As is tradition around these parts, Sony held a press conference just days before the big doors to Tokyo Game Show 2017 open up. The pre-TGS show is a bit different from other events like Gamescom or E3 in that Sony also tends to make pitches for projects that are only tangentially related to gaming. Sony is expanding feelers in a number of different directions, but there was still plenty to get excited about given the titles that were shown off. Of course, it began with a snappy rap number.

After Atsushi Morita, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan/Asia (SCEJA), gave a brief introductory speech, things immediately started off with the grim story trailer for Call of Duty: World War II. Some have wondered if the developers were toning down just how evil the Nazis were by removing some of their iconic imagery, but the trailer made it 100% unambiguous. A rather dark way to start of the run of titles, but it definitely made an impact.

Other titles popped in and out at a quick pace, including Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (which was shown in English with Japanese subtitles, an odd choice), Earth Defense Force 5, Red Dead Redemption 2 (using the same reveal trailer the rest of the world has already seen), Dynasty Warriors 8, and Minecraft Story Mode: Season 2. It’s and interesting mix for sure, but just goes to show off some of the diversity that would be present throughout the rest of the show.

Dissidia-Final-Fantasy-NT-3

Getting a bit more focused in, the next run of games were in similar wheelhouses, even if they were completely different in their play styles. Dissidia: Final Fantasy led the charge with a character-focused trailer, followed quickly by a nostalgic trip with the Shadow of the Colossus remake. Vanillaware’s bringing back a cult hit with Dragon’s Crown Pro, featuring enhanced graphics and new gameplay updates, though dungeon-crawling itself will be cross-platform with the PS3 and Vita versions. If you’re not a fan of remakes and up-rezzes, Sony brought back Final Fantasy IX (out now) to the PSN.

Finally the run closed out with a hodgepodge of new titles, namely a slew of otome games, a new Idolm@ster title, and the reveal of a sequel to the free-to-play Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation, a competitive team-based scramble for the objective.

When Playstation VR took the stage, it initially seemed as though Sony was going to move on before the presentation had begin, displaying not one but two quick sizzle reels in succession. But there’s plenty coming to the headset in the coming year: ARK Park (based on ARK, a survival game focused on dinosaurs), a new Gungrave (?!) title, a train simulator, and the return of a newly remastered version of Zone of the Enders’ sequel. Anubis: Zone of the Enders – MARS will feature 4K graphics and full VR support. Finally, if you’re into cats, then the wildly popular (in Japan) Neko Atsume will be getting its own VR title.

DKFcK3cWkAMtmNs

Morita came back on stage at this point to announce that VR capabilities would be expanded into a few different areas, including a music theater in which headset owners can watch orchestral performances of various games while also watching clips from the games. For now this will only feature Sony concerts, but may include others in the future. There will also be some kind of news integration, a collaboration between Asahi News and Sony. Finally, Nico Nico VR videos will be compatible with the headset.

Following the VR segment was a brief look at Sony’s PlayLink – a project to combine PS4 games and smartphone apps to make gaming a more social experience in the way that the Jackbox Party Pack has. Up on deck was Hidden Agenda, by Supermassive Games (makers of Until Dawn). It promises to be a narrative horror/thriller that occasionally tosses choices out to random viewers/players. I like the idea, but at the same time it seems odd to force users to constantly hold a phone just waiting for a chance to go.

vlcsnap-error387

Back to the big mean PS4 machine, Morita shifted to more games that were going to beef up the already impressive library of the evening. First up was Hokuto ga Gotoku – a combination of Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken) and the Yakuza series (Ryu ga Gotoku). Kazuma’s voice actor makes for an impressive Kenshiro, whether he’s punching the crap out of opponents or making up a mean mixed drink at the cabaret club. I don’t know what to expect from this crossover but I can’t wait.

Then it was robots. Tons of robots. If Earth Defense Force 5 at the top of the show wasn’t enough for you, another EDF game is on its way. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain comes out next year, and seems to be much more solemn which…would probably be the wrong direction to take that series. Vanillaware popped up again to show off 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, a title that’s been in production for a while – featuring 13 characters who have to deal with a sudden robotic menace in their city. Detroit: Become Human gave a quick look at humanoid robots. Then gears shifted as A Certain Magical Virtual-On (based on the similarly named anime, A Certain Magical Index) showed off anime characters shooting heart-shaped missiles and dancing around on rooftops.

13-Sentinels-Aegis-Rim

Another quick gear shift led to an all-too-brief look at Left Alive, showing little more than a city in ruins, with mech suits being airlifted in. The game is directed by Armored Core’s Toshifumi Nabeshima and with character design by Metal Gear’s Yoji Shinkawa and mech design by Takayuki Yanase, who has worked on both of those series as well anime such as Gundam 00 and Eureka Seven.

Finally, the big finale came with another look at Monster Hunter World. Several new monsters were featured, as well as what seems to be full story (which has been absent in the latest generation of the series). The producer of the series was on hand to discuss all sorts of related goodies such as a limited edition PS4 Pro, which is already sold out everywhere, and a fantastic-looking collector’s edition of the game, which is already sold out everywhere.

With the show concluded, I’m looking forward to what’s in store!