Monday, November 7, 2011

Goddamnit KOEI, Let Me Buy This Game

Back in September, KOEI announced the Japanese Release Date for Warriors Orochi 2 which, surprisingly enough is the third game in the series, despite what you might think in the naming.  From my understanding, the second game wasn't given a number as it was in the states, thus, this will be the second true Warriors Orochi game and blah blah blah.  Similar thing done with the mainline Dynasty Warriors series; the first game in the series was actually a fighting game, then when put on the PS2, it became a very early concept for what we now know as the real, classic Warriors-style gameplay.  In Japan, the PSOne game and the PS2 game were called different things, thus no real number change, but in America they just saw fit to title it as a sequel for the express purpose of confusing everyone for years to come.

Anyways, that's not important.  What's important is that Warriors Orochi 3 (That's what I'm referring to it henceforth) has been announced for Japan, will hit there in late December, and nothing's been said for a stateside release.  You would think this is a no-brainer, but the machinations what makes KOEI turn are mysterious and confusing (read: dumb and terrible) so the chances of any game of theirs coming out in the west is always a 50/50 split at best.  If you need any examples, let's just take Samurai Warriors 3 and pluck it out of the air, since it's the perfect tool with which I might explain the way this beast works or, more succinctly, does not.

Samurai Warriors 3, as you might know, was released for the Wii way back last year (in America) and the Wii only, confusing everyone who's put anything into the Samurai Warriors series because we're sitting back with our PS2s, PS3s and 360s wondering "Uhhhhhhhhhh where's our game?".  And this isn't bashing the Wii at all of course, merely pointing out that we, as -game purchasers- generally know where our series are going to stay.  While there's always exceptions, the general rule is, if a series was on the PS2/OXBox/360 when the gen was still considered 'last gen', we more or less expect them to simply move up to the new gen at 'least'.  This does not exclude a Wii version, merely suggests that such a version would be released alongside the version for the series supporters as well.  It would be akin to, say, Persona 5 being announced as a Wii-U Exclusive; those of us that have played the series would expect it to be on PS3 at least, for the simple fact that Persona 3 and 4 were on the PS2, and all of the other Persona games have made it to the PSP one way or another (notwithstanding P4's upcoming Vita re-release).

My point is that, Samurai Warriors 3 on the Wii and Wii only was a weird, unfriendly move.  Not a bad one, not a good one, just a weird one and one that doesn't necessarily scream business sense.  Even though it's able to be rationed out as reasonable in that there are simply more Wii consoles out there than PS3's or 360's in theory and thus, greater sales could be expected, it doesn't make it anywhere near the reality that they eventually found and could have seen coming.  As is what it obvious, Samurai Warriors 3 did not see smashing success in the West at least, and I would imagine not so much in the East either (though I have no numbers to support this).  At the very least, every iteration of the Samurai Warriors franchise (both of them at the time) had had an Xtreme Legends version to go along with it, so betting on one was not a farfetched idea.

And this is where it got -weirder-.  Upon announcing Samurai Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends for Wii, KOEI also announced Samurai Warriors 3Z, a PS3 version of the game that included both the original and the Xtreme Legends in the same package (possibly on the same disk, haven't checked).....and kept both in Japan.  As in, in the face of poor sales, they made a conscious effort to increase the possible sales audience to the people most likely to buy the game....and then instantly shoot said possibility in the foot by opening it up to a portion of that audience.  Now I know there's all sorts of costs that go along with porting a game and localizing it, but in all honesty, most of it was localized already in the western release of Samurai Warriors 3.  For the Wii.  I imagine that takes out a good portion of the work and cost, provided contracts with the voice actors were proper and such, so it couldn't have been too bad.

So I think it's easy enough to say that I am -wary- of seeing this game come stateside, though I desperately want it to.  The Warriors Orochi games provide such a different setting from the main two series from which they draw, given the setting is completely different despite the familiar characters and that experience and that setting is something I crave.  The impressive roster of over 120 characters is nothing to shake a stick at either, despite worries that with that many characters, you will be -forced- to do something with all of them if you're in it for the trophies or the achievements.  Not to mention that said roster will include notable non-Dynasty and Samurai warriors characters; namely Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, Jeanne D'Arc from Bladestorm:  The Hundred Years War, and Achilles from Warriors:  Legends of Troy, each of which will have a stage/map dedicated to the game they come from.  So it's not just a token inclusion, but a bit more than that in terms of effort.

This.....this rant has nothing to do with the pre-order bonuses that were just announced, by the way.  N-nothing at all.  Honest.  I don't even ca-OKAY I am a whore for Christmas things, we all know this and I want those so bad and I don't know why.  It's quite possible that I just want the one for Wang Yuanji since she saw a lot of use in my DW7 playings as her moveset was quite fun and she was a fairly decent character.  But clearly, the costumes were only the final tip to push me over into a froth of desire bordering on rage-inducing at the thought that it might actually not see the shores of the states.  I do so hope that I'm wrong in this, that I honestly have nothing to worry about (the fact that it was released on PS3 -and- 360 in Japan would suggest that the groundwork for the west has been laid already), but this is KOEI and KOEI is dumb when it really matters.

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