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Can Japanese games continue to go strong in 2014?

On January 4, 2014 by Aaron Meehan

2013 was a good year for the Japanese developed titles that were released in North America and Europe, but after such a good year can 2014 match or better 2013?

By the end of 2013 four of my top five games were Japanese developed titles: Sega’s Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Nippon Ichi Software’s Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness, and Namco Bandai Games’ Tales of Xillia. Can 2013 possibly match or better this? Well with all things being equal it is certainly possible.

Just like every year, 2014 does bring us some interesting and a somewhat unusual array of Japanese developed titles with the likes of the Gust and Tecmo Koei’s alchemy focused RPG Atelier Escha & Logy, this one of the main reasons why I find myself gravitating towards Japanese titles. There are very few big western developers willing to take gambles on games that seem pretty far out in terms of ideas. So when I look at what Japanese titles could do well in 2014 I look at the ones that offer something that seems out of place in the western market. Below are two games that caught my eye. 

The first game that caught my eye was NIS America’s Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection, for the PlayStation Vita. The game which is developed by Idea Factory/Compile Heart/Tamsoft is a spin-off of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, a series that is already well known for the fact it is a comedy RPG that takes the concept of the console war and turns it on its head. In the spin-off the RPG comedy is turned into an idol producer simulation. A pretty rare genre, but if you have heard of Namco Bandai Games’ The Idolm@ster then you will have a fair idea of what to expect. The plot of the game is to turn one of the four CPUs into an idol by teaching them how to dance, sing, and promote themselves. What attracts me to the game is the fact that it is a genre I have never tried before, and the fact that it is based in the Hyperdimension Neptunia universe, which for all its failings is a humorous game and anime. Currently Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection doesn’t have a specific release date apart from the fact that it will be released in 2014. 

The second game that caught my eye was Namco Bandai Games’ Tales of Xillia 2, for the PlayStation 3. The reason why this game caught my eye is the fact that it is a sequel to my game of the year. When I first heard about this sequel was sceptical as I felt a direct sequel would make no sense, but as I read about it I found that it was mainly a game based in the same universe. Of course the fact that it is a sequel to my game of the year isn’t the only reason why I am interested in the game. The main reason why it caught my eye was the game’s theme, choice; this works well because the game involves alternative timelines, and with alternative timelines you can see what would have happened if say Tales of Xillia ended with Milla making a different choice or where Gaius’ country is still at war. As a story and character driven player this really does have me interested. Tales of Xillia 2 doesn’t have a specific release date apart from the fact that it will be released in 2014.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection and Tales of Xillia 2 are not the only two games that caught my eye; there are several Japanese developed titles that have caught my interest. Some other titles that caught my eye include: Square Enix’s Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, this caught my eye because of battle changes and the fact I’m interested in how Square Enix will end the series, Namco Bandai Games’ Earth Defense Force 2025, this caught my eye mainly because it looks like mindless fun and because it is part of a recommended series that I never touched, NIS America published Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, I love watching a good murder mystery but I never played one before, so I’m itching to see if a video game murder mystery can keep me as engrossed as a TV murder mystery, and finally Sega’s Bayonetta 2, I never played the first one, but with all its praise I feel like I missed out on something, also if you add in the fact Platinum Games make some pretty insane games it feels like I need to at least experience it, the only downside is that I will need to save up to buy a Wii U.

In all 2014 has the potential to be another good year for Japanese developed titles in western countries, but we really won’t know until the year ends.

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.

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