By Dr. Serkan Toto – On Japan's Game Industry

Release Calendar For Listed Japanese Mobile Game Companies (As Of May 17)

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Here is an updated calendarof major free-to-play native appsthatpublicly traded Japanese mobile game makers have announced for the coming months.

Please note that these titlescan be modified, canceled, or released at any given time.

The list isn’t necessarily exhaustive, as games can getreleased withoutbeing announced before, for example. Details are subject to change.

Please reach outvia email (serkanAT kantan-games.co.jp)for a deeper assessment ofspecific contentor companies.

Here is the calendar, organized by companies (games marked as “now released ” will be removed with the next update):

DeNA (2432)

Sakana Connection サカナコネクション– spring/summer 2015

Genre and official site:
Sports – website

Comment:
When it comes to social fishing simulations, nothing on the Japanese market can beat GREE’s “Tsuri Star”, which was launched in May 2007 (!) on feature phones, saw several iterations and still goes strong on smartphones. For Sakana Connection (Sakana means “fish” in Japanese) on Android, DeNA is currently looking for beta testers.

Screenshot:
dena 2432 mobage Sakana Connection サカナコネクション

Triple Jokerトリプルジョーカー – spring 2015

Genre and official site:
Casino/RPG– website

Comment:
Triple Joker is what DeNA calls a mix between “brain training” and card game. Users need to play against each other and win to move to the next stage and advance in the story. Details about the “brain training” part are scarce at the moment, but it seems DeNA willuse some kind of number-based puzzles. The company is already accepting beta testers for the casino/RPG hybrid‘s Android version.

Screenshot:
dena 2432 Triple Joker トリプルジョーカー

GREE (3632)

released on May 12 (browser) ->
Rebellion Bladeリベリオンブレイド –coming soon

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Formerly known as Project Tiamat and part of GREE’s Tokyo Game Show 2014 lineup, GREE has renamed one of its major future releases to Rebellion Blade. The company says that players can expect characters to be voiced by a whole cast of professional voice actors and a new kind of battle system. On February 27, GREE announced it has postponed the release to improve the quality of the game.

Video:

Pazukueパズクエ –May 2015

Genre and official site:
Puzzle– website

Comment:
GREE’s Wright Flyer Studios, established last year, is currently developing puzzle and tower defense hybrid“Pazkuke” (which is short for “Puzzle Quest”). The gameis described in the company’s FY15 Q3financial report as follows:

  • Clear puzzles to summon “phantoms” and do battle with the oncoming monsters in this all-new fusion of puzzle and tower defense gameplay
  • Immerse yourself in action-packed battles using extra-long chains in fever mode and special skills of phantoms

Video:

Soul Armsソウルアームズ–spring 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG– website

Comment:
Currently under development at GREE subsidiary Wright Flyer StudiosandTriFort, Soul Armsis a new action RPG, the first app to be released under the GREE/KDDI partnership announced last year. The game is described in GREE’s FY15 Q3financial report as follows:

  • Fast-paced action RPG—throw combos using simple controls to fend off attacking monsters
  • Action changes based on weapons and combos used. Customize weapons to create the strongest warriors
  • Cooperative gameplay for up to four players—possible to join game mid-battle

Video:

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LINE Corp.

LINE Tower RisingLINE タワーライジング–spring 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG– website

Comment:
GREE studio Wright Flyer Studiosis currently developing this casual dungeon crawler withLINE. Read more on the app here.

Video:

LINE Cross LegionLINE クロスレギオン – spring2015

Genre and official site:
RPG –website

Comment:
On February 13, LINE announced the first MMORPG on its platform will be launched in spring 2015 instead of fall 2014, as initially planned. LINE Cross Legion will be theLINE version of Nexon’s mobile game “Legion of Heroes”, whichhas been downloaded 6 million times worldwide. On Android, LINE is already accepting up to 4,000 beta testers until the end of February. LINE Cross Legion is only announced for Japan at this point.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19-xoJ9_BVo

LINE Bubble 2 LINE バブル2–spring 2015

Genre and official site:
puzzle– website

Comment:
LINE Bubble, one of the platforms hit games from 2012, is getting a 2nd part. Just like the original LINE Bubble 2 will be a bubble shooter, but playerscan expect a more elaborate story line, a new mission and stage system, new power-ups and skills, etc. this time. Pre-registration started (in Japan only) on March 30, but it’s highly likely that LINE Bubble 2 will be rolled out worldwide eventually.

Video:

Note: LINE Corp. is not yet listed.

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Yahoo Japan / Gamebank (4689)

Minna No Tsuri Bakansuみんなの釣りバカンス – 2015

Genre and official site:
Casual – website

Comment:
Minna No Tsuri Bakansu (“Everybody’s Fishing Vacation”) is a fishing simulation set in a resort environment that allows up to eight users to play with each other at the same time. Users will be able to communicate with each other through 3D avatars that can be customized with over 100 different items. Gamebank says that the game will feature around 1,000 kinds of fish.

Video:

Orbit Sagaオービットサーガ – 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Orbit Saga is a 3D action RPG in which the goal is to create(city-building element) one’s own island and protect (RPG/adventure element) it against attacks from other players. Users can choose between up to 350 different so-called guardians for battle, must clear quests, join guilds and communicate with other players to advance in the game.The actionsequences seem to be similar to those of Colopl’s super hit White Cat Project.

Video:

Daishuugo! Wai Wai Party(tentative)大集合!ワイワイパーティ(仮) – 2015

Genre and official site:
Casual– website TBA

Comment:
This app, co-developed with Kayac (3904), is set in a “school”: users take on the role of students and need to chat and solve quizzeseither with or against eachother (up to four players simultaneously). The better users perform, the more points they can rack up: these points can then be redeemed for real coupons that can be used in Yahoo Japan’s online shopping service.

Screenshots:
gamebank yahoo japan 4689 Daishuugo! Wai Wai Party 大集合!ワイワイパーテ

Soul Gaugeソウルゲージ – 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG– website TBA

Comment:
This2D online MMORPG randomly matches real players before sending them out to kill monsters and clear dungeons together, in real-time (users will also be able tobefriend each other or join guilds). After killing an enemy, players capture their “souls” (hence the app’s name), turn them into skills and combine various skills to create unique combos that can be used during battles.

Screenshots:
gamebank yahoo japan 4689 Soul Gauge ソウルゲージ

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Bandai Namco (7832)

Shokugeki No Soma – Saikyou No Recipe食戟のソーマ 最饗のレシピ –2015

Genre and official site:
action – website

Comment:
Details are scarce on this app at this point, but it will be based on the manga series “Food Wars: Shokugeki No Soma” and focus onbattles (judging from the first screenshot below, it seems Bandai Namco is also planning to use rhythm game elements).

First artwork:
bandai namco 7832 Shokugeki No Soma - Saikyou No Recipe 食戟のソーマ 最饗のレシピ

Xuccess Heavenザクセスヘブン–coming soon

Genre and official site:
RPG–website

Comment:
Xuccess Heaven is the name of a new cross-media project (which Japanese companies are very good in), and Bandai Namco is teaming up with no other than Sega Networks to provide the smartphone app. The two companies are preparing an “animation RPG” – probably a game whose story will be narrated via, well, animations – that will be based on the anime of the same name (which will be provided by Sunrise).

Promotion video (no gameplay scenes):

World Trigger – Smash Bordersワールドトリガー スマッシュボーダーズ–2015

Genre and official site:
Action–website

Comment:
Bandai Namco has secured the rights to turn yet another manga/anime IP into a smartphone app. This time, it’s action Sci-Fi series World Triggerwhose setting and characters will be used for what the company calls a “smash action game”. Just like in the manga, the goal will be to protect “Mikado City” from monsters attacking the borders – in 3D and with quite nice-looking graphics.

Screenshot:
bandai namco 7832 World Trigger - Smash Bordersワールドトリガー スマッシュボーダーズ

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Sega Networks / Sega (6460)

released on May 13 ->
Monster Gearモンスターギア – mid-May2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Many people call this appSega’s answer to Monster Hunter, Capcom’s long-standing RPG series. Very much like the “original”, Monster Gear is all about hunting and battling monsters. Sega says that users can expect up the first version of the game to have 150 different monsters, which can be fought with 5 different weapons (sword, battle hammer, etc.). Special bosses can be taken on with up to four players at the same time.

Video:

Chaos Dragon – Konton Sensouケイオスドラゴン 混沌戦争 – summer 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
“Chaos Dragon” is the name of a Japanese multimedia project that will include an anime series, a board game and a smartphone app that Sega is developing. Very little is known at this point about the app, except for the fact that it will use the same setting and characters as the anime and board game.

Screenshot:
sega 6460 chaos dragon ケイオスドラゴン 混沌戦争

The World End Eclipseワールド エンド エクリプス – 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
The World End Eclipse is announced as a so-called online theatrical RPG in 3D that takes place in a fantasy world “destroyed by a war between dragons”. Details are scarce at this point, but Sega said the game’s PS Vita, iOS, and PC versions will be compatible (it will be free-to-play on all platforms). On December 25, 2014, the company postponed the release from winter 2014 to 2015.

Video:

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Square Enix (9684)

Rampage Land Rankersンページ ランド ランカーズ–May 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Osaka-based Hexadrive is developing this dungeon crawler, which letsusers take on the role of “rankers” (adventurers). Each dungeon is randomly generated, and the goal is to kill monsters, avoid traps and work together with other rankers (Square Enix says up to 10 can cooperate inside one dungeon) to find a “lost” treasure. Square Enix star artist Tetsuya Nomura is responsible for the character design.

Video:

Final Fantasy Brave Exviusファイナルファンタジー ブレイブエクスヴィアス – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
A-lim, the company behind mega hit Brave Frontier, is developing this game with Square Enix’Hirono Kei as producer. Square Enix says that players can expect a totally new story and setting, withcharacters from previous Final Fantasy games. According to developer Alim, the goal is not just to offer a Final Fantasy-skinned Brave Frontier, butthe first screenshots do indicate a strong similarity (and the game’s title is unfortunate in this sense, too).

Screenshots:

square enix 9684 Final Fantasy Brave Exviusファイナルファンタジー ブレイブエクスヴィアス c square enix 9684 Final Fantasy Brave Exviusファイナルファンタジー ブレイブエクスヴィアス b square enix 9684 Final Fantasy Brave Exviusファイナルファンタジー ブレイブエクスヴィアス

new entry ->
Kingdom Hearts Unchainedχ キングダム ハーツ アンチェインド キー – 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
The announcement of the first smartphone appin Square Enix’ Kingdom Hearts RPG franchise doesn’t come as a surprise. Square Enix says that users will need to use a “key blade” to battle monsters, strengthen that key blade over time, and collect medals in order to clear stages and progress in the game. According to the company, the app’s story is linked to the upcoming “Kingdom Hearts III”. Users will be able to playUnchainedχ with those playing Kingdom Hearts Chi, a PC browser game that is available in Japan only.

Screenshot:
square enix 9685 Kingdom Hearts Unchainedχ キングダム ハーツ アンチェインド キ

Final Fantasy Grandmasters ファイナルファンタジーグランドマスターズ – 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Currently in development at Crooz (2138), Square Enix once again uses its most valuable IP to create a mobile RPG.Final Fantasy Grandmasters will be a spinoff of Final Fantasy XI, featuring the same world, similar game mechanics, and other elementslike characters from the same five races as in the original, chatting, or real-time battles.

Video:

Final Fantasy XI (Mobile) ファイナルファンタジーXI – 2016

Genre and official site:
RPG – website TBA

Comment:
Apart fromFinal Fantasy Grandmasters (see above), Square Enix is also preparing a mobile version ofFinal Fantasy XI, the first online MMORPG and most lucrative entry in the company’s mega hit franchise. For this project, the company has chosen Nexon (3659) as the partner. Square Enix says that the mobile FFXI will not be a simple port but feature smartphone-optimized controls, a modified battle system, a changed user interface, etc. The plan is to roll out the first version of the app in Japan and Korea first.

Artwork:
square enix 9684 Final Fantasy XI (Mobile) ファイナルファンタジーXI

MobiusFinal Fantasy メビウス ファイナルファンタジー –coming soon

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Square Enix is describing this entry in the Final Fantasy seriesas a “full-scale, high-quality” RPG, which has not “been seen on smartphones before” but will go back to the roots of the franchise in terms of gameplay. Not much else is known about the game at the moment, except for the fact that he producer, scenario writer and character designer have been working on previousFinal Fantasy games. Square Enix changed the name of the game from “Mevius” to Mobius in April.

Video:

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gumi (3903)

Project Blazing(tentative)プロジェクト ブレイジング – first half of 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG– website

Comment:
Is this the follow-up to Brave Frontier? Just like gumi’s top app, Project Blazing is an action RPG that seems to be very heavy on the battles and combos.

Video:

Project Crystal (tentative) プロジェクト クリスタル – first half of 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG– website

Comment:
And here is another smartphoneRPG from gumi: in contrast to Project Blazing and Brave Frontier, however, Project Crystal is in 3D and doesn’t seem to be as heavy on the battles.

Video (subbed in English):

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KLab (3656)

Age of Empires: World Domination –2015

Genre and official site:
Strategy –website

Comment:
Age of Empires: World Domination is the mobile version of Microsoft’s popular Age Of Empires PC game franchise. KLab will produce and distributethe appworldwide. The company pushed back the release date twice, first from summer to fall 2014, then again to 2015, saying it needs more time to increase quality. KLab’s stock price spiked when the company announced theMicrosoft deal in June 2013.

Video:

http://youtu.be/tOsK-ooTZGg

Glee Forever – coming soon

Genre and website:
Music – website(ENG)

Comment:
First teased in KLab’s Q3 FY2014 financial report, Glee Forever will be based on Glee, themusical comedy/drama TV series that’s popular around the world. KLab says it will use the IP for a music game (choosing such a genre makes sense) that will offer characters and the setting from the series. The company hopes that it can build on the experience it gained with its mega hit “Love Live”, a music game that is heavy on story and characters. As of now, the plan is to release the Glee game worldwide with the start of season 6 of the TV series, likely around September 2015.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4mm_sX_8Sw

BLEACH Brave Souls ブレソル– spring 2015

Genre and website:
action– website

Comment:
This will not be the first mobile social game based on the Bleach manga and anime franchise, but based on the first material out, this 3D action gamelooks pretty promising. Not too surprisingly,BLEACH Brave Souls will share the same setting and characters with the manga. The app is the first of two such IP-based apps KLab is planning to release this year. Japanese rock band “Hello Sleepwalkers” is contributing to the soundtrack.

Video:

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Crooz (2138)

“Infinite Stratos”-based social game – coming soon

Genre and website:
TBA(likely RPG)

Comment:
In its latest earnings report, Crooz disclosed it has acquired, as the first company, the right to turn Japanese anime series Infinite Stratos into a mobile social game. Crooz hasn’t announced details, but it has successfully used popular IP for its games in the past. Infinite Stratos will be distributed through Mobage where pre-registration already started.

First artwork:
infinite stratos crooz 2138

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mobcast (3664)

Luminesルミネス–coming soon

Genre and official site:
Puzzle game– site TBA

Comment:
The acclaimed puzzle video game series Lumines is getting its first smartphone version. The app will be star creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s third collaboration with Mobcast, following casino game Dragon Spin and puzzle game Eighteen. Mobcast says the app version will be tailor-made for phones and appeal to both Lumines fans and new users alike. The plan is to release the game worldwide.

First screenshot:
ルミネス mobcast 3664 lumines

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Koei Tecmo (3635)

Nobunaga No Yabou 201x – 信長の野望 201X – winter2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Nobunaga and Koei Tecmo again: this title will be a battle RPG (turn-based) that is set in “Japan in the year 201x”.

Video:

Sangokushi Legion 三國志レギオン – winter2015

Genre and official site:
Strategy/RPG – website

Comment:
Not much is known about this title at this point, except that it will use hero characters from thehistoric “Records of the Three Kingdoms” and have a strong social component.

Video:

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Aeria (3758)

Prism Fantasia プリズムファンタジア ~精霊物語~ – spring 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Prism Fantasia is an action RPG in full 3Dthat will be easy to control, according to Aeria. The first screenshots look a bit dull and there are many games like this out there, but that might change until release. In September 2014, Aeria announced that Prism Fantasia will be released sometime in 2015, not in summer 2014 as previously planned. On February 19, 2015, Aeria fixed the release date as “spring 2015” and showed the first promo video. It also seems the company has changed the art of the game significantly.

Video:

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enish (3667)

Twelve Odins12オーディンズ –summer 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG– website

Comment:
Apart from the genre, not much is known about Twelve Odins at the moment.

Concept art:
enish 3667 Twelve Odins 12オーディンズ

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Altplus(3672)

Ninja Slayer ニンジャスレイヤー –coming soon

Genre and official site:
RPG– website TBA

Comment:
Altplus has secured the right to turn “Ninja Slayer”, a Sci-Fi novel and anime series, into a smartphone game. The company says it’s preparing a “ninja battle RPG” based on the setting and characters from the series.

First artwork:
altlplus 3672 Ninja Slayer ニンジャスレイヤー

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Please reach out via email (serkan AT kantan-games.co.jp)for a deeper assessment ofspecific contentor companies.

About the author

Dr. Serkan Toto

I am the CEO & Founder of Tokyo-based Kantan Games Inc., an independent consultancy focused on Japan’s game industry.

Please feel free to connect via Email, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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By Dr. Serkan Toto – On Japan's Game Industry
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