TGS 2012

Sorry for the delay in the post, internet, but better late than never. The Tokyo Game Show, or TGS, is the last major video game conference after E3 and Gamescom. It is generally the smallest of the three shows, focusing far more on the internal Japanese market than the other two, but that doesn’t stop it from being an important place for announcements, especially if you value the Japanese developers. This year, there weren’t too many major announcements; however, there is still plenty of analysis to be had. This is a very weird time in the industry. One company has moved entirely onto their next gen consoles, while the other two are gearing up. Sony seems to overvalue the present, while Microsoft doesn’t seem to care in the slightest. So today we are going to look at some of the reveals and talk about their implications in a larger context.

It would be poetic if the logo in the back was red.

Firstly, let’s look at the new PS3 model. Personally, I must be missing something. Why on Earth would Sony release a new edition of the PS3 at this juncture? Are they trying to make a small holiday push? No price drop will make the six year console a hard sell especially with no new features. Are they trying to make a single standard console? The PS3 slim already did that. I have no idea why Sony would waste the resources on this. At least when the released the PSP Go, its digital only approach was unique. This new PS3 seems identical to all other PS3s aside from aesthetics. When Nintendo has moved to the next generation, and Microsoft seems hellbent on moving on, reinforcing this generation seems like a waste of time, and I can’t figure out how Sony intends to profit from this.

Looks great but who the hell will buy it?

The Vita took another major blow this week as Nintendo showed the world why they have never even been close to defeat in the handheld race. The name of the game is Monster Hunter, and it spells Nintendo dominancy in Japan and possibly worldwide. Monster Hunter 4 was announced as an exclusive to the 3DS. As I and many, many others have been saying for a long time now, Monster Hunter is crack for the Japanese. It is a fine series on its own, but it seriously pushes hardware in the east. A conveniently released Monster Hunter port on the 3DS is what I believe ruined the Vita’s launch in Japan, and exclusivity will ensure the 3DS’ domination unless Sony can really start getting its Vita stuff together, and maybe they can with Crossplay, but who knows at this point.

Game Over

It isn’t all weird and bad for Sony, however. On the RPG front multiple PS3 RPGs have been announced for the west, meaning that the JRPG starved crowd here has a chance to feed their addiction. These games likely don’t have the caliber of Xenoblade Saga or The Last Story, but they are welcome nonetheless. The biggest news on the Sony game front is the exclusivity of the Kingdom Hearts HD Collection, and the Okami HD release. Sony has always been the front runner for HD Collection, and it is shows here. Obtaining an exclusive Square-Enix franchise and the much celebrated  Okami is great for Sony.

The Kingdom Hearts HD Collection is worth mentioning. It contains the original Kingdom Hearts and the PS2 remake of the Gameboy Advance game Chain of Memories, which bridges the gap between the first and second Kingdom Hearts. This is a very important HD Collection. Kingdom Hearts is ten years old now, and gamers who did not play the originals will have no clue whatsoever on what is going on in the newer games, a fact made painfully clear with Dream Drop Distance’s convoluted story.  This was announced as Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Collection, meaning there will likely be another one containing Kingdom Hearts 2, and Birth By Sleep. These collections will prime a whole new audience for the eventual release of Kingdom Hearts 3, which, apparently, is in the works now.

Now all can enjoy the major yaoi undertones of the series!

The biggest surprise that isn’t surprising at all is the total absence of Microsoft. It isn’t surprising as Microsoft has tanked horribly in Japan, and no longer sees it as a priority, thus many Japanese developers do not waste their time with it. It is surprising as Microsoft sat out of Gamescom as well, meaning they were only present at one of the three major conferences and they delivered an embarrassingly poor performance at E3 this year. What are they doing? Have they stopped caring at all, or are they just so focused on next gen that they have abandoned this one like they did with the original Xbox? They have been committing the Xbox more as a multimedia device of late than a gaming console, and have not been pursuing exclusives or any real advantage over its competitors. Has Microsoft abandoned the race this generation? Probably not, but they certainly don’t seem to care as much as the other companies.

And somehow this company is strongly defended. 

All in all a pretty underwhelming TGS this year. We all hope for major announcements from Square, and a Wii U Dragon Quest, and an HD Collection just don’t excite me too much. An amazing trailer for Metal Gear Rising was great, if not expected; although I can’t help at notice how busy Platinum Studios has been. The Monster Hunter 4 announcement was also somewhat expected considering the portable climate in Japan, but it is a major advantage for Nintendo, finally the new PS3 and the new extra huge Frankenstick for the 3DS are as mystifying as possible for me.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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