The lights are on
Tokyo Game Show isn’t as big of an event as it used to be, but the convention still bears paying attention to, and this year is no different. Here are five things I’m interested in seeing.
The 360 was virtually non-existent in Japan, and therefore the Xbox One faces a big uphill battle to even register in the country. Regardless, you can’t do it just by sitting on the sidelines, so I like that Microsoft is at least showing up to TGS this year after skipping it last year.
Director Swery65 (Deadly Premonition) is bringing Xbox One mystery game D4 to the show, and it, along with Crimson Dragon, are the kinds of titles that Microsoft will need in the territory if it’s to sell more than a handful of units there. It’s baby steps to the system’s 2014 launch in Japan.
The Japanese company naturally has a big presence at the show – particularly with the PlayStation 4 on the horizon (Sony says there will be 10 PS4 games and 50 total for all its platforms at TGS), but from an industry perspective, I’m interested to see how the moves the company is doing with the Vita affect the handheld in the country. The Vita, like the PSP, is a lot more popular in Japan than here in America, and products like Vita TV are designed with that fact in mind.
While your average gamer over here probably doesn’t care about a bunch of Vita titles from Japan, the better the handheld does in any market, the more it’s going to stick around. Stay alive and Sony is going to support it with cool features like remote play with the PlayStation 4. As with the PSP, Sony has shown that it will stick with its products – even if its software support isn’t the greatest. Success in Japan is a big part of this.
Hopefully we can also get some more nuggets of info/new feature announcements for the PlayStation 4.
And in case you thought I might forget – I’m like the rest of you, holding my breath for some kind of The Last Guardian news at TGS. I should know better.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
From what I can tell, the Metal Gear series is more popular in the West than in its home country, but creator Hideo Kojima is always good for a surprise or two. As a fan of the franchise, I understand how many gamers have fallen off the bandwagon, but I think this title can be very good even without the usual Kojima hype factor. That being said, I doubt he nor Konami miss the opportunity to grab the spotlight at TGS. It’s assuredly too much to hope for, but hands-on with the title and experiencing the expansive environments touted at E3 would be a good next step for the game.
The omission of Kingdom Hearts 3 is disappointing, if not surprising. It’s not likely the game comes out in 2014, so it was probably too much to ask for an appearance at TGS after its E3 reveal.
Judging by the company’s TGS roster, including Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Thief, and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, it doesn’t look like it is using the show to highlight any kind of course change in light of its troubles.
The report in the link above shifts some of the previous blame away from Western-focused games like Tomb Raider, so it will be interesting to see how the company handles a game like Thief. Again, I don’t think TGS is the kind of Japan-centric show for Thief, but I want to see the company use any and all avenues to push titles that could possibly be commercial and critical successes and not play it too safe or fall back exclusively on well-worn properties like Final Fantasy.
I’m ignorant of the indie video game scene in Japan, but TGS will be host to over 40 designated indie companies from Japan and around the world. Both next-gen systems are trying to court indie devs, and I’m curious to see if this is an area that blossoms in Japan like it has here in the West. The country’s current development woes are well documented, so it’ll be interesting to see if indie games are an avenue for devs over there to produce some games that take the world by storm. Similarly, the TGS exhibitor list has over 35 mobile companies in attendance.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.