It’s no secret that the Xbox 360 sold poorly in Japan throughout its life cycle. We’d even venture a guess that the Virtual Boy sold more units than the 360 in the East. (We’re kidding. But not really, actually.) In fact, the Xbox brand at large has never found much success with Japanese audiences. The original ‘box lacked the type of games the culture desired, and Microsoft’s marketing campaign was less than spectacular this past generation. All of that aside, though, that hasn’t stopped Yukio Futatsugi from jumping aboard the Microsoft train for this upcoming gen.
Futatsugi is best known for his work on Panzer Dragoon. But it’s not just the iconic rail shooter for which he is known; he has also worked on gems such as Ring of Red and, our personal favorite, Phantom Dust. Unbeknownst to most people however, Futatsugi worked for Microsoft from 2005 to 2007. It was only after his departure that he co-founded the development studio Grounding Inc. For those wondering what Grounding has done, let me throw out the name: Crimson Dragon. You might know of that one. In fact, you should know of that one, as it’s an Xbox One launch title. So when asked whether or not the X1 has a chance with Japanese gamers, Yukio answered by saying:
The Japanese market is somewhat different from the North America-European markets, so I personally feel that it would be great if they could invest more into adapting the rather unique Japanese-style games to appeal to Western gamers, or pay more attention to the games that are selling in Japan. But that is just my general opinion — it’s not really an issue that I am in a position to do something about.
It’s not just Crimson Dragon that is on Yukio’s radar, though. As already mentioned, Phantom Dust is among some of his best works. It was not only one of the best games to come out of the sixth generation, but it still stands as a sound piece of gaming architecture that serves as inspiration to games being released today (read: Soul Sacrifice for the PS Vita). When our friends over at Siliconera asked Futatsugi about the possibility of a sequel for the beloved Phantom Dust, he responded with the following:
Of all the games I have created so far, Phantom Dust is my favorite. Microsoft owns the IP, so if Microsoft would say they want to do it, I’m ready to jump on board immediately. I’ve already got ideas for a sequel in mind. Perhaps it’s also good to note here that the art lead for Phantom Dust is a member of our company and participated in the Crimson Dragon production.
So there you have it, ladies and gents. If there’s enough demand for it, it’s possible that we’ll finally get a follow-up to the original Xbox’s best hidden gem. Here’s hoping that folks respond to Crimson Dragon, and some of the other, more Japanese titles such as Swery’s episodic adventure game, D4. Who knows, the ‘Bone could be a playground for those of us looking to get our Japanese niche gaming fix. Now wouldn’t that be something.