TGS: Sing a Song of Sony
After an embarrassingly slow start, the PSP has begun to find its niche with developers; likewise, Sony’s internal studios and publishing division have gotten really adventuresome lately, with big and little games, both in tested genres and genres those games serve to test.
The one that we will probably hear the most of over the next twelve months is Rogue Galaxy, a new RPG by Level 5 president Akihiro Hino where he applies all he learned over the production of Dragon Quest VIII with Yuji Horii. On a level, Rogue Galaxy looks like just another Japanese console RPG — and it is, really. It also will be the game that makes Hino a household name, in those households where people actually know the games of videogame makers.
Sony also demoed a sequel to cult curiosity Siren, a recent horror game that was criticized for being almost unplayable while simultaneously hailed for its unconventional ideas. Brief inspection proves it slightly more graphically advanced than its predecessor. And on the topic of unusual horror, Sony showed the trailer for an inscrutable game titled Rule of Rose, described as a horror adventure set in 1930.
The most curious PSP game I have seen comes straight from the source, at SCEI Product Development Dept. #1. Loco Roco is sort of like Taito’s Cameltry (On the Ball), if Cameltry were a platformer starring a happy ball of goop. The game plays almost entirely with the left and right triggers, which serve to rotate the playing field left and right; pressing them both together causes your goop ball to jump. The circle button serves to split the avatar into smaller slimes, to fit through tight spaces, and to squertch them together again. The presentation is bright, sharp, and flat, reminiscent of Clysm’s freeware adventure game, Seiklus. Tsutomu Kouno, who designed the Loco Roco, formerly worked on Ico and Legend of Dragoon.
Curiously, outside of two Metal Gear Solid 4 trailers, there was neither hide nor hair of the PS3. I am told that Sony did intend its own conference, much like Nintendo’s and Microsoft’s, then backed away at the last moment. Perhaps Sony is waiting for what it considers the ideal moment.