UPDATE: For the latest on the international reach on this game, check out our post here.
The next installment of Namco’s hardcore driving series, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune has a release date, for Japan at least. Expect to see the game showing up in certain venues this coming December 2011/January 2012. Namco America has brought WMMT3 to the US in very limited quantities but so far nothing has been said about WMMT4. For fans who already have a WMMT3DX+ card they will be able to transfer their data over to the game saved from that game’s cards to the new Banapassport cards that WMMT4 is using. The game is also the first time that the series will be released using LCD screens and the Japanese version has a special console players can presumably use to modify their cars, much like is done with various Japanese fighting games.
I know that with games like this and Initial D they can do really well in the right venue but it doesn’t seem to me like either of those games have done much to expand the user base with some education. Those users who are out there seem pretty dedicated and I’ve seen some numbers from different location showing that the games can rake in the dough (if the hardcore players don’t abolish that particular version of the game for some reason). Perhaps Namco can do that given their recent push on Facebook for their games, like they have done with both Pac-Man Battle Royale and Dead Heat – if in fact WMMT4 does in fact, “come on down!”
Also as the source of the information shows, Namco is also planning a new Taiko Drum Master game and some sort of Pokemon medal game – both for Japan of course. More here at AM-Net.
UPDATE: I did some checking and their already is an official WMMT Facebook page. They have fans there who translated the flyers revealed yesterday and we learn some new things about WMMT4 including (translation/explanation by Nixon Wong):
1) Connected Ghost Battle mode
Battle ghosts records around the world/Japan. You can also challenge the top ghost of the world. (Not sure if it will be restricted to Japanese version like Initial D right now)
2) Team function
You can create teams and put team-specific stickers on your cars. Again, not sure if it will make it to the International version
3) New cars
Eight new cars in total:
Mazda RX-7 (FB)
Nissan Skyline Coupe (V36) / Infiniti G37 Coupe
RUF CTR “Yellowbird”
Subaru Legacy B4 (5th Generation)
Toyota Crown (13th Generation)
??? (Not announced yet)
4) New courses
Yokohama Line and Yaesu Route, both are part of the Shuto Expressway.
5) New dress-up parts
22 dress-up parts will be added, giving a total of 83 parts. (Don’t ask me about the math of 63+22, it’s what it says on the images)
6) Power up
The maximum power will be 830HP. How many chapters of stories we have to beat for that one bar of tuning is currently unknown.
The idea of racing against ghosts online is a neat idea but one I could see limiting the release outside Japan. Then again, the locations which have an installed WMMT fanbase mind find it prudent to connect their machines or perhaps Namco could offer cell phone network internet kits, which could connect a machine anywhere.