Monday, May 20, 2013

Project X Zone

There has been a depressing trend among Japanese publishers - deciding to pass on US Localization for games, because of a misguided perceived notion that American gamers don't like Japanese games. Its wrong - flat out wrong. I know First Person Shooters do currently dominate the landscape - but there is a desperate thirst for the games only Japan can create.

Its been slow, but I think its finally begun to dawn on companies, that while First Person Shooter might dominate - there still is a market for Anime-Infused video games. We saw a recognition of that, when Xenoblade Chronicles was brought over to the US, after initially only being brought over to Europe. Fan interest and good word of mouth really drove home that there was a market for such a game.

Another company that seems to be going out of its way, to serve foreign US fans, is Capcom. (They still don't get why we like Mega Man, over in the States so much; but I think they'll catch on soon enough.) They brought over the incredible title "Tatsunoko vs Capcom" on the Wii - jumping through legal hurdles bring that game over Stateside. Why the legal hurdles? Well, unlike in Japan - many of the Anime Tatsunoko characters are licensed over seas by various different companies. In Japan, it's all under one roof -- so bringing all so different-licensed characters into a single game must have been an insane undertaking!

Capcom, though, is doing it again - bringing over the ultimate Fan-Service Fighting RPG: Project X Zone. It's a combination of characters from Capcom, Namco-Bandai, and Sega. Mixing the three different universes into an RPG-like setting, with fights played out as Hyper-Stylized battles. It, quite frankly, looked awesome!  BUT - surely something like that could never come stateside, right? To literally EVERYONE'S surprise, Capcom announced the game would be coming to America, in June 25. It will cost $40 - as it comes with bonus content, a booklet, poster, and game soundtrack. (Essentially we'll be getting exactly what Japan got, in their limited edition version of the game.)

Every single character had to be re-negotiated for, to bring them overseas. And this game does not skimp on a cast of characters - boasting 25 teams of 2, equaling 50 characters! That isn't even counting the thrown-in characters, who join the battle as solo fighters -- John McClane, of Die Hard fame, even makes an appearance - though under a pseudonym. (I didn't even know they made a Die Hard game!) No characters are missing - even Tatsunoko vs Capcom came up short of one character.

The game looks like a wild ride, and I intend to get it. I have to admit, there are a lot of characters I don't recognize - but there are enough familiar faces, that I should be just fine. The likes of Ryu and Ken, Chun-Li and Morrigan should be familiar with any fan of Street Fighter, or Marvel vs Capcom series - but even some rare oddities, I never thought possible Stateside, are in here. Sakura Wars really stands out to me - as it's a game that caught my eye because of their stellar theme song. That series only made one US release - and you can tell why, just by the description, as it's a Dating Sim/Tactical Battle RPG. Still - that song has stuck in my head for years, and getting a chance to see it in this fighting game seems really cool.

One thing I have to note - is that while everything is translated - the original Japanese voice-overs remain. This is both a cost-saving decision, but also a fan-based one - as many fans love the original Japanese voices, and seeing them reproduced in this version is another testament to that fan-niche, that Capcom has been wise enough to cater too. Its because of fans that an untranslated portion of the game is both acceptable and desired. I think fan reaction to the game, simply put, showed Capcom that there was a market for this kind of product.

Here's a trailer for the game. (This is the english trailer, and noticeably doesn't have voices. Trust me, the original Japanese dialogue is going to be in the game.)

This trailer shows the Japanese version of the game, with voices - and highlight of many of the characters featured in the game.

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