[Via Oga in Japan]
While Namco had hinted at some interesting developments going on for their arcade division, they didn’t specify what it was that they were working on and honestly I didn’t expect to hear something about any of their new games so soon since we had hoped to see something new at ATEI or ASI.
The latest project from Bandai Namco is called AFREC! which is short for “After Recording” (in broken English). While games from Japan usually have names that sound fun in English, it seems they’ve been on a roll lately first with Jubeat (which is supposed to be pronounced You-beat) and now with AFREC! which reminds one of the AFLAC commercials. The game involves “dubbing”, which according to Oga “Players can record over Anime, Movies and more as voice actors.” which is a really cool concept but as far as how that will work out into a game isn’t entirely clear yet. The game uses a combination of microphones and headphones for the controls – I could see the headphones part being an issue with some arcades. Either way it might be another step in the realm of voice controlled games. We’ll see if Namco plans an international release for this one(with the popularity of anime outside of Japan I bet that it would do fine), in Japan it’s about 70% complete so it will still be a little while before it’s available. The game was shown at the Tokyo Anime Fair 2008 and has been previewed by Game Watch and the cabinet is a bit different between the two, it looks like the Game Watch version is something that would fit more with a final release.