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Japan Service: What’s New This Week in Japanese Gaming

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Posted on February 19, 2014 AT 06:39pm

Welcome, everyone, to Japan Service—a new column here on EGM where I’ll be taking a look at some of my favorite finds when it comes to news, announcements, or interesting tidbits from the world of Japanese gaming.

Throughout my years of playing video games, I’ve long had a love for the weird and wonderful creations of those talented developers living on the other side of the Pacific ocean from me. While the Japanese industry has changed quite a bit over the years—and not always in a good way—it’s still a source for some of the most interesting, creative, or downright bizarre experiences you can have with our favorite form of digital entertainment.

The rules for what I’ll be covering in Japan Service are simple: it has to be developed in Japan*, it has to be based around or focused on a title or franchise of Japanese origin, and/or it has to be something that wouldn’t be big enough for us to write a dedicated news posting to it.

* I reserve the right to be a liar and break this rule at times in order to talk about other Asian-developed games.

 

Unlocking the floodgates for Steins to English speakers

This week is a special week here on Japan Service, as it’s Japan Service All Videos Week! Yes, that means that each and every one of my stories for today is accompanied by a video, with the story specifically being about that video!

Why Japan Service All Videos Week? Well, it’s either because it’s a special event that I’m doing for you, my loyal readers—or because the only things that excited me enough to talk about them this week were videos. Take your pick.

When I write about games I never expect to see come out in English, one of the games that’s been at the top of that list for years is Steins;Gate. Having now become legendary on the internet and among fans of Japanese visual novels, it seemed that the massive amounts of required translation and deeply-ingrained social/cultural references in the game were destined to keep it out of English-speaking countries forever.

JAST USA, however, decided to take a chance on 5pb and Nitroplus’ cult classic, and that chance is finally set to bear fruit soon. The limited edition of Steins;Gate will hit on March 31st, at which point not only will the physical copy of the game ship, but anyone who purchased said limited edition will also receive a code for a digital copy of the game. Then, on April 30th, the standard physical edition will be on sale from JAST USA’s website for $39.95.

There’s really no explanation that I could give of the game in a small block of text that would do it justice. If you’re curious, check out the new English Steins;Gate trailer above, and maybe do some research on what it’s about—or, you know, just take a chance on it when it comes out. All of the players who swear by the game can’t be wrong, can they?

The Midnight Hour Knight Rises

 

So, did all of you run out and see the first animated movie based around the battle between the members of SEES and the shadows of the Midnight Hour, Persona 3 the Movie #1: Spring of Birth? What do you mean no?

Well, okay—neither did I, because I don’t currently live in Japan.

Time moves forward without us, however, and that means we’re now nearing the release of the next movie. Persona 3 the Movie #2: Midsummer Knight’s Dream will hit Japanese theaters this summer, and brings the continuation of the events that are unfolding—which includes the arrival of everyone’s favorite demon-hunting android Aigis.

Meanwhile, the DVD / Blu-Ray release of the first film will be hitting in Japan on May 14th. Maybe after that, we’ll get an English-subtitled release in the West? So far, I haven’t seen any concrete news to that being the case, but I’ve certainly got my fingers crossed (and would be shocked if it doesn’t happen).

Roll out the welcome splat

 

The video above (from Tecmo Koei’s YouTube page) is an example of why I love the Deception series. When I first played it back on the original PlayStation, I was still used to a world where—most of the time—I was the hero, trying valiantly to save others from death.Here, I was malicious person, held up in a castle, attempting to brutally kill anyone who dared step into my domain by means of a wide variety of traps that I had set up.

As games such as Grand Theft Auto have taught us, sometimes there’s joy to be taken in blowing off a bit of steam by indulging in our dark side. And—if we’re already being evil—why not have some fun with it? Why just kill someone, when you can kill them in fiendish, complicated, ridiculous, and humorous ways?

That’s the goal of the Deception series, and from the looks of this trailer for the upcoming Deception IV: Blood Ties, that goal is alive and well (unlike the poor victim of the video’s elaborate trap set-up).

Deception IV: Blood Ties will be hitting North America for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on March 25th. Also, in case you missed it, the most recent game in the franchise—Trapt on PS2—was put up as a digital download on the PlayStation Store earlier this month.

Coming Soon

  • 03.04 - Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f (Vita)
  • 03.04 – Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden 3 (360, PS3)
  • 03.25 – The Witch and the Hundred Knight (PS3)
  • 04.01 -  Ragnarok Odyssey ACE
  • 04.15 – Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars (Vita, 3DS)
  • 04.22 - Demon Gaze (Vita)
  • 04.30 - Steins;Gate (PC)
  • Spring – Monster Monpiece (Vita)
  • Spring – Wonder Momo (PC, Android)
  • Spring – Yumi’s Odd Odyssey
  • ??.?? – XBlaze Code: Embryo

 

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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