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News: Steambot Chronicles 2 Still In Development

Posted on : 09-03-2010 | By : | In : News



Irem, the company mostly known for the long-lived horizontal shooter series R-Type, showed off a trailer for Bumpy Trot 2, a sequel to the game known in the US as Steambot Chronicles, all the way back at Tokyo Games Show 2006. Since TGS 2007, when they showed off a new trailer to coincide with the announcement to move the game to the PlayStation 3, there has been next to no information about the game’s release, and no new data has been added to the official website, which remains as just a basic splash page.

The original Steambot Chronicles was perhaps the most ambitious mecha game ever produced, being a kind of mecha-oriented Shenmue, an open-world mecha game where the player’s options included not just fighting in arena battles and against bosses, but also allowed the player to trade resources, play the stock market, explore ancient dungeons to find artefacts for a museum, play in a band, and talk to the many townspeople and learn their stories. While a true sequel to such a game would take a while because of such depth, especially for a company as small as Irem, we’d expect to hear at least something about the game’s development, especially from Irem, whose website tends to be updated in a timely manner (and whose April’s Fool joke always seems to impress). So was the game quietly cancelled?

Perhaps not. A fan of the game got tired of waiting and just straight up and asked Irem directly, with a vague answer given back that the game was still in development. Perhaps Steambot Chronicles 2 might be the mecha games version of Duke Nukem Forever, but at least there’s still hope of the game coming out.

While we have never received a true sequel, a PSP Bumpy Trot game was localized by Atlus as Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament, but that game was a mere shade of the PlayStation 2 original, and I, like a number of other fans, prefer to forget the game existed entirely.


Comments (2)

Didn’t they say – back in … 2007? – that it’s still in development? As much as I love Irem, it’d be better if they would decide to go either way:

Put it off till they have gathered enough cash to do it or tell people that they just can’t do it. If I remember correctly it was Milestone, the developer of Chaosfield, Radirgy etc. that asked fans to preorder in advance to let them release the game – and it worked out in the end. So, if Irem would ask fans whether they really Steambot 2, up to the point of preordering it, well …. I want to believe that people would buy it. I’ll wait for it to be released in 20xx … as long as there’s hope.

From what I’ve heard, Irem is a small company that understands it’s small, and thus it thinks a lot more strategically. The reason fans were worried is that we haven’t heard much from Irem about Steambot Chronicles 2 for a few years, and Irem is usually very good at updating their website with new games and site updates.

What is likely going on is that “strategy” bit; it’s a game they are either slowly working on, or have put on hold temporarily, because a game as complex as Steambot Chronicles is hard for them to finance, especially given the risky financial environment of the games industry specifically and the economy in general. Remember that the engine that ran Steambot Chronciles was similar to their “disaster” series of games on the PS2, and also for a PS2 pachinko/gambling game; they financed their “dream” projects through the pachinko parlor simulator, and reused the engine they had created for other purposes.

Likely we have a similar thing going on here; Irem is developing games that they can reasonably produce a profit from, while developing Steambot Chronicles 2 in the background, reusing technology whenever possible to keep development costs down.

It’s annoying, but I’d prefer the more stable Irem over the foibles of some of the older arcade-era companies, such as SNK, who always have trouble making money because they produce games for a niche market, a potentially lucrative but still dangerous gamble.

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