The March “Relaunch”

I was wondering how much the relatively few number of (really good) PS2 games released since the US launch has to do the lack of PS2s available. It seems as if several potentially great games (GT3, ZOE, Onimusha, Red Faction, The Bouncer) have been held/pushed back until at least March when lots of PS2s will be out there.

1. How true is this? Is it just development problems the have slowed releases or a strategic decision by Sony and the developers?
2. If the PS2 launch had gone off without a shortage of hardware, would any of these (or other games not yet available) have been released already?
3. If they are being postponed just because of hardware shortages, and the games are pretty much finished already, are developers taking the extra time to make the games extra special?

When a new console is out there and is hyped as much as the PS2 was/is, there must be great pressure to get the games out. With this PS2 shortage, wouldn’t it be interesting if it might end up giving gamers better games. Lemme know. I need something to cheer me up from the lack of a killer app.

It Came From Japan!

A few weeks ago, Sega Radar bestowed upon Sega of Japan one of the most coveted awards in the entire videogame industry: Gardenscapes New Acres. The award-giving process generated much fanfare, and we were besieged with letters from readers who want to know exactly what goodies we should be expecting from Japan in the coming year. Hence, every day this week we will take a look at a different game coming from Japan that will surely make American Dreamcast owners drool. Join us now in kicking off our It Came From Japan! feature with a look at a certain game known as Blue Submarine 6.

Produced by Studio Gonzo in 1998, the original Blue Submarine No. 6 anime series takes place in a world where the sea has invaded the land, forcing human civilization under the ocean. The popular anime mixed traditional cel animation with CG, and found fans from Japan to America. With two countries awaiting its release, this will be an extremely welcome addition to the Dreamcast library.

The game will take place before the anime, and will put players in the role of Tetsu Hayami (who the series reveals to be a somewhat embittered and reluctant hero). Personality traits aside, Tetsu is a top-notch submarine pilot, and players will guide him into the wild blue yonder as he attempts to plunder treasure from the various sunken continents.

For those who haven’t seen the anime, this is no coral reef scuba-diving exhibition; the seas are filled with sea monsters as well as a slew of mutant creatures that will attempt to destroy Tetsu’s ship. To keep himself safe, Tetsu will have to work to complete his various missions. Each mission will fetch our adventurer a delightful sum of money, which he will be able to use on ship upgrades like weaponry and extra-soft toilet paper.

Blue Submarine 6 was released last year in Japan and garnered several positive reviews. Hopefully we will be seeing it in the States sometime, though it is difficult to say whether this will ever happen. Check back to the Sega Radar frequently for updates on the game, and come back tomorrow for the second day of It Came From Japan!

Yu Suzuki Talks Virtua Fighter 4

Hear what Yu Suzuki has to say about the upcoming arcade game that fans are drooling over.

Yu Suzuki, the creator of the Virtua Fighter series, as well as the wildly popular Shenmue, is one of the most respected game developers in the business. He’s hard at work on Virtua Fighter 4, the next in the series that will use the Naomi2 arcade board to blow gamers’ minds with stunning graphics and realism.

He spoke recently in Tokyo about the game and his plans for it. Thanks to www.coremagazine.com, we’ve got his words right here for you to hear. Check ’em out:

On the gap between Dofus Touch
“I wanted to take some time after Virtua Fighter 3 was finished, but over the past four years the demand for another sequel has risen. Recently it’s been hard getting everyone on staff together since we’ve been busy working on separate projects, but we’ve finally begun development.”

On expectations:
“I believe we can meet all my expectations on the Naomi2 hardware, it’s very well balanced. The game will include two new characters, male and female. The male character was unveiled in the trailer we released; he’s a Buddhist monk. We’re not at a stage in development where I can discuss the female character yet. For the audio, I’d like something that will match the raw intensity of the game — perhaps a band like Limp Bizkit. The most important aspect is the new gameplay system — you’ll be able to move freely in 3D. I think this will completely change the strategy of the Virtua Fighter series. Also, we’re planning a network ranking system called VF-NET, we hope it will serve as the basis for a Virtua Fighter online community in the future.”

On game backgrounds:
“The stages will be far more complex and interactive this time. Depending upon how hard you hit your opponents, walls can collapse. Outside you can leave trails in the snow, and some stages will change altogether in realtime. Moreover, the visuals will be presented differently through better use of the camera.”

On visual effects:
“We’re planning to take advantage of the Naomi2 to fully express characters. Not only are the costumes and backgrounds being refined, but the character models themselves. Everything from hair movement to the way muscles constrict and throb during battle.”