TOKYO--The Tokyo Game Show kicks off in earnest today, with the beginning of a series of major publishers' press conferences.
First to bat is Electronic Arts, which used last month's Gamescom conference in Germany to make some major announcements. Not only did it date Dragon Age II as arriving on March 8, 2011, in the US and on March 11, 2011, in Europe, but it also revealed that the Mass Effect series--once published by Microsoft--would be debuting next January on the PlayStation 3 with Mass Effect 2.
Today at the sprawling Makuhari Messe convention center outside Tokyo, EA is using TGS to tout its latest wares and possibly make several announcements. Though nothing has been confirmed, there are several tantalizing possibilities, including the unannounced BioWare handheld game--likely a Dragon Age II spin-off--which surfaced over the weekend.
[1:03] Following the obligatory opening montage, EA COO John Schappert takes the stage to say they will be showing off seven games, including several new games.
[1:04] Now it's on to the EA Play label, with Phil Katz announcing a brand-new IP for the 3DS from EA Salt Lake.
[1:04] It's called…My Garden.
[1:05] "We were amazed how nature and flowers showed off the potential of the 3DS hardware," says Katz.
[1:06] Pictures of mushrooms, plants, and flowers. The game will feature six gardens and 300 plants. The plants will attract "critters" that will pollinate the plants. If the game gets too crowded, players can shake the 3DS to scare some off.
[1:07] The game will be hosted by a bearlike fellow name Tanuki, who will narrate the game.
[1:07] It will launch alongside the 3DS worldwide, including in Japan.
[1:07] Now another new game, called Create, from EA Bright Light.
[1:08] It is based on the concept of "What if?" and will let players "express themselves with thousands of objects."
[1:09] A demo shows players creating custom landscapes running from deserts to mountains to their own color-customized surreal worlds. The setup is reminiscent of the video for Cassius' "The Sound of Violence."
[1:11] The game lets players create their own levels, with springboards and balloons to overcome obstacles. Creations will be shareable on the PS3, 360, and PC. The game looks like a hybrid of Scribblenauts and Little Big Planet.
[1:11] Create launches in November on the PC, Mac, Wii, PS3, and 360.
[1:11] Now it's time for two EA Sports games, the first of which is FIFA 11.
[1:11] Roll the clip!
[1:12] Video touts the game's ability to be a goalkeeper.
[1:14] Multiplayer controlled post-goal celebrations, 360-degree fights for possessions, etc.
[1:14] Now it's EA MMA time.
[1:14] EA Tiburon executive producer Dale Jackson takes the stage.
[1:17] The game will feature a variety of venues, as well as top leagues in both Japan and the US. Japanese EA MMA cover athlete and champion Hidehiko Yoshida takes the stage to extol the game's virtues.
[1:17] Another Japanese champ, Tatsuya Kawajiri, will also be featured in the game.
[1:18] Kawajiri fights and defeats another combatant in the game named Hansen.
[1:20] EA MMA launches on October 19 in North America and on November 11 in Japan.
[1:20] Now it's onto Dead Space 2.
[1:21] Schappert touts Dead Space 2's PlayStation Move support.
[1:22] A developer from Visceral talks about Dead Space 2 Special Edition, first introduced at E3 in June.
[1:22] The SE is PS3-exclusive and will feature a port of the Wii game Dead Space Extraction. Both Extraction and Dead Space 2 will have full PlayStation Move support.
[1:24] Cue appropriately viscera-caked demo of Extraction, in which several necromorphs are given the abattoir treatment.
[1:25] Extraction will also have drop-in and drop-out co-op and will be playable with the Sixaxis or DualShock 3 controller.
[1:26] It also looks like the graphics have been upgraded.
[1:27] Both games will arrive on a single Blu-ray disc.
[1:27] Schappert is back to showcase some EA Partners titles.
[1:28] Out comes American McGee to talk about Alice: Madness Returns, a remake of the classic horror game. It's being developed at his Spicy Horse studio in Shanghai.
[1:29] In this Alice game, the heroine has gone insane and has been released from an asylum.
[1:29] "It's a violent and dark action experience," says McGee.
[1:30] It will have many characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, including the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat.
[1:30] "Each enemy is a puzzle--solve it, and beat the enemy," says McGee.
[1:31] Cue teaser video for the game, which shows Alice walking down a dark London street.
[1:31] She looks in a shop window to see a Mad Hatter, and then sees ghosts in the reflection.
[1:32] Now it's time for more about EA's deal with Suda 51's and Shinji Mikami's Grasshopper Manufacture.
[1:32] They're going to unveil their new game.
[1:33] They come out and offer self-effacing thanks to EA, saying it took a long time to find the right publisher for their project.
[1:33] The reason they chose EA is because they wanted a publisher that could guarantee a global audience.
[1:33] And the game is…
[1:34] "Our new psychological action thriller…Shadows of the Damned!" Applause.
[1:35] "The title is too long, so you might just want to call it 'Damned,'" says Suda 51.
[1:36] It tells the story of Garcia Hotspur, who goes on a trip to hell to save his true love, Paula.
[1:36] "But this isn't a romance game," says Suda 51 of the title, which is in development for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
[1:36] He passes the mic to Mikami, who says the game has a "punk rock edge and Suda 51's trademark style in the game."
[1:37] Previous Suda 51 games include Killer7 and No More Heroes.
[1:38] "There are also a lot of light moments as well," says Mikami, before being interrupted by Suda 51. The latter heaps praise on Mikami's game design skills, calling him the best in the business.
[1:39] Screenshots of the game show a menagerie of demonic foes, which players must stave off in "intense" battles.
[1:40] Suda 51 calls it one of the "best games he has ever worked on." He repeats the title in English with exaggeration, getting some laughs. He says the proper short version of the title is "Damned" or "DMD," not Shadows. Take note, editors!
[1:41] Suda 51 and Mikami fling praise on each other and composer Akira Yamaoka like they're in some kind of obsequious snowball fight.
[1:42] Yamaoka says the title with similar overexaggeration to more laughs. He calls the environments "dynamic" and says he "never thought hell could be so exciting."
[1:43] He says the game is coming "as soon as possible" but doesn't offer any details.
[1:44] Mikami says that they're out of things to discuss and that the cocktail party is starting. "So I guess everyone wants to drink now!"
[1:44] Now it's time for a trailer.
[1:46] The game shows a lone motorcyclist, Garcia Hotspur, fighting off demon hordes. To the sound of blasting punk rock music, he dispatches them with a variety of weapons. The game is a third-person shooter with a Dead Space-like over-the-shoulder perspective. And yes, it looks very dark. The game will launch next summer.
[1:46] And that's it! Stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage from this year's Tokyo Game Show.