catch the heart
Recently a number of games based on old Taito properties have appeared (some of which I reported on in previous posts here), then disappeared, then reappeared with a new name and characters. which I thought was quite odd - Taito have never been averse to exploiting their old licenses, after all. These are all the titles I'm aware of:
- Elevator Action (Wii)
European release listed by Nintendo with its original title. Now seems to have resurfaced as "Spy Games: Elevator Mission" (in the US) or "Elevator Combat" (in Europe). Developed by Dreams.
- Pop'n Pop (Wii)
Also appeared on European release list alongside Elevator Action. Now being released in the US as "Balloon Pop" and in Europa as "Pop!". Developed by Dreams.
- Wild Western (DS)
Box and screenshots originally posted on European distributor site, title screen had a Taito copyright. Released in the US as "The Wild West" with a Majesco copyright. European version (as yet unreleased) appears to still carry the "Wild Western" name though. Developed by Happy Happening.
- Kiki KaiKai 2 (PS2/Wii)
Announced in Japan by Starfish, then cancelled, reappeared in the US under the title "Kiki Kai World" then "Heavenly Guardian" with a different lead character, and in Japan as "Yukinko Daisenpuu ~Sayuki to Koyuki no Hie-Hie Daisoudou~". Chances of European release: practically fuck-all. But its happening, against all odds. Wii/PS2, named "Legend of Sayuki"
- Shin Chuka Taisen (Wii)
I'll mention this here because its circumstances are somewhat similar to Kiki Kai World, but it isn't really a Taito license - although the original arcade game was published and distributed by Taito, it was developed by Hot-B. As far as I can work out, Taito still owns the original game, but Starfish (as the current owner of various former Hot-B IP) has the rights to the title and characters, so they don't have to deal with Taito to release this. Being published in the US as "Monkey King: The Legend Returns".
So! What's the reason behind all of this? According to a spokesperson from UFO Interactive, the publisher of many of these games in the US, "To make a long story short, Taito, who is now owned by Square [Enix], had some issues with us and we had to let the title go" (the title in this case being Kiki KaiKai 2). So, evidently Taito, probably under orders from Square Enix, are withdrawing the licenses from all these smaller companies (many of which have a history of working with Taito) but why? are they just being arseholes? were there quality concerns? (many of the recent games from these developers haven't been all that well received, after all). or maybe they're shifting development back in-house, which could be a good idea, because Space Invaders Extreme is brilliant. (if that was done in-house? argh i dunno)
posted by taizou at on 19/03/2008 in uncategorised
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