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Five Hits & Misses from Sony’s TGS 2015 Conference

"Bloodborne, Resident Evil, Gravity Rush, Yakuza & More"
The Tokyo Game Show starts off this Thursday and once again Sony (SCEJA) had a press conference highlighting what's next from Japan from 1st and 3rd parties for the upcoming year. There were definitely moments that got fans hyped and also bummed, so let's talk about what announcements stood out and what didn't.

Hit: Bloodborne: The Old Hunters Coming in November
From Software and Sony's Japan Studio finally showed off the first expansion DLC for the critically acclaimed Bloodborne this morning. A new story along with new areas to explore and bosses to defeat await players on November 24th for $19.99. A retail version of Bloodborne that includes the DLC is also coming on December 3rd. About time fans get the expansion they have been waiting for since it's initial announcement back at E3 earlier this summer. Hopefully this isn't the only expansion From Software is working on for this PS4 exclusive.

Hit: Gravity Rush & Gravity Rush 2 Finally Coming to PS4
Another one of Sony's underrated Vita games is getting the PS4 treatment with Gravity Rush Remastered coming out on February 2016 for the US and December at Japan. It was only a matter of time we see Sony going back to this franchise and they are with a sequel as well coming out sometime in later 2016.

Miss: The King of Fighters Goes Back to 3D with KOF XIV
SNK Playmore still being around is crazy to some people and announcing The King of Fighters XIV is also crazy for fighting game fans, but the announcement quickly went south once the 3D graphics were shown in a trailer that felt like an Instagram clip. After turning the series around with XIII, flashing back to the Maximum Impact-like visuals has been so far a big no-no. No further gameplay details were mentioned and it's early to say whether or not if will play similar to the last game. For now, The King of Fighters XIV missed the mark, but I'm glad it exists for those that are itching to play a new KOF.

Miss: Western Game Announcements At a TGS Conference Again
Last year, some time was spent on western games at Sony's TGS conference and yes, I get that these games need their air time for the Japanese audience, but I don't think Japan still cares about them in general. Ubisoft of all places announced season pass details for Assassin's Creed Syndicate which includes a Jack the Ripper expansion. The DLC will also be standalone, but the fact it was announced at this conference still seems nuts. Showing off For Honor there makes sense because it has samurai stuff, but Assassin's Creed is still left field for that specific audience. Even Activision was there to talk about Call of Duty: Black Ops III and the success it already brought to PS4 owners with the multiplayer beta. Sure, I get that Japan is a market western games need to thrive, but there are other events around this time that are better suited for these announcements.

Hit: Yakuza Extreme and Yakuza 6 Coming to PS4 in 2016
Sega's big money-making franchise for Japan has big plans for 2016. First off is a remaster of the first Yakuza out on January 21, 2016 at Japan for PS4, PS3 & Vita. The PS2 original was definitely a cult classic despite it's issues, so a proper remaster is the right idea for the game's 10th anniversary. No word of a US release yet not surprisingly and even if it's coming out to the US sometime next year, don't expect the US voices from the PS2 game to be in this. Yakuza 6 was also finally announced only for PS4 and currently slated for a Fall 2016 release. The Yakuza series was always something I wanted to check out, but too many games already in the franchise and the fact they're out months or even years after the Japanese release is a turn off.

Hit: Ni-Oh Still Exists & It Looks Awesome
Ni-Oh was a Japanese action RPG in a vaporware state, but it's back in a big way as a PS4 exclusive. Team Ninja (the modern Ninja Gaiden games) is at the helm for this one and it looks pretty cool so far. It was definitely one of the big surprises of Sony's TGS conference this year.

Miss: Yet Another Kingdom Hearts Remaster Bundle Coming Along with a Weird Subtitle
While it's not 1.5 or 2.5 HD ReMIX coming to PS4, a new bundle of Kingdom Hearts content is PS4 exclusive called wait for it... Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Yeah that's another dumb title for a game. The meat of this package is Dream Drop Distance HD, which is the 3DS game remastered for the PS4. Additionally, a playable epilogue of sorts from Birth By Sleep called A Fragmentary Passage is included where you play as Aqua and also sets up some events for Kingdom Hearts III. Lastly, there's Kingdom Hearts x Back Cover, cutscenes from the mobile game Unchained. This announcement alone further cements my prediction that Kingdom Hearts III is not coming out on 2016 for PS4 and Xbox One, but I guess that's fine because Square-Enix is focusing on Final Fantasy XV making it's 2016 release window. At the same time, just release Kingdom Hearts III already and not more of these HD re-releases.

Miss: Capcom Celebrates Resident Evil's 20th Anniversary... Announcing a New Competitive Shooter
Capcom once again proving that this ain't your father's Resident Evil with the announcement of Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps. Slated early 2016 digitally on Playstation 4 and PC for $29.99, Umbrella Corps is a competitive third-person shooter taking place at various locales from the series. The only mode announced so far is One Life Match, or in other words deathmatch with no respawning. Of all the things to celebrate the franchise's 20th anniversary, you announce this game Capcom. Sure, there's the Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster and the HD remake of 2, but it makes me wonder if the time spent on this could of been on a Resident Evil 7 instead.

Hit: Danganronpa V3 Coming to PS4/Vita
Another one of the Vita's cult franchises is coming to the PS4 with the third Danganronpa game by Spike Chunsoft. No other details such as the story and release date were shared, but I'm sure fans of the series are really happy to see this one finally on consoles along with the Vita version. Like Yakuza, Danganronpa is another series I need to see what the fuss is really about and good thing V3 is coming to PS4. Hopefully a US release won't be a long wait as the Japanese one.

Miss: Dragon Quest + Minecraft = Dragon Quest Builders
This is some of Japanese game development in a nutshell these days where you slap in a western phenomenon like Minecraft into one of your biggest franchises, this case being Dragon Quest. That was my gut reaction when I saw this trailer for Dragon Quest Builders. It has the look and charm of both franchises, but it's not Dragon Quest blatantly ripping off Minecraft. It's more of Square-Enix trying to get into that train a couple years late. Builders is out on January 28, 2016 at Japan for PS4, PS3 and Vita with no US plans yet, but since Dragon Quest Heroes is out here next month, I won't be surprised if Builders makes it stateside later next year too.
That is pretty much my highlights and disappointments from Sony's TGS conference this year. Some high profile games are saved for the show itself later this week such as Persona 5, Final Fantasy XV and Street Fighter V.  There was lots of JRPG love at the conference I didn't mention from Project Setsuna, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, SaGa: Scarlet Grace and Star Ocean V. The lack of new footage for The Last Guardian on Sony's end is a little disappointing especially coming from it's return from vaporware at E3 along with the latest with the other two of the trifecta, Final Fantasy VII Remake & Shenmue III since those are ways off. Japan definitely has some cool stuff coming out for the upcoming year and hopefully they're out in the US sooner than later. However, the slapping of Western game phenomenons with some of the new game announcements is once again concerning for the Japanese game industry.


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