Microsoft do Tokyo

We all know that the Xbox 360 is struggling in Japan, but if Microsoft’s Tokyo Game Show pre-conference is anything to go by, then they aren’t about to give up just yet. If anything they’re trying to woo the hardcore, by announcing the likes of Castle Shikigami III (AKA Mobile Light Force) and Gundam Operation Troy, along with Xbox Live renditions of Rez and Ikaruga. Dreamcast shooter Triggerheart Exelica, Taito’s PSP puzzler Exit and Every Extend Extra Extreme are still on their way too.

Ninja Gaiden 2 is the one that has managed to get tongues waggling though. It’s due out next year and is surprisingly far into development, with the demo on show having no less than eight stages. Director Itagaki likes to blow his own trumpet: “Our goal with Ninja Gaiden 2 is to create the world’s premier action game, just as DOA4 was the premier fighting game when it was released at the 360’s launch and remains the premier fighting game today. I know that a lot of our fans praised the first NG as being a masterpiece and being flawless. However, as a team, we don’t necessarily agree all the time.” Have a peek at the teaser trailer.

Square-Enix have already supported the console with a couple of games, and we already know about Last Remnant – the “RPG for the world”, due for a simultaneous release in Japan and America – but Infinite Undiscovery is a new one. It’s being developed by Tri-Ace (who did Star Ocean) and has a plot involving the moon crashing into the earth. A Japanese website is already up but there’s not much on there.

They also talked about Kingdom Under Fire Circle of Doom, the third installment in the series. The first two were pretty good – like Dynasty Warriors but deeper. Lost Odyssey – originally announced around the same time as Blue Dragon – is now 95 percent complete and will be released outside Japan in February. The plot for this one is more interesting than Infinite Undiscovery’s – you play through the entire life of a person sentenced to live for 1,000 years, going from boy to very old man.

As well as epicsRPGs and the Xbox Live downloads, there was also stuff like Smash Court Tennis 3, Zoids Alternative – based on the recently re-released toy line – flashy 2D brawler Guilty Gear 2 Overture and Operation Darkness. The last is a tactical shooter set in World War II, featuring Hitler, zombies and werewolves. The trailer reminds us of the underrated Ring of Red on PlayStation 2.

Not a bad showing, all in all. But whether the Japanese will go out and buy them is another matter – RPG Trusty Bell was reduced after just a few weeks due to poor sales. We should see most of these outside of Japan though; Microsoft themselves ended up publishing Japanese releases such as Vampire Rain and Tenchu Z over here recently to fill the summer void.

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