The video game industry is the largest growing entertainment industry in the world. In just 30 years, we went from video game consoles in the home being virtually nonexistent to being almost as commonplace as a computer or television. This past weekend, Makuhari Messe in Chiba hosted the Tokyo Game Show 2018, Japan’s biggest video game convention — and arguably one of the biggest events on the global gaming scene. It was filled with companies, including both major players and independent outfits, showcasing amazing new and upcoming video game titles set to release on every console — including mobile smartphone gaming.
Spanning four days, this year’s TGS broke attendance records with an astounding 298,690 recorded visitors. In an event of this scale, with over 600 companies exhibiting their latest products, your job as a video game developer is to stand out from the rest of the crowd. In such a big hall — standing alongside big names like Konami, Square Enix and Capcom — it was a ruthless battle for companies to make the biggest impression on the press and the public. From eye-popping displays to costumed mascots, game publishers and developers pulled no punches at this year’s Tokyo Game Show.
Here are the five biggest standouts from the event (in descending order with the big win last).
5. 6 Waves
For a hardcore North American gamer, I also consider myself well-versed in the Japanese video game industry. One company I’d never heard of though was 6 Waves, a mobile game developer based in Hong Kong with branches in Japan. How can a seemingly unknown company make a big wave at one of the world’s largest game conventions? 6 Waves’ answer to that question was to create a display of incredibly beautiful women dressed in costumes representing their biggest game titles such as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms mobile games. After attending Tokyo Game Show 2018, I certainly know the 6 Waves brand now and many attendees like myself won’t soon forget it.
4. Mega Man 11
The Mega Man series is one of the most famous and longest-running platform game series of all time. With numerous spin-offs, remakes and remasters, titles from the Mega Man series are available on numerous Sony and Nintendo Consoles as well as on mobile.
While Capcom absolutely killed it at this year’s Tokyo Game Show with amazing showcases of Devil May Cry 5 and the Resident Evil 2 Remake, perhaps the title that hits closest to home for most gamers and provides the most nostalgia is their showing of Mega Man 11. With a beautifully designed booth, a mini memorial museum and a highlight reel of Mega Man titles spanning from the late 80s to the present day, Capcom did fans justice at TGS 2018. However, perhaps the most alluring aspect of their showcase was the full-sized Mega Man mascot that appeared numerous times throughout the convention in front of the booth to take pictures with fans and pose for the press.
- Availability: Mega Man titles are available on the PlayStation Store, Steam, Android, iOS and more.
3. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds
Gamers everywhere — along with everyone involved in the video gaming industry — have noticed a recent boom in the battle royale genre. Like the name suggests, battle royale games are ones in which players are loaded into a confined area with a large amount of other players and must fight until one player or one team is left standing.
The kings currently sitting atop this genre are Fortnite from Epic Games and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds from Bluehole and PUBG Corporation. This year’s TGS saw big name publishers and developers such as Atlus, Konami, Level-5, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Capcom and more intent on crashing the party. These industry heavy hitters took up the largest spaces and had the most extravagant booths and areas in the venue. However, towering over those big companies was PUBG.
I never thought it was possible for a single game to take over an entire convention hall, but PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds did just that with by far the largest stage and showcase for a single game at the entire show.
Companies like Konami and Square Enix tended to have placements in the venue that were crowded with other developers and publishers. On the other hand, PUBG took up a more low key position and with a wider space and managed to make a large impact using sheer size alone.
Your job as a video game developer is to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
2. Catherine: Full Body
One of the biggest Japanese game developers of all time is Atlus, the creators of the Persona series, Etrian Odyssey and more. While the company is known for producing high-quality Japanese role playing games, one superb title they are less known for is Catherine.
Originally released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Catherine became a cult hit in North America and well known for its slightly risqué content and incredibly fun and challenging puzzle gameplay. In general, I’m against developers releasing “half-sequels” — also known as “1.5” releases — rather than working to produce a complete new title. Kingdom Hearts is a series notorious for this. However, when a 2019 remake of Catherine with added content was announced, I was incredibly elated at the thought of being able to experience the great story of Catherine again from a fresh perspective.
With an incredibly large nearly floor-to-ceiling display, Catherine: Full Body certainly lived up to its name at the show. And sporting a revealing and rather naughty graphic of the game’s main seductress, Atlus caught the eyes of many with their stylish booth design.
- Availability: Catherine: Full Body is set to release in North America and Europe in 2019 on PlayStation 4.
1. Resident Evil 2 Remake
Horror fans rejoiced when they heard that a Resident Evil 2 remake was in development. Known as BioHazard in Japan, the Resident Evil series is one of the most iconic horror game series of all time in North America. In its heyday of the 90s and early 2000s, the series started to lose its way a bit after Resident Evil 4, dropping significantly in Metacritic and GameRankings scores. However, with the release of Resident Evil 7, the series went back to its roots of pure horror and was once again able to inspire fear in the player.
Piggybacking off that success, Capcom announced a remake of the well-received Resident Evil 2 set to release in early 2019. To promote the game, Capcom crafted a beautiful display of the Racoon City Police Department and Kendo Gun Shop, iconic locations in the Resident Evil franchise. On top of that, an incredibly realistic, Hollywood-class zombie actor moaned and stumbled around the Resident Evil 2 Remake area to take photos with fans and scare the daylights out of unsuspecting guests. All things considered, I believe Capcom won TGS 2018 with their Resident Evil 2 Remake showcase.
- Availability: Resident Evil 2 Remake is set to release January 25, 2019 and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Those were what I feel were the top five companies that made the biggest impact at Tokyo Game Show 2018 — an amazing experience that all true gamers who happen to be in Japan at the time should check out at least once. While life may feel busy in this fast moving country, it’s almost disrespectful not to pick up a game or two when living in the heart of video game culture and development.
If you haven’t had the time to get into a game recently, checking out one of the titles on this list is a great way to get your edge back and immerse yourself in the gaming scene.
What was your favorite game at Tokyo Game Show 2018? What games are you excited for in 2019? Let us and our readers know in the comments below.