E3 2013: Konami Presentation Recap

June 7, 2013

Kicking things off before everybody else, Konami has just held their annual pre-E3 press conference. Taking a leaf out of Nintendo Direct, the event was a pre-recorded affair covering the likes of Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. The event ran for about half an hour, and if you’d like to see it in its entirety first hand, you can do so via the footage below. Otherwise, read on for a full summary of what Konami had to show.

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  • Introduction

President of Konami Digital Entertainment, America introduced the event, stating that this year celebrates Konami’s 40th Anniversary of interactive products. He lets us know Konami will continue to build from popular, well known franchises, as well as explore the digital space. Konami is also proud of its investment in partnerships with proactive fitness groups, particularly those associated with schools. Dance Dance Revolution has already been used as a fitness tools for some young school programs, and they intend to take these partnerships further.

Digital space is growing exceptionally for Konami, as their social app offices have grown around three times as large as they were a year ago. Konami is investing resources into games like MLB Dream Nine, MLB Live Challenge, and Puzzle Chasers, along with work from the newly signed Kung Fu Interactive. Meanwhile a new studio, OCDS, will explore various “social casino” applications. Most of these mobile games will be showcased on the E3 2013 floor.

  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2014

For the PES 2014 team, the goal is to capture the true essence of football. They began by taking Kojima Productions’ FOX Engine and retooling it over years for an exclusive PES release. They’re calling their PES specific enhancements “fluidity”, which is to describe the total analysis of football. The core of this analysis comes in six flavours: Trueball, M.A.S.S, PES ID, Teamplay, Heart, and The Core.

Trueball is as it sounds; the control of the ball. They want players to feel like both the ball and the player are independent objects, able to be manipulated in any direction, including while the ball is in the air. They’ve taken into account the physics and centre of mass for both the player and the ball, and how they interact with one another as independent objects.
M.A.S.S. stands for motion animation stability system. This is fluidity’s simulation of body contact between players. They do not want these to be pre-scripted flashy moves, but accurate renders of the way bodies collide during play.
Heart is the essence and spirit of play, and the feelings of both the team and the player. PES 2014 will take into account variables such as where matches are played, for example at home or away, as well as the players performance over the course of a game, and use these to impact individual player and team abilities and motivation.
Other features will be detailed in the near future.

Overall, the team feels they were limited by previous engines. With PES 2014 they have build a new soccer specific engine from the ground up, one aimed at taking the PES experience further than ever before, and exploring the deeper aspects of the sport.

The PES 2014 specific section of this event can be watched below.

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  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Hideo Kojima, as expected, made an appearance to talk about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. For this game the themes are heavier than ever before, dealing with issues of race and revenge. Kojima felt this story needed to be told with a more subtle, subdued performance from Snake, one that relies less on written and spoken dialogue and more on facial expressions and tone of voice. This is particularly true for Big Boss, who at the time of MGSV is forty-nine years of age, the game itself set in 1984.

For this reason Metal Gear Sold V: The Phantom Pain will introduce Kiefer Sutherland as the new voice of Big Boss / Solid Snake. The actor came recommended to Kojima from producer Avi Arad, whom Kojima Productions is working with for the Metal Gear film adaptation. Sutherland explains that despite not being much of a gamer himself, he is well aware of the Metal Gear brand and its legacy, and is excited to play Big Boss.

With the FOX Engine Kojima hopes to achieve a richer level of performance, closer to that of films, due to advanced facial mapping that represents the actors playing parts, and facial motion capture. Kojima also believes that the somewhat open world nature of MGSV gives the stealth sequences a greater sense of tension than previous Metal Gears.

You can watch the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain specific section, which is a behind-the-scenes look at the technology and voice work, below.

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  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

For the team at Mercury Steam, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 represents the final entry in their Castlevania story arc, which includes the original Lords of Shadow along with Mirror of Fate. For this, they wished to follow directly on from Lords of Shadow, and explore the character that is Dracula, someone they believe has been important to Castlevania but has never had his origins or story properly developed. Given the subject matter, the protagonist being an immortal vampire, Lords of Shadow 2 is built around darker themes of cruelty, intensity, and contradictory feelings.

Mercury Steam is hoping to expand the combat formula to something deeper, more strategic and tactical. Part of this evolution includes giving some enemies shields which must be broken by certain weapons, as well as new abilities for the protagonist including the blood whip.

The team also wished to create a more organic and free environment. As a result, the Mercury Engine has been heavily upgraded to use a free, player controlled camera, as well as stream environment areas in dynamically without loading screens. They want players to be able to climb and explore an organic environment that avoids traditional level structure.

Unlike Lords of Shadow, Lords of Shadow 2 will take place in the modern era, Dracula having been long couped up in his castle. The castle itself will still serve as a centrepiece for the story, but players will also be able to explore the surrounding city freely.

Mercury Steam says they’re happy to be working with Konami on the project, which has allowed them to further advance their mechanics and story telling, as well as production elements such as the music, which has been shaped around character emotions.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is scheduled to launch at the end of the year on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. A debut gameplay and story trailer, showcasing a ton of content, can be viewed below.

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