[Gamer’s World] The public flocked to the Tokyo Game Show, just like the biggest games in Japan.

For me, September means Tokyo Game Show. I’ve been covering Japan’s biggest game expo as a journalist almost every year since I moved to Japan in 2006, but this year’s show was truly something special.

Until the pandemic hit, TGS had been growing steadily for decades, to the point where in 2019 the show invited some 262,076 attendees to watch games from 655 exhibitors. I watched as the event unfolded outside the confines of the eight halls of the main Makuhari Messe building. It spread to three additional halls in an outbuilding and the arena-like Makuhari Messe event hall, and became as famous for its cosplay area and crushing crowds as it was for its games.

And then 2020 happened, and in-person events everywhere were dead.

An event for gamers

This month’s TGS was the first edition to be held with a public audience since 2019.

In an attempt to avoid becoming a wide spread event, various anti-covid measures were taken. The show had a reduced visitor capacity, with 138,192 attendees over four days, nearly half of pre-pandemic figures.

Admission was limited to high school students and older, which meant young families couldn’t attend. And by extension, the usually adorable children’s play area was gone.


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And while cosplay wasn’t banned per se, the outright ban on photographing cosplayers coupled with the lack of costumes meant no one bothered.

Similarly, many major game publishers decided to avoid having a stage for events, allowing them to avoid unnecessarily large crowds and dedicate their socially distanced booth space to showing more games.

Daniel prepares for a day on the battlefield at TGS 2022 (© Daniel Robson)

And although it is not related to a deliberate change in the rules by TGS, for various reasons, including strict border controls in Japan and even stricter ones in China, there were fewer foreign exhibitors than usual.

Due to all of the above, the TGS audience that had become increasingly casual in previous years was replaced by a crowd of more dedicated gamers.

Focus on console and PC games

The throng of hardcore gamers, in turn, led to a massive reduction in the number of mobile games on display. Over the years, mobile games had grown to occupy a large part of the show floor, so their absence this year was notable.

All of this resulted in a more concentrated and focused edition of TGS.

There was an overwhelming emphasis on console and PC gaming in 2022, for the above reasons.

Also, after the slightly bizarre 2021 edition that was limited to invited media and influencers only, with an infinitesimal show floor that mostly fit into a single room, at TGS 2022 there was a distinct “go to it” vibe. big or go home.


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Every major publisher in attendance from Japan brought their A game.

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The Sega Giants

The Sega Atlus booth at TGS 2022 was dominated by a gigantic effigy of Sonic the Hedgehog (© Daniel Robson)

Sega stood out, with a huge booth housing games from two of its biggest franchises: Sonic the Hedgehog and Yakuza.

The Sonic Frontiers demo was playable in Japan for the first time, following a strong public reception at Gamescom in Germany a few weeks earlier.

Sonic is HUGE in the West, but not so much in Japan, where Sega’s consoles from the 1990s and early 2000s could never really compete with Nintendo and Sony, but Sonic Frontiers seems to be different. Perhaps it’s because the Sonic movie series reached a new audience (the successful sequel opened in Japan in August).

Or maybe it’s the game’s bold new “open zone” direction and clear inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But IGN Japan’s audience has been responding strongly to this new Sonic outing, and the long lines in front of the giant inflatable statue of Sonic at Sega’s TGS booth proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Meanwhile, Yakuza has always been big in Japan and, more recently, in the West as well. Before TGS, Sega announced that it will rename the English version of the series as Like a Dragon, which is more in line with the Japanese title Ryu ga Gotoku.

At its booth, Sega invited fans to play Like a Dragon: Ishin!, a beautiful remake of the 2014 spin-off title set in feudal Japan. The game was originally only released in Japan, so this new version will mark its first overseas release in January 2023. We posted a couple of gameplay videos on IGN Japan’s YouTube channel and they became the No. .1 and No.2 most viewed of TGS 2022 for us.

Capcom battle game

Capcom also brought some serious artillery to TGS. Street Fighter 6 is the highly anticipated latest game in its beloved fighting franchise. And the game’s mesmerizing visual style, which welcomes a new esports-style dynamic in-game feedback and control system, made a deep impression on those who joined the long queue to play.


Fukushima Wagyu?  A new option as more than 50 jurisdictions relax import limits on Japanese food

Capcom also showed off a VR version of its 2021 smash hit Resident Evil Village. What really drew the crowd was the fact that this was the world’s first hands-on with PlayStation VR2, Sony’s new system due for release in 2023.

I was able to play it, and the massive spec upgrade from PS VR2 combined with the incredible attention to detail in the world of Resident Evil Village made for a truly immersive experience. If you thought the imposing 9’6″ Lady Dimitrescu and her ghoulish daughters were fearsome on your TV screen, wait until you come face to face bloodied with them in virtual reality.

Square Enix at TGS

Square Enix chose TGS as the first event anywhere in the world to let players experience Forspoken, the upcoming RPG adventure from its studio Luminous Productions, whose previous game, Final Fantasy XV, breathed new life into that franchise.

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Forspoken is set in a similar fantasy world, with hideous creatures roaming its dangerous open world. But the protagonist is a transplant from modern New York, who suddenly finds herself wielding magic in this strange new land.

The game had been receiving mixed attention prior to TGS. However, the hands-on demo at the show and a slew of coverage from publications around the world just before TGS proved that Forspoken may be much better than unbelievers feared.

Personally, I really enjoyed it, from the fish-out-of-water intruder setup to the deep and interesting combat system that has you combining offensive and defensive magic spells in real time.

New offers from Koei Tecmo

Koei Tecmo also had a formidable presence. At a Nintendo Direct presentation a couple of days before TGS, he announced Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key, the third and final installment in his popular Ryza series.

Along with spin-offs like Atelier Sophie, Ryza games have a passionate fan base in Japan, offering clever RPG systems based on the secrets of alchemy. Having the game playable on the show floor despite only being revealed a few days earlier was a welcome surprise.


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Also on the Koei Tecmo booth was a bastard demo of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, the latest Souls-type action game from Nioh developer Team Ninja. It’s been a long time since gaming fans could repeatedly get pummeled by a rock-hard boss in front of their peers at a gaming expo, so that alone made it worth queuing up for.

The Konami Classics

Meanwhile, Konami announced a remastered bundle of its popular classic RPGs Suikoden I and II, quickly hitting the trending list on Twitter and setting the internet on fire.

While the set is officially titled Suikoden I & II HD Remaster, the games are closer to a remake, with a subtly enhanced HD-2D art style that looks gorgeous.

Four hard days of fun

For us at IGN Japan, as the Official Media Partner of TGS, we broadcast nearly 35 hours of live video programming over four days from our private studio on a balcony overlooking the show floor.

We had dozens of game developers bring their games to us to play together live, including many of the games mentioned above, along with hands-on impressions of featured titles from our show team.

A highlight was Phil Spencer and Sarah Bond, Xbox’s top two dogs, coming to our studio for a live interview in front of a room full of Japanese Xbox fans – a rare opportunity to welcome members of the public to our studio to meet two bona fide gaming VIPs. You can see the full interview here.

Organizing all of this was a gargantuan task, of course; I won’t bore you with the details, as I already did in my August BitSummit column. But I love the festive atmosphere of TGS, and this year I felt like there was a lot to celebrate, from the return of public attendees to the sheer number of amazing games on display.

Our readers and viewers at IGN Japan were also clearly excited, as we had our highest reader and viewer numbers of any TGS to date.


Fukushima Wagyu?  A new option as more than 50 jurisdictions relax import limits on Japanese food

With the hustle and bustle of the summer event finally over, I took a few days break before returning to the fray.

As the gaming expo season wraps up, the TV streaming season is in full swing, and since we cover those things on IGN Japan as well, I’m now up to my neck in Andor, House of the Dragon, She-Hulk, The Rings of Power, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and more. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it!


Author: Daniel Robson

Daniel Robson is editor-in-chief of the video game news site. IGN Japan. read his series the world of gamers in JAPAN Forward, and find it at twitter here.

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