Lets review the most important news from the Japanese video game trade show.
Its reach might not be as large as year’s past – especially, when attendance drops to 18,000 less visitors from 2013 – but when the Tokyo Game Show comes around (September 18th to the 21st), somehow the Japanese gaming expo still evokes a fevered passion that matches other major industry-wide events, like E3 or Gamescom.
Albeit, it does generally help when there’s something to show – and “to show” there was. With a year of a new console generation under its collective belt, the Japanese side of the gaming industry seemed to be swelling with tons of awesome items being featured at the show; new announcements, hot footage of highly anticipated games, and other fascinating story lines that one list probably couldn’t contain.
I’m going to do it anyway, though! So here now are the five biggest highlights from Tokyo Game Show 2014.
1. Final Fantasy XV Is Alive & Well
The biggest surprise at TGS this year had to be – hands down – the latest trailer for Final Fantasy XV. Long mired in development hell since 2006, when it originally went by the name Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the Square Enix role-playing game has been surrounded by a dark cloud of doubt regarding its development status.
This past week’s incredible unveiling though, after a year of silence from E3 2013, when the game was reincarnated from a spin-off title to a full-fledged Final Fantasy release coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, have seem to inspire a bit of new found hope that the troubled project will see a release in the near future.
Perhaps by late 2015 in Japan (with a subsequent release in other territories in early 2016), if all goes well. Square Enix management appear to be fully committed to getting the game out the door, replacing the game’s original show-runner, Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura, with Hajime Tabata. Tabata is a director that has a solid pedigree of shipping projects in a timely manner, so it will be up to him to insure the same for FFXV.
According to Tabata in an interview at TGS, Final Fantasy XV is “55% complete” at this time, with a demo planned around the first half of 2015 sitting at 80% completion. No sound, or loose release date has been confirmed for either, but for now we’re left with a promising taste for what audiences should expect when the RPG launches.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Quiet on the Set
Hideo Kojima brought all the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain info he could to this year’s Tokyo Game Show. With the game nearing completion, the famed Konami director brought a great amount of new gameplay footage to his stage presentation, showing off a new local and more insight into the character of Quiet.
The scantly-dressed female sniper happens to play an important role in one of Phantom Pain’s key gameplay features, the buddy system. This allows players to team up with A.I. controlled partners out on the battlefield, who then have their own unique set of abilities.
Depending on certain conditions met within the game, your choice of A.I. partner will vary. Chances are you might even buddy up with other mission partners, such as a wolf-dog that Big Boss can raise and accompany him in later missions, if the player manages to rescue as a puppy.
Players necessarily don’t have to go out of their way to form these relationships, they’re totally optional and can be ignored if you just want to focus on the central campaign. But as a total package, it’s nice to see the kind of depth we might expect when Metal Gear Solid V ships sometime next year.
Here’s footage of the Tokyo Game Show stage demo in action:
3. New Nintendo 3DS Makes Its Debut At The Show
In typical fashion, Nintendo themselves were absent from the festivities of TGS, but not when it came for their upcoming latest handheld, the New Nintendo 3DS. At Capcom’s booth, demo units for the handheld – in either its standard or XL forms – were being used to try out the Japanese publisher’s next big 3DS release, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
Releasing October 11 in Japan, the New 3DS improves on its past revision with a host of new features: better 3D screen, a small boost in hardware performance, and the ever apparent new C-Stick, which gives users an optional control method for in-game cameras. How do the new changes fair with a game like Monster Hunter 4? Here’s a video from an Engadget reporter, who got to try out the handheld from the TGS showroom floor.
4. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die Stealth Release On Xbox One
Rarely does the spotlight fall on the Xbox brand during TGS (you can look up how badly every Microsoft made console has performed in Japan to see why), but it did just that with the immediate announcement and launch of D4, a Xbox One exclusive developed by Access Games and directed by Hidetaka “Swery65” Suehiro.
Swery’s directorial efforts certainly have their own mad-ball flare, and that almost alone makes them worthy to try. Deadly Premonition, his previous effort, is game that is full of oddities, both comedically and in it’s surreal presentation. D4, or rather Dark Dreams Don’t Die, certainly extends into the auteur realm of which Swery affectionally belongs to.
In D4, players take the roll of private investigator David Young, who must solve the murder of his wife by going back in time to relive the fateful moments before her death. Using Kinect (although, the game can also be played without it), hand gestures and voice recognition can be used to find clues to further get to the bottom of this mystery.
Some major gaming outlets have already giving D4 some high recommendations, and better yet, the game is available to digitally purchase right now for $15.99 off Xbox Live. D4 is an episodic mystery adventure (you get the prologue and the first two episodes with your purchase), with more chapters to come in the following weeks and months.
If you happen to be a fan of the weird, especially of the Japanese variety (which is of a special variety), then you should certainly check out D4 if you have a Xbox One.
5. Bloodborne Gets Dated For Worldwide PS4 Release
Sony managed to fit in one more last surprise before the Japanese gaming exhibition came to a close: namely, a worldwide release for the dark action-role-playing game from the makers of the Dark Souls series, From Software’s Bloodborne, arriving exclusively for the PlayStation 4 on February 6, a day after the gothic-inspired title launches in Japan.
Bloodborne will be available in both a standalone edition and a prestigious collectors edition that costs $79.99 USD and comes with a Steelbook collector’s case, an art book featuring concept art from the game, and a digital copy of the game’s complete soundtrack. Below you’ll find the latest gameplay trailer for the game, possibly the last bit of new footage before the game’s release in early 2015.
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