Game Plan Japan News Report 04.18.12
Konnichiwa and welcome to another Game Plan Japan! Every week I will be bringing you the top stories about games from a small country named Japan. Some games I report on you will know of. Other games you will never have heard of and will never make it stateside.
Sony Reveals Nasne Hardware to Act as Your DVR & Media Hub
What is Nasne? It is essential a 500 gigabyte DVR and media server device. Record television broadcasts to stream them to Sony products such as a VAIO PC, Xperia phone, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation Vita. To playback on the PS3 or PS Vita, you will need the Torne application. If Torne sounds familiar, that’s because it brought broadcast recording to the PS3 back in 2010. For streaming playback of Nasne content, your PS3 must be on a wired LAN connection and the PS Vita has to be on a local Wi-Fi connection. Furthermore, taking media from Nasne on the go is possible by transferring say a file (like a recorded TV show) to your PS Vita or Xperia phone.
You do not need a Sony device to connect to Nasne, as it can function as your regular DLNA-compatible storage device. So you’ll be able to access photos, videos, music, on your PC and even Xbox 360 should be possible. If 500 GB is not enough, an external hard drive can be plugged into Nasne’s rear USB port. As of now, Nasne is for Japan only with a release on July 19th for 16,980 yen ($210 USD).
I’m not sure how many people are going to run and buy Nasne at that price. It is a fairly good value if you need a DVR and own Sony products. Aside from video recording, the PS3 does a good job as a media hub. The PS3 already is able to stream and transfer media to the PS Vita with ease. As many people know, the PS3’s hard drive is easily upgradeable by putting in most laptop hard drives. A 500GB laptop hard drive is easily $50 to $80 online, less than half the price of Nasne. For most, Nasne won’t be an essential Sony product. If you’re looking for a media server device and DVR, go for it.
Level 5 & Studio Ghibli’s Ni no Kuni May Get Sequel if Successful Outside Japan
Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino said in a recent interview with Famitsu.com that a sequel to Ni no Kuni could be possible if there are strong sales outside of Japan when it launches abroad in the first quarter of 2013 for PS3. He points out that a number of Level-5’s games have actually sold more copies abroad than in Japan. For example, Hino pointed out 120,000 units of Dark Cloud sold in Japan while worldwide sales hit a million total. Similarly, Dark Chronicle/Dark Cloud 2 sold better outside Japan. Even the Professor Layton series, already popular in Japan, is a bigger success overseas.
Ni no Kuni has a lot going for it such as a solid studio behind it (Level-5), beautiful art from the famous Studio Ghibli of Hayao Miyazaki fame and general buzz from the press. With even those strengths playing in its favor, Ni no Kuni is entering an environment much different than previous Level-5 hits like Dark Cloud. Japanese games are somewhat less popular now and tastes have changed. Namco Bandai better execute a large enough marketing campaign and pray that gamers take a chance. Getting Disney involved with localization and/or the marketing for Ni no Kuni would have been amazing. How Disney has handled the Studio Ghibli voiceover work and advertising are great. Now it’s up to Namco Bandai and the fans to spread the word!
Why Ni no Kuni’s Localization Was Delayed & Why There is No DS Version Overseas
Outside of Japan, Ni no Kuni has already been delayed a few times. Regarding the postponement, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino explained, in the same Famitsu interview mentioned above, that the team wanted to ensure a proper translation of the game’s massive script that passes one million words. Hino reassured that the international version translation will turn out good and is being worked on by Level-5’s localization director who has long experience in the field.
Included in the interview with Hino is the reason behind why only the Ni no Kuni PS3 version was being localized and not the Nintendo DS version. Level-5 cancelled localization of the DS Ni no Kuni largely due to the Magic Master book, an actual thick physical book. The Magic Master book is needed to play the game, as shown in the trailer below. Many players would have found that annoying, not to mention another cost for Namco Bandai to print all of them! In the PS3 Ni no Kuni, the Magic Master book is digital and integrated into the game’s menu. A very welcome improvement together with the gorgeous HD visuals!
New Trailer Shows Pokémon Black & White 2 is a Full-Fledged Pokémon Game
In the first trailer for Nintendo DS game Pokémon Black & White 2, Nintendo is clearly showing that the pair of games is not simply enhanced version like Pokémon Yellow. Players will play through an entirely new Pokémon game that includes two new lead characters, story, areas, Pokémon, and more! Don’t be alarmed; I’m sure it will still play and feel like a Pokémon game.
One Piece: Kaizoku Musou Getting International Release as One Piece: Pirate Warriors”
At Namco Bandai’s latest keynote press conference in Japan, the company revealed that the successful One Piece: Kaizoku Musou was getting a release abroad. The game will be released under the name One Piece: Pirate Warriors with a November release in North America and Europe. In addition, plans are being made for a digital release. I have to say, this is a quick localization to the West! The over 800,000 copies already sold in Japan most likely played a part in swaying Namco Bandai’s decision.
Project X Zone Screenshots and Official Site Launched
Head on over to Famitsu.com to see a plethora of screenshots for the Sega x Capcom x Namco Bandai 3DS collaboration Project X Zone and dream about how awesome it would be for this game to be released outside Japan’s shores. Sure the game’s art style is 2D, but that does not replace how amazing it would be to finally found out which Japanese game characters would win in a fight!
Why only see what the characters will look like in Project X Zone when you can hear what they will sound like? To do precisely that, visit the newly launched Project X Zone official website and click on “Entry Title.” There you can click through the different franchises on the left hand side to hear sound bites of characters.
For more information about Project X Zone, check out last week’s column.
Source: Namco Bandai, Famitsu
Burn Fat with Me is Both a Fitness App & Dating Sim
What would motivate you to shed a few pounds? Would you do it for a cute anime girl? Not kidding, there’s an app for that! Burn Fat with Me combines a fitness phone app with a dating sim to get you healthy. In the story, the girl is your childhood friend who is concerned about your weight. She offers to diet and exercise along with you. As you work out and lose weight, the story progresses while your in-game (and hopefully real-life) attractiveness increases. As with most dating sims, you unlock story events along the way and eventually win over some girl’s heart! Not necessarily your childhood friend’s heart?! This would not be a dating sim if you didn’t have your pick. As you progress in, you meet a strong-minded girl in track-and-field club and an older shy and airheaded blonde girl in gymnastics club. The iOS version is available for 170 yen ($2.10 USD) and the Android version will be out sometime this month for 350 yen ($4.40 USD).
As you can see in the trailer below, Burn Fat with Me has some unique and interesting features. When you do sit-ups, you can place your phone at your feet and the game displays your virtual girl as if she was holding your legs. She will even count your repetitions and cheer you on. Losing weight has never been this fun! Take that Wii Fit!
For more info, check out Nensho’s English website!
.hack//Versus Trailer, Screenshots & Control Scheme Released
Namco Bandai has released a media blast for their upcoming PlayStation 3 fighting game .hack//Versus, based on the long-time Japanese media franchise. .hack//Versus is actually a sequel to the CG movie .hack The Other Side of the World (featured in the above trailer too). In fact, you will be able to pick up both in a Blu-Ray pack. .hack//Versus launches June 28th in Japan. No word on a release here in America or elsewhere, but could be likely as the much longer and text-heavy .hack role playing games have been localized before. To view all of the new screenshots, click here!
The controls for .hack//Versus are as follows: analogue stick controls character movement, square triggers a standard attack, X is used for jumping and the Boost Dash, triangle activates a Strike Attack (can be charged to make it unblockable and launches enemy up in the air), circle for throws, R1 for blocking, and L1 to switch into Skill Mode.
Source: Namco Bandai
Next Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Shows Off in New Trailer
Sega’s new trailer for Next Hatsune Miku Project DIVA that I reported on last week is out and shows off many of the visual upgrades such as improved lighting, physics, animation and character models. We also get to see what a Vocaloid dance-off would look like. Oh, and new costumes of course! Two of the three confirmed songs are featured in the trailer: World’s End Dance Hall by wowaka and Cat Food by Doriko.
In other related news, Sega has shipped over 1 million games in the Hatsune Miku Project DIVA series! To celebrate, Sega will randomly select 390 people who fill out this survey (runs until April 27th) to receive commemorative pins while everyone who fills out the survey receives special computer wallpaper! Congratulations, Sega!
Source: Sega’s Miku Blog
Love Training Series Brings Kinect’s First Otaku-Centric Games
For years, I have said that there was potential with Kinect to move Xbox 360 systems in Japan if there was the right killer app for otaku, say something like Love Plus. Finally, one Japanese studio, Boost On, is taking a chance and producing a series of anime-style dancing games called Love Training or Love Tore for short. According to Famitsu, Love Tore will be a trilogy with subtitles Sweet for volume 1, Mint for volume 2 and Bitter for volume 3. Love Training Sweet will be released this summer while Mint and Bitter are expected to come out in fall and winter of this year, respectively. Each game will introduce 4 girls for a total of 12 girl characters in the series.
Love Tore‘s story has you playing as a manager a dance club that is on the verge of being shut down! Through training the girls how to perform through dancing mini games, your goal is to pull the dance club out of the gutter and into the limelight, culminating to the world dance championship in the third game Bitter. Additional gameplay comes from the ability to develop relationships with the girls of the dance club which hints that Love Tore could be Kinect’s first dating sim as well!
Taiko Drumming Game Series Heading to Nintendo 3DS
Namco Bandai’s Taiko Drum Master drumming rhythm game is a staple in Japanese arcades and soon is making its way to the Nintendo 3DS. On July 12, Japanese gamers can bring a pint-sized drumming experience with them with Taiko Drum Master: Little Dragon and the Mysterious Orb. There is even a new adventure mode that takes place in a fantasy world where you and dragon pal may have to battle evil clowns! Drum your enemies to death! You may want to be sure to have a screen protector for your 3DS as intense tapping is bound to ensue. A PlayStation 2 version of Taiko Drum Master was brought over to the US back in 2004. I would say a US release is doable. The PSP version wasn’t even localized, but the 3DS’s popularity may help!
This Week’s New Releases
It’s back to lots of game releases this week in Japan! The biggest game debut is the highly-anticipated Fire Emblem Awakening for the 3DS. While it is the first Fire Emblem on the 3DS, it also will be Nintendo’s first retail game that offers paid downloadable content! The 3DS needs to gets educational too with Earthpedia. Or if you have exhausted the numerous fashion games in Japan, there’s Girl’s Fashion 3D Mezase! Top Stylist. Tamagotchi still is alive in Japan as indicated with Chouricchi! Tamagotchi no Puchi Puchi Omisecchi for 3DS. Oh, the Nintendo DS is far from done with a new Detective Conan game out this week titled Detective Conan: Prelude of the Past. At last, the PS3 HD ports of House of the Dead 3 and House of the Dead 4 make their way to their home country. Several Western games come out this week: Lord of the Rings War in the North (360, PS3), Nano Assault (3DS), Lumines Electronic Symphony (PSVita), and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster (360 Kinect).
Top Selling Games in Japan – Week Ending 04.08.12
Random Japanese (Related) Video of the Week
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