TOKYO--Namco and Capcom have teamed up to create a new strategy role-playing game called Namco x Capcom. The game is slated for release on the PlayStation 2 in Japan in May and will carry a price tag of 6,800 yen ($66). Namco x Capcom is a nostalgic gamer's dream, with more than 200 characters spanning the histories of both companies. Familiar faces will appear from Tekken, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Biohazard: Gun Survivor 4, and the Japanese favorite Wonder Momo.
The game is being developed by Monolith Soft, creator of the Xenosaga series, and will be directed and written by Souichirou Morizumi (Super Robot Taisen) and produced by Kouji Ishitani (Xenosaga Episode I, Baten Kaitos). "Monolith Soft came to us, saying that they wanted to make a game that featured characters from Namco," said Namco executive Youichi Haraguchi. "Our company is celebrating its 50th anniversary in June, so we were thinking that it would be great to bring back our characters from the past."
The characters will be illustrated by Takuji Kawano (artist of the Soul Calibur series). Namco x Capcom will also feature an opening animation by Production IG, which created Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and the anime sequence featured in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1.
Namco x Capcom takes place sometime in the next hundred years. The story begins in Shibuya, Tokyo, which has been evacuated after a worldwide space-time distortion. The main characters, agent Arisu Reiji and agent Xiaomu, are sent to the city by a government organization named Shinra that investigates supernatural events. While there, they witness another distortion that causes a dimensional rift, through which monsters and Namco and Capcom characters pour into the city.
Namco x Capcom is a standard strategy RPG with a touch of action gameplay. Players move their character units around a field map; moving near an enemy triggers a battle. Players can work in single units, with one character who fights alone, or in pair units, where a single player controls two characters at once. Namco x Capcom also features plenty of chatter between characters throughout the game.
Namco x Capcom uses a 2D battle screen, and the controls are pretty easy. Players attack by holding down one of the four directions on the D pad and pressing the circle button, or by pressing the circle button alone. Players have a power meter; when it's full, they can execute a more-powerful attack with the triangle button.
According to Haraguchi, the original concept for the game came two years ago. "Back then, we already had about 100 characters in the game, but we felt that something was still missing," he said. "So we came up with the idea that it would be more thrilling and exciting if we brought in characters from another company, and we really wanted to do it. When we thought about what company had enough unique characters that could match with ours to make things even more stunning, we could only think of Capcom."
"I feel really honored and happy that we can work on a collaboration with Namco like this," said Capcom producer Keiji Inafune, who's best known for his Onimusha and Rockman Dash series. "If it were a few years back, it would've been unthinkable to join hands with another rival company [in the industry]. But [companies] nowadays are more cooperative, and I think that it's a good thing for the video game industry."
"It's been about 18 years since I joined Capcom, during which I've seen many characters created and many forgotten," Inafune continued. "Those characters were created by their designers with a lot of emotion, and seeing them resurrected in a game, together with Namco characters, is really fantastic. I used to be a character designer, so I'm very happy that our characters are reappearing like this. I hope that we can collaborate together with Namco again in the future."
The partial roster of characters is as follows:
Arisu Reiji (Voice: Kazuhiko Inoue)
Xiaomu (Voice: Omi Minami)
Kos-Mos, Xenosaga series (Voice: Mariko Suzuki)
Mitsurugi, Soul Calibur series (Voice: Toshiyuki Morikawa)
Stan, Tales of Destiny (Voice: Tomokazu Seki)
Rutee, Tales of Destiny (Voice: Yuka Imai)
Jin Kazama, Tekken series (Voice: Isshin Chiba)
Valkyrie, Legend of Valkyrie (Voice: Kikuko Inoue)
Berabou-man, Chou-zetsurin-jin Berabou-man (Voice: Tetsu Inada)
Wonder Momo, Wonder Momo (Voice: Ayako Kawasumi)
Demitri, Vampire series (Voice: Nobuyuki Hiyama)
Morrigan, Vampire series (Voice: Yayoi Jinguji)
Felicia, Vampire series
Hiryu, Strider Hiryu series (Voice: Kousuke Toriumi)
Ryu, Street Fighter series (Voice: Toshiyuki Morikawa)
Chunli, Street Fighter series (Voice: Atsuko Tanaka)
Ken, Street Fighter series
Arthur, Ghosts 'N Goblins series (Voice: Fumihiko Tachiki)
Bruce McGivern, Biohazard: Gun Survivor 4 (Voice: Hiroaki Hirata)
Regina, Dino Crisis series (Voice: Atsuko Tanaka)
Hideo Shimazu, Justice Gakuen series
Kyoko Minazuki, Justice Gakuen series
Rock Volnut, Rockman Dash series
Roll Casket, Rockman Dash series
While not listed in the released roster, a number of other Namco and Capcom characters have also been confirmed to be in the game. These include Taki from Soul Calibur; King from Tekken; Shion and Momo from Xenosaga; Akuma, Cammy, Sakura, Karin, and Guy from Street Fighter Zero; Tron and Kobun from Rockman Dash; Lei-Lei and Zabel from Vampire; Fongling from Biohazard: Gun Survivor 4; and Captain Commando. Some of the creatures in the game will include Street Fighter's Bison, Ghosts 'N Goblins' Lucifer, the dinosaurs from Capcom's Dino Crisis, and the tentacle monsters from Namco's Quest of Ki.
GameSpot will provide updates on Namco x Capcom as they become available.