Liveblogging The Konami Pre-TGS Press Conference

emptystage.jpegWe're at Konami Digital Entertainment's HQ, settling in for the publisher's pre-Tokyo Game Show announcements. Guaranteed to make appearances are Metal Gear Solid 4, plus plenty of enthralling news about the Pawapuro Productions games, Bemani and Winning Eleven. Of course, some surprise announcements may pop up, plus we're sure to be treated to a new MGS4 trailer. There may be some unintentional hilarity as I accidentally switch on kanji mode or hunt and peck for the single quote key on Ashcraft's Japanese MacBook.

So far we've been subjected to about a dozen plays of the Snake Eater theme. And the lights go down. Hit the jump for all the excitement!Mr. Fumiaki Tanaka, president of Konami takes the stage. He's thrilled to have us here today. There is much talk of game contents and other contents and very little in the way of exciting news about Rumble Roses XXX (a game that exists only in the dark parts of my mind).

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If only I had started a "contents" count. He wants to address communication and community and how they relate to entertainment. He is focusing on keywords for Konami going forward. In addition to communication, his second keyword is (wait for it) "health".

My estimation for the number of times "contents" has been uttered is now in the thousands. Consider that figure unconfirmed.

Tanaka leaves the stage.

Executive producer of game contents Katsunori Okita is here to introduce to the crowd some new game contents. He will be covering two titles.

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The first title is on screen now. Have you ever wanted to change the past, he wonders? It's the Nintendo DS adventure game Time Hollow. A boy has found a magic pen that allows him to change the past, helping his loved ones. The game story is written by Takahiko Hata who will make an appearance at TGS for his adoring fans.

Okita is now running a trailer for the game. The title uses a hand drawn anime style and shows our hero being waking from a nightmare to a precious little kitty. He has great anime hair. Out of context, the game looks very sexual. Apparently, someone is caught in a house fire.

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The main protagonist carries his magic glowing pen with him everywhere! It looks like fans of magic pens will drooling over this one. It too will be at TGS, so we look forward to playing it.

He moves on to Silent Hill Origins for the PSP called Silent Hill Zero here in Japan. Of course, SHO is the prequel to the original Silent Hill. We have no idea when and where Silent Hill The Arcade falls in the timeline, but it's onscreen, so...

Silent Hill V is briefly discussed, pegged for a fiscal year 2008 release on Xbox 360 and PS3.

The trailer runs, featuring our trucker hero driving, presumablyß hopped up on speed, having hallucinations to Akira Yamaoka music. Hopefully the new trailer is on the Konami asset media disc and that we should get after the conference.

Okita moves on to the next batch of software, which is "beauty navigation software" which I think is named Dream Skincare. He runs the trailer.

Konami's Yoga game for DS is on screen... or is this the Pilates non-game? It's Pilates. I hope you didn't stay up for this. Still, the cel shaded Pilates girl looks pretty nice. The translator is telling us about "to become beautiful by having fun and to become healthy while having fun" and how this will strengthen the line up going forward. Konami wants to extend the experience of its health clubs by bringing the fun of burning calories at home.

He's talking up Konami's network integration with its health clubs via e-XAX and e-Amusement and how users will be able to transfer data from home to clubs. Various Japanese people are wearing wrist strap controllers, standing on white mats and exercising to their hearts content. They're running in place, playing virtual golf, rocking on air guitars and even standing on their hands. Pleasantly attractive Japanese women are doing Tae Bo with huge smiles. Yay!

All that sweaty excitement will be flailing away on stage at TGS, says Okita, just before he leaves the stage.

Online contents production executive producer Kazuya Takahashi takes the stage. He threatens us with mobile gaming content and absolutely nothing worth photographing. Now might be a good time to nap (or obsessively press F5!).

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Wait, scratch that. Metal Gear Solid Mobile is shown and it looks pretty good. He doesn't discuss it much. World Soccer Winning Eleven Mobile 2 is up next. He moves on to Silent Hill The Escape which looks like a shooting game that supports motion control. Takahashi holds up one of the giant mobile phones, moving it left and right. Apparently it will be able to interpret your walking motions and translate them to in game moves.

Tokimeki Memorial Mobile and Quiz Magic Academy Mobile 2 are two more mobile games that you'll likely never ever see in your entire life and they are both on screen. He moves on to what will be available for play at TGS, including Silent Hill The Escape and Metal Gear Solid Mobile.

Takahashi leaves the stage with a bow and apology that he had to go so quickly. Apology officially accepted.

Winning Eleven Productions executive producer Shinji Enomoto takes the stage. The camera flashes go wild! He talks about how 370 million copies of Pro Evolution Soccer and Winning Eleven have been sold during the series' lifetime. Some 15 million copies were sold last year alone. Wow. Really?!

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World Soccer Winning Eleven 2008 and PES 2008 logos are shown, both are "very sophisticated and stylish" he says. A trailer for the soccer game for Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 is shown. Looks very detailed and polygon rich, but it also looks like a good example of the Uncanny Valley. Its sure to sell many many more millions.

Enomoto talks up the next-gen platform changes, including characters grabbing jerseys and more high definition characters on screen at once. Facial features of real life players look more detailed, but its the bar scene on the other half of the slide, showing fans watching a game amid lots of booze that looks much more interesting.

He moves on to the Wii. He shows two screens for the World Soccer Winning Eleven Wii, which looks way way better than, say, Cruis'n. It is expected to launch globally in the spring of 2008.

A series of Winning Eleven games for mobile platforms is shown. Enomoto tells us that the mobile area at Konami's TGS booth will be very "relaxed" so we should check it out.

Kazuhiko Uehara of Pawapuro Productions is now on stage, talking up the company's big head baseball series. A clip for Jikkyou Pawafuru Major League 2 is shown with a string of MLB players in giant noggin form. This one is coming to North America, courtesy of 2K Games, for the PS2 and Wii as MLB Power Pros, fourteen years in the making. Finally, Powerpuro-Kun Pocket 10 for Nintendo DS is shown. Hey, it has mini-games! Someone Digg this revelation.

The next game series up for discussion that isn't Metal Gear Solid is the Bemani series. Yoshihiko Ota reminds us that the series is comprised of Beatmania, Pop 'n' Music, Guitar Freaks, Dance Dance Revolution and Drum Mania. It's the tenth anniversary of the Bemani series so make sure you get your Pop 'n' Music controller something nice.

DDR is still going strong, selling some 1 million units a year. Ota talks about the West Virginia schools integration of Dance Dance Revolution into its physical education programs.

The producer moves on to the Wii version of DDR, known as Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party. It was a big hit at Comic Con with DDR fans. This one is targeting full body dancing for the whole family. He talks about the improvement in caloric calculations for the Wii version, using the floor mat and nunchuk controller in tandem. A trailer featuring a happy multiplayer family runs. Mom enjoys Diet Mode most!

Japanese players will enjoy DDR Hottest Party starting from Octoboer 25th. It's relegated to the "kids corner" at TGS, so we'll definitely check it out.

Here comes Kojima to talk Metal Gear Solid 4. No pictures, please. Oops, every single person is taking a picture so Kojima himself says it's O.K.

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Kojima talks about the 20th anniversary party for Metal Gear. He's prepping us for the new MGS4 trailer.

The trailer stars with a woman talking into a camera, with nice scanline and shaky cam effects. The Foxhound team appears, talking. A four man squad of soldiers who look like Ninja come hopping into view. The Foxhound team surveys the scene, just before the mohawked member takes a shot in the shoulder. Its the ninja squad! Foxhound takes them out in seconds flat, with Mohawk filling one of them full of lead.

Meryl and Snake start talking. Cut to a scene of a naked and hairless monkey drinking soda. He's at the end of Snake's gun sights.

Snake listens to a discussion about ID tagging while he inspects his gun, taking it apart, looking for iD chips. Lots of action as Metal Gear bipeds are being taken out by ATVs. Raiden makes an appearance, backed by the bipeds. Vamp is shown with a bullet hole in his head.

This is all new footage. Lots of new settings, including a church. Metal Gear Ray looks to be back, as does the MGS1 Metal Gear. Snake versus Liquid in a giant Metal Gear brawl? Looks like it.

After some dialog between a little girl and the trailer's original star, Snake is caught by a nondescript guard. He CQCs his arse onto the floor.

Cut to a scene of a soldier taking to someone in a metal barrel, who just happens to appear to be taking a shit. He runs away embarrassed with his pants half pulled down. No, I am not hallucinating. This is a weird, wild, totally fresh trailer.

Kojima says the date for Metal Gear Solid 4 is still "early 2008."

Kojima moves onto Metal Gear Online. A new trailer runs. An overhead view of a soldier pans down to him being shot at. Where Are My Comrades? reads the screen. We see two squads taking position on two separate roofs. Where Are My People Who Need Help? reads the screen. Teammates help eachother up. Where Are Those I Must Protect? More squad tactics are shown, lots of gun fire, missile launchers taking out sentry towers. One fight takes place in a sewer, featuring solid water effects.

Snake makes an appearance, with the MG Mk II stunning an enemy combatant while cloaked. Snake knocks out a soldier with some close quarters combat. We then cut, in the Kojima Productions fashion to a soldier mounting a human catapault and launching himself into the enemy base (while saluting in mid air).

The game will be at TGS featuring 6 versus 6 online play.

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Metal Gear Solid 4 will come with a Metal Gear Online Starter Pack when it ships, as revealed at Games Convention.

Kojima moves on to the Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops Plus trailer, which will also be available at TGS.

Kojima has one more trailer, for the Metal Gear Solid 2 digital graphic novel. This one looks very similar to the first MGS graphic novel for PSP. Plenty of animated 2D and 3D action scenes with enough onomatopoeia to satisfy anyone. Metal Gear Solid 2 Bande Dessinee will also feature full voice acting and includes the original MGS1 BD with a new voice over track.

He finally addresses Metal Gear Solid Mobile, the full 3D MGS that looks very much like Metal Gear Solid 2. The EZweb game will come pre installed on W53S phone from Sony Ericsson. Kojima says the game will get lots of attention at TGS.

Kojima departs, leaving us wanting more of the Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer. We sure hope to get an asset disc on the way out!

That's it folks. We're out of here. Keep your eyes peeled for the new trailer.

UPDATE: Just a clarification, we learned after the media event was over that the new Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer is scheduled to go live September 20th at 10 AM (Japan Time). We're too delirious from hearing the Snake Eater theme to determine the difference between this time and our native time zones, but we do know that Japan Time is +9 GMT, so maybe expect it later tonight. Maybe?


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