Japanese Game Announcement Melange
One wishes to assure readers that this humble author has not moved on from the three story news format – it is just that the last three weeks have seen such a barrage of small announcements that only a round-up style article would be sufficient in covering everything that deserves a mention. The majority of the following announcements were taken from the New Game + Expo digital event which happened over the past week, though this is not the case for all of them. This event appears to have been held primarily to announce Western release windows for Japanese titles.
Saga Frontier will be getting an Asian physical release with English language support – making a site playthrough seem that much more appealing. The physical version of the game was originally announced to release day and date with the digital version on April 15, but Play Asia has since listed the physical version’s release date as May 31. No idea whether this is the official release date, or whether Play Asia are giving themselves extra time due to Covid slowdowns in shipping. Regardless, either release date is just fine for a June playthrough.
Forever Entertainment, the Polish studio behind the Panzer Dragoon remake, as well as forthcoming remakes of Panzer Dragoon II, House of the Dead, and House of the Dead II, has announced that they have reached an agreement with Square Enix in order to produce remakes of several games within the same Square Enix owned “brand”. This has elicited great excitement all over the internet from people who think they are going to be getting Final Fantasy and Chrono remakes – which is absolutely not the case. This deal will see Forever Entertainment put up 100% of the funding to develop these games, while Square Enix will take a flat 50% of revenue – which makes it sound like Square Enix really is not heavily invested in the success of these projects, which in turn makes it seem very unlikely that Forever Entertainment will be working on a brand from the Squaresoft side of the business. More likely they will be working on some virtually forgotten Enix or Taito published franchise, such as the ActRaiser duology, The Soul Blazer trilogy, or the Lufia series. Taito also produced and published a great number of arcade games, so this could easily turn out to be the Elevator Action HD Collection. Whatever the case, Forever Entertainment will be producing HD remakes from a Square Enix owned brand that would have been a fairly big name back in the early-to-mid 90s. It could be good.
NIS had two Western releases to announce, one for Disgaea 6 and one for Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1. Disgaea 6 is still a Nintendo Switch Western exclusive, possibly due to Sony’s anti-Japanese publishing guidelines, and will be releasing on June 29. As for their other title, NIS has already churned out modern ports of most of their Disgaea games, along with their Prinny platformers, so now they are turning their hand to remastering some of their lesser known PS2 and PSP strategy RPGs. NIS will be releasing Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 1 for the Switch and PC in Summer of 2021. This collection will include Phantom Brave and Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. People have pointed out that La Pucelle Tactics and Makai Kingdom will make for a very obvious Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2, provided that Volume 1 sells well enough to warrant a follow-up.
The Silver Case and The 25th Ward: The Silver Case by Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture will finally be getting a Western Switch release courtesy of NIS, with The Silver Case 2425. The game will be coming to America on July 6, and to Europe a few days later on July 9.
In other Grasshopper Manufacture news, No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2 will be getting a physical release for the Switch. The digital versions of these games released on the Switch some months back, but this week on March 12 the Limited Run pre-order campaign will open at 7am PT / 10am ET for gamers to snag a physical copy. The games will be available separately or bundled together into a special edition.
Hero Must Die. Again saw release on the Switch and PS4 some time ago, but physical copies will now be available through Limited Run starting March 9. Limited Run are just serving as distributor, so availability of the game should not be subject to any of their usual artificial scarcity.
In other Limited Run news, they will also be handling the physical Switch release of Idea Factory and Compile Heart’s Death end re;Quest. This game is a couple of years old, but is seeing its Nintendo Switch debut on April 27, and seems to be quite positively regarded. Limited Run is merely serving as distributor here, and so availability of the game should not be subject to their normal limitations.
Mary Skelter Finale from Idea Factory and Compile Heart will have a Fall 2021 release on the Nintendo Switch and PS4, both physically and digitally. Mary Skelter 2 had to skip a Playstation release in the West, yet it would seem that the content of Mary Skelter Finale has been sufficiently toned down for a PS4 release. RIP skinship mini-games…
Idea factory will be releasing Neptunia ReVerse for the PS5 on June 8 of this year. This is an updated version of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth for the PS3, and boy does it ever look just like a PS3 game!
NISA will be publishing Furyu’s The Caligula Effect 2 for Nintendo Switch and PS4 in Fall 2021. The previous game had a scenario written by the writer of both Persona and the Persona 2 duology, along a soundtrack composed by the former Shin Megami Tensei main composer, who did most of the series compositions between Megami Tensei on the NES and Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers on the Saturn – so it will be interesting to see whether they return for the sequel. That being said, the previous game does not seem to be held in particularly high regard.
Inti Creates is serving up a 1-2 rocket punch of 2D action-platforming goodness with Blaster Master Zero 3 and Azure Striker Gunvolt 3! Blaster Master Zero will be releasing July 29 for Switch, PS4, and PC, while Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 will be releasing in 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.
Aksys is publishing Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi, a dark first person dungeon crawler JRPG by Experience Inc, the developer of Stranger of Sword City. The game is set in Japan circa 1979, and the enemy design looks amazingly detailed. The game will release on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Steam in Fall 2021.
Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is being developed and published by Natsume for the Switch and PS4, and will release in Fall of 2021.
Arc System Works is releasing Guilty Gear Strive for PS4, PS5, and Steam on June 11. There is currently an open beta for the game available to owners of the Playstation consoles.
Finally, Aksys and developer Idea Factory have announced what looks to be a trio of reverse harem visual novels for the Nintendo Switch. Olympia Soirée and Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani will release Fall of 2021, while Variable Barricade will be available early 2022.
In one final point of interest, Japanese Indy studio Onion Games, the studio behind the Nintendo Switch port of Moon, has sent out a survey asking gamers their preference for future releases. They ask whether people would be interested in ports of games including Rule of Rose, Chulip, Dandy Dungeon, or UFO: A Day in the Life. They also ask whether people would be interested in physical releases of Moon or Dandy Dungeon, and mention the possibility of going through Kickstarter in order to do this.