How Tokyo Game Show won the summer of games

TGS managed to be the most immediately exciting of this summer’s big gaming announceathons

This Week In Games is a weekly column that tackles gaming’s biggest stories. This week, Jake Tucker celebrates a big win for this year’s Tokyo Game Show.

A Slack message from my managing editor pops up. “GOLDENEYE.” It’s been a few seconds since a port of GoldenEye 007 is announced for the Nintendo Switch in a Nintendo Direct scheduled around the Tokyo Game Show.

It’s far from the only message I receive about James Bond’s finest video game adventure – sorry Everything or Nothing – and it shows how much TGS managed to capture the public’s imagination in a way that Geoff Keighley’s twin spectacles: Summer Game Fest and Opening Night Live, didn’t really manage.

Alongside Goldeneye – which we’ve been holding our breath for since it was accidentally leaked in January – there’s a good mix of old and new to please a variety of fans. There’s three (!!!) new Yakuza games, Deathloop is coming to Xbox Game Pass, Exoprimal, a new Overwatch 2 hero, more on Pokémon with guns mash-up Palworld, and some Street Fighter 6 news. There was a title and release date for the next Legend Of Zelda. New Fire Emblem. Let’s be honest, TGS was absolutely heaving with good news for gamers and offered up a little win for everyone, no matter what you’re into.

Deathloop key art of Colt
Deathloop. Credit: Arkane Studios

There were some disappointments: the lack of remasters for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. Leakers had assured us these would show up, despite never being teased or promised by Nintendo at any point – my thoughts on leaks largely align with this great piece from Chris Dring at GamesIndustry.biz – but somehow was such a sure thing people took to the internet upset they haven’t seen it.

In a lot of ways, leakers have made this sort of show an incredibly difficult affair: if a game leaks before its appearance in one of Keighley’s tentpole shows it gets bumped from appearing, if a game leaks ahead of a show from a publisher they’ll usually leave it in but instead of a heady buzz of excitement you just get a knowing nod, turning your “one more thing” into a stifled yawn.

Most of TGS’s biggest reveals didn’t get leaked, and the show was better for it. Hell, there were also several AAA announcements in the mix, something that was really thin on the ground for the rest of the summer, likely as most of the industry is still playing catch-up from the pandemic and the fallout from several huge employee welfare scandals.

Street Fighter 6
Street Fighter 6. Credit: Capcom

Now, the interesting thing is whether this will remain true. The landscape of video game announcements has constantly changed over the years. While the entire industry used to wait eagerly for E3, we saw all of the big studios move away from this into their own smaller shows. Someone realised that they could just hire out a different location in Los Angeles during the summer and untether themselves from E3 while still taking advantage of the fact most of the world’s games press is sending someone out to LA.

Then, production samples saw E3 play second fiddle to Gamescom: sure, that game you want to play might be announced at E3 but you’ll actually be able to play it at Gamescom in August. Now, in a year when several big outfits like PlayStation, Square Enix, Capcom and Activision didn’t bother to show up at Gamescom, we might see that focus shifting towards the Tokyo Game Show.

Yakuza
Yakuza: Like A Dragon. Credit: RGG Studio/Sega

Of course, it could just be that the pandemic and a new console generation has had publishers thinking about how they can make the most of safe bets and remasters and that many of those can be announced with a shorter lead time. It might be that TGS came later in the year giving companies a little bit more time to get things in order this year after all the pandemic delays. It could just be that C-suite executives are tired of drinking Kolsch.

Whatever the reason, Tokyo Game Show has delivered a series of exciting announcements in a year that’s been a bit of a half-arsed shrug for exciting video games, even if the thing I’m most excited about is probably the GoldenEye 007 remaster, which is due to release “soon.” After over a decade of writing about games, it’s rare to feel the sort of raw excitement that the remaster unlocked in me. Followed by the fear that someone playing Oddjob might ruin my Christmas.

What else?

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