Import Tidbits

It's a scorching sunny Sunday here in Toronto, a loud parade is taking place just down the street, and the garbage is piling up thanks to an irritating strike. What better time to think about other places, and the games that come from those other places? Yesirree, it's time for another edition of import tidbits.

  • Leading off the tidbits this week is information on the new Sakura Taisen title for the PlayStation 2. A variety of sources have reported the game's announcement, not the least of which is its developer, Overworks. The company is promising full details will appear on its website tomorrow, until which time few details beyond the game's name and logo will be divulged. Even the title is in some doubt; one site is reporting the title as Sakura Taisen: Atsuki chishio ni, or Sakura Taisen: in the Hot Blood, while another is translating the moniker as Sakura Taisen: Netsuki Sashioni. Whose translation is correct will probably come to light tomorrow.

    Besides the logo and title, Overworks has also revealed the game will be set in the world of Sakura Taisen 4, but in a different time than that game. No release information has been made available for the title yet, and given the status of the previous four entries in the series, expect this one to be a Japanese exclusive as well.

  • Faulty PSX software is once again in the news in Japan. After releasing a buggy version of Shin Megami Tensei II earlier this year, Atlus of Japan is now recalling defective copies for exchange. Gamers are offered the chance to trade in faulty versions of the game for working software, starting three days ago, and running until August 31st. During this period, it is possible to contact Atlus through a special hotline or over the company's website to arrange the trade-in. This will enable customers to pick up a revised copy of the game, which will commence shipment on July 12.

  • Idea Factory is keeping itself busy; the company has recently announced it will be publishing three new RPGs for release in Japan. The titles include Kingdom of Chaos Universe, a simulation-style RPG, Ever 17, based on an anime of the same name, and Only You, an adventure-RPG. Kingdom of Chaos Universe is the latest in a series of titles, while Ever 17 is the brainchild of Japanese developer KID, noted for its Dreamcast output. Ever 17 will be unleashed on the PlayStation 2 later this summer, in conjunction with Japanese developer KID. Finally, the third title, Only You, is set for release in September of this year, courtesy of developer Alice Soft. The chances of any of these titles reaching North America are dubious, so importers should keep an eye on these release dates.

  • Microsoft has paused its campaign to ram extra Hotmail storage down people's throats long enough to ram extra Phantasy Star Online fees down people's throats. In addition to coughing up the cost of the game, regular ISP payments, and the $50 fee for the first year of Xbox live (which is thereafter $10 monthly, in all likelihood), Japanese gamers will also be on the hook for a montly "Hunter's License" fee. Anyone put off by this prohibitive pricing scheme can take heart in the fact that offline play will be free, but seeing as how the word "online" shows up in the game's name, suggesting that's how it's meant to be played, this will probably come as scant consolation.

  • Finally, Square has had to deal with another situation involving players of its fledgling Final Fantasy XI. After emerging from a trouble-plagued month, gamers hit another wall last week when three players ran into an experience cap upon achieving level 50 in the game. This, naturally, caused a fair amount of constarnation, but Square was quick to respond to the situation, stating that the cap was put in place in order to maintain game balance for lower-level players. Additionally, the company hopes to encourage teamwork with the cap, claiming that no player can take on the toughest monsters alone at this level.

    Still, later in the week, the company did extend something resembling a peace offering to these gamers, announcing a scheduled server maintenance for July 2, between 9 and 11 AM. Square will increase the probability of encountering rare monsters, and has also slated a version update for July 9, in which new items and quests will be made available.

by Andrew Long    
Sources: [Xengamers, Famitsu, Games Are Fun,, RPGFan, The Magicbox]
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