From ‘Death Stranding’ to Olympic Mario at Tokyo Game Show

Characters of Nintendo’s franchise Mario and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog are seen at a promotional booth for the video game ‘Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020’ during the Tokyo Game Show in Makuhari, Chiba Prefecture on September 12, 2019. — AFP pic
Characters of Nintendo’s franchise Mario and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog are seen at a promotional booth for the video game ‘Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020’ during the Tokyo Game Show in Makuhari, Chiba Prefecture on September 12, 2019. — AFP pic

TOKYO, Sept 12 — Gamers got a sneak peek today at everything from the hyper-realistic, much anticipated Death Stranding to an Olympic-themed Mario edition at this year’s Tokyo Game Show.

The annual event for game enthusiasts is showcasing the diversity of the field, though Kojima Production’s long-awaited Death Stranding for the PlayStation is expected to be among the biggest draws.

It is a “totally new” type of game, according to creator Hideo Kojima, a towering figure in the industry who struck out on his own after years honing his talent at Konami with landmark titles like Metal Gear.

“Kojima is always on the cutting edge,” said Yasuyuki Yamaji, secretary general of the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association that organises the show.

Kojima himself presented the game to hundreds of journalists and industry insiders today afternoon, hours after releasing a seven-minute trailer.

“It’s really a new kind of game and playing it is very complicated,” he said.

“I’m only going to show you the basics here, so you can understand a bit of the concept.”

The game, which is scheduled to be released November 8 on PlayStation 4, is based around the idea of reconnecting and bridging divides — overcoming the “strand” referred to in its title.

“Kojima has a massive fan base and it’s the first time that he’s explaining how the game is played,” said Sony spokeswoman Natsumi Atarashi.

Back in more familiar territory was the mustachioed face of Super Mario who makes an appearance in a joint Olympic-themed venture with Sonic the Hedgehog, in a release timed ahead of next year’s Summer Games hosted in Tokyo.

And while esports won’t be on the schedule at the 2020 Olympic Games, they are well-represented at the trade show this year, even though Japan is regarded as a relative latecomer to the field compared to other parts of Asia and the West.

“Esports are less popular in Japan than elsewhere before the Japanese tend to play on their mobile devices rather than on computers, and most esports are based on computer games,” explained Yamaji.

“But we think that will change with 5G,” he told AFP.

Nintendo, which will next week release a stripped down version of its popular Switch console — the Switch Lite — is not presenting at the show, but studios whose games are playable on the console were showcasing their offerings.

The PlayStation 4 and 157 games are also on show, though enthusiasts are already waiting eagerly for the next generation of the Sony console, currently in development.

Plus there are a few treats for old-school fans, including a Taito stand offering full-scale arcade game terminals that will “soon be on sale in Japan” for PacMan, Space Invaders and other hits.

The Tokyo Game Show runs over four days and attracts more than 260,000 people each year. — AFP

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