Konami unveils Steel Chronicle in Japan

arcadehero April 2, 2011 6

In the first new game announcement we’ve seen since the Great Kanto earthquake, Konami has unveiled a new mech battle game called Steel Chronicle. Not content to sit around while Namco and Sega have all of the mech fun, Steel Chronicle appears closer to Sega’s Border Break than something like Gundam. From what I can tell by looking at the flyers, it looks to be a sort of Border Break meets Earth Defense Force as the primary villains are apparently some sort of alien bugs that you must exterminate using your powered mech suits (almost like a Dalek, get it?). The cabinet design isn’t too far off from what Sega did with BB either but the control scheme is – while Border Break uses something that’s like a joystick/mouse combo, this uses a unique set of dual joysticks (pictured in the thumbnail to the right). The game is currently on test in Akihabara, assuming it does well it should be released in Japan sometime later this year. You can see a bundle of flyers at the AM-Net Blog

One question I do have to ask though is why Japan gets all of the mech fun these days? I wrote about this in my article entitled: “Missing In Action: Tanks, Planes, Mechs and more“, discussing how anything involving some sort of mechanical device packed with firepower is a match made in heaven for the arcade format.  It’s a similar reason why driving games are so well-loved in this industry, because the racing game done right has all of the advantages that the arcade cabinet provides, giving the player more to interact with thus recreating a more tactile experience that blurs the line between reality and the virtual, more so than a home experience typically does. I think it also applies to war machine games revolving around mechs. It has been done before outside of Japan but especially in the mech genre there hasn’t been much to talk about over the past decade, just BattleTech (which is very rare to find) and a port of Mechwarrior 4 to the Tsunami motion multi-game systems(also uncommon).

There haven’t been a tremendous amount of mech games on modern home consoles either and one could say that it’s because people don’t care for mech games like they do for first-person shooters which is true but I think that mech games on a console generally leaves you wanting for more. Something that an arcade experience could provide, with proper controls, a nice surround sound system and screen, perhaps with some thumping force feedback in the cabinet. Granted that there are a couple of nice mech games I’ve played on PC or console – most memorably Mechwarrior 1 & 2 (PC – didn’t care much for the console adaptations I played of 2), Iron Solider 1 & 2 on the Atari Jaguar, and Steel Battalion on the Xbox. Out of those Iron Solider felt the most “arcadey” to me, perhaps because it doesn’t involve a lot of planning into how your mech is designed or used during play. Either way what I’m getting at is that it’s well time for a mech game to make it’s way to arcades outside of the Land of the Rising Sun.


6 Comments »

  1. Goldsickle April 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    I can’t help noticing the “L1”, “R1”, etc. for their controls.

    It’s as though they were developing this game with a console conversion in mind.

  2. MasterFygar April 7, 2011 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Looks like a fun game, which makes it all the more tragic that we’ll undoubtedly go without it in America. Japan’s arcades get dozens of great games every year like SHMUPS, mech sims (Gundam pods, why won’t you come to me T.T) and the like while over here we’re usually looking at another off brand dance/rythym game clone, a new racer that is slightly different than previous racers, and a couple of light-gun games a year. It disappoints me when ignorant people take the “arcades are dead” mindset, if we got awesome games like these ANYWHERE overseas, and if more arcades would buy the few AAA titles we get over here (SFIV, for example… I haven’t seen a single cabinet in VA despite looking through dozens of arcades since its release) we would still have an active arcade scene like Japan. As it is, the average American mall arcade has nothing but a few less popular nineties titles and wonders where all the business has gone. Arcades get their appeal from the social interaction and immersion that console games cannot reproduce, if we keep our offerings at a Sega Dreamcast-era selection, of course sales are going to drop. Truly retro games still have appeal, as do really new games and a few groundbreaking classics from the 90s, but… well, Virtual On can’t easily be reproduced in a home scenario, joysticks, thumping bass and all, and most fighters feel better on an anchored cab with a specific button layout, but aside from those older titles and the true classics arcades really need to learn to adjust. For every great arcade with the classics or the newest thing from Japan there are twenty little holes in the wall with a dead SFII machine, a single player DDR, and a few Time Crisis 1 machines wondering why nobody is coming in. When arcades were dominating the industry, it was because they were a step ahead of the rest of the industry. If more ops and owners would acknowledge this, another revival would be completely possible.

    Sorry for this rant, the way arcades are treated here is one of my pet peeves. I’m sick of seeing people on gaming forums reply to posts about games like the one in this article with “OH MAN THAT IS SO EPIC” and then turn around and tell everyone in a topic on DDR or Initial D that “arcades are dead dawg, go get a ps3 plox”. Right now the arcade market over here STILL has incredible untapped potential, and I wish the average gamer was more willing to acknowledge it. The same people that complain about not getting things like the mech pods and claim they would spend a fortune on them if they found one to play are the ones who also further the outdated, ignorant idea that the arcade industry is “dead” or “primitive”. If we had more places like Arcade Infinity, maybe more of the demographic would be willing to change their tune. Just a thought…

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