Focus on the guests
This year, Japan Expo has welcomed several guests from the video game world. They have been meeting you during various and unfrogettable events and seized this opportunity to go back on iconic franchises and present you the latest entries at panels.
Sôhei NIIKAWA, CEO of Nippon Ichi Software, celebrated the editor’s 25th anniversary by going back on its various creations, then talked about the history of Disgaea games on the Také stage. Daisuke SATO told you more about his work as the Yakuza series producer during a retrospective of the saga alongside Takaya KURODA (the voice actor of Kazuma Kiryu), and made you exclusively discover the latest game inspired by Hokuto no Ken: Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. Yasuyuki ODA, a famous figure of fighting games, gave a panel for SNK 40th anniversary and unveiled some exclusive images and secrets of SNK HEROINES.
Nintendo also had its share of guests at its booth. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate producer, Shintaro KOJIMA, offered you to see him play this new title. The composer and producer of OCTOPATH TRAVELER, Yasunori NISHIKI and Masashi TAKAHASHI, met you to present you SQUARE ENIX'S newest RPG mixing pixel art and computer graphics.
On top of all these events, you got the opportunity to meet all of these major figures of the gaming industry, as well as CyberConnect2 CEO Hiroshi MATSUYAMA, at signings throughout the whole festival!
Finally, Shigesato ITOI, the Earthbound video game series' conceptor (also known under its Japanese title, Mother), presented you his latest project on the Nezumi stage: Dokonoko, a new app for all pet lovers on which users are able to show off adorable pictures of their cats or dogs to the whole world, befriend other users’ pets, or even find adoption announcements made by animals’ shelters.
At the publishers’ booths
SQUARE ENIX made you play exclusive European demos: Kingdom Hearts III on 32 stations, DRAGON QUEST® XI : Echoes of an Elusive Age, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit™, Shadow of the Tomb Raider™ on 24 stations (while being immersed into a stunning set straight out of the game). You could also face Byakko and Tsukuyomi on FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, attend FINAL FANTASY TRADING CARD GAME and Chocobo Crystal Hunt demonstrations, as well as a full retrospective of the Tomb Raider series given by the MO5.COM association. A second booth allowed you to get a load of tie-in products (figurines, plushies, accessories, signed OST), and the SQUARE ENIX MANGA area had gathered all your favorite manga series such as FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, Black Butler, or Pandora Hearts.
Regarding Nintendo, apart from the much awaited presentations of OCTOPATH TRAVELER, delivered by the game’s producer and composer, and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate with its producer, the attendees could get a daily look at the upcoming Pokémon title for Nintendo Switch: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee. The booth also had exclusively playable games (Captain Toad, OCTOPATH TRAVELER, Super Smash Bros Ultimate), invited you to re-experience some of its most popular franchises (Splatoon 2, Nintendo Labo workshops for young and old), and was organizing tournaments to let players put their skills to the test against other fans on Mario Tennis Aces, Splatoon 2, and even the recently announced Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
KLabGames was focusing its activities on two titles: Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team, which you got to play to try to win goodies, and Bleach: Brave Souls, which had its own crane game machine and a photo corner that let you take a picture with a character standee and get a free Ichigo mask. The booth was proposing lots of tie-in products such as posters, wall scrolls, or badges. Finally, you got to meet part of the KLabGames team during its appearance on the Také stage on Friday where its members presented you some of their upcoming games.
In addition to its guests and other events, KOCH MEDIA treated you with playable games. You notably got to enjoy a remastered version of Disgaea 1, fight terrifying monsters with Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, help young Adol solve the mystery of Ys VIII : Lacrimosa of Dana’s island, play Sonic Mania while waiting for Sonic Mania Plus to be released in Europe, try out Yakuza Kiwami, test Kenshiro’s latest adventures in Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, but also dive into Persona 3: Dancing in the Moonlight, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, and Valkyria Chronicles 4 worlds.
OMEN by HP let you play Overwatch, League of Legend or try to rank 1st on Fortnite thanks to its powerfuls computers available at its booth.
Finally, publisher Ki-oon met you at their booth, the Ki-oon World, and shared various activities including a playable demo of My Hero One's Justice, a fighting game inspired by My Hero Academia, in partnership with Bandai Namco.
Meeting future developers
This year, Japan Expo unveiled a new concept in partnership with Indie Beard Communication after presenting you many independent studios and developers with the Indie Video Game Springboards for the past two years: the Indie Video Game Village. Settling over 1,000 sqm, it highlighted new talents from the gaming universe by welcoming 31 indie studios which came to talk to you about their projects, and make you discover as well as try their games out:
- Ediogames with The Ultimatest Battle - www.ediogames.com/fr
- La Moutarde with Old School Musical - www.lamoutarde.fr/games/old-school-musical
- NINPO with Vanishing Stars: Colony Wars - www.vanishingstars.com
- Sweet Arsenic with Resilience - www.sweet-arsenic.fr
- Team 8 Studio with Genetic Disaster - www.team8studio.com
- The Architects Republic with Sumocrats - sumocrats.com
- Atypique Studio with Noara - atypique-studio.fr/notre-jeu
- Armogaste with A Song in the Void - www.armogaste.com
- Crimson Tales with Onirism - onirism.crimson-tales.com/fr
- Dr Bob with Galaxyhat Wars - www.facebook.com/DrBob.WORLD
- Headbang Club with Double Kick Heroes - www.dkh.rocks
- Uncanaut with vridniX - vridnix.com
- Devs Must Die with Skybolt Zack - isart-digital.itch.io/skybolt-zack
- Electronic Motion Games with Altero - www.electronicmotiongames.com
- Théophile GARNIER with Mainframes - mainframesthevideogame.com
- Amir ZELLAL with Onizumu - twitter.com/OnizumuTheGame
- Onitron Studio with Alterity - www.alteritythegame.com
- Kluster Games with Struggle For Light - www.klustergames.com
- White Smoke Games with Super Chicken Catchers - www.whitesmokegames.com
- Dreamz Studio with Magicats Builder - magicatsgame.com/fr/homenew-fr
- Lance with oQo - oqogame.com
- Owl Castle Games with Ymenok Reborn - www.facebook.com/OwlCastleGames
- Wizama - www.wizama.com
- From the Bard with Tavernier et Star Waker. - fromthebard.com
- Gilles NOEPPEL with Joinbots - www.facebook.com/joinbots
- Djoz with Diamystic - www.diamystic.com
- Huge Enemy Production with Huge Enemy - hugeenemy.com
- Jollypunch Games with Fly Punch Boom! - flypunchboom.com
- Sköll Studio with Koloro - skoll-studio.com
- Claws Up Games with Chop - chop-thegame.com
- Golem Rage with Zuki.Games - www.golemrage.com/press
A scene on which budding developers presented their creations to the audience was set up on the area and was the heart of varied animations.
More events and animations
Many associations gathered at the festival to share their passion: APOIL brought you their favorite video games to explain you why they are so special to them, the InfiniVerse team made you journey through parallel worlds with a wide range of VR games, Kaio Gaming and Fury Lan invited you to take part in fighting game tournaments (Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tekken 7...).
Feeling all comfy at MO5.COM booth, you played timeless retro games thoroughly selected by the association's members, and take part in the selections for the Saturn Bomberman finals that took place on the Také stage on Sunday.
Final Fans Museum drew up an exhibition dedicated to Final Fantasy VII, made with collector’s items and tie-in products pooled by its members through the years. The exhibition was paired up with an activities area where you could entertain yourself with mini-games from the Gold Saucer, the game’s huge amusement park.
Finally, you danced the day away with JVM-Events and DDR Belgium, who had brought their selection of iconic music games such as Just Dance or Dance Dance Revolution, and got to listen to otonoha’s video game themes covers on the Sakura stage.