2015 Most Wanted (Post-E3 Edition)

(5) Super Mario Maker (WiiU): the first “endless” Mario platform game, and thankfully it’s not an “endless runner” game – although you probably will be able to create your own “endless runner game” in this game. Indeed, Super Mario Maker, is the big N’s answer to the success of Microsoft’s Minecraft and Sony’s Little Big Planet series. You’ll be able to create your own Mario themed levels and share them with the entire world – or at least share them with those 10 million people in the world that own a WiiU. Not much of a creator yourself, and not in the mood to play random people’s crappy levels? There are also about 100 official levels created by Nintendo, making it one of the most content rich 2D Mario games to date, included in the package. Best thing about Super Mario Maker? It’s releasing the day after tomorrow!

European release date: September 11th

Super Mario Maker

(4) Persona 5 (PS3/PS4): what was one of the most niche Japanese RPG series has now become… Well, the Persona series, is still quite niche to be honest, but it has been attracting a wider audience these last few years with the releases of Persona 3 Portable on PlayStation Portable and Persona 4 Golden on PlayStation Go.. I mean.. VITA. Like its predecessors, Persona 5  will be part dating sim (okay, it’s not exactlya dating sim, but “social link game” doesn’t sound right either), part turn-based RPG. More precisely, you’ll once again play as a Japanese high school student that goes to school, makes friends, lives a normal life on regular days, but whom is also able to link with weird looking creatures (called persona) for battles in some sort of altered dimension. Still wondering why the series is somewhat niche? If you do, Persona 5, will be right up your alley!

European release date: 2015

Persona 5

(3) Rise of the Tomb Raider (X360/XONE): 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot was a big success, both critically (what cannot be said about the novelized sequel) and financially (although publisher Square-Enix wasn’t that happy with the initial sales). It was an epic action adventure game staring Lara Croft (whom, of course, needs no introduction) with high production values and a more than decent story – from the hand of Rhianna Pratchett. Rise of the Tomb Raider promises to be more of the same… More of the same, but covered in snow, that is. And, honestly, who wouldn’t want to see that? Winter is coming… a bit early this year, since the game is said to release in November already.

European release date: November 13th
Rise of the Tomb Raider

(2) Fallout 4 (PC/PS4/XONE): Fallout 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. It’s an isometric action RPG. Fallout 3 was quite a different game (a first person shooter/RPG), but was still one of the best games on the previous generation of consoles. Fallout 4 look a lot like Fallout 3 (it’s also a first person shooter/RPG), which is not a bad thing necessarily – otherwise it wouldn’t be ranked number 2 on this list. You’ll once again play as a person (you’ll get to choose between a man and a woman, like you could in Fallout 2!) that spent the most of their life sheltered in a vault because of the fallout (hence the title, duh) created by the nuclear war that destroyed the world, but whom now needs to leave said vault for some or other reason. After having explored the wastelands of Washington and New Vegas, this time we’ll get to explore the wastes of Boston. I’ll send you a postcard to tell you about my trip!

European release date: November 10th

Fallout 4

(1) Xenoblade Chronicles X (WiiU): Xenoblade Chronicles X is the only game to survive the previous Most Wanted list (two games on the previous list were moved to 2016, two others have already been released) and, yes, it’s still the game releasing this year which I’m looking forward to the most. Here’s what I wrote previously:

First there was Final Fantasy VII for the original Playstation. Then there was Fallout 3 for the Playstation 3. On the third day God gave us Xenoblade Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii, and he saw that it was good. More than good actually. It was amazing. The first Xenoblade Chronicles is not only regarded to be one of the best Japanese roleplaying games of the previous generation of consoles. It is also my favorite game of all time. Expectations for its HD follow-up are… high, to say the least. The new game will boast an even larger over world with even bigger monsters to fight, will give us the chance to cross said world in mech-suits, and generally promises to be the biggest sci-fi opera/fantasy RPG to date. Plus, the trailer that revealed that Monolith Soft’s mysterious game (X) was actually Xenoblade Chronicles X, alsorevealed the Nopon race to be in this game as well. Meaning we’ll probably get to be called the ‘heropon’ once more. Cannot wait to spend a 100+ hours on this game!

What I wrote then (mostly) still holds up today. Expectations may be a bit less high, because of some mixed reactions about the online features in the game coming from Japan (where the game has already been released), but they’re still high. Still cannot wait to spend 100+ hours on this game!

European release date: December 4th

Xenoblade Chronicles X

The future of Nintendo: what’s to come after Spring 2016 (3)

E3 has come and gone and all the big players have made some exciting new announcements about their upcoming and future games. Unlike, for instance, Sony, Nintendo decided to focus on games they will be releasing in the coming year instead of in the coming years. For some (including myself) their digital E3 event was a bit underwhelming. Mostly because we already knew about most of their games that will release before the Spring of 2016. Especially when looking at WiiU.

In this series of articles I will look at what Nintendo will most likely deliver after Spring 2016. Of course I do not have a crystal ball, so what I will be presenting here are just some educated guesses about what Nintendo’s (affiliated) studios are most likely to be working on right now.

Next up: the rest of SPD 2’s Japanese third-party partners

MISTWALKER

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Mistwalker The Last Story February 2012 Blue Dragon Series (?) Terra Battle

The Last Story

What are they working on?

Mistwalker is Hironobu Sakaguchi’s company (the creator of final fantasy). Mistwalker also houses Nobuo Uematsu (the composer of most Final Fantasy games). Mistalker’s team is currently working on the mobile game Terra Battle. Because the game has already been downloaded more than two million times on mobile devices, Sakaguchi should honor is promise of bringing Terra Battle to current gen consoles. Whether WiiU will be one of those consoles, is hard to tell. Mistwalker’s last big production (before they switched to mobile) was for the Nintendo Wii, but I’m not sure if that would actually play a role in their decision to bring Terra Battle to WiiU or not. SPD 2 probably won’t have any involvement in the decision since Terra Battle is not a Nintendo franchise.

Although the studio is best known for some high profile RPG’s (including Blue Dragon and – a personal favorite – Lost Odyssey for the Xbox 360), chances that they will produce another high profile RPG by themselves are small. The studios that assisted Mistwalker (Artoon) or that were created to assist Mistwalker (feelplus Inc.) in producing these titles are now part of Marvelous AQL, who have their own franchises to worry about. A sequel to The Last Story seems very improbable at the moment.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Maybe Terra Battle will come to WiiU, but chances are slim. The Last Story 2? Don’t count on it.

MONOLITH SOFT

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Monolith Soft Project X Zone July 2013 Xeno(blade) series

Project X Zone series

Super Robot Taisen series

Baten Kaitos series

Disaster: Day of Crisis

Xenoblade Chronicles X

ProjectXZone

What are they working on?

Just like Intelligent Systems, they are not really a third party studio anymore (although they still make games that are published by Bandai Namco). Relations with Monolith Soft are still being handled by SPD 2 though.

Monolith Soft has finished it work of Xenoblade Chronicles X which will release in December for WiiU. It has already been released in Japan. Director Tetsuya Takahashi has already confirmed that they have started working on their next big RPG, which may or may not be another title in the Xenoblade Chronicles series, but which most likely will not appear on WiiU anymore.

Project X Zone 2 will be released early 2016, which they are co-developing with Banpresto (a subsidiary of Bandai Namco) and which will published by Bandai Namco on Nintendo 3DS.

Apart from working on their own franchises, Monolith Soft has a supportive role. For instance, they helped EAD 3 in the development of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and have mentioned wanting to work with EAD 3 again on the new Legend of Zelda for WiiU.

Although Monolith Soft has worked on several Super Robot Taisen games, chances are small that they are currently working on a new game in the series, which is published by Bandai Namco. Mostly because there’s already a game (Super Robot Wars BX for the Nintendo 3DS) that will be published by Bandai Namco this year in Japan, and I don’t think Monolith Soft is involved in its development.

What about Baten Kaitos? Around the launch of the 3DS there were rumors about a Baten Kaitos game being in development for the platform (titled Silence of the Mechanized Sun). Nothing has been heard of this game since 2011, so chances are that is has been cancelled – if it ever existed in the first place. Baten Kaitos on WiiU? Not going to happen.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Xenoblade Chronicles X will release in December (if it is not delayed). Monolith Soft may help EAD 3 on their new Legend of Zelda game, but that will be all we can expect from Monolith Soft for this generation of Nintendo home consoles.

PLATINUMGAMES

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
PlatinumGames Bayonetta 2 October 2014 Bayonetta series

The Wonderful 101

Star Fox Zero

Star Fox Zero

Bayonetta 2

What are they working on?

PlatinumGames has been releasing about two games per year the last few years, and have at least four development teams. One team is currently working on Star Fox Zero and Project Guard together with EAD 5. Platinum Games has taken over most of the development effort for these games.

PlatinumGames is also working on Scalebound for Xbox One (published by Microsoft), the newest NieR game for PlayStation 4 (published by Square Enix), and Transformers: Devastation  for every non-Nintendo platform out there (published by Activision). It is unlikely that they have the capacity to be working on another game for Nintendo at the moment, which means that: no, we won’t get to see Bayonetta 3 anytime soon, nor will be getting a Wonderful 102 – if anybody still expects to see a sequel to that game. A port of Transformes: Devastation? Maybe, but not likely.

 

What does this mean for WiiU?

Star Fox Zero and Project Guard are releasing later this year. Those will be the fourth and fifth PlatinumGames games on WiiU. Not a bad track record for a third party developer. Chance of another one of their games on WiiU? Zero. And I don’t mean Star Fox Zero.

RED ENTERTAINMENT

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Red Entertainment Fossil Fighters Frontier May 2015 Fossil Fighters series (?) New Fossil Fighters

Fossil Fighters Frontier

What are they working on?

Red Entertainment finished working on Fossil Fighters Frontier by the end of 2013 or at the beginning of 2014, when it was released for 3DS in Japan. Although the latest game in the series isn’t a big success, development on the next installment may be well underway. The new Fossil Fighters game will probably release on the next Nintendo handheld.

Red Entertainment has assisted Intelligent Systems in the development of Fire Emblem: Awakening, but they were not involved in the production of its sequel: Fire Emblem Fates. They are probably not involved in another Fire Emblem game at the moment.

Red Entertainment’s  other big franchise is Record of Agarest War which they co-develop with Idea Factory. The Record of Agarest War games have not yet made an appearance on Nintendo consoles, and for the time being, probably won’t.

What does this mean for WiiU?

No Red Entertainment games will be released on WiiU.. unless you would consider a possible Fossil Fighters Virtual Console release as a new release.

SYN SOPHIA

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Syn Sophia New Style Boutique

Style Boutique 3 (JP)

November 2012 Style Boutique series (?) Style Boutique 3

New Style Boutique

What are they working on?

Syn Sophia was formerly known as AKI Corporation, as which they were mostly known for creating fighting games (Ready 2 Rumble Revolution, Def Jam Vendetta and WCW/WWF games). After their name change they have only released two games in the West, and those are the two games in the Style Boutique (Style Savvy) series.

Style Boutique 3 was released in Japan this year. It will probably still be localized for the West and will most likely release after Spring 2016 for Nintendo 3DS. Work on Style Boutique 4 for the next generation of Nintendo handhelds may have already begun.

Syn Sophia also makes Japan exclusive mobile games.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Syn Sophia will not make a game for WiiU. The first Style Boutique may still come to the Virtual Console.

TOSE

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
TOSE Splatoon May 2015 The Legendary Starfy series

Super Princess Peach

Kid Icarus: Of myths and monsters

Resident Evil Revelations (HD)

Dragon Quest Monsters series

Final Fantasy GBA ports

(?)Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D

 Splatoon 4

What are they working on?

TOSE is mostly known for its close working relationships with Nintendo and Square Enix. They handle the Dragon Quest Monsters series. Although two (remade) games (Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D and Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Ira & Luca) in the series have already been released for Nintendo 3DS in Japan, none of the Dragon Quest Monsters 3DS games they have made, have come to the West so far. With the localization of Dragon Quest VII and VIII for 3DS having been (somewhat) confirmed, it is not entirely impossible that these games will still make it West though.

With regards to Nintendo’s own franchises, TOSE has assisted EAD 2 with the development of Splatoon. As such they have shown that they still have a good working relationship with Nintendo, even though they haven’t released a single game for a Nintendo platform published by Nintendo itself that was coordinated by SPD 2 on this generation of consoles.

TOSE also has a lot of experience creating platform games (Kid Icarus: Of myths and monsters, Super Princess Peach and The Legendary Starfy). Since Nintendo has not announced any platform game for WiiU coming in 2016, and I cannot fathom Nintendo NOT releasing a single platform game on WiiU that year (or any year), it may just be TOSE’s turn to show us what they have been working on ever since they have finished working on Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns (for non-Nintendo systems), Resident Evil Revelations HD (for different systems, among which WiiU) and Splatoon (a WiiU exclusive). Super Princess Peach WiiU? Who knows?

TOSE also makes the The Legendary Starfy games for Nintendo, of which four games have been released so far in Japan and only one in the West (in 2008). The series has been dormant for some time now, so maybe it would be opportune for a new game in the Starfy series? For 3DS? For WiiU?

TOSE developed both Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and Resident Evil Revelations for Nintendo 3DS. They also ported that last game to WiiU (as well as other systems). Could a port of Resident Evil Revelations 2, which they did not develop themselves, to WiiU still happen? Probably not, but one can hope.

What does this mean for WiiU?

TOSE may be working on a platform game for WiiU like Super Princess Peach WiiU or Starfy WiiU. They may also be working on a port of Resident Evil Revelations 2 for WiiU. But they may as well be working on nothing at all for Nintendo’s current home console. Time will tell.

TREASURE

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Treasure Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Skies

Gaist Crusher God (JP)

May 2010

September 2014 (JP)

Wario World

Ikaruga

Sin & Punishment series

Gaist Crusher series

Bleach series

(?) Gaist Crusher

Sin & Punishment Successor

What are they working on?

Treasure is mostly known for its shoot-em-up games, with Ikaruga and the original Sin & Punishment being cult classics. Treasure is most likely working on another game in the genre, though it is not certain whether that will be for a Nintendo platform. With them having published Ikaruga by themselves on Steam (which did pretty well there) they may just start publishing more of their games themselves. And even though they would be the go to developer for Nintendo to make a new Sin & Punishment game, most likely they’re letting the series have a little rest at the moment.

Treasure’s last two (new) games were published exclusively in Japan by Capcom for the Nintendo 3DS: Gaist Crusher, and its sequel:  Gaist Crusher God. It is unlikely that these games will come West, but apart from a possible new game in the Bleach series, it is unlikely we will see another game by them anytime soon on a Nintendo system.

Or can we expect to see Ikaruga HD on WiiU?

What does this mean for WiiU?

Treasure won’t be releasing a game on WiiU. The only possibility seems to be Ikaruga HD, but that is unlikely to happen.

VALHALLA GAME STUDIOS

Developer Latest game Release date Other games and projects Next game
Valhalla Game Studios none none Devil’s Third Devil’s Third

Devil's Third

What are they working on?

Valhalla Game Studios has been working on Devil’s Third since 2010. It will release in August. No other games are in the works.

What does this mean for WiiU?

Devil’s Third will release on WiiU in August. That’s the only game we may expect from this studio for the console.

CONCLUSION FOR SPD 1 AND SPD 2:

SPD 1, SPD 2 and Japanese third parties supervised by SPD 2 are working on three of the most important WiiU releases still coming to the Nintendo WiiU this year, namely Devil’s Third, Star Fox Zero (including Project Guard) and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Also the only big title announced for WiiU (apart from Zelda) next year is being taken care of by SPD 2, Intelligent Systems and Atlus. Apart from those titles we can only guess whether these studios still have titles in the works for WiiU. Sadly, it may not be much from looking at it. (i) PlatinumGames and Intelligent Systems are very busy with their other projects for the moment. (ii) Monolith has started working on its next big RPG, which we won’t see within the next 2 years. (iii) Many of Nintendo’s known previous partners have shifted their focus from home console development to mobile development (Arika, Mistwalker and Syn Sophia for instance), (iv) while others have worked on less popular/smaller Nintendo franchises which may be in rest for the time being (Ganbarion, Treasure and Tose for instance).

So while I have made some suggestions about possible games these studios are working on, it may actually be that we see none of them release on WiiU at all. The most likely game to release on WiiU of the bunch? Fullblox World/Stretchmo World, and that isn’t exactly the big name game Nintendo fans are still hoping for.

2015 Most Wanted (Pre-E3 Edition)

(5) Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (PSV/PS3): Tokyo Twilight What Now? I understand your confusion. This certainly isn’t the next Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, or Final Fantasy. Heck, I’m not even sure it can actually be called a videogame. It’s a visual novel by the guys who gave us Deadly Premonition, which… did not have great gameplay, but did have a more than decent story, great characters and took place in an amazing setting (interactive Twin Peaks anyone?). So it is completely understandable that these guys decided to make their next game gameplay-light. The title? It might be difficult to take any product that has Twilight even near its title serious in this day and age, but I can assure you: there are no glittery vampires involved in this one. Or… are there? *Evil laughter*

European release date: March 13th

(4) Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4): Will this game convince me to buy a Playstation 4? It just might. Some years ago I bought a Playstation 3 to be able to play Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (my bundle of choice), Final Fantasy XIII, and… Brütal Legend (don’t judge me!) Since we will probably have to wait for Final Fantasy XV until next year, and because chances for a new Brütal Legend are rather slim, Uncharted 4 will have to be stellar to convince me though. Presentation wise, it will be stellar. Gameplay wise, it will be s… similar to the previous ones. Story-wise… meh. Not quite convinced yet. In his newest adventure, Indiana Jo… I mean… Nathan Drake will team up with his long lost brother, whom he thought to be dead… They look for… Let’s just stop there for now. Anybody else think the brother might turn out to be the bad guy, only to turn good just before he dies?

European release date: late 2015

(3) Danganronpa: Another Episode (PSV): Whomever says the Playstation Vita is dead… does not like to play niche Japanese games. Danganronpa: Another Episode is the third game in the series, but while the previous two games were visual novels, this one is a third person shooter. Meaning that this time around your only means of escaping will not be killing one of your classmates and surviving the class trial. This time you get to shoot stuff. Not just any stuff. Playing as Komaru Naegi (sister of Makoto, the main character in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair) you will have to shoot down a whole lot of psychotic robot teddy bears who are black on one side and white on the other (i.e. Monokuma’s). Sounds whack? It is. And for those who are less shooter apt (like I am), you will also be able to play as the powerful Genocide Jack. Yes, the creepy serial killer girl with the snake tongue from the first game is back as well.

European release date: fall

(2) The Legend of Zelda (WiiU): Do I really have to explain why this game is so high up on the list? It’s the first Legend of Zelda-game in HD for Pete’s sake! Link: check! Bow and arrow: check! Open world: check! Horseback-riding: check! Zelda: Eeerrr… she’ll probably be in this one as well. Truth is, we haven’t seen that much of the game yet. I still believe it will release this year (unlike Final Fantasy XV), but chances are it might slide to next year. This year’s E3 will show us whether we’ll be in Hyrule by Christmas or not, though whether I’ll be ready for it or not will mostly depend on how much time I’m going to sink into the number 1 on my 2015 most wanted (pre-E3 edition) list.

European release date: late 2015

(1) Xenoblade Chronicles X (WiiU): First there was Final Fantasy VII for the original Playstation. Then there was Fallout 3 for the Playstation 3. On the third day God gave us Xenoblade Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii, and he saw that it was good. More than good actually. It was amazing. The first Xenoblade Chronicles is not only regarded to be one of the best Japanese roleplaying games of the previous generation of consoles. It is also my favorite game of all time. Expectations for its HD follow-up are… high, to say the least. The new game will boast an even larger over world with even bigger monsters to fight, will give us the chance to cross said world in mech-suits, and generally promises to be the biggest sci-fi opera/fantasy RPG to date. Plus, the trailer that revealed Monolith Soft’s mysterious game (X) was actually Xenoblade Chronicles X, also revealed the Nopon race to be in this game as well. Meaning we’ll probably get to be called the ‘heropon’ once more. Cannot wait to spend a 100+ hours on this game!

European release date: June 26th, hopefully (if the Italian Amazon leak was correct); late 2015, probably