Below you will read about many of the secrets of E3; secret in that they did not come with a press release or a screenshot, nor was the information released to anyone walking by.
It was heard whispered behind backs, imparted across beers or was pried out via targeted questioning. Nothing can be considered anything more than a rumor as some of it may never eventuate when all is said and done, or be flat out denied by those involved.
To quote: Perhaps the first big splash of E3 was Kojima getting up on stage at the Xbox 360 conference and announcing Metal Gear Solid: Rising for the console. Some gamers were surprised, although most had seen it coming. Sony, however, was in shock.
It was completely blind-sided by the announcement, finding out about it at the exact moment that the rest of us did: when Kojima walked on stage. My understanding is that a seven hour internal meeting occurred in the higher echelons of Sony soon afterwards.
It rewrote a significant portion of the following day's Sony conference which was to make a big splash about Metal Gear Solid: Rising. I heard a whisper that a 'favor' was called in and Square Enix agreed to air the FFXIV trailer where initially it was to be held off to a Wednesday morning Square Enix showing.
Assassin's Creed II will have a multiplayer component, but it may be DLC.
Project Natal not only works, but developer kits have been in the hands of studios around the globe for months. In behind-closed-doors demonstrations, Burnout Paradise was used as an example of how it could be applied to current gaming.
Steering occurred by simply holding your hands in mid-air and turning left or right, although it was a struggle to stay on the road at first as your initial reaction is to move your hands much more than you would in real life. Acceleration occurs by putting a foot forward, braking by moving it backwards.
Natal is Portuguese for Christmas, but whether or not that indicates a release date or not is hard to say. Certainly Christmas 2009 seems too early, but then again could this be the company's big TGS or Leipzig weapon? It seems like EA are already on board.
The Just Cause 2 team agree that the controls in Just Cause were shoddy, so rebuilt them for the ground up for the sequel.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is most certainly on the cards. While chatting to some of the lads from LucasArts I spoke about how spin-offs like Clone Wars and LEGO seemed to be the primary focus now. Not so.
I was told that these games are completely different tangents and do not affect the team working on The Force Unleashed SKU. The original sold a mighty five million units, and when I pushed on whether they were happy with its use of DMM and Euphoria they agreed it was a 1st-generation attempt and it has really come along since then.
One of the lads at Naughty Dog told me that the developer still very much believed in Jak & Daxter and gave me the impression that their post Uncharted 2 project will be bringing the famous platforming duo to the PS3.
Miyamoto is working on The Twilight Princess 2. Not only that, but the legendary developer will be copy & pasting many of the controls used in Wii Sports: Resort into the Zelda gameplay. In particular, the archery, Frisbee (boomerang) and the duelling (sword-play), the latter of which debunks the 'no sword' red herring that Miyamoto recently threw out there... or at the very least suggests that you will be wielding something in a sword-like fashion.
A friend at Nintendo also advised me that other hints could be found in Wii Sports Resort: perhaps this suggests some of the vehicles for the new, older Link... canoe perhaps?
Gearbox Software is still working on a Halo related project.
Expect massive things out of Warner in the next 12 months with regards to the Lord of the Rings mythology. The Wii release Aragorn's Quest is only the tip of the ice-berg.
Warner owns New Line so has direct access to everything related to the previously released film trilogy, as well as the upcoming Hobbit prequel. We're talking big next-gen LOTR gaming and we're talking 2010.
"You can't have a rally game without snow" is what I told Codemasters as I got stuck into a far better handling DiRT sequel. "We're working on getting that in there" was the answer.
Resident Evil 5's DLC was very close to becoming an Xbox 360 exclusive. This had nothing to do with Microsoft spending money, and everything to do with Sony charging developers a hefty fee for each piece of DLC downloaded. As it was told to me; there is a cut off point where a game's popularity makes it not worth putting on PSN - the more something is downloaded, the more it costs. An eleventh hour agreement from Sony to allow Capcom free downloads saved the day.
R.U.S.E will be available on Mac
The Edge Tools being developed by a collaboration of key members from Sony's various first and second party teams has evolved. They now exist not as a random group, but as a studio all of their own located in the same complex as Naughty Dog and referred to as The Ice Team.
Modern Warfare 2 runs on the IW4.0 game engine. The engine's key improvements are in the detail to the character models and weapons, and in the handline of lighting. The co-op mode does not follow the campaign, but actually just gives you random missions to fulfil as a team, some of which are inspired by the single-player and some of which are not.
Unfortunately the World at War style of black boxes around the split-screen is in effect. I asked during the co-op demo why they do this and was told it was simply so the user could determine where their screen started and ended - it has nothing to do with improving performance as I had assumed.
I went on to beg that they give the option to the user as to whether they want the black box or not and idea, it seemed, had not occurred to them. Fingers-crossed.
Warren G smokes a lot of dope.
Red Octane and Activision will allow you to export music from the Guitar Hero: World Tour game onto your hard-drive for play in Guitar Hero 5. In addition the DLC will definitely be cross-compatible.
Gearbox Software has trademarked the name Pandora for the planet used in the game Borderlands. Problem is, James Cameron's Avatar also includes a planet called Pandora. I got chatting with the charismatic Randy Pitchford - nice bloke - about whether or not he was going to tell Mr. Cameron where to go.
He pointed out it was a delicate situation as they need to work with the famous director on Aliens: Colonial Marines - so it looks like if anyone changes, it will be poor old Borderlands (which looked a treat btw.)
Forza Motorsport 3 will include iconic Australian vehicles such as Holdens.
Final Fantasy XIII does not look like being released at the resolution its awesome graphics demand. At the Sony Press Conference, the company made a big deal about the size of the screen they were using and how no other game console could display its products at such a size.
It then went on to only show a handful of games at the full screen size (such as the Game of the Show, Uncharted 2) to prove it. FFXIII was not one of those games though, and operated in a picture within a picture mode suggesting a lower resolution.
There is no Monster Hunter for PS3 in the works - PSP, Wii or bust fans.
Homefront was one of the genuine surprise packets of the show, delivering a Call of Duty-like experience, but in a sandbox world.
The basic game design will offer the linear level progression elements of Call of Duty in sections that act as tunnels to massive battle hubs more like Kaos Studios previous Frontlines release. Very intriguing!
Halo: ODST will only sell in retail box form - not as DLC - and will come on two discs. One disc will have the ODST experience which is approximately the same length as Halo 3, the second will come with all the DLC already made available to Halo 3 and another three exclusive maps.
Microsoft thought that it was better off showing Posh Spice and her two rugrats a full demonstration of Natal than the assembled press, many of who missed out as a result. We look forward to your preview Posh.
That's it for now: there is more, but I need to sort out the haze in my head a bit more before I unlock the other nuggets of gold I was given. More PlayStation 3 News...