Konami have established themselves as a cool and comfortable gaming brand with a great stable of amazing franchises. 2013 will be the 40th anniversary for the internationally-renowned gaming company and with that came an amazing pre-E3 presentation to show off what they have in store for the Expo.
The opening of the presentation had many key figures from Konami’s past and present talking about the company’s legacy and why it’s great working in the game industry. After a few minutes, the Director of Digital Publishing, John Coligan made sure to let everyone know what Konami is about when it comes to game development; fun and joy. They were also proud to talk about their upcoming independent titles, especially on Android and iOS. This included titles such as MLB Dream Nine, Puzzle Chasers, Domo Jump and MLB Live Challenge. This has shown Konami as not only a strong game developer in Japan, but also publisher of interesting and mass appeal titles for US audiences too.
Next came a few more sports games, including their next Pro Evo Soccer title where they discussed the “fluidity” in their new engine for the upcoming title. The Fox engine uses a revamped physics engine where they have placed the control centre of the player in two different places. Motion Animation Stability System (M.A.S.S.) gives each character their own sense of weight and movement no matter where they are on the field. This means the players and balls move entirely separate from one another and helps simulate better body and object collision. Also included in the game is team morale and motivation levels which will affect the players movements and how they interact during home or away games.
Next came one of the biggest announcements from the presentation, Metal Gear Solid 5. A few details were already teased such as the new Fox engine and a different focus in the story, but one of the biggest shocks was Kiefer Sutherland from FOX’s 24, would now be voicing the 49-year-old protagonist. The game takes place in 1984, sometime after the events of Snake Eater and deals with an open-world game design with a greater focus on suspense and tension during the cold war era. The game will explore some darker territory including race relations and the nature of revenge, within its complicated storyline. It’s already a great looking game and a few features such as the way the Fox engine will focus on the actor’s motion capture work for photorealism and the subtlety in the dialogue, already puts it in the running for a next-gen GOTY contender.
Next in the line-up was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 for PS3, 360 and PC. The game will be coming out this winter with an incredible open-world system, apparently without load times and a free range camera that players can easily control. The game picks up from the previous Lords epilogue but with voice over by the one and only Patrick Steward. Lords 2 will feature a new story that becomes “dark” and “cruel” as you continue and will have a more developed combat system, compared to previous iterations. The new fighting style will be tighter and more strategic for players to take on the evil enemies in this new modern-day setting. Konami also announced there would be a demo available at E3 for people to play.
The presentation closed with a hilarious skit from gaming’s Jackass, Mega64. The skit based around the Castlevania features Rocco in a Dracula costume, clumsily fighting through the video while wearing a revealing outfit and mocking the “dark” tropes we see from Castlevania to Castlevania. The presentation in its entirety is up on Konami’s own YouTube channel for the world to see, also below. Now with only three days left to E3, it looks like third-party devs like Capcom and Sega could really show what they can do with the next-gen hardware.
Overall, while only thirty minutes long, the presentation was fairly solid, well-edited and presented in a fast but comprehensible style. While it was great seeing more of the MGS series, nothing really exciting was announced, which was going to be the case considering the proximity to E3. Konami have really shown themselves as an accessible and more approachable brand than in year’s past, but they are still able to make great and interesting titles such as MGS5 while still getting support from the casual crowd. Godspeed Konami