Import Tidbits

Another week, another set of import tidbits... Well, actually, there haven't been any since E3. Nevertheless, there's a wide range of fun stuff happening in Japan this week relating to RPGs, and RPGamer is here to bring them all to you... in list form!

And, as everyone knows, that's the best possible kind.

  • Topping off this week's items is an image found over at Ruliweb. The Korean site has posted what purports to be the very first glimpse of the logo for Final Fantasy XII. As very little information has surfaced thus far on the game, even a tiny scrap of information like this is enough to create interest. From the look of it, the logo pictures Odin with two swords in hand. What bearing this will have on the story is, of course, uncertain at this point, but speculators can feast their eyes on the image below:

  • Sony's latest addition to the PlayStation 2: The Best titles will include one RPG. The discount games, which usually feature older releases, will have among them Okage: Shadow King, known as Boku to maoh in Japan. Other new additions to the series are GunGriffon Blaze, Kengo, Extermination, Zero, Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore, Armored Core 2, and Pilot ni Narou 2. Okage, as part of the collection, will now sell for 3000 yen, or just over $24.00 US.

  • Suikoden III will come with goodies even if gamers don't buy the planned special edition. Konami plans to include two sample tracks from the game's OST with the title, which is set for release in Japan on July 11. The OST is a hefty collection, featuring 2 discs containing a total of 76 tracks. Set at a retail price of 3500 yen, or roughly $28.00 US (more than half the cost of the game), the Suikoden III Original Sound Track will ship to stores on July 24.

  • The speculation surrounding Nintendo's online plans may be at an end. Nintendo of Japan has confirmed it will release the GameCube Modem Adaptor in Japan on August 8, coinciding with the release of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II. The suggested retail price for the component is 3800 yen, or approximately $31.00 US. Interestingly, the announcement comes little more than a week after Microsoft of Japan revealed intentions to bundle PSO with its broadband adaptor in September.

  • A new system has been revealed in the latest Super Robot Taisen game to appear on the Game Boy Advance. In addition to all the usual new robots and mechas that appear in each edition of Banpresto's titles, this game will include deeper strategy, aided by an improved combat system and the Gear Fighter System. This will allow players to attach themselves to a specific robot, with explosive results in battle.

  • A few details about Epoch's card battle RPG Magi Nation have been revealed. The game will follow the story of a boy who is at loose ends, and in trouble with illegal forces of some kind. The battle system is standard card-based fare, featuring imaginary creatures duking it out with each other. Additionally, there is Game Link cable support, which will likely allow players to face off against each other and trade cards. Set for release in Japan this October, the game retails for 4800 yen, or just shy of $39.00 US.

  • Enix has commenced distribution of a slightly different type of RPG in Japan. The game, available to I Mode users, is entitled Paradise of Mail de Qwest, and as the name suggests, it is distributed in the form of twice-daily emails. Each of this communiques contains a short description of what's going on in the game, and provides players with a list of choices to be made. These choices then impact upon the outcome of the next email. Players are also allowed to choose an occupation, as well as upgrading weapons and armour while advancing their characters. Enix doesn't stop there either; it is also possible, through exchanging emails with friends, to play the game as a party over a network. Through this exchange, the world of the game spreads further, and players are able to encounter other players from across Japan.

    The email game started on June 17th, and is available at a monthly rate of 300 yen, or $2.43 US. It will be interesting to see whether or not RPGs of this sort eventually appear in North America, where cell phone games have never achieved the level of popularity they enjoy in Japan.

  • A new WonderSwan Color RPG will be hitting stores in Japan on August 29. Entitled Shaman King: the Will of the Future, it is based upon a popular anime series by the same name. With a quasi-real time battle system, dependent upon the speed of each character, the game will, predictably, include summon spells for use in attacking opponents. Spirits each have individual attacks, as well as MP and HP ratings. Shaman King will retail for a total of 4500 yen, which works out to just over $36.00 US.

  • And finally, Disney is developing a cartoon based on Kingdom Hearts. Whether this cartoon is intended for North American or Japanese audiences is unclear, but it was probably inevitable. The game is currently slated for release in North America this fall.

by Andrew Long    
Sources: [Gamefront, The Magic Box, Famitsu]
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