September is here, and that means it is time for TGS. More specifically the Sony press conference, which seems to have started things off this year with its fair share of whimpers and bangs. (Though thankfully, most were not self-inflicted)
The speed of the conference was a breath of fresh air in my opinion, it was a straight, no nonsense, announce the title, show the video and move on. I feel that is was more based on letting the content speak for itself (aside from a few notable exclusions that kinda ruined the tempo and enjoyment of the presentation).
The first large announcement was the Bloodborne DLC titled The Old Hunters. It is apparently a story continuation, that uses new hunters, so those veteran hunters out there, you will have to learn how to use a new set of characters pre-made for this expansion. The DLC will also contain a bevy of new weapons, such as a bow, a nasty looking bladed ball of death, and apparently introducing the use of shields. The DLC will release standalone on November 24th, and a special edition of Bloodborne will release with the DLC packed in on December 3rd.
Gravity Daze (Gravity Rush outside Japan) will be re-released on the PS4 on December 10th in Japan, and February 2016 for the west. It looks like they cleaned up the visuals and made the controls fit for a controller scheme. They also announced Gravity Daze/Rush 2 with a release window of 2016. There is also a special edition of Gravity Daze that will come with a figma of the main character Kat. No concrete info was given on anything pertaining to western release for any of these other than the tentative 2016 "release window" currently.
Sony also announced 'New みんあ の Golf' (New min'na no golf) (Hot Shots Golf in the US) which seems to be a bit more than just a new game in the series coming to the PS4. It has a definite open world-like feel to it, where you can not only create your own personalized avatar, that look somewhere like a cross between an Xbox avatar, and Nintendo Mii, but you can fish and I imagine other activities when not golfing. While graphically it may not exactly tax the power of the PS4, it always had its own personal style it followed and I can appreciate it sticking to its design philosophy. I am excited to see where this game goes, and how much interactivity it has between people in the same space. There is no current release information for this game.
On the hardware front there was a bit of news, some big, and some small. There was of course announcements about colors being added to PS4, sadly not what most people might be anticipating. First of all, there are 10 different colored faceplates for the new HDD version of the PS4, which you can only buy on the Sony Store, and two which can only be obtained if you pre-order them, and are currently slated for a Japan only release. There are also four new colors for the Dual Shock 4 controller, Gold, Silver, Black Steel, and Crystal. In my opinion the gold is a bit too ostentatious, the silver seems a bit too close to the 20th anniversary gray controller, but the black steel and crystal variants, to me seem the most worth while purchases.
These are also currently listed as Japan only. The Project Morpheus has been renamed to Playstation VR, which is a very astute naming. Although I personally find it a tad boring, I can understand the need to make it identifiable to people who wouldn't otherwise know what it is. Quite possibly the biggest piece of Hardware news is the fact that Japan is getting a price cut to the PS4, the price is being reduced to 34,980 yen (which converts to $292.65 at the current rate) this price is effective on October 1st, and can be seen as a way to try and increase the consumer base for the console in Japan, that while it isn't the lowest selling console in the country, it pales in comparison to the numbers mobile gaming is pulling there. Does this mean that a price drop is in the cards for the rest of the world? Who honestly knows, and even though PS4 worldwide is top dog, using this price point across the board could help to cement Sony's position. Although Sony had some really strong 1st party contributions they petered out towards the end, most notably with the announcement for the PSNow beta coming to Japan. it truly seemed blase and forced and really drained the energy from the presentation, though thankfully it was a short and sweet, which was appreciated.
Ubisoft reared its ugly head at the conference, and other than a really interestingly cool showing of the "Oni" samurai character for the game "For Honor". Then the obligatory Assassins Creed season pass shill through the showing off of a somewhat obfuscated Jack the Ripper DLC missions, it was nothing all that notable.
After that Sega came up on stage, and two of the biggest announcements of the night (to me) were that of a remake of the first Yakuza on the PS3 and PS4 that will release on January 1st, 2016 in Japan. Titled 龍が如く極(Ryu ga gotoku: Kiwami) (Yakuza: Perfection?). Not only is this game properly remade into something that can be called current gen, but they also are adding new scenarios, and mini-games to increase the breadth and depth of an already stellar game. (now they need to remake the second one, and I will have no reason to but the Yakuza 1&2 double pack). The second of these announcements is the release of 龍が如く6(Yakuza 6) which currently has no release date other than "Fall" 2016 (in Japan of course), but there will be a demo that will be attached to the disc of Kiwami.
SNK Playmore showed up for a bit to show another 3-D graphical attempt in their fighter series King of Fighters XIV, other than a short teaser, there was not a whole lot of information to go on at this time.
Bandai-Namco also had a brief showing of One Piece Burning Blood; which is a cell shaded fighting game much in the same vane of the Naruto: Ninja Storm series of fighters. Then there was a Vita version of the Gundam Extreme Vs series of Virtua-On style arena fighters. Also Dark souls 3 re-confirmed the Japanese release date of March 24th, 2016, with a current western 'launch window' of 2016 for the west.
Square-Enix had quite the good showing, while for the most part, just re-affirming what was already known quantities with Just Cause 3, there was quite a bit of surprise in their presentation. The new Star Ocean, titled Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, while not a completely new reveal, did show quite a few new things that piqued my interest in the game, as well as a Japanese release of February 25, 2016. Squeenix's new studio, Tokyo RPG Factory showed off their new game, which has some distinctly old school Squaresoft vibes 雪のセツナYuki no setsuna(The Sadness of Snow). They also fleshed out the information on a couple of the more mysterious Final Fantasy titles that are due for release before the big titles in the series.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 will contain an up-res version of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the cinematics from the Japan only mobile game Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, and finally a prologue to Kingdom Hearts 3; Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- seemingly starring Aqua.
There was also a new trailer given for World of Final Fantasy; a game that is a more relaxed take, and fan service that seems to honestly celebrate the history and lore that has been created through all these years. It fleshes out the story, and shows that the chibi world shown in the E3 trailer is a world separate from that of the protagonists own.
There were two Dragon Quest reveals, one being the sequel to the Hack and slash fun fest that is Dragon Quest Heroes 2, and for the Vita, PS4 and PS3, Dragon Quest builders. Dragon Quest builders is apparently a fully fleshed out RPG adventure in a Minecraft styled world, in where you rebuild towns in and other areas in the effort to take back the world from the Dragon king. Other than the fact Dragon Quest warriors will contain 4 player co-op, there was not much info offered on release window, Dragon Quest Builders on the other hand will be released (in Japan) on January 28th, 2016.
They also talked briefly of a new SaGa game for the Vita titled SaGa Scarlet Grace. The game was only given a 2016 release window, and other than some amazing music, and some beautiful art, not much could be really gleaned from the proffered trailer.
Spike Chunsoft came on stage and presented two games. The first one being Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky, which is a game that is made alongside Tri-Ace who is making the combat system for the game. It looks like a fun RPG with that amazing Tri-Ace combat system from their Star Ocean games, with beautiful art, and a diverse cast, that seems to be in a world that is somewhere between fantasy, and real world. It releases in Japan on December 17th, 2015, with no news on a western release currently. The other game shown was Danganronpa 3 for the Vita and PS4. The trailer did not reveal too much, because the characters that are to be in the game were replaced by monokumas, so it worked more as a teaser than anything else (unless of course the monokuma are the sole characters this time, which would be interesting), no release info was offered.
Koei-Tecmo appeared on stage and showed two games to be released within the next year. Toukiden 2, was announced for PS3, PSVita, and PS4, with a tentative 2016 release. I played the demo for Toukiden: Kiwami on the PS4, and I am extremely interested in buying the full game, and if this is as good, if not better, then I am excited to see what they do with it. One of the biggest games to me of this conference has to be Nioh. It gives looks of what one would possibly imagine a truly HD Onimusha would look like on the current generation hardware, whilst mixing in the combat of Bloodborne. Apparently this game is a long time in coming, being originally announced in 2004, and was supposed to be a launch title for the PS3. I can honestly say that I am glad it took this long, because it is clearly on the better system, and hopefully it is all the better off for it in the long run. Though, there was not much more info to go on, but from what I saw, I am excited to see where it goes.
The definite white elephant in the room was the Capcom "trollnouncement" that was Biohazard: Umbrella Corps. Which by itself, isn't a bad thing, nor does it look terrible, or badly made. The issue with this game is how it was announced. They started by talking about the 20th anniversary of Biohazard and how they wanted to do something special to commemorate such an occasion. They buttered us up quite nicely by showing the logos of all the main line games, while omitting the side cannon games from the list. Naturally I anticipated the announcement of Biohazard 7, and a continuation of that story. But rather than Capcom giving its loyal fans what they want (though with how they treat their other IPs I shouldn't have been surprised) they give us a multiplayer third person shooter, where you play as Umbrella Operatives, and you fight other players in multiplayer combat while fighting zombies. It is apparently a continuation of the game, Biohazard: Operation Raccoon City, though they clearly emphasized the multiplayer aspect at the conference. It doesn't look ugly, or terribly unplayable, per se but this is not what should be released when celebrating the 20th anniversary of such a storied game series, it just screams of money grubbing, and insincerity.
Other than a hilarious message from one of the heads of Treyarch and more repetitive regurgitation of the same Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 info, that was the end of the Sony Press Conference at TGS 2015. I can honestly say this conference was a breath of fresh air, while slow at points, and painfully low at others. *cough* Biohazard: Umbrella Corps *cough* Overall it had a lot of new and interesting information, and was well worth it, and even though I know it won't happen, I wish the speed and succinct nature would transfer over to E3 to help that conference move along quicker.