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Koei Unveils Fist of the North Star Musou

Nana Tanimura to perform theme song for latest Dynasty Warriors offshoot.


Tecmo Koei gathered the press in Tokyo today to formally unveil its latest Dynasty Warriors offshoot. The second crossover title for the historical action series following Gundam Musou (known overseas as Dynasty Warriors Gundam) will be Hokuto Musou.

In development for PS3 and Xbox 360, Hokuto Musou pairs the classic Hokuto no Ken (known in English as Fist of the North Star) manga with Dynasty Warriors gameplay. Taking control of manga main character Kenshiro and other characters, players run around beating up on enemies in typical Dynasty Warriors fashion.

During an introduction to the game today, producer Hisashi Koinuma said that while he expects Musou series fans to quickly get the hang of things, there are some differences in the core gameplay. Hokuto Musou will allow players to grab and throw enemies. Koinuma also made mention of "step-in" and "step-out" gameplay, but said to wait for a future update for further details on these and other systems.

The game will feature at least two primary modes of play: Densetsu and Gentou. Densetsu is set up like an action adventure game, with players following a story based on the original manga. Gentou offers a chance at trying out battles that weren't in the original work. The Gentou promises to be closer to the typical Musou title.

Koinuma brought with him a couple of video clips showing a play session of the Densetsu mode. The setting for the first of the two clips placed Kenshiro early on in the Hokuto no Ken story in a face off against the Zeed gang. The second clip showed a one-on-one fight between Kenshiro and Shin. This boss fight was set up somewhat like a versus fighting game, with the characters getting in a quick line before combat began.

Koinuma details Hokuto Musou.

During the presentation, Koinuma and later Tecmo Koei CEO Kenji Matsubara highlighted a greater pursuit of reality compared to past Musou games. The game will be more violent, although not excessively so. Matsubara made brief mention of "muscle expression."

Koinuma spoke of the game's use of real physics. In the demo, this was demonstrated as Kenshiro punched piles of sand bags, sending the individual bags scattering. The bags could then be interacted with as Kenshiro walked around. Players can also toss enemies into buildings, shattering walls into fragments.

First gameplay shots of Hokuto Musou.

Joining this first look at the game, Tecmo Koei brought some major celebrities out on stage. First of the North Star creators Buronson and Tetsuo Hara took part in a talk session where they shared insights into their work on the original manga. They were joined by the actors who will be portraying their characters in the game: Kuwashima Hoko as Yuria, Kanae Ito as Lin, Tachiki Fumihiko as Raoh and Katsuyuki Konishi as Kenshiro.

The voice actors discuss their roles.

Also appearing at the press conference was singer Nana Tanimura. Tanimura is lending her talents to the project's theme songs. She performed two songs at the event, a ballad which was designed in the image of the manga's Yuria character, and a more energetic song, designed after the manga's Mamiya character. These songs will be used for promotions, said Koinuma, and may also make it into the game itself.

Tanimura, seated next to Buronson (to her left) and Tetsuo Hara (to his left).
Tanimura's ballad performance (left) opened up the press event.

Matsubara closed off the press event, saying, "I was both surprised and honored at being able to convert this classic into a game. I believe we'll be able to offer an excellent play experience to everyone." We'll see the result when Hokuto Musou hits PS3 and Xbox 360 next year.

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