December 22, 2005
Xbox, PSP, PS3 Games for the next future
December 20, 2005 – If you`ve been keeping up with the Japanese game scene over the past few months, you might have heard of a new game company called AQ Interactive. This publisher released one of Japan’s Xbox 360 launch titles, Tetris: the Grand Master Ace and went on to announce a few additional titles for platforms that include the Xbox 360 and PSP. But it wasn’t until today that we learned the true nature of the beast.
AQ held a press conference today in Tokyo to formally introduce itself. The company, whose name stands for Artistic Quality, opened its doors on 10/1 as a publisher for three group development studios, Artoon, Cavia and Feel Plus. Together, these companies are known for such properties as Blinx and Drakengard. Artoon is currently working with Mistwalker on Blue Dragon for the Xbox 360 while Feel Plus is doing the same for Lost Odyssey. All together, between the three studios, the publisher claims to have 350 staffers creating games.
While the three studios will continue to work with different publishers, a number of projects will come under the AQ publishing brand. In addition to the previously announced Onimyou Nikki for the PSP, the company is working on an original RPG for the portable. DS will be getting an adventure game and an edutainment title. PS2 will be getting a game based off a girl-oriented comic license.
Revolution is included in the list, making AQ one of the first 3rd parties to commit support for Nintendo’s new platform. The company is working on an original action title and a game based off a major comic license. Additional details were not provided at the press conference.
More details are known on the company’s plans for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Xbox 360, in addition to a previously announced mahjong game, will get a new Cavia-developed title called Bullet Witch. Set in 2013, the game tells the story of a desperate fight between man, who is on the verge of extinction, and demons. You play as a witch named Alicia. Although the game clearly features some fantasy elements, it actually takes place in a realistic world setting.
Bullet Witch is an action adventure with story sequences intermixed with gun fights and magic. The game promises to make full use of the Xbox 360`s visual capabilities for its enemies, including giant dragon-like demons. Development is currently at 40% with a Japanese release planned for Spring of 2006.
The next title announced by AQ is Vampire`s Rain, which is being developed at Artoon for the Xbox 360 but will also be released on the PS3. Artoon CEO Naoto Oshima, one of the creative forces in the creation of the Sonic The Hedgehog series, is working directly on this title and promises a game that makes vampires scary once again.
Vampire`s Rain takes place in a city in suburban Los Angeles, where vampires have been determined to reside. Players take control of a special operative called John Lloyd and, having entered the city, must wipe out the vampires. The game will make heavy use of rain. A trailer shown at the press conference displayed realistic lighting and water effects.
Artoon is working network features into this title. The game will feature some sort of gameplay system where players need to figure out who’s a vampire and what they would do if they themselves were a vampire. Online gameplay will involve competitive play of some form.
Vampire Rain is set for Japanese release next Winter. The game is far enough in development that Artoon was able to demonstrate a real time version at the press conference.
AQ also has a third Xbox 360 title in the works, Cry On. This one is a joint project between Mistwalker and Cavia. It turns out that Mistwalker founder Hironobu Sakaguchi is actually a share holder in AQ Interactive, and he appeared in person to announce the game.
The theme of Cry On is tears. Sakaguchi, in a classic Sakaguchi moment, pointed out to attendees that tears come not just from sadness, but from happiness and being moved as well. Players will take control of main character Sally in this action adventure, working through scenarios that promise an emotional response.
Cry On takes place in a world where people live amongst giant sand creatures. We mistakenly reported earlier that Sally fights these giants. In fact, she’s actually in the company of one of them, a creature named Bogle, and fights alongside it. Although normally tiny, Bogle can transform into a giant beast to fight. He’ll do so when Sally is in danger. The game promises to give players the perspective not just of Sally, but of Bogle as well.
Sakaguchi himself is serving as producer and scenario writer on the title, and he promises a title that offers lots of freedom to players and also makes them think. Long-time musical partner Nobuo Uematsu is handling composition and says we can probably expect a vocal song to be included with the title. The game’s scenario is currently fifty percent complete, suggesting an early title, and one without a set release date at this point. AQ is putting some big funding behind this one, with a budget reportedly at 10 million dollars.
Finally, AQ made vague reference to a second PS3 title. The company is working on a major 3D game of some form, but that’s all the information that was provided.
This * Cry On * game seems pretty exciting :) original, at least. What about vampires? Well… I’m sick of vampires. Please, stop it. We’ve playied TOO MANY VAMPIRES, game developers should evolve themselves.
The best Vampire game ever? Well… if a Half-Vampire is ok for you then try Castlevania: Simphony of the night for PS1. One of the best games ever, IMHO.
Also, Gun Fights and magic are an OLD, OLD, OLDER & OLD solution. Final Fantasy 7 (and the whole serie), Xeno Gears… they already owned it. Enormous demons? They had it, World of Warcraft has it… it’s not enough, damn it. Stop wasting money. Use them for relief, instead of making us more stupid.
Then, a reasonable critic could be… “you’ll have to see the story to tell”. Well, maybe. But they presented their game talking about guns, magic and enormous demons. This sounds OLD :)