Today’s E3 show has me excited for next gen

PS4

Wow, what a day. Both Microsoft and Sony showed off some amazing games today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), including the Xbox One exclusive Project Spark, which is one of the many titles that I can’t wait to play. (Here’s my coverage.)

First, this is what you need to know about the two upcoming home consoles: the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

While the Xbox One will cost a whopping $500 and restrict how you play and share your games (with required periodic Internet check-ins and possible used game fees), the PlayStation 4 will sell for $100 less. That’s $400. And Sony won’t impose confusing policies. There are no fees or limitations. (We also finally know what it looks like.)

Thank you, Sony. I love you right now — even if you are charging for online multiplayer. And good job supporting indie developers the right way. Hear that, Microsoft?

Click here to catch up with all of GamesBeat’s coverage of the event today — especially if you want to see all of the new game footage and reveals. There were some very good ones. Final Fantasy Versus XIII is now Final Fantasy XV, Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive looks like a blast to play, Bungie’s Destiny seems all-around amazing, Kingdom Hearts 3 and Mirror’s Edge 2 are actually happening, The Crew is an incredibly open-world and boundary-less driving game, and so much more. Including THE PHANTOM PAIN, oh my god.

What are you most excited about?

Goodnight, everyone. And cheers to the future.

From J. K. Rowling’s imagination comes Wonderbook: Book of Spells

Whew.

I. Am. Exhausted.

I’m all typed out.

I’ve been so busy helping to cover E3 (that’s the Electronic Entertainment Expo going on this week) for GameZone that I haven’t had time for much else. But I wanted to share some sort of update.

One of the announcements made at the show was for Wonderbook: Book of Spells — a new video game/interactive book coming for PlayStation 3 that incorporates augmented reality technology, PlayStation Move products, and most interestingly, the stories of J. K. Rowling.

The Book of Spells referred to in the title is written by fictional character Miranda Goshawk of the Harry Potter novels.

β€œWonderbook: Book of Spells is the closest a Muggle can come to a real spellbook,” said Rowling. “I’ve loved working with Sony’s creative team to bring my spells, and some of the history behind them, to life. This is an extraordinary device that offers a reading experience like no other.”

It looks perfect for kids, and that’s obviously the market they’re targeting with the ad/trailer. But it’s also certain to intrigue any fan of the author.

What do you think? Is this something you’d check out, even if you don’t normally venture into video game territory? Wonderbook will cost $40 and come packaged with the aforementioned book and game disc.

Rowling is currently penning her next full-length work, The Casual Vacancy, marketed for adults and projected to release this fall, as early as September.

Reading the game: who else loves Uncharted?

Recently I finished playing Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (see my review). I adore the series and will be sad to see it go as Naughty Dog continues work on The Last of Us for Sony. At least there’s Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita, so whenever I can afford the handheld (money, as they say, does not grow on trees, Sony), I’ll knock that off my list first.

Below are four great books for my fellow Uncharted lovers. Have you read any of these?

Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth by Christopher Golden
Publisher:
Del Rey
Paperback:
336 pages
Publication Date:
October 4, 2011

After his old archeologist friend is found murdered in Manhattan, Sully convinces Drake to globe-trot from New York to Egypt and Greece in search of three lost labyrinths—and a fourth that promises power and riches, of course.

I looked up Chris Golden, and while he’s not a popular author, his books have solid ratings across the board. All four stars and up on Amazon. The most reviews came from Of Saints and Shadows and the Body of Evidence thriller series (from 1999 and out of print). Video game stories rarely translate well across mediums, so I doubt this is written extraordinarily well, but since Uncharted structures its narratives more like movies … well, who knows. Might be decent.

The Art of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves by Daniel P. Wade
Publisher: Ballistic Publishing
Paperback: 272 pages
Publication Date: July 1, 2010

This one’s self-explanatory: It’s an art book, a complement to the video game Uncharted 2. Inside is concept art for the characters, environments, cinematics, etc. Amazon lists it for a pricey $45. The editor, Daniel P. Wade, has overseen production on other art books, such as The Art of God of War III.

Uncharted by Joshua Williamson (writer) and Sergio Sandoval (artist)
Publisher: DC Comics
Paperback: 144 pages
Publication Date: July 17, 2012

You’ll have to wait awhile for the collected version of the UNCHARTED comic book series from DC Comics. Amazon mistakenly names Tony Harris as the illustrator—he’s only the cover artist. Sergio Sandoval (HUMAN TARGET, DEUS EX) provided the interior artwork for the book, with Joshua Williamson (XENOHOLICS, DEAR DRACULA) writing. Six issues are contained in the trade, and the two reviews I could find (both on IGN) gave the comic moderately high scores.

UNCHARTED: Drake’s Journal – Inside the Making of UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION by Nolan North
Publisher: GameSpheres
Paperback: 128 pages
Publication Date: November 1, 2011

Nolan North (aka Nathan Drake) is one of my all-time favorite voice actors, and a lot of other people like him, too. So it was disappointing to learn that his own account on working on the video game series, a book entitled UNCHARTED: Drake’s Journal, is no longer in print.

According to the publisher’s website, only 500 first edition, signed hardback copies of the book were distributed. The only way to get a new copy is to buy the iPhone/iPad app for $4 … but of course, it’s not one of the signed and numbered few. Neither are the ones GameSpheres is selling on Amazon in “new” condition. The cheapest ones (from the exclusive 500 shipment) are available used for $70. Sigh. WANT.

Also, the back cover features joke pull quotes from the game’s cast, and they’re hilarious and true to character:

“This is the best goddamn book out there. I keep mine by the toilet.” – Victor Sullivan

“It’s not a proper book. It’s full of pictures.” – Charlie Cutter

“What’s wrong with pictures? I like pictures.” – Chloe Frazer

“Who the hell is Nolan North?” – Nathan Drake