Bandai and Sony Set to .Hack Your TV

posted on by Jeremy Barnes
Bandai Visual and Sony are ready to .hack the world. The question of just what the heck is .hack remains though.

On Thursday, Bandai and Sony presented their new joint project to the public. .hack is a series that was originally a Bandai project and announced over a year ago. It disappeared into the mists of time and was pretty much forgotten about. Now Sony has jumped into bed with Bandai and they will release .hack together with a little help from a company called... Gainax (Evangelion, Nadia).

.hack will appear as an OAV series. Not your typical OAV series though. Each DVD will feature the standard animated fare, but will also have a video game for the PS2 included. The entire OAV series is planned to be four volumes each with it's own section of gameplay. Each volume will be connected via the popular memory card accessory. The anime and game parts should total about 20 hours. The first volume, .hack: Infection Expansion, is scheduled to be released in June for ¥5800. Volume 2 Malignant Mutation, Volume 3 Erosion Pollution, and volume 4 are scheduled to be released at three month intervals following volume 1. A game-only version is also in the works for ¥3800.

.hack will also be made into a TV series that will air on TV Tokyo this April. If that's not enough .hack for you, Kadokawa Shoten is also working on a manga adaptation. They really are trying .hack the world (which seems to be the slogan for the show).

.hack features character art from Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, his work includes Grandia, Nadia, Evangelion, and FLCL. A good choice considering his background in both anime and video games. Kazunori Ito who has worked on Patlabor and Dirty Pair will be handling the scriptwriting duties. Koichi Mashimo will be the animation director. CyberConnect2 who made the PSX game Silent Bomber will be involved in the project as well.

You can check out the .hack website at Official .hack website (Flash required). While not an abundant amount of useful information the site does have some wallpapers of the "Altimit OS" and one for the TV series. You can also listen to a brief audio clip of some dialogue. You can also check out a bunch of artwork and screenshots at Gamewatch.

What is .hack about you ask? Well, it takes place in the year 2010. The protagonist works for a popular network game, The World, in which a mysterious phenomenon has been occurring: The World has taken on a life of it's own. Monsters have new abilities while players are unable to advance. The main character, Kite, must discover what is happening to these people and how to stop it. He is the only one who can since he has the ability to "Data Drain" which is to rewrite bits of the code for the game.

The game will startup with the "Altimit OS" and you will need to solve the mystery by playing the semi-real-time dungeon-crawling RPG, E-mailing people in the games Real world, chatting with folk, or visiting the message board.

Six of characters in .hack have been revealed so that one can get to know them. Kite is the protagonist and wields two knives. He is a dedicated player of The World and has the ability to shape the matrix at will, sorta. BlackRose is the main female and wield one big bad sword. Outgoing, wild and a bit hot headed, it's not a good idea to make her mad. Helba the pasty-faced sorceress who looks like she would rather kill you than have to talk to you. Orca is the typical big bruiser who wields a big sword (not as big as BlackRose's though) and green from the chest up. Aura is the mystical magical mysterious girl. Elk appears to fill the strangeness factor. He carries a big staff and seems to really like the color blue as all of his clothing is blue. These aren't so much the characters as their "The World" personas. You have to think of "The World" as a MMORPG like EverQuest.

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