News: Virtual On No Show At JAEPO
A few years back, we heard that something might happen this year to commemorate Virtual On's 20th Anniversary. Many thought it to mean a new game would be announced and...
Videos: New Assault Suit Leynos Promo
The upcoming Dracue port of the classic Assault Suit Leynos seems to be coming along, as we now have a new gameplay video. They still don't seem to know how to encode...
News: Wonder Festival 2015 Winter Coverage
Wonder Festival 2015 Winter has now come to end and it was a good one. Apart from the legion of amazing garage kit figures on show and on sale, the future commercial announcements...
Toys: Metal Robot Damashii Hi-Nu Gundam
Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan we've been sent the Metal Robot Damashii Hi-Nu Gundam as seen in the novel Beltorchika's Children (one of the adaptations...
4Gamer has the scoop from Capcom’s press briefing today. In short From Software are developing a new Steel Battalion game for Capcom that uses Kinect to control the vertical tanks. This looks like a reboot as well, as the tech seen in the previous games is narratively absent apparently. Naturally, there aren’t many functional details at present but of all the developers – bar the original Nudemaker – who could handle Steel Battalion well it would easily be From Software (especially considering that Chrome Hounds pretty much went down that route already). No word on who’s penning the new mecha designs as yet, as the original games used mecha designed by the very talented Junji Okubo, but we’ll hopefully know more on that in a day or two. In the meantime, here’s the teaser trailer.
Update: It’s been confirmed that Junji Okubo is not penning the mecha designs for this, which is a pity, but the good news is that the Chrome Hounds team are developing this Kinect only game – so we’re very cautiously optimistic about this.
4Gamer has covered the upcoming port of Virtual On Force’s new VR Viewer mode as well as the game’s extended online setup. With the latter, due to the original game being four player, the online ranking is now calculated per individual competitor at the end of the match – meaning that you can’t rely on your teammate to do the grunt work for you (like you originally could, to a certain extent at least, with the old card system the arcade version used). It’s an interesting and beneficial addition, as it will help ensure more active teamwork with any luck. The VR Viewer, on the other hand, will just allow moe-tards to ogle robo-bewbs.
That said, the line-up for this game is pretty thorough (see list below) and prior to a Gundam Extreme Versus port this game may partially satiate our Unicorn Gundam fixation. At present Gundam Musou 3 is scheduled for a Japanese release this Winter on both the PS3 and 360.
IGN posted some impressions of a pre-alpha version of Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury, coming to Xbox Live Arcade. It sounds like the new game stays true to the formula used by Bangai-O on the Dreamcast and Bangai-O Spirits on the Nintendo DS, and notably includes a level editor like Spirits did, which will allow users to send their creations to their online friends, although without the DS version’s really cool/really finicky Sound Loud feature.
The new game returns to the Dreamcast version’s control setup, with one stick being used to move your mecha and the other controlling the direction of your shots, which likely means a return to a completely manic pace, as opposed to Spirits’ methodically and strategically manic pace. It’s a setup that should likely be familiar with the rebirth of arena shooters after the popularity enjoyed by Geometry Wars on the XBLA, and thus hopefully can attract a larger audience than the cult classic originals.
The original Bangai-O managed to incorporate a number of important and intrinsically mecha elements into its gameplay, such as the Itano Circus of missiles being unloaded and the use of shots and missile fratricide to carve out areas of relative safety. The control of the titular robot Bangai-O itself also had a certain amount of heft and weight to it when you weren’t actively dashing, and its ability to shoot more missiles the more imminent danger the Bangai-O was in was a decidedly Super Robot mechanic. The more intense the danger, the hotter Bangai-O’s spirit burns! If you’re curious about the series, then make sure to check out our feature on the games.
The current price point seems to be 800 Xbox Points, which likely averages out to be less than 1 Point per missile onscreen at once.
Amongst a bevy of other games, SEGA will also have a playable version of Virtual On Force at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. Whether they’ll have any of HORI’s sticks at the show remains unconfirmed but rumours are that a select few will be present for punters to try out. Considering that these are pre-order only items it seems a tad unfair to show people something they can’t actually buy. With any luck the aforementioned fetish unlock code won’t be present at the show.
As the release date for Front Mission Evolved looms ever closer, the marketing campaign is going into overdrive. From appearances of the game at GamesCom to a somewhat spurious “interactive trailer” (linked below). We’re still a bit sceptical about the game, as the wanzers appear a tad twitchy. In any case, we’ll know for sure when it’s released at the end of September.
Game Watch has announced that on release of Virtual On Force in December customers who pre-ordered the game will have access to a “fetish unlock code”. This will allow players to increase the chest size of both Fei-Yen and Angelan, effectively giving the VR’s larger robotic breasts (pictured above).
Being a long-term player of the games, I find this “feature” palpably creepy and more than a little unsettling.
Up at the PlatinumGames official blog, there’s a post from the lead background designer of Vanquish, talking about the influence of Gundam’s space colonies on their game’s visual design. We’ve talked about this obvious influence before but in particular his comment about the team being mainly of “Gundam age” is very interesting. Most of them grew up with this shared cultural experience of Mobile Suit Gundam and other mecha series spawned from the Real Robot explosion that followed in its wake, and this affects Japanese video game development to this day, just as Western video game developers share their own cultural experiences, such as Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons.
Japanese video games can do very well in the West, but much of the time the peculiar differences that Japanese games can have from Western ones is ignored in the press or simply passed off as “Japan is weird”, without exploring the particular background these differences came from, rather treating game development as if it exists in a vacuum. It’s good to see these differences explained, and this in particular is a good example of the scale of influence the mecha animation genre has had in Japanese video game development.
4Gamer have again got a nice new selection of screenshots for the upcoming Front Mission Evolved. It’s clear that the PR campaign is in its last desperate throes, as the game is released in September. From more angry characters, minus gratuitous bewbs, and surprisingly large mecha (though somewhat meagre when compared to Armored Core For Answer’s Arms Forts) there’s definitely lots of interesting and shiny content to peruse though.