Welcome to the fourth “episode” of Akihabara Shopping, the weekly column that will give you a small glimpse on the coolest games that will be released next week in Japan. Some of them may sooner or later see a western localization, while many will remain an exclusive luxury for importers and Japanophiles . If you missed last week’s episode, you can check it here.
Of course this column doesn’t cover all the games and accessories that will be released in Japan next week, as there’s a whole lot… Or this is what I would normally write, but truth is that this week the Japanese scenario is a tad bare. Looks like all the Japanese developers tactically moved away from the release window of Uncharted 3 and Battlefield 3.
The two western ten ton gorillas will hit the Japanese market exactly in the same day, on November the 2nd. While western games normally don’t have too much of an impact on the Japanese market, those two have been heavily marketed, and I’m not that surprised if developers with a smaller budget behind their games decided to just make room. On top of this Sony has been pushing Uncharted very hard in its home turf so I wouldn’t even find it strange if the Japanese giant actually explicitly told other publishers (that need to go through Sony for certification anyway) to make room for Nathan Drake, pardon, Neisan Doreiku-san.
Launching in an empty week will for defeinitely help Uncharted 3 grab the spotlight as opposed as having to compete against franchises like Idolm@aster and Final Fantasy.
One thing is for sure. You don’t hire Mr. Harrison “Indy” Ford to endorse your game locally if you don’t intend to make a commercial breakthrough.
That’s why today I’m going to do something a bit heretical. Instead of introducing obscure Japanese games most of which you’ll never get to play, during the first part of this column I’ll tell you how Uncharted 3 and Battlefield 3 are being presented to the picky Japanese gaming community. Neat, isn’t it?
But let’s get down to business, and start with Uncharted 3: Sabaku ni Nemuru Atlantis (アンチャーテッド －砂漠に眠るアトランティス－that can be translated as Uncharted 3: The Sleeping Atlantis In the Desert). The first thing we can easily notice is the change of title. Being a westerngame Uncharted 3 needs all the help it can get in Japan, including a very excplicit and evocative title, that will definitely prove more enticing to the Japanese gamers than some dude’s deception.
To start us off, let’s see a Japanese trailer for the game:
The first thing you’ll probably notice are the voices and the acting. They’re quite different from the original and they are of course been worked on with the Japanese market in mind. If you felt that it sounds like an anime, it’s probably because it does.
For the Japanese voice acting of Uncharted 3 Sony hired some very well known voices (at least to those that follow the anime scene): Nathan Drake is voiced by Hiroki Tochi, that acted in four Gundam series. He’s also Yaag Rosch in Final Fantasy XIII, Zhuyu in Final Fantasy Type-0, Kugo Ginjo in Bleach and the Japanese voice of Jake Sully in Avatar.
Victor Sullivan is voiced by Shigeru Chiba, one of the most seasoned actors of the Japanese Anime industry. He was the Narrator (and Joker) in Fist of the North Star, Pilaf in Dragonball, Megane in Urusei Yatsura, Shiba in Patlabor, Shingo Uesugi (the father of the protagonist) in Touch and Kazuma Kuwabara in YuYu Hakusho.
The posh voice of Elena Fisher is Yuko Nagashima, that acted as Tina Armstrong in the Dead or Alive series, Tsubaki in the Naruto series and Caldina in Magic Knight Rayearth. She’s also the Japanese voice of Carrie Bradshow in Sex and the City.
Chloe Fraser is voiced by Masako Katsuki, that lent her voice to Sailor Neptune in the Sailor Moon series, Tsunade in the Naruto series, Maya Kitajima in Glass no kamen, Kayura in Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, Reccoa Londe in Zeta Gundam, Ran’Tao and Soma Yoshino in Bleach, Tiara in Dragon Warrior: Legend of the Hero Abel, Deunan in Appleseed, Emeraldas in Harlock Saga and Hildegard von Mariendorf in Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
Props to you if you manage to recognize all the titles I listed, including the most obscure. If you didn’t, shame on you.
Despite the rather stellar cast, the reception of the critics may prove to be a small bump on Sony’s road, as Famitsu gave the game a 35 (9,9,8,9), that isn’t exactly a stellar score compared to the standards of the magazine.
Before we move on, let’s give a look at how impressed Harrison Ford is with Uncharted 3. We must applaud his proficiency in playing the game with his DualShock 3 turned off. He does remember to turn it on, though, when he relaxes at the end. That’s not how you do it, Harry.
The second title for today is Battlefield 3 (バトルフィールド 3), that is probably going to face a much harder task than Uncharted 3 in making a breakthrough in the hearts of the Japanese gamers. It’s a First Person Shooter, and FPSs are, even more than their third-person cousins, the least favorite genre in Japan. This said, Sega (that will publish the game in Japan) has blown the marketing trumpets loudly and obviously seems to think that achieve a good result there is possible.
I’d really like to show you a Japanese trailer of the game, but truth is that all the major trailers are actually in English. I know, fail. Even the trailer shown at Tokyo Game Show didn’t have any Japanese voice acting (double fail) There actually is one I found, but it’s embedded in the page of the game on Amazon Japan and I couldn’t find a copy on Youtube. So no embedding. Just click here if you can’t contain your curiosity. It’s not that special anyway, as it’s just an one-dude-voice-over of an English trailer (triple fail), explaining what the game is and what it does. That’s definitely nothing compared to what Sony did with Uncharted, or even the Japanese launch trailer of Modern Warfare 3.
With all the marketing money they spent for the game, they could have at least pulled out a decent Japanese language trailer.
That said, the game will feature full Japanese voice acting at release (on top of an English track with subtitles) and the Japanese press has been talking it up a lot so far (more than Modern Warfare 3), so it may actually be successful. The peripheral producer Hori definitely seem to be of the idea that it will, as it will release the Mouse & Keyboard controller Tactical Assault Commander 3 at the same time as the game will hit the shelves.
One thing is for sure, between Uncharted 3 and Battlefield 3, the Media Create software charts we’ll see next week are going to be interesting.
We can finally go back to Japanese stuff, even if, as I mentioned above, the scenario is rather barren.
For the 3DS we have Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest 3: Dai Kazoku to Shippo Dan (スライムもりもりドラゴンクエスト3 大海賊としっぽ団 , that can be translated as Slime of Gusto Dragon Quest 3: Tails Brigade and The Great Pirate Ship). It’s the sequel of the Nintendo DS game Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, that was released in the US in 2006. To be more precise (as the numbering suggests) it’s the third game of a trilogy, but the first game Shogeki to Shippo Dan for the Game Boy advance never saw a western localization.
The game is an top down action RPG/adventure with puzzle elements, featuring the fan favorite blue slime Rocket as, after becoming prince of Slimenia, he embarks on a mission to fight a band of pirates that are trying to subjugate the whole world.
Slime Morimori 3 introduces sea battles, with the ability to customize Rocket’s ship (both functionally and visually) and fire basically everything on it (sailors included) at the enemy galleons, setting a definitely light-hearted tone. It’s a popular franchise in Japan, so we’ll see how it will fare against the western gorillas mentioned above. It will be released on the same day: November the 2nd. In the meanwhile you can see a trailer below.
Last, but definitely not least, we have the Ice White Nintendo 3DS. Probably the most beautiful and classy 3DS I’ve seen so far. The timing is right, as it can definitely make a great Christmas present.
In Japan it has been advertised as a color for the ladies, but honestly I find it rather fitting for a man as well. Not that I can really talk, considering that I like the pink one too. This one’s charm is through the roof, though. It will hit the shelves in Japan on November the 3rd.
Luckily for me, it’s going to be released in Europe as well, on December the 2nd. Ufortunately for many of you guys, there’s no word about a North American release. But hey, you’re getting two new colors of the DSi XL. Aren’t you happy? Thank you Regginator!
That’s it for this week. It was a quite weird episode, but looking and my calendar, from next week onwards the Japanese market will be business as usual. Tanoshimi ni!