E3 2012: Konami Press Conference

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Last night, or early morning for me, Konami had an E3 press conference where they talked about some titles they are bringing out in the next year or so.  Because I decided to open the NigmaBox with the notion of experimentation, let’s dig into what my impressions of their conference are.

After the promise of three games, which were really the only ones they ended up showing, Zone of the Enders HD Collection, or ZOE HD as I’ll be calling it.  The 25th anniversary of Metal Gear, which they kept calling Solid, I don’t know why, because then this would be the 14th anniversary.  And Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (MGRR!), which is still the most amazing title that I have heard in a quite a while, and also the dumbest.  We open with the actual conference by showing that Konami is actually run by a man in some Virtual Reality city, and he is projected like a hologram, which explains everything about their poor publishing moves with Blades of Time, and how they lost the Silent Hill HD Collection Source Code.  I like to think that VR Japanese man ate it.  And after declaring how happy they were that games were declared Art by the US Government, Metal Gear Solid in particular, we then jump into what we were all waiting for, Social Games!

This is a bit embarrassing, I understand how this would be good for investors, but this is for the mainstream gaming press, they do not care about social games, let alone games you made with Zynga.  Seriously, who gives a shit about Frogger Pinball?  This was followed by a showing of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, at the big United States gaming expo.  Look, I know that PES is a big franchise for Konami, and that the technology is impressive, but think who you are marketing something to, and expect me to say that a lot during Microsoft’s Conference.  They both can show whatever they want, but this was 32 minutes, should you really devote even an eighth of it to a game that only a handful of people who planned on watching this to give a crap?

But moving onto ZOE HD, a game based on “Robot Anime”.  I mean, really?  Most people with a passing interest in anime know what the more proper term, Mecha, is.  What followed was more odd translation errors, like saying that Kojima was happy to “meet” us in this pre recorded conference, or describing the robots as fish.  Also, they made a new opening that contains spoilers for the fight scenes in this frantic Mecha combat game, which is great for the many people who missed out on this game and want to be surprised.  Other than that, it was just some technical stuff, and they talked about how unique this game was when it came out, and how very few games used something called Toon Shader, because they need to stretch this out as much as possible.  Joking aside, this game looks wonderful, from both a visual perspective and a gameplay perspective.  Sadly, North America will need to wait for a release date, while Japan gets it October 25th.

As for the Metal Gear 25th anniversary, there was really nothing shown off.  Kojima apparently did not know that Metal Gear Solid 3D was out for months in all regions, and how accepted the Smithsonian’s addition of Metal Gear Solid in the games as art exhibit, even though he stated that he does not see himself as an artist, but a storyteller, which is a load of bollocks.  A storyteller is an artist, there is such a thing as “The Art of Storytelling”.  And art is such a vague term that you could call any skilled individual an artist.  Also, there was mention of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for the Vita, which probably should have been released for consoles this year, not on the same day as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.  I know this is petty and off topic, but why release a collection right before your series hits a large number anniversary, then it is easier to generate hype, and maximize profits.

Shifting “gears” (Sorry, I could not resist) to Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance (MGRR!).  We begin with an overly dramatic narration that tries to be serious, but just ends up being silly, since all of this talk about civil war and dying Obama surrogates leads up to the third Cyborg Ninja, Raiden!  In the trailer, we see him cut robots, cyborgs, people, cars, and even a helicopter, which is freaking rad!  Platinum Games, the developer, has all the subtlety of a drunken cow, and it really shows here.  All of the attempts to make this serious, what with the talks of a universal cry, failing to protect people, and a civil war that Raiden was in when he was 12, sorry, spoilers!  All create the same reaction of an 8-year-old in a tiny suit, and I would not have it any other way, but if Raiden cries, or does not screech like a howler monkey at least 12 times, then I think Platinum missed their own mark, or maybe that was just Kojima directing this massive flop.

Seriously, the pre-production for this game began in 2008, it took a studio and tonal shift to get it this far.  I also need to point out that the teams’ goal for Raiden in this game is simple, “Make sure that gamers love him.”  Which is far easier said than done, he was a whiny fish faced platinum blonde, but even making him a break-dancing Ninja did not seem to help him all that much.  Also, an effeminate character spitting out a white liquid, classy work there Kojima.  As someone who never actually played Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden’s debut title, I actually like the guy for what he is, even though the bait and switch was nothing short of brilliant trolling.  All in all, this game looks great, it seems dumb, but when has dumb even meant boring?

Afterwords, they brought in MEGA64, a pretty funny group of video game skit makers, but this short featured Raiden electrocuting puppies off camera…  Moving on!

The presentation’s final game was  Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, a game that I never expected to get a sequel, but I never did end up playing the first title, so I cannot judge much for the actual game, but it sure as hell made me even less motivated to play it.  The entire trailer was dull and ambient, even when the main character, Gabriel Belmont, goes down and kills an army, it had no weight or levity to it.  If a character kills a bunch of people with no effort, then it obviously was not impressive.  Oh, and this entire trailer was CG, so it tells me as much as the back of the box would, or maybe even less, as we learned from Dead Island.  But after the dull action, we end up seeing Sephiroth unsheathing his massive blade.  Okay, it is not actually Sephiroth, but any figure wearing black, had long white hair, and a massive Katana, looks like Sephiroth to me.  Although, it is proably just a redesigned Alucard.  But after this trailer, we got an announcement for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, a 3DS interlude that will tie in Lords of Shadow with the early NES Castlevania titles by letting you play as Simon and Trevor Belmont.  Although, they did not show any of this, they just had some neat blood effects, generic phrases, and a tease for June 5th, the day of Nintendo’s Press Conference.

Overall, this was a very bland press conference, I was just expecting something a fourth as amazing as their 2010 Conference.  But hey, Revengeance and ZOE HD look badass, and that is good enough for me.  //Also, MGRR‘s demo will be included with ZOE HD, which is both a great incentive, and reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 2‘s demo being bundled with the first Zone of the Enders, which is pretty neat.

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