On Thursday, Bandai announced plans to release its epic RPG series .hack (pronounced "dot hack") on the PlayStation 2. The company is also producing an animated feature based on the series that is scheduled to hit the Japanese TV beginning April 3. The animated series will later be released on DVD, and Bandai will include the DVD in a future special package of the game.
A number of talents from the Japanese animation industry will collaborate on the project. Artist Yoshiyuki Sadamoto will serve as the character designer (Neon Genesis Evangelion and Nadia: In the Seas of Wonder), Ito Kazunori (Patlabor and Dirty Pair) as the scriptwriter, and Koichi Mashita (Dirty Pair) as the animation director. Japanese software company Cyberconnect2, whose previous work includes Silent Bomber on the PlayStation, is behind the development of the game. The series takes place in the near future, and it focuses on a virtual reality network game called The World.
The game will be released in four separate chapters, with the first chapter scheduled for release this June in Japan. The company plans to release the succeeding chapters every three months. The regular package is priced at 3,800 yen (US$28) and the special package will be priced at 5,800 yen (US$43).