This Week in Games
Do You Remember?

by Heidi Kemps,

Hey everybody! It's September! And it's the best day in September, because it's my birthday! Well, it is when I'm writing this, anyway. When I think of September, I think of "September." The song. And then I think about Elite Beat Agents. Man, wasn't Elite Beat Agents great?

I do recommend checking out this in-depth video about the creation of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents if you, like me, fondly remember this title. It's a crying shame that Guitar Hero and Rock Band stole all of the music-game attention in this era (and made the genre crash spectacularly), because we should have had like five more EBA games in a just and fair world.

Anyway. News!

THERE'S A NEW MOBILE SAKURA WARS GAME COMING, AND IT'S KINDA WEIRD

Recently, publisher Sega and developer Delight Works have been doing separate teasers for new projects. Well, as it turns out… they were both teasing the same project! Here's Sakura Kakumei: Hanasaku Otometachi (loosely translated: Sakura Revolution: Maidens in Bloom). It's a brand-new mobile Sakura Wars title that takes things in a new direction.

And what better way to introduce it than with an anime featurette of about the same length as a TV episode? (No subs on this one, I'm afraid.)

The story: In an alternate history to Sakura Wars alternate history, Japan's Taisho era went on for 100 years. In what is this universe's 2011, Tokyo is kind of a mess. 16 years prior, an event called the “Capitol Catastrophe” devastated the megapolis. A new type of energy called “Mirai” was used to rebuild, but something's still off about the reconstructed capitol: the famed sakura trees no longer bloom, and attacks from demons have become more and more common.

Of course, we all know that idol troupes are the best anti-demonic forces out there, right? Right. So the Japanese government deploys the Great Imperial Combat Revue B.L.A.C.K., a group of fighting performers, to song and dance the demons away. But do B.L.A.C.K. and the government really have the populace's best intentions in mind?

Perhaps not, because there's another faction calling themselves the Imperial Combat Revue, rebelling against B.L.A.C.K. and the government because they just know these folks are up to no good. What is the truth behind everything? Find out in a story that will be undoubtedly be doled out over a long period of time to keep you playing and rolling for SSRs!

If the developer, Delight Works, sounds familiar, you most likely know them as one of the co-developers of Fate//Grand Order. Sega is clearly banking on both the familiarity of the Sakura IP and Delight Works’ past record of making a game that generates like a bazillion dollars in revenue, and honestly, I can see this working out pretty well.

Going from this brief snippet of gameplay footage, the visuals look pretty solid, with fully-animated dialogue cutscenes and cinematics in battle. It's a bit hard to see how the battle system works from this brief snippet, but I get Megaman Battle Network vibes.

Also, the girls don't fight in mech suits, but instead wear them as totally ridiculous-looking super armor. God, I love it.

Here's the part where I'd normally say “there's no chance in hell of this getting an English release,” but nowadays it seems like publishers will localize a game, see if they manage to hook enough whales, and kill it off quickly and mercilessly if things don't look so good. (See: the recent deaths of the English Symphogear and Magia Record games.) And they'll try this with everything. I mean, Romancing SaGa Re:Universe got an English version! SaGa has even less of a fanbase here than Star Ocean… and Star Ocean Anamnesis totally bombed despite aggressive promotion at Anime Expo and elsewhere.

So… yeah, I dunno the logic behind mobile localizations anymore. A localization for Sakura Kakumei could happen, but if it does, I honestly wouldn't expect it to survive long.

TOKYO GAME SHOW IS HAPPENING LATER THIS MONTH, HERE'S A HANDY SCHEDULE TO PLAN YOUR ALL-NIGHTERS

Like many other big trade shows, Tokyo Game Show is going the virtual route this year. Seeing as how Tokyo Game Show's biggest draws have typically been its live demonstrations and talk show events, it's better suited than most trade shows I can think of to do the all-digital-streaming thing. Unfortunately, since all of the streaming will be on Japan Time… well, you may have to stay up late if you're trying to catch some hot announcements. But I'll tell you right now: TGS is more about showcasing games that have already been announced than dropping big bombshells, so maybe don't get too hyped up. (Also: Nintendo just has no desire to ever participate in TGS, so you won't get anything new from them unless they decide to drop a Direct around the same timeframe.)

There will be virtual “booths” and attractions online from September 22nd to September 27th Japan Time, but livestreams will run from the 24th through the 27th. The fine folks over at Gematsu have a more detailed breakdown of when and what will be shown, so I do recommend checking them out if you're planning on livestreaming TGS stuff to get a better idea of what to expect. Any listing that's non-specific or says “Coming Soon” is significantly more likely to be a new announcement, so keep that in mind. (Square Enix in particular seems to have a lot of not-yet-revealed content, so… hmmm!)

Among the more interesting things we know are going to be shown are Resident Evil Village, some Sega 60th Anniversary content and announcements (more Astro City Mini games, I hope!), and those aforementioned unknown Square Enix things.

Also, I'm not sure how many – if any – of these events will have official English restreams. (Well, besides CAPCOM – they've already announced that they're going to have an English TGS showcase stream on their Twitch channel.) I'd say something like “let's hope for an English fan restream!” but Japanese companies are super pissy about that sort of thing, so probably not likely.

Famitsu and Dengeki will also be presenting a live event called Game Live Japan within the same timeframe. These shows will be airing from the 25th to the 27th, Japan Time, and will feature titles from "many game makers." Yeah, it's... very non-specific, isn't it? I feel like this will be games from smaller developers and publishers that didn't make it onto the TGS main stream... but those smaller games tend to be more interesting anyway, so this might be the stream to watch. It'll have an official English stream, too, so you might want to keep your eye on this.

NEWSBITS

  • Hey, look, a new Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster trailer!
  • Keeping with the tradition of 2020 unveils being generally underwhelming, there wasn't all that much of interest on the Gamescom Opening Night Live this year. We got a friendly reminder that Dragon Age 4: We'd Better Not Screw This Up Or EA's Gonna Kill BioWare exists, more Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart gameplay, and even more Fall Guys. Sable looks kinda neat, too. But you know what's great? A new Sam and Max without the baggage of Telltale Games attached, that's what!
    The title and trailer indicate that this game is geared more towards a VR headset experience, though platforms for the new game haven't been specified. Hopefully you can still play without a headset, because while Sam and Max is great, it's not “I'll invest in a VR setup for it” great.
  • Also, more footage of the Monster World IV remake I was so hyped for last week:
    I'll admit: I'm a bit disappointed that they went for a 2.5D polygon artstyle rather than the HD hand-drawn visuals of the Wonder Boy III remake, but it still looks pretty fantastic. I'll definitely be playing this the moment the download goes live.
  • Ys IX: Monstrum Nox will release in early February in North America and Europe. We're getting it first on February 5th, while Europe gets it a week later on the 12th. Also: new trailer!
  • Ubisoft is going to have another Ubisoft Forward event on September 10th. Boy oh boy, am I ever not looking forward to talking about this in light of all the shitty things Ubisoft has done.

And that's a wrap for this week. Oh yes, if you missed it, please go an check out my Scarlet Nexus preview – I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw in that game, and I think it has a lot of potential to be a real cult hit. Anyhow, do you have any expectations from TGS this year? Also, we talked a bit about mobile game shutdowns – has anything you've played ever been suddenly shutdown, and how did you feel about it? Does anyone else get really nervous when they hear Chicago's You're the Inspirationplaying because they think of Elite Beat Agents and no no do not fail that song FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT FAIL THAT SONG?? Chat about these topics and more in our cozy, inviting forums below. See you all again next week for another This Week in Games!


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