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

Janshin Chronicles – Shinsoku Battle Mahjong 雀神クロニクル ~神速バトル麻雀~ – March 2015

Genre and official site:
Casino – website

Comment:
Developed by Sunsoft, this Mahjong app tries to differentiate itself from others by offering high production value and “smartphone-optimized” gameplay. DeNA says that players can enjoy “Mahjong battles” in 40-second bursts, either against friends or other players in real-time.

Video:

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GREE (3632)

Rebellion Blade リベリオンブレイド (iOS, Android) – 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:

Naruto – Shinobi Collection Shippuranbu ナルト- 忍コレクション 疾風乱舞 – coming soon

Genre and official site:
Action – website

Comment:
Not to be confused with a prior GREE title with a very similar name, this Naruto game is announced as an endless runner. GREE says players will be able to choose between several characters from the popular Naruto manga series and use “ninja attacks” to battle bosses along the way. Unlike other classic manga and anime series like Gundam or One Piece, for example, companies have struggled to turn the Naruto IP into a successful mobile game so far. “Naruto – Shinobi Collection Shippuranbu” is co-developed by Crooz (2138).

First artwork:
naruto gree crooz 2138 3632

Pazukue パズクエ – 3Q

Genre and official site:
Puzzle – website TBA

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 game is described in the company’s FY15 Q3 financial 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

Screenshots (work in progress):

gree 3632 Pazukue パズクエ game japan

Poitto Hero ポイッとヒーロー – spring 2015

Genre and official site:
Action – website

Comment:
Jointly developed by GREE studio Pokelabo and Sega Networks (6460), this tower defense game is scheduled to open for pre-registrations this spring. The game is described in GREE’s FY15 Q3 financial report as follows:

  • Tower defense game incorporating real-time battles in which up to four players can cooperate at a time
  • Stages roll out in four directions—players cooperate by placing their characters strategically

Video:

Project Weapon (tentative) – spring 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website TBA

Comment:
Currently under development at TriFort, Project Weapon is the tentative title of 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 Q3 financial 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

Screenshots (work in progress):

gree 3632 project weapon  game japan

Untitled new LINE game – release date TBA

Genre and official site:
genre TBA – website TBA

Comment:
GREE, in its FY15 Q3 financial report, mentions the first game which its studio Wright Flyer Studios is currently developing with LINE. According to GREE, the app will be published in Q4 by the GREE/LINE joint venture “Epic Voyage”.

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Colopl (3668)

Rumble City ランブル・シティ – winter/spring 2015

Genre and official site:
City-building simulation – website

Comment:
City-building simulations are a tired genre in mobile (most were never as successful in Japan as in the rest of the world), and Rumble City looks pretty standard as well, but Colopl says that their take will be different especially thanks to its multi-player mode. Users will be able to battle against each other to win over buildings from each other, with fights lasting “from 30 minutes to 2 days”, according to the company. As is typical for Colopl, production value seems to be really high, but I have a hard time imagining Rumble City becoming a super hit on the Japanese market.

Video:

Battle Girl High School バトルガール ハイスクール – winter/spring 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
In this action RPG “set in Japan in 2025″, players take on the role of a male teacher in an all-girls high school. The goal is to train and communicate with students before leading them to quests and battles. Colopl says that it uses its experiences from action games like White Cat Project to make the fights more enjoyable, i.e. by offering one-finger control. As to be expected, the company has already lined up a cast of professional voice actresses to boost the appeal of the female students.

Video:

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LINE Corp.

LINE Cross Legion LINE クロスレギオン – spring 2015

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 the LINE version of Nexon’s mobile game “Legion of Heroes”, which has 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:

Note: LINE Corp. is not yet listed.

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GungHo Online Entertainment (3765)

new entry ->
Galactic Sushi 宇宙の寿司 – coming soon

Genre and website:
RPG – website

Comment:
GungHo subsidiary Acquire is developing this action RPG that will be set in outer space from scratch for smartphones – more information should follow soon.

Video (no gameplay scenes):

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CyberAgent (4751)

School Fanfare スクールファンファーレ – April 2015

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. Originally planned for release during winter 2014/1015, CyberAgent postponed the app to April.

Video:

Royal Flush Heroes ロイヤルフラッシュヒーローズ – 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Royal Flush Heroes will mix poker mechanics with a 3D battle RPG. During battles, players must find the ideal formation by arranging a total of ten different characters on a map. Details on what role exactly the poker elements will play are scarce at this point, other that they will be used during battle scenes. In other words, Royal Flush Heroes is another hybrid casino game, a popular sub genre in Japan (see here).

Video:

“Roguelike RPG” – 2014

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
CyberAgent says that with this yet to be named “Roguelike RPG”, they are trying to appeal to fans of classic RPGs. The game will be set in “medieval Europe” but also allow the characters to travel through time to enter new dungeons (which, as usual, are generated randomly). In the first version, players can expect up to 100 characters and will be able to choose between eight different jobs (knight, monk, lancer, etc.). The game will be presented in portrait mode, allowing for one-finger control at all times.

Video:

Puppet Collection パペット★コレクション – February 2015

Genre and official site:
Puzzle – website

Comment:
This match-3 puzzle title seems to have nothing special about it, except for its “kawaii”-factor and the fact that players will be able to collect the cute characters through progressing in the game.

Screenshots:
cyberagent 4751 mobile game japan Puppet Collection パペット★コレクション

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Mixi (2121)

Monster Stadium モンスト モスタジアム – spring 2015

Genre and official site:
Action – website TBA

Comment:
Monster Stadium, the follow-up to Mixi’s mega hit Monster Strike. was first shown to the public during the Nico Nico Tokaigi 2015 event in January 2015. While the original is heavy on cooperation, Monster Stadium will focus more on PvP, namely 4 against 4 battles. Players will need to choose a stage, put together a deck of monsters, choose team members, and then clear the stage – before the other team does. Mixi apparently tries to replicate the strategy of GungHo Online Entertainment (3765) whose mega hit Puzzle & Dragons was followed by spin-off app called Puzzle & Dragons Challenge last year. More on Monster Stadium here.

Screenshots:
mixi 2121 monster strike monster stadium 3 mixi 2121 monster strike monster stadium 2 mixi 2121 monster strike monster stadium

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Konami (9766)

released on March 23 ->
Kyoshin Senso 巨神戦争 – spring 2015

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. At the beginning of March 2015, Konami announced the app will be released in spring of the same year. The company also said that players can form parties consisting of up to 5 characters and communicate with each other during the battle scenes.

Video:

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Capcom (9697)

Street Fighter Battle Combination ストリートファイター バトルコンビネーション – March 30, 2015

Genre and official site:
Action – website

Comment:
After showing a first version of Street Fighter Battle Combination back in 2013, Capcom now finally seems to be ready to roll out the app (at least in Japan). The title isn’t a typical Street Fighter but what the company calls a “one-tap street battle game”: it doesn’t offer a virtual D-pad or buttons during the fights. Instead, players are supposed to gradually level up their characters by letting them fight against each other in a “passive” way (no great reactions necessary) and collect character cards, i. e. by playing gacha. While the Android version is scheduled to go live on March 30, iOS users will need to wait until summer.

Video:

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Bandai Namco (7832)

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):

SD Gundam Strikers SD ガンダム ストライカーズ – coming soon

Genre and official site:
Action – website (English)

Comment:
Another Bandai Namco smartphone app announcement, another Gundam game. But wonders never cease: this time, the company is planning a release in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other East Asian countries simultaneously and in English. More information on this “team battle action” game can be found on its offficial English-language website.

Video:

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 Trigger whose 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)

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:

Hortensia Saga – Ao No Kishidan オルタンシア・サーガ -蒼の騎士団- – spring 2015

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
First unveiled in September 2014 for a winter release (now moved to spring 2015), 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.

Video:

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Square Enix (9684)

released on March 23 ->
Holy Dungeon ホーリーダンジョン – March 2015

Genre and official site:
Puzzle – website

Comment:
Square Enix is about to roll out Holy Dungeon on the Japanese market, a mix between puzzle, RPG, and action game. The goal is to assemble a party of characters with different skills before entering dungeons to dig up treasures and find the way to the exit. Square Enix is already accepting pre-registrations.

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, with characters from previous Final Fantasy games. According to developer Alim, the goal is not just to offer a Final Fantasy-skinned Brave Frontier, but the 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

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 elements like 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 from Final Fantasy Grandmasters (see above), Square Enix is also preparing a mobile version of Final 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

Mevius Final 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 series as 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 previous Final Fantasy games.

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 smartphone RPG 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 distribute the app worldwide. 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 the Microsoft deal in June 2013.

Video:

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, the musical 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:

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 game looks 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

Crooz is also co-developing “Naruto – Shinobi Collection Shippuranbu” together with GREE and Final Fantasy Grandmasters with Square Enix (see above).

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Ateam (3662)

released on March 26 ->
Three Kingdoms Smash! 三国大戦スマッシュ! – coming soon

Genre and website:
Action – website

Comment:
Like so many other games in Asia, this new app from Ateam is based on the “Three Kingdoms” era in China. The game looks a lot like mega hit Monster Strike (it seems Ateam has essentially taken the core game mechanic and just skinned it with a Three Kingdoms theme) except for the PvP mode, which the Mixi title doesn’t offer.

Video:

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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)

Guru Guru Dungeon No Nobunyaga ぐるぐるダンジョン のぶニャが – coming soon

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 – winter 2015

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 – winter 2015

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:

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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 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. 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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Drecom (3793) 

Gakeppuchi Busters 崖っぷちバスターズ – “after April 2015″

Genre and official site:
TBA – website

Comment:
Drecom hasn’t really revealed a lot about this upcoming app so far, apart from its name, logo, and a teaser site.

Logo:
崖っぷちバスターズ gakeppuchi busters drecom 3793

BraveSwordxBlazeSoul ブレイブソード×ブレイズソウル – coming soon

Genre and official site:
RPG – website

Comment:
Drecom subsidiary Grimoire is preparing an RPG – that is all the company has announced publicly about its next big game so far.

Video:

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enish (3667)

Twelve Odins 12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.

Logo:
enish 3667 Twelve Odins 12オーディンズ

 

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Altplus (3672)

new entry ->
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 of specific content or companies.

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