One thing I like about the arcade industry is that I always expect the unexpected to happen. It may not happen every day but it does on occasion and here is one example of that.
If you have followed the site for a while then you might be familiar with Square Enix’s Gunslinger Stratos. This was released in Japan in 2012 as SE’s killer app for arcades, sporting dual handgun controllers which could connect together to initiate different types of attacks, a thumbstick on one of those guns to move your character around, a huge 60″ 1080p plasma display and network-centric play. I thought that early on it would make sense to at least test the game overseas, being that it was a light-gun game and those tend to do well in Western markets (well, when they aren’t being banned but that’s a different story). On occasion at the arcade I see people trying to dual wield on games like CarnEvil, House of the Dead 4, Friction and even Terminator Salvation, although they generally don’t last long on the latter due to the size of the guns. So having a light-gun game where the whole point is to dual-wield I think is a neat idea.
Of course the chances of us seeing the game overseas seemed remote since anything that has online play in Japan just doesn’t get a chance in many other markets. Not to mention my understanding that a single GS cabinet is not a cheap buy either. So it comes as a surprise that Gunslinger Stratos will be shown and playable at an event in the US, something you might have heard of before called the Game Developer’s Conference 2013. From what I have seen in media surrounding other GDC events, it doesn’t reach the hype levels of E3 to be exact but it still gets a lot of attention from various media sources. The nature of the event probably doesn’t indicate an imminent release of the game, although I am sure that it will turn a few heads being the first time it will be playable in North America. And who knows, perhaps some might think “hey, wouldn’t it be cool to produce X idea we had for arcades?”
As to why the game will be at GDC13, it is being brought by a Japanese middleware development company by the name of Silicon Studio. The game will be on display at their booth which is #1042. Having been to several trade shows I have to imagine that a middleware development company is probably one of those booths that under normal circumstances is fairly small and has a couple of really bored reps sitting at a small table, staring off into space for hours on end while waiting for anyone to stop by and just talk to them about anything. That certainly won’t be the case for SS with this game on hand. There is also probably no better way to showcase a title using one of their middleware products than GS.