Stage Shows, Luck Ceremonies And DBZ: Inside Namco-Bandai's Press Event

Gamasutra attended Namco Bandai's press event at the Tokyo Game Show, which featured an Afro Samurai stage show, among other presentations -- and learned the company's already announced most of its major 2008 titles, save for a We Ski sequel
Namco Bandai invited the press to its headquarters in Shinagawa, Tokyo, to give an overview of its Tokyo Game Show lineup -- which revealed only one new game announcement and showed that the company's biggest 2008 titles have already been released. "The idea to have this here, coming to us, is very simple and pure," said Naruo Uchida, manager of Namco Bandai Games' international business development section. "Our point of view is worldwide scale... why don't we show you what we can do?" The presentation began with the trailer for Afro Samurai, which is being developed at Namco Bandai's U.S. offices. At its conclusion, a stage show featuring actors potraying the game's protagonist and several attacking ninja took the stage for several minutes. The stage show concluded with a traditional Japanese ceremony to wish for luck (with the game) and the health of the audience. Trailers for RPGs Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (Wii) and Eternal Sonata (PS3) followed, along with Xbox Live Arcade shooter Power Up Forever and DS animal sim National Geographic Panda. One new announcement was We Ski and Snowboard -- releasing in November in Japan and next March in North America, it's the sequel to We Ski, the company's Wii Balance Board-compatible, casual winter sports title. A live demo followed, showing off the game's enhanced trick system. The company's other new game is Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World, which will be distributed in western markets by Atari, and which was promised to be "the final installment of the [Dragon Ball Z franchise's] Budokai series for PS2." Trailers for DS game Dragon Ball Origins and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm for PS3 were also shown. The presentation was capped by the first trailer for the company's franchise-revival horror title Splatterhouse for the PS3 and Xbox 360, which is under development in the U.S. by Bottle Rocket. The trailer was mainly setup, with in-game footage limited to extremely early-looking non-gameplay segments. In essence, a solid slate of titles -- the DBZ games will generate a lot of cash for NBGI, regardless of who's distributing them, as will its other direct-distributed anime tie-in, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm for the PlayStation 3.

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