TOKYO--It has been two years since Microsoft last had a major keynote address at the Tokyo Game Show, an event it previously used to detail new games and partnerships with Japanese developers in the company's continuing effort to crack the Japanese market. The gaming giant is back at TGS for 2010, kicking off the show with the event's first keynote conference. The company's corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, Phil Spencer, is set to take the stage to outline the company's plans for its gaming business.
With the Kinect's release only a matter of months away, many are expecting Microsoft to devote a significant amount of time at this keynote address to its upcoming controller-free motion-sensing system. And because previous Microsoft TGS keynote presentations have resulted in major announcements, such as the Tekken franchise's first foray onto the 360, there are also plenty of people tipping that some big surprises may be in store.
[6:33] Tokyo Game Show 2010 officially kicks off with Microsoft's keynote address, which has been tentatively titled "Xbox 360 Vision and Strategy 2010." Microsoft Game Studios VP Phil Spencer is set to take the stage soon and will apparently be joined by the general manager of the Home & Entertainment Division for Japan, Takashi Sensui.
[6:34] It's almost a full house here at Convention Hall B, but the house lights are still up, and Muzak is still playing over the speakers. Official proceedings should start soon.
[6:35] And the lights finally dim!
[6:36] TGS sizzle reel shows up onscreen, featuring an anime robot girl. Naturally.
[6:37] Sensui gets onstage, saying the company wants to introduce the works of great Japanese game creators around the world.
[6:40] Sensui says the 360 has been one of the most innovative and profitable platforms for the world's publishers. He namechecks Microsoft's TGS conference two years ago as introducing plenty of Japanese games to the Western world, as well as their special panel at TGS 2009 with some key Japanese developers who spoke about the potential of Kinect.
[6:41] He says today's keynote address will focus on 10 titles being developed right now, and all of them are "born from the talent of Japanese developers." These titles will be a mixture of standard Xbox 360 and Kinect titles.
[6:41] And now for the first game! Lights dim, and a trailer begins. It shows a close-up of a blade and the Kojima Productions logo.
[6:43] It's a trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Rising, but it looks to be a truncated version of the same one that was first shown at E3 this year.
[6:44] The producer of Rising, Shigenobu Matsuyama, gets onstage. He says he's got some new information about the game.
[6:44] He asks us if we remember the watermelon-slicing scene from the end of the first trailer, saying he'd like to show us this cutting done live by the game's creative director, Kimura-san.
[6:47] Raiden is onscreen now, and Kiumura is controlling him with an Xbox 360 controller. He's changing the angle of Raiden's cuts, with a greenish arc showing up on screen to show the arc of the blade to the player.
[6:48] Kimura is cutting up the melon pretty well. A small bipedal robot creature used for recon jumps out of a bunch of watermelons. Metal Gear Solid 4 fans will recognise this little guy, and he's apparently in Rising.
[6:48] The robot holds up one watermelon, spinning it like a basketball. Raiden slices. Now the robot has some juggling pins and starts to juggle them.
[6:48] Kimura is trying to slice them all at the same time, but his first swing is a miss. The second time is better; he gets one.
[6:49] Now the robot brings out a twin. The two robots clamber on top of each other. Kimura performs a white blade cut, which neatly slices the top robot in two.
[6:49] Matsuyama says production is going well and asks for the crowd's continued support. He leaves the stage to applause.
[6:50] Sensui is back onstage and is now talking about MS's first-party vision for the console. He introduces Phil Spencer.
[6:51] Spencer tries out his Japanese by introducing himself in the local language. The Japanese press gives him some polite applause.
[6:52] Spencer goes through some of Japan's strong gaming heritage, beginning with arcade hits such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Virtua Fighter.
[6:52] He also says Japanese developers have been leading the way, with some excellent titles in this generation.
[6:55] Global sales of Japanese publishers' games on the Xbox have doubled from the last generation to total $2.1 billion to date sold so far all around the world. This doesn't include online sales, Spencer says. Five out of the top six Xbox Live Arcade games published by Microsoft partners have come from Japanese developers.
[6:56] Spencer says Halo Reach managed $200 million in day-one sales--more than any other entertainment offering in 2010.
[6:57] He says the Xbox 360 is the best-selling console in North America for the third month in a row and claims the same goes for Europe.
[6:58] Spencer says that while it's important to foster current hit franchises like Halo and Gears of War, Microsoft also needs to take risks with new intellectual property. That's why Microsoft comes to Japan, he says. Spencer is about to announce five new partnerships with Japanese developers, which are exclusive to the Xbox 360.
[6:58] The first partner is Spike--which is best known for wrestling games popular in Japan.
[7:00] A teaser trailer starts for a new Fire Pro Wrestling. It looks like players will be able to use their Live avatars to get into the ring and get some violence on.
[7:02] The next partnership announced is with Treasure. Another trailer is shown--its the Sega Saturn shoot-'em-up Radiant Silvergun. The game will be on Xbox Live Arcade and will debut in 2011. This will be the first time the game has officially come to North America.
[7:02] The focus now switches to Kinect titles being made in Japan. He says the same principle that drove Japanese arcade developers are the same ones that power Kinect.
[7:03] Spencer says he asked Japanese developers to come to Microsoft with their wildest game ideas and to not play it safe. He adds that he encouraged the focus to be on downloadable titles.
[7:07] The first one up is from NanaOn-Sha, creator of Parappa the Rapper and Vib Ribbon. Masaya Matsuura appears on the screen, and he's unveiling a little bit about his project. It'll be a horror game using Kinect.
[7:07] The game is called Haunt, and the teaser trailer shown doesn't reveal much. All it shows is a character walking slowly down a creepy, dark hallway, before a cartoon-looking ghost pops up and knocks the character down.
[7:08] The next company partnership is Grounding Inc. and the game called Project Draco. Yukio Futatsugi, the game director, is onstage. Futatsugi is best known as the director of Phantom Dust and Panzer Dragoon.
[7:11] He's saying the game is all about his love of flight, so this title will have characters riding giant flying creatures. The trailer shows some humans riding some large, bipedal dragonlike creatures. Oh, and they shoot electricity from their mouths. The game will be released for the Kinect in 2011.
[7:12] The next title comes from Grasshopper Manufacture, and Suda 51 takes to the stage.
[7:15] He says the partnership between Grasshopper and Microsoft has taken about a year to develop. Suda says Kinect frees him up to be more innovative. He's not talking specifics about his unknown game, but he hints it won't have guns. Still, he assures fans around the world that this game will be for the hardcore gamer.
[7:17] The game will be called Codename D, with a live-action teaser trailer showing. The trailer has a man in a baseball cap approaching some weird characters standing in front of what looks like an abandoned carnival. The man crushes the baseball in his hand, causing the weird characters to spontaneously explode. Yep, it sure looks like a Suda 51 game.
[7:18] Spencer says his good-byes and welcomes Sensui back on center stage.
[7:19] Sensui continues with the game announcements for Kinect. Dr Kawashima is coming to Kinect, with Dr Kawashima's Body and Brain Exercises confirmed for North America and Europe in early 2011. The publisher is Namco Bandai.
[7:19] Lumines, Space Channel 5, Rez, and Child of Eden are mentioned. All of these were previously confirmed at E3 2010.
[7:20] He shows off a new trailer for Child of Eden. This trailer reveals a new level called Beauty, which looks to be populated by large flowers.
[7:22] Tetsuya Mizuguchi from Child of Eden developer Q is now on the stage. He talks more about the Beauty level, which will feature wind, skies, flowers, and light. The stage shown at E3 called Matrix is more about space.
[7:23] He says the aim of the game is to purify the world of Eden, which has been infected by a virus from cyberspace.
[7:25] The games don't stop there! Rise of Nightmares from Sega is now being talked about. The trailer shows off the horror game using a lot of quick scenes of zombies and torture. Icky.
[7:28] And it looks like its the final game announcement! It's Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor for Kinect, and Capcom's Keiji Inafune is here to talk about the game. The trailer showed a fleet landing in Manhattan in 2082, with soldiers being attacked by large vertical tanks. It also revealed that Armored Core creator From Software will be developing the title.
[7:29] Inafune says it's a new interpretation of the game, which first debuted on the Xbox with a special controller that had more than 40 buttons.
[7:30] He says even though the game is set in the future, it is a changed world because the production of computer chips has stopped. This means the world of Steel Battalion is not as advanced as the time frame indicates it should be.
[7:30] So how will that 40-button controller translate to the no-button Kinect? Inafune says the team is working on that issue "thoroughly."
[7:35] Sensui is back for some closing comments. He says Japanese developers are working hard to produce completely new experiences for global audiences. He thanks the crowd, and that concludes Microsoft's keynote address. Plenty of new titles were announced, so keep checking GameSpot for more information on these new games.