Tokyo Game Show

Though we are still a few hours away from the official opening of Tokyo Game Show 2009, our intrepid field team attended an Electronic Arts event in Japan yesterday, and were able to get this interview with Kim Swift, level designer at Valve, talking about Left 4 Dead 2.

Included in the interview? Glad you asked. Kim tells us about the "Dark Carnival" demo that they're showing, and how the input of gamers who have played that demo level have figured into the polishing of the game's design. She also tells us how the Valve team comes up with their ideas, and talks about the joy of pulling an El Kabong on zombies with a guitar in the new game.

Check it.


Kim Swift Left 4 Dead 2 TGS 2009 Interview »

Sony Working On UMD Transfer Service For PSP GoIt seems like we’ve been talking about the possibility of Sony establishing a system to let PlayStation Portable owners transfer their UMD-based games onto the UMD-less PSP Go for some time now; and that’s because we have.

And while Sony has remained relatively tight-lipped about the service up until now, the rumbling out of Tokyo Game Show is that there's a good chance Sony head Kaz Hirai will dedicate a portion of his keynote speech tonight to reveal significant details about the service.

Luckily for you, we’ll be live blogging the Sony keynote address right here on G4tv.com, so tune in at 6:30PM PST to read it all go down.

What do you think of Sony’s UMD/digital transfer good will program? If you plan to pick up a PSP Go, how many UMD games do you honestly think you’ll want to transfer onto your Go?

TGS 2009: What To Expect

After a year of teasers for some amazing-looking titles, we've finally reached the last big show of 2009. This year's Tokyo Game Show comes in a year that's brought us two new iterations of handhelds, a newly designed PlayStation 3, and a slate of big titles. And that's just the stuff that's in stores now. Tokyo Game Show kicks off Thursday morning, Tokyo time, which is Wednesday night in the US. What can you expect from this year's TGS? Here's a look at some of the confirmed coverage you can expect to discover from the show:

Day One Liveblogs, Wednesday, September 23:
Kaz Hirai Keynote - 6:30pm Pacific
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Press Conference - 9:30pm Pacific

Here are some of the big titles throughout this week that you can expect coverage for:

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Dead Rising 2
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
White Knight Chronicles
Tekken 6
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
Lost Planet 2
Gran Turismo 5

Assassin's Creed II
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Red Steel 2
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game

And, of course, that's not all. Look for some more big announcements...and hopefully some unannounced pleasant surprises that'll make their way to the US in the future.

Be sure to check back here for all of your news and updates from Tokyo!

PlayStation Logo Black

Wait, you thought Kaz Hirai's keynote was the only thing we'd be covering live from Tokyo Game Show? Well, barring acts of God (or a nonexistent 3G signal in the convention area), I'll be liveblogging from Sony Computer Entertainment Japan's press conference during the first press day of TGS!

Will Hirai blurt out all the goodies during his keynote? Will SCEJ get some big announcements? I have no idea what to expect from tomorrow's press conference, but hopefully SCEJ will at least pass me a radio headset so I can hear a translation of the proceedings. Otherwise, expect a lot of smart-ass descriptions of me guessing what executives are pantomiming, since my Japanese vocabulary is marginally better than yours.

Tune in tonight around 9:30pm Pacific (that's 1:30pm Tokyo time on Thursday) to hear the big news coming out of Japan! For now, it's almost 1am, Tokyo time. I'm going to bed.


TGS 09: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Hands-On Preview

What We Know: DICE's Battlefield: Bad Company was a hit when it came out in summer 2008. It offered up a console-centric bent on the popular PC series. Naturally, it performed well enough to warrant a sequel. EA first showed off Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at a media event during GDC this past March and demonstrated the advancements that the team has devised since the first game's bow.

DICE's console shooter sequel aspires to be more than "Battlefield: Bad Company 1.5." It's got a heavier emphasis on multiplayer than past efforts. The Feed's Andrew Pfister checked it out at GamesCom, and his report was that the war between EA's franchises and Activision's should heat up even more as DICE appears to be building up its shooter sequel to compete with Infinity Ward's upcoming juggernaut, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. In the past, the Swedish developer also mentioned that the new game will feature a new rendition of its Frostbite engine, which the team uses to enhance environmental destructibility. They claim that you'll be able to completely obliterate buildings into rubble. Other bold boasts overheard today included calling it "the ultimate all-out-war experience," and "the best multiplayer shooter you'll play in 2010."

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We were live at Electronic Art's Tokyo Showcase event in Japan earlier today (in Tokyo time), where the publisher kicked off by showing its DS-exclusive ninja game for the DS called Tsumuji (which translates to whirlwind). It's in development at EA Japan. l heard about this game earlier this year but this is the first time EA's shown anything. The gameplay is stylus-based and has you learning to become a ninja. The art is very relaxed, clearly aimed at children. Rex Ishibashi, general manager of EA Japan, briefly discussed Tsumuji before transitioning to FIFA 10.

FIFA 10 Basic Attacking Trailer »

Executive producer Kaz Makita took the stage to discuss the latest edition of the soccer series. Makita said there were more than 375 million games played online in the past year, which has given them plenty of opportunities to study the way gamers are reacting to the series and incorporate updates into the next game. Makita observed that people wanted a practice arena, continuous play and quick free kicks, both of which are in FIFA 10. He acknowledged several frustrations players had with FIFA 09, which he hopes will not be an issue in FIFA 10. The theme of FIFA 10 was "refining fundamentals." It appears Makita really has listened to players, as lists fixes and tweaks one-by-one and with surprising specificity. The game's demo was recently released, which Makita said has already created "great buzz" with users. Have you played it?

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Microsoft hasn't revealed much more about Project Natal since its grand unveiling at E3, but its been well established that many developers have kits from Microsoft that have allowed them to start playing around with ideas for the device. Elite Beat Agents and Lips creator Keiichi Yano, co-founder of music games-driven Japanese developer iNiS, is very excited about Natal. Yano told Billy Berghammer in an interview this week that motion controls have a very important place in the future of music games and it sounds like he's going to be at the forefront of this.

"So I think that it's really great that the advent of the Wii has kind of brought all this this fuzzy motion technology," said Yano. It's not a very exact thing, but at the same time, it allows for an interface that basically anyone can pick up and play. In the case of Ntal, you don't pick up anything. You literally just stand in front of the camera and you're good to go. I think, for example, with games like Lips or Rock Band, Guitar Hero, what not, with music games in general, the target segment that those games are trying to reach and the target segment that Natal is trying to reach is really kind of synchronous there, trying to go for the same kind of people. It's already a good match, I think."

"We've been in a day and age where we've really relied on these peripherals coming all the way up to this state," he continued, "but now we have the potential to not have anything at all but still have the same types of experiences or maybe even more immersive depending on how we design our games. It's definitely a challenge and it's a good challenge to have. But whenever we can take an experience like Natal, which is really geared to you just stand in front of it and you can immediately get the game within 30 seconds, kind of mixing that together with the music experience, which is a social experience, is all a good thing and hopefully there will be a lot of good games that come out of that."

Does that mean Yano is actively working on Natal-based games right now?

"That I cannot talk to," he teased.

Welcome to "Morning Hangover" -- an excellent way to start your day with the crew at TheFeed...no matter what you're recovering from. Every morning you'll hear musings from two of TheFeed's editors and have the chance to share your thoughts on what's going on in the gaming world. So buckle up, prepare yourself for Sony news bombs, and keep reading!
PlayStation 3 Slim Not Backwards Compatible With PlayStation 2 Games
Raymond Padilla: As expected, the rumor that Sony will be bringing the entire PlayStation 2 catalog to PlayStation Network caused quite the stir. Predictably, gamers that purchased a later PS3 model are angry that they won't be able to play their PS2 discs on their new system. Some are angry that they might have to buy their PS2 games again. Those people need to get over it; you can play your PS2 games on your PS2 (a novel idea) and nobody is "forcing" you to buy old games again. If the whole thing bothers you that much, then don't play ball. With all the negative energy surrounding the rumor, I'm going to choose to focus on the positive. There are a lot of gamers that will have access to hundreds of great PS2 games for the first time. That is an excellent thing.
For more Sony news (and hopefully some huge announcements), be sure to come back tonight around 6:30PM PST for G4tv.com's live blog of Sony's TGS 2009 keynote address.

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TGS 09: Dante's Inferno Hands-On Lust Stage Preview

What We Know: Electronic Arts tasked Visceral Games, the same studio who created Dead Space (it's a different team, however), with adapting The Divine Comedy into a video game. How does The Divine Comedy become a video game? You make Dante's journey through Hell a whole lot more intense, with God of War-esque gameplay defining the style. If you squinted, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking Dante's Inferno is God of War with a new coat of paint, but based on my few times with the game, that's not necessarily a bad thing -- it just means you're immediately familiar with how the game plays, allowing you to jump straight into the action without hesitation. Response to Dante's Inferno has been decidedly mixed, as gamers have begun to learn the, erm, interesting different directions Visceral Games has taken its adaptation of The Divine Comedy.

What's New At TGS: The "Lust" stage. In God of War, you can have minigame sex with two topless women. In Dante's Inferno, you can fight a massive topless Cleopatra monster who generates enemies for you to fight by squirting them through her nipples. No, I'm not kidding, though I desperately wish I was. I've played Dante's Inferno a number of times now and have always come away impressed with the fighting engine. It's one thing to say "hey, we're going to riff on God of War" and another to actually pull it off. It's not as simple as copying and pasting and the Dante's Inferno team should be commended for that -- it's a great playing game. But then I'm shown scenes where Dante's fighting off creatures that just emerged ala breast milk and I'm shaking my head as my stomach turns over. This isn't clever, this isn't funny -- it's downright embarrassing. It'd be one thing if the Visceral Games team realized it wasn't going to be capable of pulling off a competent beat 'em up and decided to strike at the lowest common denominator to catch eyeballs, but there's a good game here that stands a change of getting overshadowed by an uncomfortably obvious attempt to grab the players' interest with cheap tactics like gigantic flopping breasts and female enemies that seem to protrude crotch tentacles.

What I Want To See: Less of what I just spent the last few hundred words complaining about. At this point, between the promise at Comic-Con that I'll have a chance to burst through the anus of Cerberus and Tokyo Game Show's topless booby giant, I'm ready to write off large parts of Dante's Inferno. Show me disturbing, show me weird, make me want to look away from the screen because there's awful things happening in front of me, but do it because you're representing a version of Hell taken to the nth degree. I'm not seeing enough of that in Dante's Inferno and I'm hoping EA puts its best foot forward when the last big push for the game happens before its release next year. I want to like you, Dante's Inferno.

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TGS 09: Tsumuji Hands-On PreviewWhat We Know: Nothing. Before Electronic Arts showed a trailer and let me play a few minutes of the EA Japan-developed Tsumuji for the DS, I knew zilch about this game. When it suddenly appeared on a list of games EA would be showing at Tokyo Game Show, my response was a series of blinks. Tsu-what? There's an EA Japan? Luckily, these questions and others were answered once I had a chance to pick up a DS.

What's New At TGS: Given that Tsumuji was a complete mystery before this, everything is new. Tsumuji is best described as The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass with a ninja. It has a very similar art direction, albeit not quite as cartoonish, and also tasks the stylus with handling the majority of the control scheme. The stylus is used to move the character around the screen via dragging and manages combat with quick taps. In the short demo I played -- and by short I really do mean less than five minutes -- I was equipped with a rock to be tossed at a few scorpions. The trailer for Tsumuji promised much, much more as you learn to become a more competent ninja, but it wasn't featured here. Tsumuji was the highlight here in Japan in part because it was the only new announcement during EA's presentation and due to its targeted audience: Japan. EA won't even confirm a release in the United States right now, with the producer telling me gamers will need to send letters in if they want Tsumuji translated.

What I Want To See: In addition to word on a release outside of Japan, I want to see where the gameplay goes. One of the reasons I didn't get into The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was due to the stylus. I respected Nintendo's elegant solutions for adapting the traditional gameplay of the series to the stylus, but that didn't make it any less boring after a few hours. Since Tsumuji is walking down the same path, I'd like to see how it's approaching no doubt similar issues.

TGS 09: Dante's Inferno PSP Hands-On Preview

What We Know: Dante's Inferno is loosely based on the renowned literary poem The Divine Comedy. Of course, The Divine Comedy doesn't exactly provide direct framework for an action game, requiring some controversial changes, but Dante's trip through Hell does provide a unique setting. Electronic Arts has been slowly but surely pulling back the layers of Dante's Inferno to mixed response from gamers and the media and while the publisher has been promising a PSP version of Dante's Inferno all along, EA's Tokyo Showcase was the first time we were given a chance to check out the handheld edition. EA has been promising Dante's Inferno would look and play similarly on the PSP -- this isn't a spin-off or a prequel -- and the single PSP running the game, tucked away in a corner (not a a good sign), provided my first glimpse at whether EA pulled it off.

What's New For TGS: Everything and nothing, depending on how you look at it. Tokyo Game Show is providing the first look at the PSP version but the driving question about the PSP version actually has less to do with the game's content, which we've already seen on other platforms many times, and more about EA's ability to bring that to the PSP itself. In 10 minutes of running around, I botched a puzzle (I had to ask the nearby representative), batted away some enemies, crossed a lake of fire with air creatures and dodged first swipes from a monster that filled the entire screen. Sounds like Dante's Inferno, right? That's because the PSP version looks and plays like you'd expect. Whether Dante's Inferno is something you're interested in is a completely different story, but EA appears to have successfully translated it to the smaller screen.

What I Want To See: I'll be interested to see how the PSP version scales the boss battles, which is something EA has been heavily focused on when showing the console versions. Those sections game feature screen-dominating demons that might prove taxing to the PSP. There are also appeared to be less enemies on the screen at once in the PSP version, but it could have been the section I was playing. I'll need to see them side-by-side in the future for a better comparison of the translation.


TGS 09: Grasshopper Manufactre Studio Tour Photo Gallery

Tokyo Game Show hasn't started yet, but the G4 crew has been making the rounds in Japan already. One of our first stops (after the nerd shopping, anyway) was Grasshopper Manufacture, the home of eccentric creator Suda 51. His staff is currently working away on No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle for the Wii, a still-mysterious horror collaboration with Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami and Electronic Arts and other secrets. We headed there to interview Suda 51 about a wide range of topics that you'll hear about shortly, but we also wanted to tour his studio.

Want to take a look? Click over to our photo gallery of Grasshopper Manufacture.

Nintendo Sales Down 40%, Blames Weaker Software Lineup

This is an easy answer: not much. At least from Nintendo proper.

Nintendo does not historically attend Tokyo Game Show, instead opting to hold its own press conferences and private events. Usually, Nintendo holds an event that reveals a slate of upcoming games prior to Tokyo Game Show starting, but for whatever reason, that didn't happen this year. That doesn't mean we won't be playing DS and Wii games during Tokyo Game Show, however.

The interesting thing about Tokyo Game Show, however, is the surprises.

Looking over the list of games G4 expects to cover, there doesn't seem like much for Nintendo's two popular pieces of hardware, but unlike other trade shows, Tokyo Game Show has plenty of hidden gems. Many of these games we are completely unaware of until we are on the floor itself and discover them by accident or word-of-mouth from friends.

I'm actually most looking forward to checking out Capcom's Okami revival on the DS. Even though I haven't played Okami yet (a tragedy that I'm well aware of), there seems like a great opportunity for a franchise reboot on Nintendo's handheld.

Are there any games you'd like us to check out? Let us know!

Welcome to "Morning Hangover" -- an excellent way to start your day with the crew at TheFeed...no matter what you're recovering from. Every morning you'll hear musings from two of TheFeed's editors and have the chance to share your thoughts on what's going on in the gaming world. So buckle up, prepare yourself for Sony news bombs, and keep reading!

Sony Announces PlayStation 3 Slim For $299, Available In September

Raymond Padilla: Sony's game-changing announcements at GamesCom 2009 have made the console wars a whole lot more exciting. It will be terribly interesting to see what it does next at Tokyo Game Show 2009 (be sure to read Sterling's Sony teaser and stay tuned for Patrick's live blog of Kaz Hirai's keynote!). While a price cut and new hardware are huge, following it up with excellent software is vital. Nintendo has never been big on TGS (it used to hold its own show, Space World prior to it) and Microsoft has never been big in Japan, so this is an excellent time and place for Sony to launch its next salvo. It started things off with a bang at GamesCom and has a chance to really drive the point home at TGS. I wouldn't be surprised if August and September 2009 are remembered as extremely pivotal moments in this round of console wars. We could be witnessing the beginning of Sony resurgence...or maybe not. I want to hear what you have to say! What do you expect from Sony at TGS 2009? What does it have to do at the show to take its game to the next level?

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I filmed the video above while navigating the largest toy store I've ever been to. There are no words for the disturbing toy creature thing in this post, but I have contemplated going back to the store and buying it for a friend. Should I? Imagine this thing in your bathroom...the stuff nightmares are made of.


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