Sony heard my cries last night. As the curtain came up on Gamescom 2012, they did their darnedest to ensure that my Vita would no longer be considered as trade-in fodder. The whole first half of their show was dedicated to promotions, new releases and incentives for their portable PlayStation.
Though already known about, Little Big Planet Vita lead the way showing all the charm and imagination that caused me to nestle a PS3 under my telly. Then came PlayStation All-Stars, ignoring the recent leaks and showing off Sack Boy, Ratchet and a few others, backed up by long trailers of Assassin’s Creed III, Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified and the unveiling of Kill Zone Mercenary.
Tucked away in there was the interesting new promotion that will see the likes of PlayStation All-Stars, Sly Cooper and Ratchet and Clank all feature. In a similar way to the current trend of bundling in a DVD with a Blu-ray, Vita games will now come at no extra cost when buying the PS3 version of these titles. An impressive feat and one obviously targeted at injecting some growth into the Vita’s poor sales figures.
It was at that point that Sony pulled out the really big-guns; out on stage stepped Media Molecule, the creative minds behind Little Big Planet to announce a new IP. Tearaway is a Vita exclusive set in a world entirely created in paper. Before your mind turns to a certain plumber’s RPG exploits, this is a more roughly hewn world, built from craft paper folded, rolled and cut into trees, stones and walkways.
In that world you play as Iota, a messenger desperate to escape to the real world and through your influence you can help him fulfil his ambition. Prodding the rear touchscreen sees your fingers appear in the gameworld to scare enemies, drumming on the same pad causes drum pads to vibrate and hurl Iota into the sky, and taking pictures will decorate the world you travel through. Handy if, say, you find an elk who’s lost his skin. It looks a beautifully creative world and given the men behind it we can expect great things.
Away from the Vita Wonderbook reappeared, along with The Book of Spells from the Harry Potter universe. Joining it are two new books, one a quirky film noir style adventure apparently featuring a group of fairy tale characters and the other using the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs series. Both look intriguing, with scant details past the trailer, but the market still seems squarely fixed at the younger gamer.
FIFA 13 appeared on stage for a demonstration of its Move controls, which seem on a par with the Wii efforts we’ve seen in recent years. Running into space and through balls all pointed out by Sony’s wagglestick. Our resident FIFA experts were not inspired.
However, if there was ever any doubt that Sony were treating Gamescom with anything but the respect Europe’s largest gaming show deserves, it pulled out three new previously unannounced titles. The first was Until Dawn, a game very much based upon a teenage horror film where skimpily dressed youths retreat to a forest cabin for a weekend. Though it may not be my cup of tea, it’s a very fresh idea and has more than a touch of Alan Wake about it.
The second was Rain, an adventure game where the main protagonist can only be seen when it rains. Very little meat was shown though and so at this early stage it’s hard to get excited. Lastly there was Puppeteer, a crazy game from Sony Japan that is as bat shit crazy as it gets as a prince is kidnapped by an evil king and turned into a puppet. It’s fast, colourful and loud but until we get our hands on it later in the week it’s hard to say exactly what it is.
With so much new unveiled the close was also an anti-climax, being further trailers for Black Ops Vita and the Last of Us, the latter being a rehash of already seen footage. Sony have brought a lot to Germany and anyone with a Vita or a Move will be very excited with what’s coming.