List by Matt S.
Next week I head off to Japan for my annual pilgrimage to Tokyo Game Show. From September 20-24, Japan’s games industry comes together to put on an almighty party, and give the world a view of how the Japanese interesting is faring (and the kinds of games that Japanese players are keen on).
This year has set a record for the number of exhibitors, I hear, so it should be a pretty big and vibrant show. I figured that I might as well pull together a “wish list” of stuff I’m either looking forward to seeing and has already been announced, or would dearly love to see at TGS this year, based on what I’ve seen in years past.
For a while now I’ve been crossing my fingers and secretly hoping that this promise of a “less sexy” game that Koei Tecmo has been making for Dead or Alive 6 was something of a ruse to appease western audiences, and at TGS, we’d see something of the old Dead or Alive back. Give me Marie Rose and Kokoro and a swimsuit or two and I’ll have all my faith restored. And, of course, I can’t wait to get hands-on with it and finally play it for myself.
2) Final Fantasy XIII Collection gets a sneaky announcement
Square Enix’s lineup for TGS has already been confirmed, but doesn’t include much at all as far as Final Fantasy announcements go, so I’ve got something of a hope that there will be a sneaky announcement made once the show’s doors open. It’s obviously far, far too early to be announcing Final Fantasy XVI, but for the longest time there have been rumours of a port of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy to PlayStation 4, and as one of the few diehard fans of that trilogy, that announcement would make me exceedingly happy indeed.
3) Nobunyaga’s Ambition Nyapuri shenanigans
Nobunyaga’s Ambition isn’t that well known in the west, but it’s a popular franchise in Japan which takes the samurai heroes from the Sengoku era (the one from Samurai Warriors), and turns each of them into a cat. Nobunyaga’s Ambition Nyapuri is a new iOS and Android game from Koei, and don’t expect it to come out in the west, but what that does mean is that there are going to be people dressed up as the Nobunyaga cats wandering around TGS and doing shows and stuff, and that’s always great fun to watch.
4) Goichi Suda finally announces that he’s working with Devolver Digital
We have known this has been coming for such a long time now. Goichi Suda shows up at Devolver press events at E3, and has mentioned to me, personally, that he would love to work with Devolver on something. So it’s happening, and we know it is, it’s just a matter of when. I can’t imagine a better pairing than the anarchistic artsy Devolver and the transgressive attitude of Goichi Suda. Perhaps they can announce another Lollipop Chainsaw or something.
5) Whatever D3 Publisher has planned for its next pervy masterpiece
The first year I went to TGS, D3 Publisher had a giant set to promote Onechanbara, and to play the game attendees had to stand in front of a giant cardboard model of the lead character, before sticking their head into a cavity cut into her chest where the screen was placed. The next year, for School Girl/ Zombie Hunter, the publisher did a similar thing, this time getting attendees to sit between the legs of the giant cutouts, and look upwards to where the monitors were placed. Last year, for Battle Girls Phantasia, the publisher put on a strip show to emulate the number of ways that costumes could get destroyed in that game.
So I can’t wait to see what the publisher comes up with next.
6) The merchandise. Oh, lordy, the merch
I always spend so much money at TGS, because the merchandise stands are just so good. SEGA/Atlus, Square Enix, Capcom, and Koei Tecmo always set up the most amazing booths with stuff I’d never find otherwise; stuff like Dead or Alive wall tapestries… or the Risette one below. Square Enix always has a massive music booth set up where it sells dozens of different soundtracks, including some TGS exclusives. I may be a professional attending TGS for media purposes, but screw it, the merchandise is always my first stop.
7) Seeing the most interesting indie games from all over the world
The indie section of TGS often gets overlooked, but it is vibrant, and every year I end up with a half dozen – if not more – new games on my “to watch” list. TGS attracts indies from all over the world – the Middle East to America, Thailand to Australia, and the indie booth area is small and cozy enough that you get to walk past an unending stream of creative ideas, while never feeling too cramped. And, as an added bonus, unlike the major games, the lines aren’t three hours long. Generally speaking, the only games I end up playing at TGS are either indie titles, or the occasional time a publisher lets me jump a queue.
8) Sony to have a surprise or two in store
Sony, as a publisher, is more focused on games that are first and foremost designed to appeal to western audiences. However, TGS tends to be the one time of year the company throws Japanese fans a bone or two, to remind them that the company still counts many talented Japanese developers among its teams. I would expect that TGS this year will be dominated by Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone and Death Stranding, but I’m holding out hope that between the pre-TGS stream and floor presence itself Sony has a surprise or two in store for us as well. A return of Oreshika would be nice.
9) The Asia-Pacific development assistance area
One of my favourite things about TGS – and something that most other media completely ignore, is a big section of the hall which is turned over to Asia-Pacific development. In that section, developers by country are invited to set up booths to showcase their games, or other services that they offer to developers and publishers, such as localisation services. So by walking through there, you get the chance to chat to people trying to grow Myanmar’s game industry, or see what’s going on in Malaysia. Japan’s games industry clearly sees itself as the centre of development within Asia, and while none of this means much to westerners, that big section of TGS is a reminder that a lot happens in games outside of what we see in our own corner of the world.
10) The food around the TGS convention
One of my favourite izakaya (casual dining and a lot of beer) restaurants is just around the corner from the convention centre where TGS is held. After a long day interviewing various people from the industry, and spending hour upon hour in dark halls playing video games and yelling over the noise to talk to people around you, there is nothing like some good izakaya and Sapporo to unwind with.
There’s a reason I go to the effort to go to TGS every year, when I can’t even be bothered attending most of the local conventions. It’s partly because it’s an excuse to spend time in Japan, but more than that, TGS represents what I want the games industry to be. Where western games are increasingly siloed into painfully trite archetypes of “good games”, and you can’t take a step at a western games show without getting an eyeful of guns and military masturbatory material, TGS only has some of that, and it’s balanced out by fanservicey stuff, and some of the biggest, most expensive booths are for “casual” mobile games.
And it’s nice to be able to attend a dozen or so interviews and not once hear the word “content”. Japanese creators respect their own work, on the whole.
– Matt S.
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