Tokyo Game Show Report (Part 1)
This year, the Spring Tokyo Game Show was held from March 31st to April 2nd. For those who do not know, the Tokyo Game Show, first held in 1996, is the most famous game exhibition in Japan. The biannual event is open only to businesses on certain days, but it also has days where it is open to the public.
A total of 131,708 visitors attended the show this year (18,803 on the business day, 63,393 on the first day, and 49,512 on the last day), significantly less than the previous Autumn' 99 TGS' 163,000 visitors. However, this year's show presented a lot of points of interest for RPG fans, as a dozen of this year's most anticipated RPGs were shown. Game Arts
Although Game Arts did not have their own booth, the popular software developer was represented in Sega's and Capcom's booths. At the Sega booth, there was a large Grandia II display. As reported earlier, Kaori Kawasumi, who previously sang the vocals to Grandia's Alent theme and will sing Elena's songs in Grandia II, held live vocal performances at the booth. The Grandia II premium video, a video tape featuring gameplay footage and comments on the game, was given to booth visitors, who could also get their hands on exclusive Caro inflatable dolls! Another nice touch was the Grandia II data available for VMS owners to download. One example was a Grandia II VMS clock.
Most importantly, Grandia II gameplay footage was shown! A several-minute movie showed illustrations, background designs, battle footage, and presented the main characters. We also got to hear briefly the characters' dubbed voices in a battle extract.
Underneath a huge hanging inflatable airship was the Eternal Arcadia display. Brought to us by the development team responsible for Phantasy Star and Dragon Force, Sega's potential blockbuster looks very promising. Eternal Arcadia is scheduled for a summer release in Japan.
Playable demos of the game were available on 8 monitors for visitors to play. Various members of the developmental staff were available to comment on the game atop the booth's stage. Mr. Ooba, the game's producer, commented that one of Eternal Arcadia's greatest charms will be its fascinating fights in the sky. Although they're not TGS-related, we have we have 10 new screen shots of the game, updated artwork, a wallpaper design and the game demo's packaging!
Another highly anticipated title from Sega this year is, of course, Sonic Team's long-awaited Phantasy Star Online. The Sega booth featured a long PSO trailer in English (subtitled in Japanese) showing game footage and artwork. The game's online capabilities and real-time play were the key emphasis in this video presentation. Players will be able to use pre-set phrases to chat online, five different languages (Japanese, English, Spanish, French and German) will be supported, and the game will automatically translate the things foreign players say to your language. Up to six billion players worldwide is Sonic Team's goal with Phantasy Star Online.
Phantasy Star Online will use a time unit known as a "beat" to avoid time zone confusion, with a thousand beats equaling one day. Communication will be one of the more important aspects of the game, since at several points teamwork will be needed to go through an obstacle. Of course, RPG fans can also play offline using AI-controlled characters.
Yuuji Naka, the producer of the game, demonstrated the online real-time chat with another Sega employee, showing that the online connection is already functional. Phantasy Star Online should be released simultaneously in Japan, USA and Europe sometime this year. Keep checking RPGFan for more details about the game! Sega also had playable demos of a recently announced Dreamcast action-RPG, Napple Tale ~ Arsia in Daydream.
Atlus was there to present their next spin-off to the Megami Tensei series, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, the sequel to Persona 2: Innocent Sin. At the Atlus booth, a talk show was held with the creators of the Megami Tensei series, Mr. Okada and Mr. Kaneko. Elisha La'Verne, the pop singer who will sing the game's theme song, also performed a brief set.
Well, that'll be all for today. Check RPGfan tomorrow for the second part of the Tokyo Game Show Report!
April 4th, 2000