July 6th, 2008, by
Posted in Conventions
The third day of Anime Expo 2008 was quite eventful, including the Shoko-tan concert. For our readers, we managed to conduct an interview with Circus and we will report on this interview at a later time. Afterwards, the Broccoli International panel had some information about the Galaxy Angel game series and Okashi Studios presented a panel on their upcoming game, Shira Oka. The evening culminated in a lively presentation conducted by JAST, who announced some new games to their lineup: the Moero Downhill Night series of games and CLEAVAGE.
At the Broccoli International panel, an audience member asked about the Galaxy Angel games. Apparently, Broccoli International is very interested in bringing out these games in the US, but currently, it is hard to convince their Japanese counterparts that the game will actually be able to fare well. The primary reason was that the US, unlike Japan, has a fairly high minimum requirement for production runs. Therefore, a packaged product would require at minimum on the order of 5000 copies for a production run. In Japan, very short runs are possible based on how their printing and packaging companies are run. Therefore, going into the market with a 5000 copy run that probably won’t be able to support such a high quantity of sales doesn’t sound very enticing right now to the parent company. Furthermore, if production were moved to Japan and shipped to the US like Bandai Visual USA did, then the products would be quite expensive, being up in the $100+ range. However, now that MangaGamer has set up a site to offer digital distribution of games, they’re considering that option.
Kadokawa Pictures USA revealed at their panel several titles that they have acquired, including H2O, which they described as “a new sexy title based on an adult game, which we call eroge. It has swimsuits… panties… drama!” Furthermore, at the end, a quiz raffle included the question “what is eroge?”
The next panel of interest was the Shira Oka panel. Unfortunately, due to scheduling problems, the panel was held in quite a large panel room, and thus it felt quite empty. Okashi Studios went over what was new since the last AX presentation by showing a demo of the game, which was also shown at Fanime earlier this year. They’re currently in talks with publishers before they can finalize decisions on pricing and date of availability. The game is mostly done, and voice acting is set to begin. In fact, they just signed a deal with a dubbing studio during the convention. They hope to have Shira Oka released to market by next year.
The JAST USA panel was the highlight of the day for the visual novel gamer. In fact, people started lining up for the panel an hour before it was set to begin. By the time people were allowed in to the room, the line had already stretched down the hallway, around the corner, a good deal down the next hallway and then it wrapped back halfway to the beginning of the line. The 200-person room was filled to the brim by the time the panel was ready to start.
The panel started out with a disclaimer that this panel is not the Shira Oka panel and is thus NOT all ages, with much laughter from the audience. The panel continued with a definition of “bishoujo games” which were not to be confused with bushido games, as some people have done so before.
The panelists present were Shingo, an employee at JAST and Peter Payne, the owner of JAST. Peter introduced himself as also the owner of “a little site called J-List.” He then continued by saying that he lives in Japan… in a liquor shop and that he’s a very happy person. Lastly, an inflated plush of Lightning Warrior Raidy was an honorary guest, which they are thinking of bring out as well.
The presentation then went on to talk about JAST’s history starting with 1998’s Three Sisters Story as well as releases since last Anime Expo: Pretty Soldier Wars AD 2048, Bazooka Cafe, Snow Sakura, Lightning Warrior Raidy and Amorous Professor Cherry. The audience was ecstatic when the “sex if you win, sex if you lose” description came up for Lightning Warrior Raidy.
Next up were the upcoming titles from JAST USA. Up first was Princess Waltz, a fantasy romance title where the player will determine which princess will inherit the throne. Currently this game is around 80% complete. The translation is done and they are currently working with the original producer to get final compiles before testing and duplication. They hope to have the game out by late summer or early fall.
Next was Family Project ~Kazoku Keikaku~, a game about several strangers getting together to make a family. The game is around 60% complete and they’re trying to finish it as fast as they can. The script is huge and they said that rabid Japanese fans would be willing to swim across the Pacific to tear out the hearts of the staff if the translation were to be problematic. Therefore, they’re working on making it the absolute best possible game they can.
Cosplay Fetish Academy is 40% complete. The game’s premise is that the player is hit by a bizarre lightning strike and when he wakes up, all the girls around him are cosplaying with bizarre indecent costumes. Translation is complete and there will be a smooth release by the end of the year. The next game, Cat Girl Alliance is 35% complete and is a game featuring catgirls and hermaphrodites. The tentative release date is this winter. Lastly, Lightning Warrior Raidy II is 10% complete and features a larger world than its predecessor, with a gold economy and many towns, including one in a dungeon. The release date is expected to be around Winter or Spring of 2009.
After giving progress updates on their previously announced games, they proceeded to announce two new titles. The first was the Moero Downhill Night series of games, published by TOP. An opening movie was shown, which featured car drifting action animated by the same people who worked on Initial D. In the first two games, the player acts as the navigator and instructs the female drivers on which path to take while driving, with full motion video in between choice points. In the third game, the game actually consists of the player driving in an action game. JAST has no firm idea of a release schedule, but they will be putting up more information on the website in the following weeks.
The second new license announcement was for Empress’s game CLEAVAGE. The game was originally published in 2005 and has the same artist as Bible Black. Lastly, JAST talked about some titles in negotiations. The first was a “100% yuri game” for which they showed a silhouette of a wide-hipped female being hugged by a shorted female with twin tails. The second was a budget-priced series of games which have both arcade and bishoujo game elements. The last was something “very very dark and depraved.”
The panel concluded with a raffle for prizes, including JAST games, four leeks, an “accepting applications for a Japanese girlfriend” t-shirt and a figure from Princess Waltz.