Most people haven’t heard of my most anticipated 3DS title

The Nintendo 3DS had a stronger selection of software at launch than the original DS had, but there hasn’t been much to get excited about since then. Of course, there are plenty of games people are looking forward to that weren’t rushed for launch, and we’ll be getting many of them this year. The rest of 2011 sees some promising 3rd party releases and some of the most popular Nintendo franchises making an appearance. This month, Nintendo is releasing the remake of Ocarina of Time 3D, one of their most beloved games. During late 2011 and early 2012 ,the 3DS will get a Starfox 64 remake, a new Super Mario, a new Animal Crossing, and even a surprise sequel to the Gamecube’s Luigi’s Mansion. There’s a lot for Nintendo fans to be getting excited about, and we can look forward to the 3DS developing a strong catalogue over the years just as the original DS has done.

As should be expected, people are making a lot of noise about some of the titles I’ve already mentioned. After all, this is Nintendo we’re talking about. It’s always big news when they release a new game from one of their most popular franchises. But in the background, there have been many announcements from 3rd party developers that haven’t been getting the same attention, I’m just as excited about them.

It doesn’t seem to matter what genre you’re interested in, the 3DS will be delivering something for you in the coming months. There have been a few racing games released so far, and I think it’s fair to say that none will be remembered as classics. Codemasters is hoping to change that when they release F1 2011. Formula 1 games don’t really work unless they feature breakneck speeds, and the series is known for excellent graphics, so this is definitely a title to keep an eye on if you like polished, high-speed gameplay. Sports fans also have more titles to look forward to. The first football game released on the 3DS was Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D. Not a bad game by any means, but this was a simple port of a PSP game. EA Sports are hoping that FIFA 12 will be the football game that can make the most of the what the 3DS can do, claiming that they’ve created their best portable game so far. Early screenshots are looking good, so let’s hope the gameplay and controls can stand up to the home console games.

Most of the games announced for the 3DS are RPGs, and some currently only have release dates for Japan, but not all of them. And there is an incredible selection, including ports, remakes and brand new titles. For a promising remake, Namco Bandai have announced that their port of PS2 classic Tales Of The Abyss will see an international release. As for an exciting new title, publisher Square Enix and developer n-Space will release Heroes of Ruin to all regions. This game will consist of an interesting mix of genres, from real-time strategy to RPG, using many of the social features of the Nintendo 3DS including SpotPass and StreetPass.

When it comes to Japanese developers releasing games in all regions, there is one developer I think may be the most exciting to follow during the early years of the 3DS. Level-5 are best known for their Professor Layton franchise on the Nintendo DS and now the 3DS. Why are they so exciting? Firstly, they seem fully committed to the Nintendo 3DS and have plenty of exclusive titles in production right now. These include brand new IPs, new entries in their excellent pre-existing franchises, and some exciting new partnerships including a joint effort with Capcom creating a Professor Layton Vs Ace Attorney game. The other reason they are exciting? Because they have a history of localising their games for the rest of the world, and have recently opened new offices in the US so that they can strengthen their Western presence.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Level-5, given the quality of their previous games. I’m looking forward to most of the future 3DS titles they’ve shown trailers and screenshots for. But one stands out the most for me, and I’d love to share the reasons why. That title is Time Travelers (タイムトラベラーズ).

Time Travelers is being both developed and published by Level-5 and directed by Jiro Ishii, the man behind titles with superb stories including 428: In the Blocked City, Shibuya, and 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. He is also working with Capcom on the new Layton/Ace Attorney game. Time Travelers will be his first fully 3D game, rather than using live-action footage or anime sprites and animation.

I should point out right now that we don’t know an awful a lot about Time Travelers yet, but what we do know is enough to make this my most anticipated 3DS title so far. Most details were provided officially by Level-5 during their Vision 2010 conference. the game features two main characters. Mikoto Shinmichi (a university student) and a creepy terrorist with the nickname “Skeleton”, and apparently both know the future, and this is central to the plot. The game will be suspenseful, delivering a gripping and very strong story. One aim the developers had was to make a powerful game telling a serious story, but one that anyone can enjoy. They don’t want this to be for hardcore gamers only. At the conference they also claimed that it will feature a “massive in-game world”, and provide an experience gamers can truly become immersed in. Not much gameplay footage has been seen, but rumours are circulating that gameplay may be handled similar to Heavy Rain, an excellent story-driven PS3 exclusive released in 2010 by Quantic Dream. Those are just rumours and there’s no official word on how the game actually plays besides it being deep but still accessible to everyone. But if it did turn out to be handed like Heavy Rain, that would be yet another reason to be excited as it involved both controlling your character around a realistic world, but also having to make quick decisions that influenced the rest of the story.

One of the most interesting things I’ve seen so far is the sheer excitement from the people who work at Level-5. The developers are acting like they have a real winner on their hands already, and they’ve obviously seen more of the game than anyone so I hope they’re right. At the Level-5 Vision 2010 conference, the developers stated quite boldly that they expect Time Travelers to be a huge success, and to easily reach numbers like 500,000 and one million sales in no time! That may sound cocky to some, but Level-5 know what they’re talking about when it comes to big sales. Just before they released Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle for the 3DS in Japan, they announced that the series had sold 11.47 million units worldwide. They have built a reputation for high-quality games on Nintendo’s portable systems, and for being behind the most successful DS-exclusive titles available. If they see Time Travelers as their most important upcoming release for the Nintendo 3DS, maybe we should keep an eye on this one.

I’ve got some bad news. Currently the game has only been announced for release in Japan. But as I’ve already mentioned, Level-5 are working hard to be even more present throughout the rest of the world, and we’ll surely see a worldwide release if the game is as big as they are hoping it will be. There is also no official release date yet for Japan. But do you think we would leave you with just that? No! Some good news is that a trailer for the game was shown in secret during the Vision 2010 conference, and it has since leaked onto the internet. More recently, Level-5 developers have claimed that the trailer represents actual game graphics, rather than pre-rendered footage. So this should give a good indication of what to expect visually. Enjoy!

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  1. […] with the PS2 classic Tales Of The Abyss from Namco Bandai (a game I mentioned very briefly in my last Nintendo Scene post). It sold 71,393 units, far ahead of the Playstation 3′s latest Street Fighter titles selling […]

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