E3 2005: Sega Next-Gen Teasers
Footage of four games was shown--Virtua Fighter, After Burner, House of the Dead, and Sonic the Hedgehog. No specific titles were announced, and it was stressed multiple times that these are early demos put together to showcase the capabilities of Sony and Microsoft's next-gen consoles. From what we could tell, the footage was running off a development PC with a PlayStation 2 controller attached, which suggests it was a PS3 devkit.
It was also stressed that the footage was NOT pre-rendered. The machine was pushing the graphics in real-time... a point proven when the presenter paused the Sonic demo to move the camera around and show us the detail on his robotic enemies.
The Virtua Fighter fighter demo didn't tell us much about the upcoming game--it is known that Virtua Fighter 5 is in development (could this be it?). However, it did give us an idea of what to expect from the PlayStation 3. The environments were large, heavily detailed, and sharp... it literally looked like the characters were moving around inside a 3D photograph. The demo showed Akira and Sarah performing their katas. It was cool to see what Sega has done with the characters' clothing--Akira's karate uniform flowing around as he moved, and Sarah's spandex reflecting sunlight as she moved.
We're not sure if the air combat demo was an in-progress version of After Burner, but the gameplay sure suggested it was. This footage showed an F-15 flying through the skies shooting at enemy MiGs. The amount of detail visible on the airplanes was astonishing. You could actually see all of the little flaps and parts moving as they turned and maneuvered, and watch as the grips on the missile mounts popped away when a missile was fired. Another visual goodie we noticed was that the scenery appeared smoothly with ZERO draw-in or fog. Islands appeared as tiny dots way off in the distance and gradually grew larger as the plane flew toward them--without hiccups or pop-in.
Third up was a 30 second snippet of House of the Dead, which showed two heroes shooting their way through a horde of zombies and then fighting a giant zombie behemoth. This wasn't the strongest of the demos, but it did show that the next-gen systems will be able to handle 40 zombies on screen at once (all dripping blood) without any hitches.
Last up was a brief look at the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog game that Sega is working on for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The main share of the demo showed Sonic flying through a lush forest grabbing rings. At the end, he was surrounded by robot version of himself and gunned down by thousands of machine gun rounds. Seconds later, he rose up out of the ashes and morphed into Super Sonic--the glowing gold hero we all know kicks serious butt. The demo closed with Super Sonic flying through the robots and punching them all to bits in groups... with thousands of exploding metal bits flying everywhere.
All in all, these brief glimpses into the next gen didn't tell us much about what new features we can expect--but they did show a significant improvement graphically over what we're playing now.
5/20/2005 Frank Provo