Tokyo Game Show 2017: Day 3 analysis and recap with T3's man in Japan Marco Zangirolami

T3 continues its exclusive coverage from Tokyo, with the Sega, Capcom, and Tecmo-Koei booths in the spotlight

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OK, after analysing in detail all the latest trends and news from the firstand second day of the Tokyo Game Show 2017, now let’s check out in detail some individual booths. 

SEGA

As we said on the first day of the TGS 2017, this year Sega REALLY rocks.

While last year we said it was playing very safe, this year the house of Ohta is showing willing to get back its fame in the consumer market - focusing as always on its own three main designers: Toshihiro Nagoshi and Satoshi Sakai, respectively the game designers of 'Ryu ga Gotoku' (known in the West as 'Yakuza'), and 'Phantasy Star 2', reviving also IPs like Virtual On and Sonic!

A tangible sign of what we are saying is that the Sega booth at the TGS 2017 is bigger than the last year's, plus for the first time in years the main title will be a non Sega IP: 'Hokuto ga gotoku'!

This is due to the fact that Sega is one of the first Japanese holdings to embrace the social gaming movement (see the Sega Networks branch), and it has been so successful and profitable that last year the financial surplus nearly matched the arcade market’s sellings (as you know, in the Land of the Rising Sun, the coin-op industry is still alive and kicking, and Sega – being the leader - has a major share of the national income thanks also to its ownership of many arcade centre chains like ‘Club Sega’ and ‘Sega Gigo’). So right now it is more than logical that Sammy's management want to dare to get back its own fame and place, even in the historical consumer division. 

Pretty funny that this act is done by a gambling company! Sammy as you know if you follow each month in our ‘Made in Japan’ section here on T3 is the leader of the gambling market in Japan with pachinkos and slot machines, and knows very well how easy is to lose money in this business.

Hokuto ga gotoku / Fist of the North Star

Sega for the first time in years shows a title that is not one of its own IPs, and the surprise is that this license is a real mighty (and expensive one) in Japan. This is because the anime in the 80s rocked and represented at best the 80s nostalgia for many otakus.

Produced by Toshihiro Nagoshi, one of the most successful and respected game designers in Japan, (here he is mostly known for the ‘Ryu ga gotoku’ series), Nagoshi may not be well known in the west, but being part of Yu Suzuki's AM2 Development team, he has left a mark internationally by being the creator of masterpieces like: 'Virtua Racing','Daytona USA', 'Scud Race', and of course the PlayStation's 'Yakuza' series.

Just to let you understand how important this game designer is now, last year Sega Amusement updated his Daytona USA for the arcade division but with the same game engine created by Nagoshi 22 years ago! If you missed our exclusive interview click here.

Being extremely expensive, I think Sega really believe in this IP, not only because it is known that the actual CEO of Sammy – Hajime Satomi - is a great fan of Rao (the brother and enemy at the end of the first series of the main character), who published on its own some year ago for the pachinko market a massive medal game named ‘Hokuto no Ken: Battle medal’.

 

They also believe in it because the game will use the actual updated Yakuza engine (the same one as the HD remaster Kiwami), but with the anime series scenario that substitutes the metropolitan Japanese mafia aesthetic with an intact free-roaming GTA-style game system.  Here some footage of the game.

Of course, there will be all the typical Japanese sub-games we have seen in Yakuza: karaoke, arcade games such as 'OutRun' and more.

The story takes place in the time of the first TV series of 1983 (if you are not familiar with the Anime we at T3 are here to help you!), you can spot this particular thing by two important elements: in the trailer you see Shin, the first real enemy of Kenshiro (the main character of the Tv series) who left on Kenshiro’s body the mark of the 7 stars of Hokuto (the millennial fighting school in which Kenshiro grow up), while stealing his woman named Julia, plus the colour of Kenshiro’s suit (that is darker in the second TV series), here is also lacking of the black glove (mutated by the 1986 Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra).

‘Hokuto ga Gotoku’ will be sold at 8,390 yen (around $74/ 55 GBP), or at 12,301 yen (around $81 / 109 GBP) for the Deluxe ‘Century’s End Premium Edition’ that will include the manga artist Tetsuo Hara’s custom theme and Fist of the North Star avatars, plus the opening title songs of the first and second TV series available as BGMs in the game (in detail ‘Ai wo Torimodosu’ and the rocky ‘Tough Boy’), plus the yakuza protagonist suit, as the use of Nanto’s school fighting techniques.

In Japan the game will be out on February 22nd 2018, but confirmed at the moment just for PS4, when it is not excluded - as we have seen and witnessed this summer with Vanquish and Bayonetta - a future release for PC and other platforms.

Ryu ga Gotoku Kiwami 2

Even if Yakuza 6 is expected in 2018 on the US and European market, Sega has shown today its best selling title of the last 10 years, now with the HD remaster of the second historical chapter named for the occasion ‘Kiwami’.

Made by Toshihiro Nagoshi, Kiwami adds the improved gameplay features and enhancements from the Yakuza 6 chapter, as well resolving confusing plot points of the original release, and tie the game more closely to other titles in the series. 

Here is the game designer explaining all the details:

A new story scenario "The Truth of Goro Majima" features recurring series anti-hero Goro Majima as a playable character.

The player once again controls Kazuma Kiryu, the main protagonist of the Yakuza series, in the fictional Japanese districts of Kamurocho (Shinjuku in the real world in Tokyo) and Sotenbori (Dotonbori in Osaka).

Sega still believes in this IP, that mixes a Japanese mafia aesthetic, drama and a free-roaming GTA-style game system. 

Available from the 7th of december at 7,590 yen ($67/ 50 GBP) for the standard edition and 11,590 yen ($99/ 76 GBP) for the limited edition that will include 3 CDs with the music of Kazuma Kiryu (disc A), Majima Goro (disc B), and the Kiwamis’ soundtracks, plus a special set of 10 business cards of characters that appear in the game, and various DLCs with exclusive costumes, many weapons, exclusive additional characters, one million in-game yen, a PlayStation 4 theme and avatars.

Also for all collectors will be available a new limited PS4 model: in “Jet Black” and “Glacier White” colors, including the Yakuza: Kiwami 2-themed PlayStation 4 top cover, Yakuza: Kiwami 2-themed original theme, and Yakuza: Kiwami 2-themed original design packaging.

A must to buy if you collect limited models!

Price: 33,480 yen ($299/ 211 GBP) for 500 gigabyte, and 38,480 yen ($345/ 250 GBP)for the 1 terabyte HDD version.

Phantasy Star Online 2

The second best seller in Japan (and cash-cow) of Sega is once again updated for PC, PS Vita, PS4, plus a new homecoming (see below).

With its massive cult following in Japan, the Phantasy Star Online's player base today (according to Sega's bulletin) is more than 4,500,000 users in Japan. The Japanese MMORPG born on Sega's Dreamcast (exactly on the 21st December 2000), has only now rekindled interest from the company, with Sega finally deciding to reinvest in this RPG, even after CSK (the old major shareholder of Sega) pulled the plug.

The big news here though is that PSO's 2018 update is ready and coming even for.. smartphones!

For European hardcore gamers, the passage from the mighty Dreamcast version will be hard (and maybe even harsh) to get along with, due by the fact that many innovations of the third person shooter genre have been introduced. So it may take some time to get used to how it plays compared to the old title. But the fact that now it is possible to play simultaneously with 12 other people, divided into three groups in-game, and with a very fast and official server, makes it a good compromise, at least for the moment. 

Virtual-On 

When I said that Sega is looking to rekindle its own fame, this ‘Toaru Majutsu no Virtual-On’ really represents the point.

Virtual On is a mighty 90s coin op, extremely famous in Japan in the heyday times, and now Sega wants to revive even this IP with this new chapter for PS4 and PS Vita.

If you check closely - and you are real player of this game from the old days - you will find that the gameplay has been revised with a new feature of jumping and attacking while dashing in one quick flowing movement, which is similar to another anime robot fighting game: ‘MS Gundam Boost Extreme’!

Yes, the new feature that allows you to do it, a trademark of the legendary Mobile suit Gundam’s 2001 Banpresto game (Rempo Vs Zion).

The game will be out the 15th of February 2018 at 7,900 yen for PS4 and 6,900 yen for the PS Vita, there will be limited edition versions for both consoles which will have a book of 500 pages plus a Virtual-On OST CD (PS4), and 100 pages for the PS Vita version.

Sonic Forces

Once again an another great IP that all the Sega fans will be happy to hear about.

Developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. An instalment in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, the game was announced in commemoration of its 25th anniversary, and will be released worldwide in November 2017

The game follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he leads a resistance force against Doctor Eggman, who has taken over the world with the help of his robot army and a mysterious new villain known as Infinite. Gameplay is similar to Sonic Generations with players controlling "Classic" and "Modern" versions of the Sonic with a from a 2.5D side-scrolling view reminiscent of the original Sonic games on the Sega Genesis, while the latter uses three-dimensional gameplay similar to Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. In addition to the two Sonics, Sonic Forces also introduces a third gameplay mode featuring the "Avatar", the player's own custom character.

A bonus edition will be released containing controller skins and downloadable clothing items for the Avatar based on other Sega titles such as Jet Set Radio, Puyo Puyo, and Persona 5.

An additional three-level campaign featuring Shadow the Hedgehog, titled Episode Shadow, will be released as free downloadable content.  From November 2017.

D3

This parental company of Bandai-Namco is growing year by year, always with a gigantic booth with a massive monster in front of it, I think this little but aggressive Japanese software house will go even higher in the future.

Earth Defence Force 5

I already talked about this underrated game made in Japan. This first instalment of this title came out in 2003 and today, after more than 13 years, it is still growing by popular demand (especially for the western’s players request). 

The major feature of this third person shooter is its apocalyptic scenario where aliens invade and try to kill the entire human kind and even if the gameplay is simple, the action and the tension is really catchy for any kind of gamer: from the casual to the hardcore gamers.

Even this year the demon here at the Tokyo Game Show really gives gamers what they love: Action, tension and satisfaction.

Check right here our exclusive footage taken here at the show.

Earth Defence Force 5 finally will be out in for PS4 next week the 29th of September to be exact.

A must to have and play.

CAPCOM

At the opposite side of Sega, Capcom with the exception of a couple of titles (especially games for mobile), is a company that is adopting a policy that is totally different.

Consider that I am huge fans of the Street Fighter saga (I own the 1986’s original Street fighter 1 Deluxe orignal cab so imagine how I love this brand), but it is difficult right now – even for me - to see innovation in the Osaka’s software house when no new titles for this saga is announced (nor even for its 30th Anniversary), plus no new IPs like an Okami or a Killer 7 (just to mention few). It seems its new vogue is just to update the same games with sequels and HD remasters.

I can understand the economic situation and the company’s financial position, plus that game designers like Mikami (Resident Evil), Suda51 (Killer 7), Inaba (Okami), Tanaka Tsuyoshi (Monster Hunter) are gone forever, but thanks to the enormous commercial success of the IP ‘Monster Hunter’ Capcom in my opinion should dare a little bit more.

Anyway, the booth once again is organised mainly for the cash cows of the last 10 years: Monster Hunter (now WORLD), and on the back Resident Evil 7 with re-release in gold edition, as well as Revelations 1 & 2 HD remasters for Nintendo Switch (mainly for the western countries).

What is also very interesting about this last IP is that inside the booth even this year there is a shooting range made in collaboration with Marui’s guns, who produce limited editions of the game’s guns.

Monster Hunter: World

As every year, the best seller game of Osaka’s software house (and in general of Japan) shows its latest instalment at the TGS, which now looks abroad, to the western countries (finally) to keep - and probably expand - its financial annual balance.

And must be said that for years gamers from outside Japan have been asking to play against the famous hardcore Japanese players who had reserved national servers (hearing US and European players on socials from abroad it was difficult to play online with them). 

But now, finally the time to gather the two factions: Japanese players and the rest of the world has a date: January 26, 2018

Ryozo Tsujimoto of the Tsujimoto family (the founders of Capcom) is now involved in the development of the game (and not just producing it).

After we tried the game here at the Tokyo Game show the impression is that Capcom wants to catch the new young player wave (i.e. the 3DS versions’ one), plus catch the western audience: globalisation seems the verb that Osaka’s HQ has adopter for the next year.

And this game is the first of the series.

The game will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One in Western regions, and Microsoft Windows.

For those who never played Monster Hunter, it is an action role-playing game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. As with previous games in the series, the player takes the role of a Hunter that is tasked by the "Research Commission" to hunt down and either kill or capture large monsters that roam outside their central base of Astera for them to study

The player's character does not have any intrinsic attributes, but instead these are determined by what equipment the character is equipped with. This includes a weapon which comes from several archetypes (such as long sword, bow, or guns), which then further defines the types of combat moves and abilities the player can use, and pieces of armour, which can lead to beneficial or detrimental combat skills if matched properly. While some basic equipment can be purchased using in-game money, most equipment is built from loot obtained by slaying or trapping monsters, rewards from completing quests, or items gathered while in the field. This creates a core loop of gameplay that has the player fight monsters they can beat to obtain the right loot to craft improved weapons and armor to allow them to face more powerful monsters and the potential for even better equipment.

Monster Hunter: World will include all fourteen weapon types from Monster Hunter 4 and Monster Hunter Generations.

Players will still be able to mount and try to topple monsters, and in some scenarios, will be able to use their primary weapon for these toppling attacks.

All hunters gain access to a tool called the Slinger, which can be used as a grappling hook to reach higher elevations or pull down rock formations, and also can be used as a slingshot to launch bullets that can damage or have debuffing effects on monsters or can be used to distract monsters to allow one to escape.

Players can also use a Mantle, similar to gillie suits to either stay hidden from sight of a monster, or to lure a monster into chasing the hunter into a trap or into an area occupied by another monster and having them fight each other.

Monster Hunter: World has several different areas to hunt, divided into a set of numbered zones. However, unlike previous games where there would be a loading screen in travelling between each zone, making each zone isolated from the others, World offers seamless travel between zones in the area.

The game supports both single-player (both offline and online) and up to four player co-operative mode while online; there is no local online multiplayer. The game's quest system will be the same in both modes.

In single-player mode, hunters can have a Palico (an anthropomorphic sentient cat species) assist them in combat, and if they are playing online, players can call for help from other players anywhere in the field by having their character launch a red flare, allowing other hunters to help, creating a drop-in/drop-out system.

The game will allow players in different release regions to work together; the game will use a pre-determined set of common greetings and commands that are translated to the various languages so that players can effectively communicate with each other.

However, players will be limited to co-operating with those on the same platform, and will not feature cross-platform play for the Sony’s opposition came out at the E3 (but you already know of it if you followed our coverage where we talked first about it) Monster Hunter: World is officially considered a main installment in the Monster Hunter series.

A limited version of PS4 will also be produced by Sony and released in Japan on the 7th of December 2017 at 49,980 yen ($445/ 330 GBP).

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

For fans of 2D and Marvel only, I warn you.

The game looks always interesting from a conceptual point of view, due to the fact that I love Marvel and DC super heroes, but after having checked it closely the impression is that real “innovations” have been shelved perhaps for a new update.

Anyway, if you want a new 2D fighting game with a solid roster from the king of the ‘kakuto games’ this new chapter is for you. Already out since the 19th of September. 

Bio Hazard: Revelations 1 & 2

A HD remaster for this spin off of the Resident Evil saga, now for the Nintendo Switch.

Tested here at the fair, I had some problems with the small pads on the consoIe. I do not know if it is just my feeling, but the game needs for bigger (western) hands a bigger control pad (especially for this kind of game).

KOEI-TECMO

This underdog software house in Japan is probably in my opinion one of the best in general, who always release very good games for the west. Ninja Gaiden is one of its most famous.

This year the booth is basically divided for two games: Shin-Sengoku Musou 8 for PS4 and Fire Emblem Warriors for 3DS 

Shin-Sengoku Musou 8

A new sequel of the widely known ‘Sengoku Musou’ series, which is inspired by the Chinese Three Kingdoms history.

Technically the only thing changing from the previous chapter is that there is Kou Shibusawa as supervisor, it will be the open world, and that the combo system will change according to the position of the player.

I do not recommend anyway this game for any casual gamer, because in Japanese it is going to be pretty hard to understand, so keep this in mind when it is released.

Advertised for Early 2018.

Right, that's all. See you tomorrow for a closer looks at the Sony, Square-Enix, and Konami offerings.