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Release Calendar For Listed Japanese Mobile Game Companies (As Of Sept. 29)

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

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

The list isn’t necessarily exhaustive, as games can 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 marked as now released will be removed with the next update):

DeNA (2432)

released on September 25, 2014 ->
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) – September 25, 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:

Nanatsu No Daizai (The Seven Deadly Sins) 七つの大罪 (iOS/Android) – beginning of 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
DeNA is preparing the first game based on “The Seven Deadly Sins”, a manga series that started in Japan in 2012. As to be expected, it will use the same setting and characters as the manga. DeNA is already accepting pre-registrations for the app, which is announced as a “battle RPG” and likely to be distributed through the Mobage platform. Osaka-based Racjin is handling development.

First artwork:
dena 2432 mobage seven deadly sins

GREE (3632)

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

PROJECT TIAMAT (iOS, Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Project Tiamat is a new smartphone app announced as part of GREE’s Tokyo Game Show 2014 lineup. Details are scarce at this point, but the company is already accepting pre-registrations.

First promo video:

LINE Corp.

released on September 24, 2014 ->
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:

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 1

Note: LINE Corp. is not yet listed but will (probably) be next 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:

Mogura 『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

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

 

 

Konami (9766)

Chronos Ring クロノスリング (iOS/Android) – fall 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Konami is developing this 3D RPG together with hardcore RPG specialist Tri-Ace and first announced it at the Tokyo Game Show 2014. Not much is known at the moment about Chronos Ring , but the app will be based on an entirely new IP and feature music contributed by famous Japanese artists.

Video:

Kingdom Dragonian キングダムドラゴニオン (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
Strategy – website

Comment:
Konami first announced Kingdom Dragonian as part of its Tokyo Game Show 2014 mobile lineup. It will be a strategy game based on new IP and come with a new kind of battle system.

First artwork:
kingdom dragonian konami 9766

Kyoshin Senso 巨神戦争 (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
Action – website

Comment:
Kyoushin Senso roughly translates to “War Of The Giants” in English. The title was first announced during the Tokyo Game Show 2014 as an “online battle” game for smartphones that is based on new IP and lets players cooperate in real-time to fight “gigantic” monsters.

First artwork:
kyoshin senso konami 9766

 

Bandai Namco (7832)

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 planning 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

Summon Night Memories サモンナイト メモリーズ (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Almost unknown outside Japan, Summon Night is a strategy RPG franchise Bandai Namco started on consoles in 2000. The company says that Summon Night Memories will belong to the same genre and have the same setting as previous games in the series, just optimized for smartphones and with a F2P business model.

Screenshots:
bandai namco 7832 Summon Night Memories b bandai namco 7832 Summon Night Memories

Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle ドラゴンボールZドッカンバトル (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
Action – website

Comment:
First unveiled during Tokyo Game Show 2014, Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle is the next smartphone game to be based on the classic Dragon Ball anime and manga franchise. In contrast to previous Dragon Ball apps, this one will be offered F2P. Announced as a “battle action game”, Bandai is planning to not only offer Dokkan Battle in Japan but also America, Europe, and Asia.

Video:

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 title) 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

One Piece Dance Battle (iOS, Android) – 2014

Genre and official site:
Music – website

Comment:
Bandai Namco continues to milk the One Piece IP: this time, the super-popular anime and manga series will be used for a “rhythm game”. Players face various characters from One Piece in dance-offs and need to push a total of five different buttons placed on the bottom of the screen at the right time. If the rhythm is right, players deal damage to opponents, build up combos and deliver a final blow when the combo gauge is full.

Screenshots:
7832 bandai namco ONE PIECE DANCE BATTLE

 

Sega Networks / Sega (6460)

Squads – Saikyou No Kizuna スカッズ ~最凶の絆~ (iOS, Android) – fall 2014

Genre and official site:
Action – website

Comment:
There is a surprisingly large number of “gangster simulation” games available on smartphones in Japan (i.e. from Sega or Konami). For Squads, Sega is collaborating with publishing company Akita Shoten to create the story and a total of 200 “criminal characters” for the first version of the app. The company calls the game a battle RPG – but again, there are a lot of these apps out there already.

First artwork:
sega 6460 squads

entry updated->
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, with 100 more to be added every month. It will be also possible to change the hair style and make-up of the avatars, make pictures with the avatars of friends, or take part in fashion shows to become a “fashion leader”. Sega also says that user will be able to buy real items from within the game through tie-ups with Japanese e-commerce sites. 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

The World End Eclipse ワールド エンド エクリプス (iOS) – winter 2014

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).

Video:

entry updated->
Dragon Parade ドラゴンパレード (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – site not yet available

Comment:
Dragon Parade was first unveiled in the latest earnings report of Axel Mark (3624) as a “mystery release”, causing the company’s share price to spike a day later (Axel Mark is co-developing). During a press conference in September 2014, Sega detailed that the game will be an action RPG with a heavy focus on battles and communication between users. Gameplay footage can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube right from the app. Axel Mark and Sega Networks plan to release Dragon Parade in Japan and worldwide.

Screenshots:
sega 6460 axel mark 3624 dragon parade b sega 6460 axel mark 3624 dragon parade

 

new entry->
Hortensia Saga – Ao No Kishidan オルタンシア・サーガ -蒼の騎士団- (iOS/Android) – winter 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – site not yet available

Comment:
First unveiled in September 2014, Hortensia Saga is meant to be a quasi follow-up to Sega Networks’ super hit Chain Chronicle. The company says that Hortensia Saga tries to differentiate itself from other RPGs through a deep story and its multi-player mode that lets players fight in 20 vs. 20 guild battles against each other, in real-time. What may sound impressive to non-Japanese ears has actually been done many times before in this country – but the app’s high production value (more impressions here), some gameplay features too detailed to mention here and Sega’s branding power could help make Hortensia Saga a hit.

Screenshot:
sega 6460 hortensia saga

 

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)

Infinite Stratos-based social game (iOS, Android) – 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

Marvelous (7844)

new entry->
NBA Clutch Time (iOS/Android) – November 2014

Genre and official site:
Sports – website

Comment:
Marvelous isn’t exactly known for sports games, but the company has acquired the rights for a basketball management simulation that features all of the NBA’s 30 teams and 500 players (including several retired star players). What’s interesting is that a US or European release hasn’t been announced yet. Instead, the game will be released in Japan in November first, followed by other Asian countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and others later.

Video:

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 – website

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)

entry updated->
3594e Sangokushi Eiga – 3594e-三国志英歌- (iOS) – October 2014

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. 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”. 3594e will use famous voice actors, i.e. Japanese super star GACKT.

Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNkWGmraK44

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:

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).

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

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

 

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

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:

Ateam (3662)

entry updated->
Unison League ユニゾンリーグ (iOS/Android) – release date TBA

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Previously known as “project Unison”, maker Ateam has revealed a few more details and artwork for its next big game in September 2014. The Nagoya-based company says Unison League will let players choose between 5 different character classes (archers, mages, etc.) and battle against each other in real-time, probably using a guild system. Unison League’s Android version is currently in closed beta.

First artwork:
ateam 3662 unison league

 

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 プリズムファンタジア ~精霊物語~ (iOS) – 2015

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. In September 2014, Aeria announced that Prism Fantasia will be released sometime in 2015, not in summer 2014 as previously planned.

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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