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Re-Introducing: Import Tidbits

A while back, RPGamer used to run regularly scheduled news stories compiling information on various titles set for release in Japan that probably wouldn't make it to North America. Seeing as how there's been a proliferation of such games recently, this idea has been resurrected. Here are some stories making news in Japan recently:

  • A cell-phone version of Idea Factory's MMORPG Kingdom of Chaos has been announced by the company, which will call the new title Kingdom of Chaos i. As in the PC version, it will be possible for cell-phone owners to keep pets, collect items, and even put down roots in their very own online home. Set in the virtual world of Neverland, the same area the PC version is set in, the game is currently available in Japan for 300 yen(A little under $2.50 US) per month.

  • As of April 19th, Enix has concluded its beta test of Kingdom of Twilight, an expansion to Depth Fantasia. The 5800 yen (Approximately $45.00 US) Kingdom of Twilight will ship on a single disc May 30th, on the same day Enix plans to release the Depth Fantasia Value Pack, an 11,600 yen(roughly $91.00 US), 3-disc set containing both Depth Fantasia and the aforementioned add-on.

  • During an interview with Mainichi Interactive, Yoichi Wada, Square's president and CEO, revealed his company is working on a "light-hearted" online RPG, which they hope to have ready for launch sometime next year. Wada did not divulge anything further about the project, including its name, or even its working title.

  • The sequel to Success Corporation's Konohana, a pulp-fiction inspired adventure title, will hit stores on May 30th. Konohana 2, which will be a PlayStation 2 title, follows the characters from the original game as they must investigate the murder of a senior student from their school. The event is clouded by mysterious circumstances; the student died when his room caught fire because a basket ignited, an accident that could have been prevented. Compounding the confusion is a message found in the room, which reads "The verdict of Angel Mikael is...".

    With this enigmatic background, Konohana 2 should prove to be an exciting adventure. It's also easy on the pocketbook, costing a mere 3800 yen(around $30.00 US). Japanese gamers who just can't get enough of the series also have the option to sign up for a J-phone version of the title, Konohana if, available through J-SkyWeb at a monthly rate of 300 yen (A little under $2.50 US).

  • A new simulation RPG is in the works at Nihon Falcom studios. Currently entitled VM Japan - Vantage Master - Mystic Zar Zast, the game is set against a partially authentic historical background, taking place during a turbulent stretch of shogun rule in the early 17th century. While the shogunate has ended the conflict in which Japan was engulfed, the Falling Stars ceremony has caused misfortune to rain upon Japan. Depression, instability, and bubbling resentment all contribute to continued unrest, and the game's characters must deal with this rocky setting.

    Featuring network, scenario, and free modes, VM Japan boasts both flexibility and four different levels of difficulty. Characters announced so far include Himika, a Shinto sorceress, Momosuke, a swordsman, Shuren, Kikuka the landlord's daughter, Takuwan, the sinful priest, Rokurou, the samurai, Satsuha, a priestly Chinese immigrant, and Lorenz, a half-Japanese swordsman. Nihon Falcom has not indicated when it plans to release the game.

  • Square has announced that Kingdom Hearts has exceeded their projected sales total of 500,000 by over 50%; the game recently broke the 750,000 mark.

  • Chris Taylor's Dungeon Siege will be hitting shelves in Japan later this month. Slated for release on the 17th, the game did not have a price listed at the time of this article's writing.

Rumors

  • Bandai is said to be planning the release of a new WonderSwan Color in Japan this July. The new model, dubbed the WonderSwan Crystal, will come equipped with a high-quality TFT-LCD screen, which will completely take care of the refresh rate problem the original often experienced. This model will retail at 7800 yen($61.00 US), dropping the original to 4800 yen($37.50 US) on June 1st.

  • Several online news outlets are reporting that Camelot Software is planning a GameCube release of their popular Golden Sun. Official confirmation is expected at, or shortly after, E3.

RPGamer will continue following all the import news that's fit to print. Any tips should be mailed to news@rpgamer.com with your name, the tip, and a verifiable source for your information.


by Andrew Long    
Source: [RPGFan, Famitsu, Mainichi Interactive, The Magic Box]
Note: RPGFan has been added as a source on this story after an initial omission. The author and RPGamer apologize for the error.
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