This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Tokyo Game Show, and except for a short stint during the recession in 2008-2010, the TGS has more than recovered, breaking records in size year after year. TGS 2016 saw a total of 614 exhibitors (compared to 480 last year), all showing a total of 1,523 different game titles (compared to 1,283 last year).
During our visit, we certainly noticed the difference in size. We remember back in 2006 when two of the giant halls at Makuhari Messe in Chiba occupied all the game exhibitions, while the third consisted of shops and a food court. Last year, all three halls were designated for the exhibitions, while a fourth hall opened for the shops, food court, and some indie game titles. This year however, all four halls were nothing but games, while the food court was moved to a fifth hall. This meant a lot more walking, but a lot more to see.
It was also apparent how much Virtual Reality (VR) is bulldozing its way into the market. Sony, of course, was demonstrating their PlayStation VR, due for release in October, with both titles they showed-off last year, as well as some new ones, such as Batman Arkham VR, The Idolmasters: Cinderella Girls Viewing Revolution, and Resident Evil 7.
But it wasn’t only Sony featuring VR games, as there were over 110 VR titles at the game show, many of which were developed by indie companies. The most impressive was Circle of Saviors by PD Tokyo Inc., in which players wearing VR headgear and gloves battled in an arena with af laming sword and shield, against a horde of monsters – all in front of green-screen so the audience could see the digital action.
Also, Geisha Tokyo Entertainment had Puzzle of Empires, where players sat in an empty rubber bath while wearing the HTC Vive VR, and are suddenly transported to a Roman-style bath shared with a female anime character.
And the American Vuzix company was throwing their VR headset into the ring by demonstrating their iWear Video Headphones, which can run off of PCs, Blu-ray players, and even smartphones.
What were we most excited about? The upcoming Gravity Rush 2 looks pretty sweet, continuing the adventures of Kat and her gravity-defying abilities on the PlayStation 4. And Square Enix announced a remaster of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age coming next year to the PlayStation 4. And the wacky D3 Publisher has a few new titles coming soon, including Earth Defense Forces 5 and School Girl Zombie Hunter.
Not to mention all the cool VR stuff, which we can’t wait to start playing at home!