Starting today there are some products that being launched in Japan that should interest those of us outside of Japan as there is a good possibility on at least two of them officially showing up elsewhere.
First is Sega’s new music game Maimai. What stands out about this is that its uses a circular touch screen. It makes it look like a washing machine from The Future™ but does go to show how the screen in an arcade setting can be manipulated in interesting ways. The only word we have heard that this was coming out West is from a blurb at the end of a Diginfo News video but aside from that no idea if Sega has even tested it out West yet so I’m chalking this up to a maybe. There is some good competition for touchscreen music gaming at the moment, such as ReRave and DJ Max Technika 3 and I think that MaiMai could heat that up further but we will have to wait and see.
Tomorrow Square Enix launches it’s new flagship game that they have been hyping for some months now called Gunslinger Stratos. It’s the first major push by SE to run an arcade game without the Taito name behind it (note I say major push – they have done games like Lord of Vermillion and Gyrozetter but neither have received this level of pre-launch marketing). Elements of this game would work well out West, particularly the light-guns although this is a 3rd person shooter where you move your character around using a thumbstick built into one of the guns. I’ve seen people try and dual wield on games like House of the Dead 2 or CarnEvil but GS fully embraces the idea. It also features great graphics using a new engine and hardware to power it plus local or online arena play, it’s a game that I think should at least be properly tested out West as it fits with player tastes here fairly well from the looks of it. I mean, it has guns and it’s not like thumbsticks are pure anathema to people anymore.
Next week on July 19th comes Namco’s newest light-gun game, Dark Escape 3D (recently Namco decided to call this Dark Escape 4D overseas). This one is currently testing out in the US and from what I know sounds like it’s a good lock for hitting the market here but the question is when will it be hitting the streets? I have a hunch that it will be at the upcoming AAMA Distributor Gala in Chicago next month, which I hope to make it to. Strangely enough there is still no video I can find of this online (even on shady video websites) so Namco has done a pretty good job of keeping it locked down. Of course it is a 3D game so there is that which can be a problem but hopefully we’ll have some direct game footage of the game to show off next week. In the meantime, here is one of the few direct screenshots of the beta game and the cabinet which is pretty awesome.