Every Upcoming Japanese Xbox One Game and Why We’re Excited for Them

EXCLUSIVE TITLES

Happy Dungeons
(Toylogic | 2016 | Exclusive)

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Happy Dungeons comes to us from the same team that developed Happy Wars, the MOBA-like third-person action game that’s seen a release on the Xbox 360, PC, and Xbox One. With Dungeons, though, the focus has shifted from said competitive action to cooperative play, with the core of Dungeons‘ experience playing out like a traditional hack-and-slash dungeon-crawler (in the vein of Baldur’s Gate). Being billed as an action-RPG, it’s easy to see, then, that Happy Dungeons has a bit more depth than its counterpart Happy Wars, and looks to fill the action-RPG void on Xbox One.

With Diablo 3 being the only traditional loot-crawl on Microsoft’s latest console (Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s multiplayer is also worth mentioning to some degree), the system is in need of bolstering its ranks. Thus, Happy Dungeons should serve the Xbox crowd nicely, and give us more of a genre that has been under-represented on Xbox One, but one we love all the same. Plus, it’s rare to see a dungeon crawler such as this sport such an adorable, tongue-in-cheek style. Regardless of console choice, that type of RPG is criminally unaccounted for–and that, to us, is simply unacceptable.

Shooting Love Trilogy
(Triangle Service | TBA | Exclusive)

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Ah, Triangle… How we love thee. Developer Triangle Service is best known for their games Trizeal and XIIZEAL (also on Steam now!), and is said to be releasing the next installment in their Shooting Love series on the Xbox One sometime this year or next. Out of the three included STGs on this list, Shooting Love Trilogy is the one we know the least about–and that’s saying something seeing as we don’t know much about Raiden or Natsuki, either! If we had to guess, it’ll be very similar to Shooing Love 200X on Xbox 360, which was a compilation of some of Triangle’s games and remixes of their past titles.

Let’s just hope the presentation of Love Trilogy is better than 200X‘s, as that’s what was picked apart by players and critics alike when 200X released back in 2009 (though the game also released just this past April on Xbox Games on Demand; so go buy it!). The 4-player versus mode was also pretty novel; in fact, we wouldn’t mind that making a comeback for Trilogy. While there’s been no official word on a localization for Shooting Love (or the other shmups on this list), they are the most import-friendly games around; therefore, even those with limited or no Japanese language knowledge can jump right in and play with ease.

Natsuki Chronicle
(Qute Corporation | TBA 2015 | Exclusive)

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If you have any interest in shmups at all, you probably already know the name “Qute Corporation.” For the uninitiated, developer Qute is responsible for two STGs that released last gen: Eschatos and Ginga Force. (The former just released on Steam, and is bundled with a few other older Qute games–so if you don’t have a 360, be sure to check those games out there.)

While there hasn’t been much said about Natsuki Chronicle, minus the brief, gameplay-less teaser trailer released a year or so ago, what we do know is that it’s a side-scrolling shmup (different from Eschatos and Ginga in that regard), that blends “story with customization” and seemingly takes place in the same universe as some of the studio’s last titles. We don’t know what that means exactly, but Natsuki is nevertheless on our radar simply due to Qute’s fantastic track record within the realm of shoot ’em ups.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness
(MAGES./5pb. | Fall 2015 | Exclusive)

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A visual novel about an anime? And it’s on Xbox One?! Yep, that is correct. Developed by 5pb. and led by Makoto Asada (of Mushihimesama, Espgaluda, and upcoming YU-NO remake fame), Psycho-Pass: Sentaku Naki Koufuku (“Madatory Happiness,” in English) was released a few months back in Japan, but was just recently announced for a Chinese release– a release that will include an English language option. Though there has been no hard confirmation of Psycho-Pass coming out to the West “officially” (aside from the English website that popped up on the ‘Net last December), since the Xbox One is region-free, you can easily import the game.

Psycho-Pass: Sentaku Naki Koufuku takes place during the first six episodes of the anime and is, what looks to be, a “kinetic” visual novel (which merely means it’s a visual novel with little to no branching paths/player choice scenarios). Nitro+ are the ones behind the writing for the game, and interestingly enough, the title utilizes optional Kinect and Smartglass features. Although we aren’t sure if it’ll make the cut in the Chinese/English version, the title also supports a function that allows players to send data from their smartphones to characters in the game. Pretty neat, really. Aside from all of that, though, the game just looks stunning from a visual standpoint, fitting right in with the anime’s aesthetic. From what we understand, the Chinese version (with the English localization component) is set to release this fall. So fans won’t have to wait too long to get their paws on it, it would seem. Better yet, hopefully this means that 5pb.’s other Xbox One visual novel, mystereet F, gets some sort of localization upon its release, too.

Students of Round 2
(Experience Inc. | TBA 2017 | Exclusive)

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Much like Shooting Love Trilogy, there isn’t much known about this JRPG from Experience Inc. (Their hits include Demon Gaze and Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy for Vita.) Since it was announced just a few weeks ago, all we have to go off of right now is that it’s an Xbox One exclusive scheduled for a 2017 release, and is set to be a strategy RPG with Experience citing Fire Emblem and Shining Force as the game’s primary influences. Don’t know about you all, but that sounds like a recipe for success.

Interestingly enough, there is a “2” in the title for a reason: there actually is a first Students of Round! It was released on Xbox 360 and PC back in February 2011 under the title, “Entaku no Seito: Students of Round.” What’s “interesting” about this is the fact that the first game was a DRPG (like most of Experience’s work), however this new installment seems to be straying from that formula and into the realm of SRPGs.

Stranger of Sword City
(Experience Inc. | Early 2016 | Exclusive)

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This dungeon-RPG (DRPG) from developer Experience Inc. first came out in 2014 in Japan for Xbox 360, PC, and Vita, and is now slated for an exclusive release on Xbox One with completely new art. Experience dropped this news earlier this month and confirmed an official North American version is the one the way for Xbox One (via digital distribution), slating it for an early 2016 release–they specified sometime between January and March.

When Stranger of Sword City first came out, it fared pretty well in Famitsu, earning itself a 32/40. It’s a typical dungeon-crawling affair, similar to Etrian Odyssey or Class of Heroes, wherein the player sets up parties of various classes and characters and traipses through dungeons, all the while trouncing baddies and looting chests. Although the change in art style has taken many by surprise–simply because Stranger‘s original release two years ago had a beautiful art direction–there are some, like me, who love the new anime aesthetic. But, you can’t please everyone, and it seems like Experience doesn’t care–they’ve given the game a face-lift to make it fresh again, and we wholeheartedly support the change. Stranger of Sword City will be only the third JRPG released on Xbox One at the time of its release (the other being Final Fantasy Type-0 and Pier Solar HD). So if you want it to have more, buy the game when it comes out!

Raiden V
(MOSS | February 26, 2016 | Exclusive)

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If you’re fluent in the talk of shmups, then you’re already excited for Raiden V. As one of the genre’s benchmark series, Raiden has been around for two and a half decades. Fascinating to think about, seeing as they’re just now getting around to the fifth installment in the mainline series. Fascinating in the sense that Call of Duty has been out since 2003 and has 12+ titles. Just the same, we don’t know much about Raiden V either, as developer MOSS has been tight-lipped about the project since the beginning. It’s not believed to be vaporware (yet), and we at least have a trailer to point toward something tangible involving the “Raiden V” name. Still, what we do expect is more of that excellent, vertical-scrolling goodness that is peppered with explosions, explosions, and…well, more explosions.

While the game was meant for a 2015 release, there hasn’t been much news on its release in quite some time. If we had to guess, Microsoft and MOSS are trying to figure out how the game can get into more hands/households since the installbase in Japan is embarrassingly small. We wouldn’t be surprised if this gets a Windows 10 or Steam release at some point, if MOSS is indeed worried about audiences not flocking to it. We’re inclined to believe it’ll sell just fine (or at least “fine” in relation to how STGs/shmups typically sell), as those into the genre are going to buy whatever systems they need to in order to play their games. That’s what happened last gen and the one before that, anyway.

ReCore
(Armature Studio, Comcept | TBA | Exclusive)

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ReCore only half counts as Japanese-centric game for Xbox One because, while it’s being led by the iconic Keiji Inafune (of Mega Man fame, and now Mighty No. 9 fame–though that MN9 fame is quite different from Mega Man fame, and we mean that in a negative way, hah) and his team at Comcept Inc., it’s also being developed by the guys over at Armature–the studio best known for being made up of former Retro Studios employees and their port work on Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, and the upcoming Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. But even with this Western team behind him, it seems that ReCore is Keiji and Comcept’s baby.

We don’t know a lot about it, though. From the details we do have, it seems that ReCore will be an action-adventure/buddy-game. We got a non-gameplay trailer not too long ago that showed off the game’s characters, which have a sort of Pixar vibe to them that we adore. We have high hopes for the game especially because Microsoft seems invested in it; and hopefully that means it gets the triple-A treatment in terms of development and marketing.

Phantom Dust
(TBA | TBA | Exclusive)

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Alright, we’re cheating a little here since we don’t even know if Phantom Dust is going to be a thing anymore (since Darkside Studios was shut down in the midst of their development of the game), and also because we aren’t sure that Yukio Futatsugi will be back leading the project. Futatsugi led development on the original Phantom Dust title (you may know him as the father of Panzer Dragoon, and the guy who now heads Grounding Inc.) and struck gold with the title, as it is often heralded as the best original Xbox game–or at least heralded as the best original Xbox game by us here at Hardcore Gamer.

Still, Phil Spencer has talked about his own love of the original game and desire to keep the new Phantom Dust alive; though we have gotten the sense that it’s not at the top of his priority list right now–of course, that could change after this fall/winter when Microsoft gets the launch of Halo 5 out of the way. Still, Phantom Dust is on this list because it really is one of our favorite games of all time. For those who don’t know it, what you need to be aware of is its genre, which is a mashup of a collectible card/deck-building game and an arena brawler.

Aside from its crossover genre, though, what it’s also remembered by is its haunting presentation, characters, and story. As one of the most unique-looking games in the history of the industry, Phantom Dust exudes personality and charisma. So for those keeping track: its gameplay, story, and presentation are top-notch. Then there’s the multiplayer component that supported up to four players and was deliciously chaotic in nature. Ah…it’s just an all-around superb game. Here’s hoping we get that new version.

Scalebound
(PlatinumGames | Winter 2016 | Exclusive)

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Last, but certainly not least, we have Hideki Kamiya/PlatinumGames’ open-world, Monster Hunting-esque RPG, Scalebound. Who is Hideki Kamiya, you ask? Well first off, shame on you for not knowing. Secondly, he’s the guy behind Bayonetta, Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 1, 2, and 0, Okami, and The Wonderful 101. Phew, that’s a lot of hits to have on a single resume. Scalebound was first revealed at E3 2014 and then shown off–in pre-alpha form, mind you–at just this past E3. Even in its alpha build the game looked silky smooth and non-restrictive. An open-world hunting game where your companion is an enormous dragon? Yep, sign us up.

It’s easily our most anticipated Xbox One, and just current gen, game. Sure, some people have dogged on its main character, mostly citing reasons of psychoanalytic transference stemming from Dante in DmC. And sure, there are some overlaps, we grant them that: he is a little Western-looking, he’s a little needlessly snarky…oh, and he wears headphones that look like Beats by Dre. It seems to be the headphones thing that’s tripping up most people. We, on the other hand, love his design. We also love how lush and huge the game world itself looks. Even in its early state, the animation work and level of detail easily surpassed some already released games.

What also gives us so much confidence and faith is the fact that Kamiya has yet to make a bad game. Even his worst game, arguably Resident Evil 0, is still better than most. So…in Kamiya we trust.


So there you have it; a guide to all the Japanese games coming to the Xbox One that we know of. Although Microsoft was absent from this year’s Tokyo Game Show, they are planning an event in Japan that will take place on September 26 and then again on October 4. It’s unclear what this event will fully entail — outside of letting people try out various Xbox One games and just building greater brand awareness — but we do know that some of the aforementioned games will be at the events. While we outlined strategies last year on what Microsoft could do to increase Xbox One sales in Japan, we’re hopeful that, since they don’t seem to be backing out of the region any time soon, this event will be a good first step to helping the One stay afloat in the East.

Having said all of that, did we miss any games on our list? Care to chime in on what you’re looking forward to most? Leave us a comment!

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