GREE announces Wright Flyer Studios while Puzzle & Dragons comes to arcades

Weekly digest from Tokyo

GREE announces Wright Flyer Studios while Puzzle & Dragons comes to arcades

As well as being one of the largest mobile game markets by revenue, Japan is currently also one of the most dynamic.

It's a good opportunity, then, for PocketGamer.biz to hook up with Indie Navi, a site which is dedicated to the coverage of Japanese mobile and indie development.

Set up by two enthusiastic and experienced translators, you can find out more about the services they offer here or email info (at] indienavi.com.

Otherwise, let's get on with the show - the five most interesting stories from the Japanese mobile games industry.

Click here to view the list »
  • 1

    GREE announces Wright Flyer Studios and 2 new games

    GREE has taken flack for being slow to recognize the decline of its social browser games as the market share of smartphones has risen, but the company has promised to address the situation.

    And so now the company announced the formation of Wright Flyer Studios, which will focus on developing native smartphone titles.

    Along with the announcement, GREE also revealed two smartphone titles in development.

    The first, titled The Vanishing City, and subtitled Everything In Its Place (in English), is an action RPG set in modern day Japan. GREE explains that the game will feature simple, one-finger controls but a deep and involving story.

    The second, a Clash of Clans-alike entitled The Earth, The Sky, and The Godess's Magic, will feature character-raising elements and allow up to four players to share in simultaneous battle.

  • 2

    Yahoo warns on the state of Japanese game development

    In an article discussing the rising prominence of smartphone games, Yahoo News reveals some sobering facts about the state of the Japanese arcade and console sectors.

    It's not a surprise that arcades continue to be on the decline, but the extent of that decline may be: in less than 20 years, 3 out of 4 arcades have shuttered their doors in Japan. Consoles were partially to blame for the migration away from arcade development, but now the console sector is similarly under attack, this time from the success of mobile titles.

    Typically, talent will migrate to the rising market sector and a new equilibrium will be reached, but the article points out what could be a devastating phenomenon: although the many free-to-play models lead to explosive growth, these models are already being regarded as a "moral problem" both from within and from outside of the industry, and there are signs that players are becoming fed up.

    With traditional games makers driven out of business by mobile developers, and the glut of mobile development collapsing under its own shortsighted monetizing, the article predicts games development in Japan could be in for a sizable shake-up.

  • 3

    Colopl releases Slingshot Braves in English

    Colopl has received praise for recognizing the importance of embracing the worldwide market, and now the company has released its latest to the English-speaking world.

    Slingshot Braves [Google Play link] boasts intuitive gesture-based controls, attractive 3D graphics powered by Unity, and multiplayer co-op borrowing a page from MMORPGs.

    The central mechanic involves pulling your battlers back and letting them fly, like a slingshot. With its easy-to-understand play style, Slingshot Braves has received comparison to popular titles like Mixi's Monster Strike and Level 5's Wonder Flick.

  • 4

    GungHo's other title - Summons Board! - hits a million downloads

    Contrary to what GungHo itself may lead players to believe, the company isn't just Puzzle & Dragons. They also have Summons Board

    Summons Board has benefited from GungHo's mobile midas touch, hitting 1 million downloads following its 10 February release for Android.

    Summons Board shares many similarities with GungHo's giant. However, it's distinguished by its play mechanic, which places more emphasis on the strategic positioning of one's monsters about the game board.

  • 5

    Two new Puzzle & Dragons titles on the way

    Restoring balance to the mobile universe, GungHo was also directly in the news for Puzzle & Dragons this week.

    On the Puzzle & Dragons Z front, GungHo has teamed up with Marvelous AQL to develop battle kiosks which will be distributed at department stores and games centers throughout Japan. The kiosk game, entitled Puzzle & Dragons Z: Tamer Battle, is planned for release in Japan this summer.

    Tamer Battle uses a touchscreen with a battle system borrowed from the 3DS game. Young players are awarded ‘monster tickets’ when they do well, which can later be redeemed to unleash punishing attacks or to evolve certain monsters. As a fun addition, the kiosks have built-in printing capabilities, issuing upgraded monster tickets as the player's monsters evolve.

    On the traditional P&D front, the Square Enix-developed Puzzle & Dragons Battle Tournament will be released to arcades on the 24th April. Battle Tournament is an arcade-only, online version of the smartphone version of P&D, with character designs by Tetsuya Nomura.


PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.