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These are Japan's Biggest Rookie Titles

Staff share tiny updates on Vanquish, Ni no Kuni, Last Ranker, Fantasy Life and more.

 
Level 5 and Studio Ghibli tie-up Ni no Kuni -- one of the most wanted rookie titles in Japan.

This week's Famitsu has a look at anticipated "rookie games" -- that is, games that are completely original and not a sequel to anything. Included in the bunch are such big-name releases as Xenoblade, Ni no Kuni, Fantasy Life and Vanquish.

In addition to a recap of previously revealed information, for most titles the magazine managed to get the producers and directors to answer two questions: how far along is development, and what are the notable points about the game.

Here's a summary of what was said about the games. The ranking listed by the name is where the game placed on Famitsu's most wanted list relative to other rookie titles -- that is, the ranking the game would have if all the sequels and other series titles were removed from the most wanted list.

Fantasy Life (most wanted #9)

Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino says development is progressing with the aim of offering robust "avatar making" and "life" systems. For the game's notable points, he says that this is an all original Level-5 RPG themed around "slow life" and brought to us through a collaboration between composer Nobuo Uematsu and Mother 3 developer Brownie Brown.

Vanquish (most wanted #8)

Director Shinji Mikami says development is at 80%. They've started balance adjustments. For the points of note, he mentions the main character's suit.

Xenoblade (most wanted #7)

Alas, this is one of the reasons I had to say the magazine got comments from the producers and directors only for "most" of the games Famitsu did not get any comments from director Tetsuya Takahashi. In fact, the only media in the magazine is a screen grab of the official site.

Last Ranker (most wanted #6)

Producer Minae Matsukawa says that they've entered into the tuning phase for the title as a whole, and are close to completion. A release is set for the summer. A release date will be announced soon, she says. Her points of note for the game are the feeling of tension from how you can steal rankings during real time battles, and the customization options.

Ghost Trick (most wanted #5)

The game is almost completely done, says director Shuu Takumi. They're working on the final tuning. The main point of note mentioned by Takumi is that the game starts from the main character's death. It's a "new style mystery," he says.

Last Guardian (most wanted #3)

This is the other reason I had to say "for most titles." There's no new commentary from Fumito Ueda in this feature. Famitsu recycled quotes from old interviews.

Ni no Kuni (most wanted #2)

For Level-5's tie-up with Studio Ghibli, overall director Akihiro Hino promises the top class RPG on the DS. They're working on a large number of game parts and events, he says. He promises a followup report shortly. For points of note, he mentions that the game has a variety of experiments, including the bundling of a book that must be used to advance in the game.

NieR Replicant (most wanted #1)

Yes, the PS3 version of NieR is the most wanted original title amongst Famitsu's readers. Xbox 360's Gestalt is number 4 (which is why there's no number 4 above). The director promises that the games will arrive on their previously announced release dates, "unless the world explodes."

NieR -- the most wanted rookie title.

Danbol Senki

This didn't make the reader list, but Famitsu's editors put it in as an editors choice. Producer Akihiro Hino (yes, the most interviewed developer in this column) promises new information to be released shortly. For points of note, he says that the game can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, from current children to adults who played with models when they were kids.

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