Tokyo Game Show 2018 is being held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba prefecture from 20-23 September 2018. The Global Game Business Summit, which is held on the first day of the event each year, usually had western developers invited over to speak on the state of the gaming industry overseas, but this year, the speakers were Japanese developers whose games were overwhelmingly successful overseas.
The speakers were, in order of appearance, Monster Hunter: World producer Tsujimoto Ryouzou of Capcom, Nier: Automata producer Saitou Yousuke of Capcom, and Nioh director Yasuda Fumihiko of Koei Tecmo Games.
Saitou began his presentation stating that Nier: Automata has sold 3 million copies worldwide (physical and digital) as of June 2018, and that they had no marketing strategy at all- The reason for which he would state later.
Development on Automata began with them looking at what went right and wrong with Nier: Replicant/Gestalt. The most acclaimed parts of Replicant/Gestalt was the world, story, and characters created by Yoko Taro, and the music by Okabe Keiichi and the other MONACA staff. The game sales were “alright”, but the music CDs sold very well. What they considered to be barely a passing grade, however, was the artwork (especially for characters) – They had used a less well-known designer because they wanted to create a new world for a new series, but this did not do well on the world stage – And its quality as an action game, which was left at a state with much room for improvement due to them spending development time on multiplatform adaptability.
With Automata, they focused on these weaker points, by using the famous designer Yoshida Akihiko for the characters, and having world-renowned Platinum Games handle development, which also had the effect of drawing attention from the media and gamers around the world. Saitou says that this method of simply improving on parts that needed improvement is something that they could do because it was a sequel, and that while no particular parts were exceptional, it in the end succeeded because it well-balanced all-round.
Moving on to marketing, Saitou says that he does not think that they did anything new, and used only orthodox methods. The most effective measures they took were having the development team, especially Yoko Taro, promote the game, and by releasing a demo. He says that while Platinum Games had done a fantastic job on the action elements, it was hard to relay that through words, and he thinks that their releasing a demo three months before the game came out contributed greatly to its sales. They also later removed all limitations on streaming, and did things like have talk shows with the game’s voice cast discussing spoilers: This was because they were wary of players being over-sensitive about spoilers, and as a result not talking about the game as much as they could. By officially having spoilers discussed, they hoped that this would show players that it would be alright to go that far when discussing the game, which would help spread discussion on social media. They also sold merchandise and held concerts and stage plays, and Saitou says that having such continuous exposure for a title results in the fan base expanding further, and thus more sales.
Despite all this, Saitou says that he does not know if doing the exact same thing would result in another hit. He concludes his presentation saying that he personally thinks that ideas are seasonal, and that when one tries to make something good, the ideas do not stop: As such, it is critical to determine when the best time to release would be.
Monster Hunter: World – Global Game Business Summit Presentation (TGS2018)
Nioh – Global Game Business Summit Presentation (TGS2018)
Monster Hunter, Nier and Nioh: TGS 2018 Global Game Business Summit Panel Discussion (1/2)
Monster Hunter, Nier and Nioh: TGS 2018 Global Game Business Summit Panel Discussion (2/2)