The world has descended into anarchy as the remnants of governments bomb one another, scramble for power and generally make a mess of our once lovely planet. As a side effect of nuclear war and chemical proliferation, the populace begins to mutate, only able to stave off physical disfigurement with advanced technology. Or something like that. The story of Platinum Games' Anarchy Reigns isn't terribly important, and the premise is conveyed entirely via a long wall of text during the first loading screen.
It's all merely a backdrop for what's really important: punching things with rocket-fists.
Platinum Games and Sega have released the official Anarchy Reigns soundtrack, on iTunes and Amazon MP3 for $8.99/£7.99. The album features a new track by Dilated Peoples, which you can hear in the above video.
It's up to you to decide whether this early soundtrack release counts as a gesture to ease the protracted wait for Anarchy Reigns' Western release, or as a cruel tease. Anarchy Reigns will finally, finally, probably be released in North America on January 8.
After some miscommunication with publisher Sega, Platinum Games has announced that Anarchy Reigns will finally launch in the west this January. It will be available in North America on January 8 and Europe on January 11 for $29.99 and £19.99/€24.99, respectively. Anarchy Reigns has been sowing seeds of institutional discontent in Japan since last July.
Platinum's latest is a free-for-all brawler starring several of the developer's characters, like Jack from MadWorld and Bayonetta from that game with the gun-boots.
Yesterday's announcement of a Q1 2013 release window for Anarchy Reigns was a surprise to us. It turns out it was also a surprise to developer Platinum Games. Producer Atsushi Inaba issued a statement to fans today in a series of tweets, expressing his surprise and explaining what he knows.
"First of all," he said, "we are done with all international versions of Anarchy Reigns. The delay is not due to further development of the game." In fact, "Today's Q1 2013 release news was the first we'd heard of it." Inaba apologized to fans for the confusion, and confirmed that the Japanese release will take place on July 5 as planned.
Platinum Games upcoming online brawler Anarchy Reigns has been pushed to early 2013 in both North American and Europe, Sega stated today. The game will be released in Japan as originally planned next month. [Twitter Thanks KingKellogg!] More »
Good news: the restructured Sega has not canceled the western release of Anarchy Reigns. However, Sega has delayed the release of Platinum's brawler again. Once set for July 2012 (which was a delay), then "to be confirmed," Sega has now given the game a Q1 2013 window in a brief message on Twitter. This game was supposed to be released in fall 2011.
If you have access to a PS3 and a Japanese PlayStation Network account, you can download a demo of the game right now, under its Japanese name, Max Anarchy. The Japanese version comes out July 5, right around the time of its former US/Europe release window.
Platinum Games, the folks behind Bayonetta and that new Metal Gear Rising game, have a web cam turned on its studio, which offers a peek behind the curtain. As of posting, the camera is facing an Anarchy Reigns poster, so you might want to check back later. You know, after they move the camera. More »
Platinum Games told fans on its latest podcast episode that upcoming brawler Anarchy Reigns no longer has a US/EU release date. Wait, seriously? Yes, seriously. According to Platinum, "Sega has decided to change the date to TBC [to be confirmed]." A note clarified the situation further: "While our work on the game is finished, localized, and ready to go, as publisher, Sega gets to make the final decision as to when it is released."
For its part, Sega hasn't announced the delay or even acknowledged it as far as we can tell. Given that the game is still planned for a July 5 launch in Japan, and Platinum's statement that the game is "finished, localized, and ready to go," we expect to hear an updated launch date for US/EU territories pretty soon. At least we hope - the game already got pushed seven months, so you never know!
The team at Platinum Games, developer of online cross-franchise beat 'em up Anarchy Reigns, has a pretty sweet deal. Those lucky dogs get to sit around and play the games they're making all under the guise of "work." It's almost as awesome as playing and writing about video games other people make for a living. Almost.
The above video shows off 11 minutes of Platinum Games playing Anarchy Reigns, complete with audio reactions and some sweet specialized moves.
Once planned for January 2012, Sega announced that the brawler Anarchy Reigns has been delayed until July 3 in North America, July 6 in Europe, and July 5 in Australia.
Offering a cryptic explanation for the delay in the announcement, Sega West Senior Vice President of Marketing Gary Knight suggested significant new content: "I can't reveal much now," he said, "but it's something to do with scale. Let's just say traditional one on one or two versus two fighters will be a thing of the past ..."
Our guess is that Platinum is having a hard time getting back to work on this when Metal Gear Rising exists.
"Hide your wife. Hide your husband. They are drillin' everybody out here." So warns the latest character trailer starring Garuda, the one-ton Transformer armed with a pair of high velocity drills. More »
In an effort to avoid being confused with Durga the Hutt, or Durga, The Invincible One Who Can Redeem In Situations Of Utmost Distress, Anarchy Reigns' latest character distinguishes himself through his stylish tiger-themed wardrobe, his platinum blonde kitty-cat haircut, and also by having a claw-footed revolver-cannon for a leg. Overall, the effect is subtle, and we think it compliments the title's understated visual style.
Kotaku readers, meet Durga. He's the latest addition to Platinum Games and Sega's Anarchy Reigns, a man with Wolverine hair, a tiger tail and the camouflage jumpsuit to match—oh, and a mechanical leg with a huge-ass gun. More »
The characters in Anarchy Reigns aren't just running around, punching each other willy-nilly. Nope, there's a story behind all of that violence -- a tale of redemption, revenge and some sweet robo-suits.
What, you thought Platinum Games' online multiplayer brawler was just a bunch of super-powered beings battling each other for no reason? No sir, there is some sort of story going on in Anarchy Reigns; it just happens to involve a lot of punching, kicking, and stabbing. More »
Sega has tried to thread the needle with Sonic, but fans haven't responded with an embrace.
"You want what you’ve always wanted, but you also want something new. You want things to look like they always have, but you want the buzz of the new. Contradictions? No problem. They come with the territory. But is it possible to ask, and is it even possible to deliver something for everyone?"
That was Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime at its E3 2011 press conference, as the company made its pitch for merging the hardcore and the casual.
Sega and Nintendo are not very different, both Japanese companies with nostalgia-fueled legacies that help and haunt them.
Sega can't be an easy company to run. Fans are rabid, unrelenting. No Sonic game will satisfy them (though one could argue they haven't been very good), and without fail, every Facebook update has someone demanding a new Shenmue. But do people really want a new big-budget Shenmue, or just think they want one? At what point does the scale tip in favor of pushing something into production? 10,000 Facebook likes?
Former Sega of Europe leader Mike Hayes stepped into the role of running Sega's European and American divisions two years ago. When I talked with Hayes at E3, he described the past few years as a reconstruction. In order to face the future, Sega had to catch up to the present.
"A lot of what we've done in the past two years has been work underneath the water, rather than the swan on the top," said Hayes, as we spoke in one of E3's private meeting rooms, above the roaring show floor, overflowing with pedestrians. "It's the paddling underneath. [EA CEO] John Riccitello mentioned it at the Nintendo conference--it's about transition, and that's the key thing for us. How do we take the IP that's particularly strong at Sega and how do we bring that on to the different platforms [such as Facebook, iOS], rather than just the consoles we're used to?"
Sega's seen critical success with Platinum Games, but it hasn't exactly translated to sales.
A look around Sega's booth at E3 shows a company with scattered priorities. Anarchy Reigns, a multiplayer focused brawler from Platinum Games, a development team founded by former Capcom employees, harking back to when Japan was gaming HQ. Aliens: Colonial Marines, Sega's push to forge an identity around an existing movie property away from the day-of-release game movie business that's seen less and less support from savvy consumers. Sonic Generations, the latest attempt by Sega to please old school fans and today's youth.
I joked about listing off a series of franchises Sega hasn't touched in years and asking for individual updates. Jet Set Radio? Panzer Dragoon? Phantasy Star? Seaman? Skies of Arcadia? ToeJam & Earl? Hayes, and the public relations girl, both laughed. Then, they both sighed.
"We listen and we think [about if] there is a real market opportunity," he said, "but the key thing is...there's a great fondness, but to bring it into the modern world is quite a tricky thing to do. In many instances, it's a very expensive thing to do to try and get to that point. We need to be quite smart. A lot of what we're doing, for example, on XBLA and PSN, is looking at reimagined IP. We can do that far more successfully and more reasonably and actually give players both a bit of nostalgia and a sort of up to date taste of how we can use that technology."
NiGHTS turned out be a product of its time, as the sequel didn't receive the warmest reception.
It's not as simple as identifying a fondly remember franchise and slapping a new developer on it. Golden Axe and Vectorman reboots both imploded. Did you play NiGHTS 2? Heck, look at what happened to Namco Bandai's Splatterhouse--that even had two assigned developers. Memories deceive, and it takes a talented developer to channel what made something magical in decades past and bring that up to speed. Duke Nukem Forever finally launched this week. That was the wait, wasn't it?
"We're really drilling back into the homeland of Sega," said Heyes. "We're very pleased with the progress, but as with all things, it takes time. It takes time. I think, certainly, this year, we're in good shape to perform well in the market. [...] The good news is Sega does have a lot of IP. It may well be that we unlock some of those that we haven't actually seen for a long time, and bringing them back on the new platforms that we have."
Sega has tried reboots in a box, ala NiGHTS 2 and Outrun 2. The company has seen more hits than misses on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, where the games of Sega's past are more primed for reinvention that doesn't alienate those who've demanded their return in the first place. And you might not have liked Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, but it did sell very well for Sega.
There will be more episodic Sonic, but also more reinventions of classics.
"You'll see a lot more being reimagined and reduxed on XBLA on PSN over the next two years," he said. "[...] We listen a lot to what people want and we've tried, in the past, with some great success and with less success to try and reimagine those. As an example, we're bringing Shinobi onto 3DS, which so far has seem to have gone down pretty well--it's a high-quality game. Hopefully, we do realize that for the consumer that likes that--that it's a fair representation of what we remember Shinobi to be."
Fans have continued to demand a new Shenmue game, something Sega still mull sover.
Even though Hayes has been asked about Shenmue dozens of times, I wanted to touch on the subject, but only to propose how Sega wrestles with the fan demands against the marketplace.
"[With] a $50 million reimagination a Shenmue...are we going to achieve something that, at the end of the day, players are happy with?" he said, letting the question linger, as if asking himself.
Because even when you give fans what they want, maybe that's not what they wanted at all.