • Never Dead looks like a crazy fun time.
  • Silent Hill is, somehow, still relevant and interesting to people.
  • Mark Macdonald is still alive!
  • Hideo Kojima apparently has an expansive collection of goofy sound effects that he has been itching to use.
  • Always hire Mega 64 to help you make a major, broadcasted announcement.
  • Kojima thinks “Transfarring” is a clever codename for transferring and has secured maximum “kooky yet adorable” status.
  • Konami does not, in fact, hate and disregard Zone of the Enders.
  • A complete lack of any sort of announcement, trailer, or demonstration of MGS: Rising after a year of total silence does not indicate any sort of development trouble, apparently.
  • Contra is internally believed to be big enough to warrant an end-cap teaser that is basically just a big C.

For a more comprehensive rundown, including trailers and more, just Transfar™ yourself to the rest of the post after the jump.

First up at bat, to no great surprise, was Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D. They were quick to justify this more-than-a-port by plugging some unique features for the 3DS version: tilt-controls for crucial moments of balance-based gameplay (such as precariously dangling from a cliff edge or making your way across a rope bridge) and a “photo cam” system of taking snapshots with the 3DS camera to use as the basis for new, unique camouflage designs for Snake. I love this feature, as it’s going to undoubtedly have many players’ Snakes looking like they’re ready for a mission deep into the heart of some remote dick jungle. They were quick to move on, but what little they showed here was interesting and worthwhile.

Never Dead was a title that flew a bit under the radar for me last year, so it was an unexpected treat to see another title that will seemingly pick up the same reigns as Bayonetta and its ilk in bringing Japan’s unique, inimitable weirdness to the age of HD video games. The hook seems pretty solid: Bryce is a demon hunter who was cursed with immortality 500 years ago, leaving him embittered and more than a bit loony in the modern world. The inspiration, from a creator perspective, was to introduce a main character who could never die during gameplay, no matter how many limbs he loses. The result, as seen in the new trailer, is plenty of awkward torso-flopping and limb reattaching mid-combat. It looks hilarious. The character designs deserve special mention, as they seem to be embracing a certain degree of exaggeration and stylization among the main cast and baddies alike without losing the detailed edge that looks so nice in 1080p.

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Silent Hill was also on display, to no great surprise, as a whole slew of titles for a variety of platforms was casually tossed on the table without much of a care. The emphasis was placed on the impending 360/PS3 title, Silent Hill: Downpour, which admittedly looked more expansive and broader in scope than its intentionally claustrophobic predecessors. I’m not a fan of the SH series, but this one at least looked like an interesting new addition in terms of level design and overall scale.

Of course, all of these things were quickly cast aside as Kojima himself took center stage (alongside 1up.com alumn Mark Macdonald who served as the mediator and confidant) to reveal forthcoming, HD collections of both Metal Gear Solid (hitting this Fall) and Zone of the Enders (hitting next year, whoooaaaa where did that come from?!).

He also touted his new innovation: PS3-to-PSP-to-PS3 functionality for all future console releases. This process is being officially dubbed “Transfarring™©®,” which is Kojima’s personal brand of… well, transferring. (Way to swap that one vowel out, Kojima. You just keep on keeping on.) The process– or, if you will, pracess— is not entirely dissimilar to the save file situation of the PSP Remaster Series, except that you won’t have to buy the same game twice. I often complain about cinematic handheld games seeming pointless or inferior to a genuine, living-room-level console experience, and this seems like a perfect solution to that issue. If the handheld game you’re playing is literally the same version of the game waiting for you once you get back to your couch at home, then half-assed portable ports and spin-offs might just become a thing of the past.

Special praise should also be given to Konami for allowing Kojima’s man-crush on the Mega 64 guys to spill over into an official, important presentation. I’m not the biggest fan of their stuff, as it’s more often miss than hit with me, but their contribution to the show was the most entertaining bit by far, and the honor of association to one of the industry’s biggest franchises is well-earned.

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The one hiccup in this presentation was the absence of MGS: Rising. Kojima insists that the game’s conspicuous no-show was in no way indicative of any sort of development snags or hiccups and that a release date within this calendar year was still their goal. Okay, Kojima, whatever you say… but seriously, nothing? Some pinned-up concept art in the background, that’s it? One certainly does wonder.

He wrapped up by teasing his next big project, a multi-platform adventure that will debut his team’s new “Fox Engine” that seemingly aims to support all of his future endeavors. It looked robust and respectable from the brief little bit we saw, but any amount of that could have been smoke-and-mirrors, given the pre-recorded nature of the event.

Lastly and most importantly, Frogger is coming back! In 3D! Finally! It must have been a simple oversite to exclude such a huge announcement from the actual press event. Oh, well. We can all rest easier, now:

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…Wait, was that a fucking helicopter shooting at the frog? What?

Well, anyway. This officially kicks off E3. Stay tuned, because we’ll be bringing you as many updates, reactions, and new bites as we can muster for the next week and a half!

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One comment on “What I Learned from Konami’s Pre-E3 Event

  1. Danny Jun 3, 2011

    I’m loving all of the awesome E3 coverage, keep up the good work :)

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