[Updates] Note that a few updates have come along since I first posted this story; Scroll down for more.
Yesterday and today have been great for fans of the shoot ’em up genre, thanks to the ShooterFes 2021 event that was held by Mikado Arcade in Tokyo. As previously mentioned on the blog, exA-Arcadia was going to be participating in the event, and with their segment taking place this morning, they unveiled a new title coming to the exA platform that fans of one particular series should be excited about: P-47 Aces is coming back to arcades.
(If you’d like to just watch the P-47 Aces portion of this stream, you can find it here)
For the uninitiated, P-47: The Phantom Fighter was a horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up (shmup or STG if you prefer) that was first released to arcades back in 1988 by Jaelco. That game received some ports to some of the non-IBM PCs of the day (C64, Amiga, Atari ST), then several years later, they released a sequel called P-47 Aces. From what I know, that one only appeared in arcades, and this reboot/sequel will also be sticking just to our beloved coin-op format. In Japan this will be known as P-47 Aces Kai, while elsewhere the Kai will be replaced with MK. II.
For this new Kai/Mk. II edition, it was developed from the ground up by TEAM EXA-AM2, in a similar manner to the likes of DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou and Gimmick! Exact*Mix. Apart from carefully recreating the look and feel of the original (it even keeps the old school checkerboard transparencies), adapted for the exA hardware, this will add simultaneous 4-player support, a newly arranged soundtrack in addition to the original, both 4:3 & 16:9 screen support (from the pics, it appears to limit it to 2 players in 4:3 mode, but I’ll verify that), and more. The main visual artist for it is Hidetaka Tenjin, a famous anime, manga & sci-fi artist who has quite an impressive resumé (including art for Gradius V). I believe that the scanline support can be turned off like in Gimmick! and I’m checking into anything else this might add, like new levels.
When this one will be released is unknown apart from “Coming 2021,” which is what all of the currently unreleased titles on the exA games page is saying. UPDATE: In talking with exA CEO Eric Chung about the event, he also pointed out that ShooterFes included info about Strikers 2020, a new Cotton and that he announced that “10 shooters are currently in development for our platform.” Both Strikers and Cotton have been announced as coming to the “arcade,” although no official announcements were made for which platform at the moment. Strikers is also quite a ways off from 2020…it is looking like this one won’t be out until 2023. An update for Vritra Hexa was also announced, although it is not available yet. It will introduce 3 new weapons and add some game balancing+bug fixes to the mix.
Also as a part of the stream, a new trailer has dropped for Noisz Arcooda, a hybrid rhythm/shmup game that we talked about last April. If it has a trailer, then there’s a good chance that it could be one of the next titles to launch on the system. When it does, it will mark the first rhythm game to come to exA.
What are your thoughts on these new developments? Anything pique your interest or are you looking for games in a different genre?