At his Gamasutra-attended keynote at Tokyo Game Show's business day, Microsoft Xbox corporate VP John Schappert announced a robust line-up of Japanese-developed Xbox 360 titles including a Tekken
entry, promised a November 19th debut for the new Xbox Live interface, and teased the new 2009-due Bungie-developed expansion Halo 3: Recon
The presentation began with a trailer for Square Enix's The Last Remnant
, an Unreal Engine 3-powered title helping to define the Japanese/Western crossover with its use of Western technology and a planned simultaneous worldwide release. That release was revealed to be November 20, simultaneous releases still being relatively rare for Japanese titles.
Schappert then came out onstage, lavishly praising the Japanese creators of Space Invaders
, and more. He noted he wanted to help the Japanese industry bring their games to the rest of the world. He suggested that as an industry, there must be a set of development tools, an online service that gives you access to a social community -- which has "changed the business" as we know it -- and a console at "a price the world can afford."
"We believe Xbox 360 is the platform best equipped to help Japanese publishers succeed worldwide," he said, pointing out that following the recent price reductions, sales have more than doubled in the U.S., are up 62 percent in Europe, and are up five-fold year on year in Japan.
He also put worldwide sales of Japanese games at $512 million on the Xbox during its entire lifetime, while that statistic has already reached $811 million on Xbox 360. Additionally, he noted, by the end of this holiday season, consumers are projected to have spent $1 billion worldwide on Japanese-created Xbox 360 games. Furthermore, he claimed, the majority of game sales from third-party publishers on Xbox Live Arcade are from Japanese publishers.
Schappert then introduced a trailer for Star Ocean: The Last Hope
, developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix, and announced a February 19, 2009 release in Japan, and a March 3, 2009 release in North America. European and Asian release dates were unstated. Like The Last Remnant
, the game is a lavish turn-based RPG.
The Microsoft executive then showed an impressive, lengthy trailer for Biohazard 5
(Resident Evil 5
in the West), saying that the series has sold 35 million worldwide to date and will make its Xbox 360 debut on March 12, 2009.
Schappert also announced the Xbox 360 exclusive Ninety-Nights II
, developed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Q Entertainment and Lost Odyssey
Also on tap is a classic fighting franchise making its way to Xbox 360 for the first time -- Tekken 6
will see a Fall 2009 debut on the platform. Its franchise boasts 33 million copies sold.
The Xbox Live Arcade portion of the keynote focused on "classic arcade titles [that] can be enjoyed by future generations." Japanese creators in particular have a rich heritage in that department, and via XBLA, the "most beloved games of all time can reach new audiences," said Schappert. Among the announcements were Space Invaders
coming to Xbox Live Arcade in the form of Space Invaders Extreme
, previously released on Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable.
In addition, Taito will be bringing Arkanoid Live!
to XBLA with co-op and online stages. Both of these are due this winter. Also announced were Metal Slug 7
and The King Of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match
from SNK Playmore, the former slated for the DS this November. Schappert then ran a trailer for R-Type Dimensions
, a modern remake of the original from Tozai and Southend Interactive, which includes both classic and updated graphics for classic shooters R-Type
and R-Type 2
From there, Schappert showcased the complete Xbox Live Fall update, including Rare's avatar technology, their slick HD interface, and their obvious similarities to the Wii's Mii avatars. Gamers can switch through lavish themes, navigate a much more user-friendly interface, and take pictures of their Xbox 360 avatars to use as gamer pics on Xbox Live. The update is further detailed in Gamasutra's hands-on report
Notably, the best-selling content for the region is always showcased first in the store, and PC content will be available as well. Schappert announced that the so-called "New Xbox Experience" will debut in 26 languages, 19 languages of them appearing on launch day, November 19.
Finally, Schappert then discussed Halo Wars
, bringing Ensemble's Graeme Devine onstage to show "the early years of the Halo
universe" and hint at the presence of the series' The Flood within the game.
The executive was sure to note that "we aren't quite done" with the franchise yet, revealing an impressive cinematic trailer for Halo 3: Recon
, "a prologue to the events in Halo 3
" due in Fall 2009 and including a new campaign and multiplayer maps.
The Bungie-developed standalone expansion stars a completely new protagonist, an ODST Marine. No in-game footage was shown. Given the 'Superintendent' character in the trailer, it's likely that this was Bungie's infamously-retracted E3 announcement trailer.