Koei Tecmo is known for publishing some of the best Japanese-developed series to date. Their portfolio includes the Atelier, the Samurai Warrior, and Dynasty Warrior series, and many, many more. However, along with these games they seem to be committed to supporting the PlayStation Vita in the West, a handheld that many have written off as “dead” in the years since its release.
In 2015, Koei Tecmo released Toukiden: Kiwami (an updated version of the game) for the PlayStation Vita and PSP in Japan. It also received a PlayStation 4 release exclusive to the West. This is significant because this was the last game to receive a physical release for the Vita.
Following the release of the game, former Koei Tecmo-Europe community manger Chin Soon Sun tweeted out, “People always got angry with digital-only releases, so we did an experiment on Kiwami PS Vita physical & it did bad, more on digital instead.” Evidently, this wasn’t a bluff because Koei Tecmo went completely digital after this game. However, they did sell a small run of physical copies through the NIS America website, including Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star (good luck finding that game for less than $100 USD) and a few Atelier Plus titles.
Today, we received news that the publisher will be localizing Toukiden 2 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PC. But the bigger news here is that the company is planning a physical release of the game on Sony’s handheld. Coincidentally, this could be seen as the publisher once again testing the Vita market in the West, much like they did initially with Toukiden.
It’s time for fans of localized JRPGs to ‘put the money where their mouths are’. If you are one of those proud Vita owners, then this is your chance to show maximum support. Koei Tecmo is basically giving gamers the chance to let them know that the Vita is still a valuable market going into 2017. With titles like Atelier Firis: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Journey and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk having Vita versions, I’m sure players would like to one day hold the product in their hand, and now would be the best chance to do it.
Full disclosure: I’m not optimistic about a digital-only future. I’ve always been one who enjoys that new game smell and giving the case a nice a spot on my shelf. However, it’s sad to see recent games like I Am Setsuna and Nights of Azure missing from my Vita collection because those publishers didn’t want to risk supporting the handheld in the West.
With that being said, I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Just in this past year, companies like Limited Run Games have shown what the Vita community can do: the publisher often sells out of the thousands of physical copies of indie and niche games within minutes of their availability. This alone proves that there is a market for these games in English markets, and here is a Koei Tecmo giving you a chance to prove their worth.
If Toukiden 2 isn’t your type of game, then by all means don’t pick it up. The game features Monster Hunter-like game mechanics with a heavy emphasis on story and character growth. Additionally, it’s notable for its fast-paced action against huge enemies using customizable load outs. If that doesn’t sell you, then recommend it to a friend that might enjoy this type of game. The whole point is to create awareness and, as gamers, we should always be willing to support our fellow gamers and the companies that back us.
Let’s welcome the PlayStation Vita to a new year of releases and laugh at all those that deemed it a dead console.