The Gundam Vs. series has been a big success for Bandai Namco in arcades and on consoles. Usually, that would prompt a publisher to consider an overseas release, but so far Bandai Namco has only brought over the Dynasty Warriors Gundam series while the console version of Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. remains a popular import.
Why hasn’t Bandai Namco localized the 2-on-2 Gundam fighting games? Siliconera asked Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. producer Ryuichiro Baba.
“The Gundam games have an entertaining battle system, which may explain why people are importing them, but the license is a problem,” Baba replied. “In addition to that, in Japan and Asia, anime airs more often on TV where not as much is aired in the US. Also, the Gundam plastic model kits are readily found throughout Asia. The IP in general is much more well received in Asia and Japan.”
“To try to create that for the Western market would be difficult,” he added. Baba is also the executive producer of Rise of Incarnates, and said that this is partly what led to the creation of that game.
“That is kind of what lead to a decision for [Rise of Incarnates]. The 2-on-2 gameplay is the same, but it’s tailored more to the Western audience,” he said to Siliconera. “Not just with the look of the game, but the mechanics, as well, which is kind of how this game started out.”
Baba joked that they haven’t given up on Gundam and maybe if Michael Bay made a Gundam movie like he did with Transformers, the series would grow in the West. Baba also said that if the 2-on-2 fighting genre gains popularity, perhaps through Rise of Incarnates, that could increase the chances of seeing the Gundam Vs. games released in the West. In addition to Gundam Vs. staff at Bandai Namco Games, Byking, the developer of Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. and Gunslinger Stratos, is helping developing Rise of Incarnates.
From Gundam Vs. to Border Break, team-battle games have grown in popularity in Japan where you might not expect them—arcades. Baba mused that, perhaps Japanese players are late to the game when it comes to multiplayer online matches and that, compared to a one-on-one fighting game, team battles allow arcade gamers to team up with friends when fighting other players. These are reasons Baba believes that the 2-on-2 and team multiplayer games have grown into a genre of their own in Japan.
Rise of Incarnates is scheduled to debut on Steam’s Early Access program sometime in November. This version will have 3 stages and 8 playable characters. 6 are currently in the Rise of Incarnates beta, plus Ra, who uses a spinning laser attack and can create a giant sword for a narrow, but long-range strike. Bandai Namco will reveal another character later on, too.
When it launches, Rise of Incarnates will be a free-to-play game with customization items available to purchase. Some items are drops, but others can only be obtained if you purchase them. The Early Access release will have 1,500 items (head, body, weapon, and accessories) to collect.