Gamescom 2011

As is customary, Sony held a pre-event media event last night to give the thousands of journalists attending Gamescom 2011 a taste of things to come. The event kicked off with a very special announcement: SCEE’s new, upcoming CEO will be Jim Ryan, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer. He’ll be replacing Andrew House in the next few weeks. Of course, we’re games journalists, so the business stuff didn’t last too long, here’s the low-down of the event, what we can expect to see and play at Gamescom 2011, and what you can expect us to report on:

PlayStation Vita: Sony’s biggest little console yet, and from the hype and franchises they’re pushing on this device, it’s clear that Sony is going for both the casual and core crowns. They began by showing off a few of the Vita’s features – which we should all know by now – including many of its online and social networking functions: foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and Skype functionality is built in.

Resistance: Burning Skies: This is the Vita’s big, hard-hitting FPS. I have to say, it looks great, and considering that this is a portable platform, it looks fantastic. The gameplay footage that we saw showed a variety of combat situations, including melee weapon usage with a dedicated “axe that guy in the face” virtual (on-screen) button. We saw a few different weapons that each included a secondary fire mode that’s activated with a tap on the touchscreen, such as the carbine’s grenade launcher or the ability to lock onto three different enemies with the , er… assault rifle… thing, that probably has a better name.

Reality Fighters: Build custom fighters based on photographs of real people and pit them again st each other in an arena based on a photograph. It could be your kitchen, bed or garden fountain. It looks fairly goofy but the combat itself seemed to be pretty fun.

Escape plan: This is the most interesting title we saw during the evening. It’s a classic, 2D-bound platformer in which you play as two characters – Laarg and Lil – who seem to be made out of black inflatable rubber balloons. It’s your job to help both of these two critters escape whatever it is they’re trapped in, by manoeuvring them around various hazards in both their walking and inflated, flying forms.

LittleBigPlanet: It’s looking pretty fun. We love the idea of walking around and taking snapshots of one’s environment, and then placing those images into the game world itself. We kind of get the impression that above all else, this is going to be the killer app for the Vita’s launch titles.

PS3: There was a big focus on Move games, which doesn’t really do much for us but it’s good to see that those who literally bought into the motion control system are going to get a few more titles to play around with. If DanceStar and Move Fitness don’t appeal to you all that much, then you’ll be pleased to know that Resistance 3 and FIFA 13 (yes, 13) will feature full Move support.

inFamous 2: Festival of Blood: This is a downloadable title that will see you take on the role of Cole MacGrath who has been bitten by a vampire. He’ll have just 24 hours (we assume these are not counted in real time) to find the vampire leader and turn back the curse. The trailer showed Cole with pointy teeth and more powers than the regular lightning and fire/ice stuff from the base game. Yeah, we’re not sure what to make of this either.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception: If the sheer number of billboards and posters around Cologne is anything to go by, Uncharted 3 is Sony’s big, huge, super important game of the year. The gameplay footage that we had a chance to see showed Drake and an unnamed woman breaking into a secure airport in the attempt to make their way onto a huge cargo plane. We only had a taste of the gameplay that we’re used to by now – shooting, melee combat, cover systems, a few quick-time events, and clamouring around on ladders and platforms – but everything that was shown was solid, heavily scripted and fast-paced.