Big in Japan: Square Enix and GungHo talk up new titles, while DeNA looks to Clash of Clans

Weekly digest from Tokyo

Big in Japan: Square Enix and GungHo talk up new titles, while DeNA looks to Clash of Clans

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 to hook up with Indie Navi, a site which is dedicated to the coverage of Japanese mobile and indie development.

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

DQM Super Light Back in top 5 after gacha ruckus

In response to criticism and player backlash, Square Enix made several changes to the pay-to-play gacha lottery in its smartphone title Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light.

In addition to lowering the price of the premium gacha and reconfiguring the odds of winning one of the better monsters, Square Enix changed the background used for Super Light's premium gacha.

Before, the background depicted an open treasure chest laden with the golden maps that awarded A- and S- rank monsters. Given that the combined odds of actually getting one of these maps was 5.3 percent, players cried foul and demanded refunds. The new background simply depicts a closed chest with a crank, emphasizing the "game of chance" element.

Square's quick response seems to have gone over well with fans. Once the gacha went back online, DQM Super Light immediately jumped back to second place in the App Store games rankings, from 23rd the day before.

As of today (14 February), Super Light as in fourth place on Google Play Japan, and remains in second place on the Japanese App Store.

DeNA shares rise on release of Clash of Clans Attack on Titan

DeNA finally got a bit of good news as its share price rose 16 percent to finish the day at 2,130 yen. This is a result of news that its recently released smartphone app based on the popular Attack on Titan franchise had made it to 30th on the App Store sales rankings.

In fact, DeNA really seems to think Supercell/GungHo is on to something with Clash of Clans.

Attack on Titan: A Roar to Freedom is heavily influenced by "Kura Kura" (as Clans is sometimes shortened to in Japan), with players building up an army of titans and sending them to attack the fortresses of fellow gamers.

DeNA also revealed the concept behind its other licensed title, Evangelion: Catharsis of the Soul in which players build an army of angels and send them to attack the fortre... er, "Tokyo-3s" of fellow gamers.

If it ain't broke...

Famitsu goes hands on with GungHo's Latest title - Summons Board

On 10 February, GungHo released the Android version of its latest title, Summons Board. Famitsu App published a hands-on report, which sheds light on the title and its play systems.

The battlefield is a 4 x 4 square. When entering battle, four of the player's creatures and a handful of enemy creatures are distributed throughout the battlefield, along with obstacles as well as beneficial items such as HP-restoring heart crystals.

The battles are turn-based, although players (both human and AI) may only move one of their four creatures per turn. Monsters are also limited in which directions they can move and attack, as indicated by small arrow icons.

When an enemy creature is in one of the squares the player's creature can attack, it will automatically do so. If the player is able to position his creature such that several enemy beasts are in its attack range, they will all fall under attack. Also, if the player is able to line up his creatures so that two or more are able to attack an enemy creature, they will all do so, resulting in a combo attack.

Simple, but deceptively deep.

Summons Board
also features online competition and guild memberships in what GungHo hopes will be its next mainstream masterpiece. The Android version is currently available for download, with an iOS version slated for release shortly.

KLab restructures after a disappointing 16 months

In response to operating losses that were 2.1 billion yen ($21 million) deeper than KLab had anticipated, the company has announced its intentions to restructure and to absorb its subsidiaries.

KLab will cut its number of employees to 600 in Japan and 830 globally. KLab also announced that it will absorb its subsidiaries Media In Cruise, Pikkle, Dream Laboratory, and Bunkyo-Koki Co., in order to reduce costs and to streamline its operations.

Like many companies in the Japanese mobile games industry, KLab was slow to switch from providing browser-based titles to developing native smartphone apps. As a result of the rapid rise of smartphones in Japan, KLab's bottom line has taken a beating.

However, KLab is quick to point out that its smartphone titles (such as Love Live: School Idol Festival) have begun to perform, bringing the company nearly back in the black.

Square Enix reveals Glorious Blaze details

Square Enix released information about the development team behind Glorious Blaze, its upcoming collaboration with mobile developer gloops, as well as information regarding the story and battle system.

The creative producer is Takashi Tokita, who has been with Square Enix for nearly 30 years, serving as lead designer for Final Fantasy IV, and as director of Parasite Eve and Chrono Trigger (among other roles).

Character design is being handled by Toshiyuki Itahana, designer for Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.

In Glorious Blaze, Battles are command-based, employing a "priority" system. Players bolster their parties with "job units", such as warrior, mage, monk, martial artist, thief, explorer, or minstrel. The title also includes an alignment system (fire, water, earth, etc.) that will be familiar to JRPG fans.

Given the pedigree of the talent involved and apparent intricacy of the battle system, JRPG fans may have something that goes beyond the standard smartphone fare to look forward to in Glorious Blaze. 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.