Since Nintendo seldom makes big splashes at TGS, it's Sony's show to lose, year after year. Although Microsoft has made some strides on the Japanese market thanks to exclusive Japanese role-playing games like Star Ocean: The Last Hope, PlayStation 3 still has more of the mindshare of the Japanese market -- that is, the part of the market that hasn't been swept away solely by the Wii. It'll be a curious year for Sony. One could argue that the publisher has Western audiences' attention with games like Uncharted 2 and MAG, but what can the publishing giant do for its home audience?
We'll know more on Wednesday night (that's Thursday afternoon in Japan), once Sony unveils some of its plans for 2010 on the first press day of TGS. Since I've been asked to break out the crystal ball and fake my worst Miss Cleo voice, here goes:
Don't be surprised if we get more details about Sony's motion control plans. A non-gamer friend told me on yesterday's subway ride that the tech buzz around Tokyo is that Sony is also planning some 3D content for games, but until Kaz Hirai shows up onstage with fugly glasses, get those grains of salt ready. Motion controls should be on display prominently, and hopefully, we'll see something with some universal appeal for worldwide audiences. How crazy would a God of War tech demo look if you could use the hand sensors as virtual Blades of Chaos?
Hopefully, we'll see some more information, or a new trailer for The Last Guardian. Although Team ICO's efforts have often seen critical acclaim, but limited sales success, hopefully we'll see something mind-blowing at the show that'll get more people interested in the developer's efforts. A new God of War III level would warm the cockles of my heart as well.
Also, it's a year of "home stretches." There's first-party games that we saw back in 2006 that are finally nearing release.
I also expect a full bombastic display for Gran Turismo 5. It's a popular series in the US, but it's huge around the rest of the world, and I anticipate some good stuff out of Polyphony Digital's game at the show. Brian Leahy mentioned that he thinks Microsoft will break out Forza 3 to counterattack GT5's presence at the show. I wouldn't be surprised if you see some ridiculous booth setups for both games, especially with each game getting close to the finish line.
The other big first-party game that we've seen seeing for years is White Knight Chronicles. Level-5's last PlayStation-exclusive JRPG was Rogue Galaxy -- a game I'm personally fond of -- so I expect a big show for this one. There's lot of big buzz around White Knight's potential, so look for a decent final push for it.
Quantic Dream promised that it would reveal a new character from Heavy Rain at E3, GamesCom and TGS. It's time to finally learn some more about the characters we'll all inhabit when this new evolution of adventure game comes out next year. I'm personally curious how the Japanese audience will respond to this style of game.
And then there's PSP. Monster Hunter has the same cultural impact as World of Warcraft, minus the $15 per month subscription. Why? You can pick up a raid while commuting to work in the morning. There are a lot of PSP owners in Japan, and with PSP Go coming soon, look for more information regarding Sony's wider strategy regarding its handheld platform.
What are you hoping to see from Sony at this year's Tokyo Game Show?