E3 '08: Day two review

E3 '08: Day two review

By Tim Ingham in Los Angeles

July 16th 2008 at 10:36AM

A recap of the second day's headlines from the Los Angeles games trade show, as reported by our sister mag MCV

We all know why Little Johnny-friendly Nintendo quickly skirted over the fact that a GTA title would be making its way to DS, but, with the sun well and truly down here in LA, it’s fair to reflect that the shock announcement was possibly the biggest news of the day.

The Japanese giant’s conference – which saw eager journos descend on Hollywood’s Kodak theatre (that of Oscar fame) as early as 7am this morning – was awash with the sort of confidence the firm’s record-breaking sales patterns can afford them.

Global boss Saturo Iwata was not going to let the crowd forget some of the firm’s mightier achievements, which he attributed to “breaking down psychological barriers” amongst new audiences. He did, however, save some time to make a couple of veiled digs at the ‘imitation’ of Nintendo’s competitors.

North American bigshot Reggie Fils-Aime was all about the big numbers, revealing that Wii and DS have provided the company with $5 billion sales – and that the handheld’s sales are astonishingly up on its rocking 2007 record.

From there in on, it focused on the product. From the sequel to Wii Sports – which takes full advantage of the Wii-Mote’s sensitive new add-on – to Animal Crossing and Shigeru Miyamoto’s new pet project, Wii Music; Ubisoft’s Shaun White’s Snowboarding to a new Pokemon title for DS, the crowd’s appetite for innovation was suitably whetted by releases that Fils-Aime believes will “disrupt” the “stale” patterns of the industry.

The E3 crowd barely had time to catch their breath before the third and final showcase from a platform holder. Sony’s PlayStation exhibition was certainly the largest scale in terms of stage size, with giant screen after giant screen showing off the very best in PS3 and PSP software.

SCEA CEO and president Jack Tretton owned the stage throughout the firm’s 90-minute show, flying largely solo through software announcements that included Resistance 2, God Of War III and MMO DC Universe Online. But it was Tretton’s confidence in his products that dominated the show – not least his belief that 2008 will be remembered as “PS3’s year”.

Later in the afternoon, the hub of this year’s E3, the LA Convention Centre, played host to Ubisoft’s presentation. North American boss Laurent Detoc opened the publisher’s show at a blistering pace, rifling through exciting Triple-A titles such as Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway, Far Cry 2 and the voice-controlled Tom Clancy’s End War.

The firm’s casual games also got a good airing, with new product announcements in its Imagine range and new girl sports brand Ener-G standing out. The firm’s show was closed in typical fashion, first with a beautiful looking walkthrough of the new Prince Of Persia game and then with a narrative-less teaser of Jade Raymond’s new survival project, I am Alive.

It was then Capcom’s turn to take the venue, concentrating its efforts on an exciting new cinema outing for much-loved IP Lost Planet.

Across town, Activision closed the day’s events in rock’n’roll style, with celeb appearances from pierced’n’tatto’d ‘rockers’ from the likes of Blink 182 and Paramore making guest appearances.

Special exposure was given to Guitar Hero: World Tour, which includes so many detailed features and tutorials, its fans will be able to create elaborate self-penned tunes and show them off to the rest of the world online. With innovation like that, it’s little wonder that the newly formed Activision Blizzard is now officially three times as big as Activision itself was this time last year.

Other notable stage time was given to new Spiderman title Web Of Shadows, slick-looking licence James Bond: Quantum Of Solace and, unsurprisingly, Call Of Duty’s return to WWII in World At War.

Tomorrow’s line-up is a little more threadbare by comparison, but with the likes of Take Two ready to unleash its new slate on the world (including Bioshock for PS3) – as well as Konami and more - it certainly doesn’t look like being any less exciting.