Konamis solid future
Konami’s ‘solid’ future
By Dakota Grabowski
E3 was clearly the Hideo Kojima show.
Kick starting E3 2009 off with a bang, Konami and Hideo Kojima took center stage at Microsoft Press Conference to reveal that the Metal Gear Solid series would be landing on the Xbox 360 in the form of Metal Gear Solid: Rising. This was only the start of a beautiful and telling show for the Konami Corporation.
At the Konami Press Conference, they let the cat out of the bag in relation to Kojima-san’s upcoming projects and what his studio, Kojima Productions, is up to. Kojima-san didn’t reveal one Metal Gear Solid title, but he instead revealed a total of three including: Metal Gear Arcade (coin-ops), Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (PlayStation Portable), and provided more information on Metal Gear Solid: Rising (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC).
Kojima-san didn’t stop there as he went further to reveal that Kojima Productions and Spanish developer, MercurySteam Entertainment, are hard at work on the next-generation iteration of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
The press conference wasn’t all Kojima related as Konami announced the upcoming video game on the popular Saw franchise and the next installments in the Karaoke Revolution and Dance Dance Revolution series. So let’s take a deeper look at how Konami flat-out put forth a stellar show at E3 2009.
Among many journalists and the gaming press, Metal Gear Solid: Rising turned out to be one of the biggest surprises to be announced at E3. While Microsoft has received a Metal Gear Solid title in the past – Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance – MGS: Rising means much more to Microsoft at this current stage due to all the flak they received for not featuring Metal Gear Solid 4 on their console. Even though many detractors are stating that this will be a lesser title due to that it’s being handled by “young bloods” at Kojima Productions and not Kojima-san himself, the fact still remains that this is the next installment for the franchise on the next-generation consoles. MGS: Rising is set to release on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, so Microsoft didn’t exactly score an exclusive, but now they can at least join the parade and cheer about Kojima-san’s greatness.
Perhaps the most anticipated title for fans that is coming from Kojima Productions is Kojima-san’s Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Taking place 10 years after MGS3, Naked Snake returns with a bunch of clones that are under the full direction of Kojima-san himself. Described as the missing link in the Metal Gear saga, MGS: Peace Walker is exclusive for the PlayStation Portable and should hit stores in 2010.
Not stopping there, if fanatics of the series want to play Metal Gear outside of their homes, they can now experience the thrills of the favorite video game franchise in the arcades. Metal Gear Arcade is a reworked version of Metal Gear that will allow for gamers to use special goggles to experience the game in 3D. Launching in Japan by the end of the year, we can only anticipate the day when it’ll arrive on U.S. soil – a land that has forsaken the arcades in favor of their own living rooms.
The most surprising announcement for software at E3 2009 could potentially be Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Developed by MercurySteam Entertainment and Kojima Productions, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a title that is receiving the proper next-generation treatment with gorgeous visuals, exquisite action, and topnotch voice-acting. With a voice-cast such as Patrick Stewart (narrating), Robert Carlyle (lead character Gabriel), Jason Isaacs, and Natasha McElhone, Lords of Shadow should resurrect a franchise that hasn’t faired that well in 3D. Launching 2010, fans of the series shouldn’t worry about MercurySteam’s last title Clive Barker’s Jericho too much as the involvement of Kojima Productions should aid in the development process.
As if the titles from Kojima Productions weren’t enough, Konami assured horror fans that they will be able to experience the spine tingling sensation of Jigsaw’s traps in Saw: The Videogame. Tobin Bell took the stage and promised that the upcoming game, which was playable on the show floor, would be creepy as ever due to his work with the team behind the game. With an abundance of mini-games to play through to solve the mysteries in every haunting room, Saw will land on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC this October.
Lastly, Konami didn’t want naysayers of their party games to have anything to feed on so they went ahead and announced new versions to their Karaoke Revolution and Dance Dance Revolution series. Karaoke Revolution is said to be a reboot of the series, but one can only wonder how it will do against Sony’s SingStar and Microsoft’s Lips brands.
Dance Dance Revolution on the other hand doesn’t have many direct competitors and is bound to win fans back to the franchise with a new dance pad that is bound to have dancers breaking a sweat. The dance pad features eight directions and the game is set to launch with 150 downloadable songs and 50 licensed tracks on the disc. This should bring a smile to all those gamers out there who want to show off their grooving skills at DDR. The last bit of information about DDR is that the Wii version will utilize the Wii balance board, so there’s another piece of software putting Nintendo’s clever accessory to good use.
On top of all this goodness coming out of Konami Corp., there’s a wide variety of other games coming out to service fans such as: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 and much more. With a plethora of franchises in their backlog, they could seemingly revive several key franchises as they did with Castlevania, which leads me to a question many Konami fans need an answer to: where’s our next-gen Contra? If the next installment of Castlevania turns out to be a real barnburner, then I’m sure Contra’s update won’t be too far behind.