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Release Calendar For Listed Japanese Mobile Game Companies (As Of Sept. 1)

Here is an updated calendar of major native apps that publicly traded  Japanese mobile game makers have announced for the coming months.

Please note that games can be modified, canceled, or released by these companies at any given time.

The list isn’t necessarily exhaustive, as sometimes games get released without being announced before, for example. Details are subject to change.

Please reach out via the contact form on the Kantan Games website or via email: serkan AT kantan-games.co.jp for a deeper assessment of specific content or companies.

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

GungHo Online Entertainment (3765)

Sangoku Tenka Trigger 三国テンカトリガー (iOS / Android) - September 2014

Genre and official site:
War simulation - website

Comment:
Sangoku should be counted as GungHo’s third big game after Puzzle & Dragons (following Divine Gate and Summons Board). Both prior titles were executed well but failed to become big hits. As so many other Asian companies in this industry do, GungHo is using the historic “Records of the Three Kingdoms” as the background for its new game. Sangoku should not be confused with Sengoku Tenka Trigger, which is already out on smartphones in Japan.

First artwork:
gungho 3765 sangoku tenka tigger

DeNA (2432)

Final Fantasy Record Keeper ファイナルファンタジーレコードキーパー (iOS / Android)
- summer 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG - website

Comment:
Based on Final Fantasy, one of the biggest RPG franchises, this game is a co-production between Square Enix (9684) and Mobage provider DeNA. Another co-produced game, Final Fantasy Brigade, is still charting on Mobage 2.5 years after release: this, the FF brand power, and the fact that the new title isn’t a simple video game port suggest that Record Keeper could become a hit. Pre-registrations have reportedly passed the 100,000 mark already. Also see FINAL FANTASY ARTNIKS DIVE, which will be released on GREE (3632) this summer.

Video:

Note: More native games are surely in the works at the Mobage operator.

GREE (3632)

Now released->
Lost Land Tactics ロストランドタクティクス (iOS/Android) – August 25, 2014

Genre and official site:
Strategy – website

Comment:

A full preview can be accessed here. The real-time battle system (on a map) looks very interesting.

Video:

FINAL FANTASY ARTNIKS DIVE ファイナルファンタジー アートニクス ダイブ (iOS/Android)
- summer 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Based on Final Fantasy, one of the biggest RPG franchises, this game is a co-production between Square Enix (9684) and GREE. Artniks Dive features an original set of characters not used in earlier Final Fantasy titles. Players can explore large maps, navigate their parties through dungeons, and battle monsters in turn-based battles. Also see Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which will be released on Mobage this summer.

Screenshots:

FINAL FANTASY ARTNIKS DIVE gree 3632

Cross Summoner クロスサマナー (iOS/Android) – summer 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG - website

Comment:

Cross Summoner is an action RPG that GREE hopes will become a big hit not only in Japan but worldwide (the global release is scheduled for this winter). Developed by GREE studio Pokelabo, the first screenshots and video indeed point to a high-quality game that seems to be specifically geared towards players of 16-bit console RPGs (like myself).

Video:

LINE Corp.

LINE Poko Poko LINE ポコポコ(iOS, Android) – summer 2014

Genre and official site:
Puzzle game – website

Comment:
LINE Poko Poko might look like a typical 3-match puzzle game, but the big selling point here (next to the distribution through LINE, of course) is that it uses the characters of another, existing puzzle game, namely LINE Pokopang. That title has racked up 37 million users so far and is very heavy on characters, which is sure to help this new app gain traction. LINE says the app saw 200,000 pre-registrations in about 7 days.

Screenshots:

line poko poko

LINE Revenant Gate LINE レヴァナントゲート (iOS, Android) – summer 2014

Genre and official site:
3D action RPG - website

Comment:
Full preview here.

Video:

new entry ->
LINE Sweets LINE スイーツ(iOS, Android) – fall 2014

Genre and website:
Puzzle – website

Comment:
Another LINE app, another puzzle game: LINE Sweets, developed by Joymax, looks like a blatant Candy Crush clone (I am surprised it took them so long). It’s essentially a match-3 game that is made interesting by including various popular LINE characters. LINE is already accepting pre-registrations.

Screenshots:
line sweets 3 line sweets 0 line sweets 1

Note: LINE Corp. is not yet listed but will be later this year.

CyberAgent (4751)

Sugoroku Monsters スゴロクモンスターズ (iOS, Android) – summer 2014

Genre and official site:
Board game - website

Comment:
Mobile board games are not that common in Japan, but that might actually be a good chance for CyberAgent studio Applibot to land a hit. Players can assemble decks by collecting various monsters and train them, meaning Sugoroku Monsters will have a heavy RPG element. CyberAgent says that there will also be a strong focus on the multi-player mode.

Video:

new entry ->
Moguchi 『土竜(もぐら)』(iOS, Android) – October 2014

Genre and official site:
Puzzle – website

Comment:
Moguchi is an interesting take on the ubiquitous match-3 puzzle genre: it mixes the usual mechanics from those games with mahjong. Players move from stage to stage on a Japan map by beating rivals. Pre-registration has already started.

Screenshots:
cyberagent 4751 moguchi b cyberagent 4751 moguchi d

School Fanfare スクールファンファーレ (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Planned for release on CyberAgent’s mobile Ameba service, School Fanfare is not a typical RPG offering a dramatic story or monster fights. Instead, players are supposed to choose a schoolgirl of their liking and try to train her on the way to becoming a famous singer. CyberAgent has hired famous Japanese illustrators and musicians to help create the game. The company tries to appeal to a similar user base as School Idol Live from KLab or School Girl Strikers from Square Enix.

Logo and first artwork:
school fanfare cyberagent 4751

Bandai Namco (7832)

Shingun Destroy! – Girl’s Tank Battalion (しんぐんデストロ~イ!) (iOS) – summer 2014

Genre and official site:
Action – website

Comment:
Shingun Destroy is a battle action game that will feature a total of 150 different tanks in the first version already. The company says that the all-female cast of characters will be voiced by over 30 different actresses. This and the cute “anime-style” graphics will be the biggest selling points of the game (even though these elements are being used in more and more mobile games in Japan now).

Video:

Gundam Spirits ガンダムスピリッツ (iOS/Android) – fall 2014

Genre and official site:
simulation/RPG – website

Comment:
What Super Mario is for Nintendo, Gundam is for Bandai Namco: a great IP and part of Japanese pop culture that is to be milked over and over to create games. Like so many Gundam titles before, Gundam Spirits will also be a mix between RPG and mecha battler. Bandai Namco is planned to distribute the game through the GREE network.

Screenshots:
bandai namco 7832 gundam spirits b bandai namco 7832 gundam spirits

Famista Dream Match ファミスタ ドリームマッチ (iOS/Android) – fall 2014

Genre and official site:
sports – website

Comment:
Famista is the name of a baseball game franchise Bandai Namco has been operating since 1986. Previous Famista titles have been released on various consoles and the PC. What’s interesting about the smartphone version is that users will be able to play against each other in real-time and that Namco will offer characters from their rich game portfolio as players inside the game, i.e. Pac-Man.

Screenshots:
bandai namco 7832 famista c bandai namco 7832 famista b

Sword Art Online – Code Register ソードアート・オンライン コード・レジスタ (iOS/Android) – 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
This will be the first mobile game (apart from the Vita version) based on the popular light novel and anime series Sword Art Online, which takes place in various MMORPG worlds. Code Register will use the same settings and characters and focus on the battles. The big selling point here is the hit IP, Bandai Namco’s specialty when it comes to making mobile games. gumi is co-developing.

Screenshots:
sword art online code register bandai namco 7832

Sega Networks (Sega 6460)

Oshare Koode – Girls Holic オシャレコーデ GIRLS HOLIC (iOS/Android) – fall 2014

Genre and official site:
Fashion simulation – website

Comment:
Girls Holic is a fashion simulation specifically aimed at female users. Players can choose between a total of 2,000 fashion items to dress up their avatars. It will be also possible to change the hair style and make-up of the avatars and make pictures with the avatars of friends. The market for such games is potentially large in Japan, but so far very few mobile companies (i.e. GREE or CyberAgent) have seriously tried to enter it.

Screenshots:
sega 6460 girls holic 3 sega 6460 girls holic 2 sega 6460 girls holic

Dragon Parade ドラゴンパレード (tentative title) – release date TBA

Genre and official site:
TBA

Comment:
This mystery game was first unveiled in the latest earnings report of Axel Mark (3624), causing the company’s share price to spike a day later (Axel Mark is co-developing). Very little is known about this title at the moment, but this looks like it will be a battle action RPG. Axel Mark and Sega Networks plan to release Dragon Parade in Japan and worldwide.

Screenshot:
dragon parade Axel Mark (3624) Sega Networks (Sega 6460)

 

KLab (3656)

Age of Empires: World Domination (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

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 distribute the app worldwide. The company just recently pushed back the release date from summer to fall 2014, saying it needs more time to increase quality. KLab’s stock price spiked when the company announced the Microsoft deal in June 2013.

Video:

Crystal Fantasia クリスタルファンタジア (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Crystal Fantasia is being marketed as a side-scrolling action RPG, even though the first gameplay video below suggests it might be more of an endless runner. The game will let players assemble parties, train and evolve characters, and also battle bosses at the end of missions.

Video:

Crooz (2138)

new entry ->
Infinite Stratos-based social game (iOS, Android) – coming soon

Genre and website:
tbd (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

mobcast (3664)

Dragon Spin Z ドラゴン★スピンZ (iOS in September/Android is planned for October 2014)

Genre and official site:
RPG (no site yet)

Comment:
Dragon Spin Z is a mix between RPG and social casino (slot) game and a co-production between mobcast’s Japan and Korea offices. The plan is to distribute Dragon Spin Z in Asia, including China, which should be the case after the Japan launch. I covered mobile social casino hybrids in Japan here. Most have failed, but this one has a big selling point: the producer is legendary creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi (ex-Sega, see below).

Screenshots:

dragon spin z mobcast 3664

 

Game Project TBA – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
Puzzle game (no site yet)

Comment:
Announced in July, this project will be the brain child of  Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Details are scarce at this point, but the game will blend puzzle game mechanics with social elements and a “mysterious” story. Using Mizuguchi’s background and star power, the title will be released by mobcast worldwide. I would expect “traditional” video game players pick up this title just because of the name of the creator.

Square Enix (9684)

new entry ->
3594e Sangokushi Eiga - 3594e-三国志英歌- (iOS) – coming soon

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Square Enix is calling 3594e a “cinematic RPG”, meaning users can expect a story-heavy game with high-quality cut scenes (in 3D for this title) and voice acting. Details are scarce at this point, but the company says that 3594e will tell an original story “spanning over 100 years” against the backdrop of the historic “Records of the Three Kingdoms”. The game will be free-to-play.

Logo:
3594e logo square enix 9684

Final Fantasy VII G Bike ファイナルファンタジーVII Gバイク (iOS/Android) – fall 2014

Genre and official site:
Racing – website

Comment:
This title is a mix between motorcycle racing game and endless runner, with added action and light RPG elements. Players can collect items to boost their characters’s skills and kill monsters during the races. The title is inspired by a mini game used inside Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation. Despite the big name, the first look at the game made me very skeptical. These games usually don’t monetize well either.

Video:

The Irregular at Magic High School Lost Zero 魔法科高校の劣等生LOST ZERO (iOS/Android)
- fall 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Based on an anime, Lost Zero is announced by Square Enix RPG as a “magic battle RPG”. Details are scarce, but the company says while the game uses the general setting of the anime, the story will be original.

Logo:
The Irregular at Magic High School Lost Zero square enix 9684

 

Note: Square Enix is also co-developing Final Fantasy Record Keeper (with Mobage operator DeNA) and Final Fantasy Artniks Dive (with GREE) for release this summer (see above for details).

Capcom (9697)

Snoopy Drops SNOOPY ドロップス (iOS / Android) – summer 2014

Genre and offical site:
Puzzle game – website

Comment:
Snoopy Drops is Capcom’s take on Candy Crush, which is doing quite well on the Japanese market. The game is being made by Capcom’s mobile game label Beeline, which was established in April 2011 and released a Snoopy-branded title for smartphones, Snoopy Street Fair, back in November of that year. There are a number of Candy Crush clones out in Japan already (not to speak of elsewhere), but the Peanuts IP might help Capcom turn Snoopy Drops into a minor hit.

First screenshots:

Snoopy Drops capcom 9697

Koei Tecmo (3635)

Atelier Quest Board アトリエクエストボード (iOS / Android) – summer 2014

Genre and official site:
Board game - website

Comment:
As with Sugoroku Monsters from CyberAgent mentioned above, Koei Tecmo is trying to enter a genre that is not too crowded with this game and also integrates RPG elements. A selling point is that the game uses cute characters from the “Atelier” video game franchise. However, I would rather bet on the CyberAgent game to become a hit.

Screenshots:
atelier quest board koei tecmo 3635

 

new entry ->
Guru Guru Dungeon No Nobunyaga ぐるぐるダンジョン のぶニャが (iOS, Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
This will be the latest entry in Koei Tecmo’s Nobunyaga “franchise”: the word Nobunyaga is a pun on the samurai Nobunaga – the “nya” indicates the character is a cat. As the title indicates, Guru Guru will be a dungeon RPG. Koei Tecmo says the game will have “slot battle mechanics” and use GPS, meaning users can get characters for the game based on where they play in real life.

Screenshots:
koei tecmo 3635 nobunyaga c koei tecmo 3635 nobunyaga b koei tecmo 3635 nobunyaga

 

new entry ->
Nobunaga No Yabou 201x – 信長の野望 201X (iOS, Android) – winter 2014

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”.

Screenshots:
nobunaga koei tecmo 3635 d nobunaga koei tecmo 3635 b nobunaga koei tecmo 3635

new entry ->
Sangokushi Legion 三國志レギオン (iOS, Android) – winter 2014

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 the historic “Records of the Three Kingdoms” and have a strong social component.

Video:

enish (3667)

Sennen No Kyoshin 千年の巨神 (iOS/Android) – fall 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG/Tower defense - website

Comment:
enish calls this game a “Manga RPG”, and the artwork and design points to a high-quality release indeed. The core gameplay looks like typical tower defense, however (which is a potentially positive factor, as Japan has more than enough mobile RPGs). Players will be able to capture around 200 different monsters and train and”fuse” them to create stronger ones. It’s interesting that enish says the game is specifically targeted at female users: I think it can attract male players as well.

Video:

Aeria (3758)

Prism Fantasia (iOS) – summer 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Prism Fantasia is an action RPG in full 3D that 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.

Screenshot (from Facebook):
prism fantasia aeria

Please reach out via the contact form on the Kantan Games website or via email: serkan AT kantan-games.co.jp for a deeper assessment of specific content or companies.

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