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Six thousand of the world's games industry and press flooded into the Los Angeles Sports Memorial Arena to see what the future holds for PlayStation. A host of announcements, on everything from the next generation of portable gaming to the return of an old favourite, sent them out into the humid California evening more excited than when they arrived.
A carnival scene greeted those invited to downtown Los Angeles, as pumping music, food stalls and a buzz of expectation ensured E3 was launched in true PlayStation style. And as attendees streamed into the vast auditorium, stereoscopic 3D glasses were handed out to increase the sense of something special being about to take place.
A thrilling 3D trailer showing some of the biggest names in PlayStation gaming soon got the show on the road, and with the dazzling images still scorched onto many retinas in the watching crowd, Sony Computer Entertainment America Chief Jack Tretton took to the stage to reveal a series of crowd-pleasing surprises.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception was first to dominate the huge 3D screen, dwarfing Jack Tretton on the stage. As developer Naughty Dog appeared on one of the two podiums flanking the host, it became even clearer why November 2011 – the game's European release date – can't come soon enough. After first creeping through the plush corridors of a giant cruise liner, sneaking up on enemies and leaving them as crumpled heaps in the shadows, hero Nathan Drake then leapt into a dramatic fight for survival in and under water as the stricken ship was consumed by the sea.
Next came a tantalising glimpse of Uncharted 3 in glorious 3D, as Drake attempts to evade a mystery woman in a dash across rainy city streets.
Rain was replaced by fire and fury in Resistance 3. The humour of Uncharted 3 quickly evaporated to leave us with the rubble-strewn streets of 1957. In this stark vision of the war against the Chimera, we see Jospeh Cappelli struggling to face down the alien onslaught. A terrifying new mutation - flaming Chimera - threatens to tip the balance even further in favour of the invaders.
Neatly tying into Resistance 3 was news of a brand new, PlayStation-branded stereoscopic 3D TV. With a screen size of 24 inches, it's perfect for those looking to enjoy the challenge of the Chimera – or any other PlayStation 3 experience – if space is at a premium. To celebrate the release of Resistance 3, Jack Tretton revealed, the TV, an HDMI cable and a pair of 3D glasses would be available as one bundle.
Special guests were invited to share the stage, too. Sly Raccoon is heading for PlayStation 3 in Sly Cooper: Thieves of Time, while Basketball legend Kobe Bryant indulged in a game of NBA2K12, blaming his loss on the game being "too real" on PlayStation 3.
Meanwhile, the creator of the BioShock games, Ken Levine, said that not only would PlayStation Move be an integral part of BioShock Infinite, but the BioShock universe would be coming to the much anticipated subject of the next portion of the conference.
Kazuo Hirai, President of Sony Computer Entertainment, revealed that PlayStation Vita is the new name for the next generation portable. "Vita means life," he said, promising that it will "blur the lines between reality and interactive entertainment." He also announced "near", the system that allows games to be played with other PlayStation Vita systems nearby.
As for the price, the Wireless-enabled version of the handheld will be available for €249, while the Wireless and 3G model will be €299.
As a final surprise, Yoshinori Ono unveiled Street Fighter X Tekken for PlayStation Vita would feature inFamous 2 hero Cole MacGrath as a playable character – joining Nathan Drake on a system whose new name was on everyone's lips by the end of the evening.
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