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Panzer Dragoon: Voyage Record Announced, New VR Title Including Levels from PD, PD Zwei, & PD Saga

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

SEGA has announced a new VR title based on the Panzer Dragoon series, named Panzer Dragoon: Voyage Record (see what they did there?).

Via the press release for the game:

Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record is a VR dramatic shooter. It relive each of the various episodes that appeared in the three works of Sega Saturn software “Panzer Dragoon”, “Panzer Dragoon Zwei” and “Panzer Dragoon Saga”.

This work is a completely new work to play the episodes of the series trilogy by a new graphics that the first person view optimized for VR headsets and a new input method that likens the VR controller to the handgun of the dragon rider. The recording episodes and the support platform to be announced later.

For the latest information, please check official Twitter account @PanzerDragoonVR

Development seems to be from Wildman inc, who’s main project before this was “Gunner of Dragoon”; a fan tribute project from one of Japan’s most hardcore Panzer Dragoon fans (a fan who also tore the upcoming remake of the original game from Forever Entertainment a new one after playing it – ouch). At the very least then, the project appears to be in good hands – time will tell if the project comes westwards, but given the press release is in English and the Twitter account is using a mix of both Japanese and English, it’s a safe bet.

Data Discs Release Digital Remasters of Streets of Rage Series Soundtracks, £6 Each On Bandcamp

Monday, March 9th, 2020

If you’ve ever wanted to indulge in Data Discs’ sublime work, but lack the vinyl player to do so, good news; they’ve digitally remastered the Streets of Rage trilogy’s soundtracks, and you can now  download them from Bandcamp! Of note, these are masters made specifically for digital playback, as opposed to the analogue format of the vinyl releases.

From Data Discs themselves:

Continuing our partnership with legendary composer Yuzo Koshiro, and just in time to coincide with our label’s fifth anniversary, it’s with great pleasure that we can finally announce our digital remasters of the iconic STREETS OF RAGE trilogy.

Over the past year we’ve been back in the studio, revisiting our previous work and remastering the trilogy for digital distribution. As with our vinyl releases, all three albums were sourced using a combination of the original NEC-PC88 files (captured and supplied by Koshiro-san himself) and a range of Japanese Mega Drive consoles. We are honoured to be distributing these classic albums on digital platforms, so they can reach an ever wider audience and maintain their rightful place as some of the most important and influential game scores ever made.

All three albums are available to purchase today from our new BANDCAMP store, priced at 6.00 GBP each (in a range of lossy and lossless formats). They will also be available on other digital platforms at a later date.

That last bit gives us a little bit of hope that we might see these legendary soundtracks join streaming services at some point – time will tell!

SEGA AGES G-LOC: Air Battle Is Seemingly Up Next For Nintendo Switch in Japan

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

The SEGA AGES klaxon rings out once again; from the sounds of things, G-LOC Air Battle will be the next game to join M2’s lineup of superb Switch ports.

Somewhat of an After Burner spin-off, G-LOC was perhaps most well-remembered for its absolutely ridiculous deluxe cabinet, the R360, which rotated the player’s seat all over the place as you played the game. Sadly we somehow doubt this port will magically spawn an R360 in your home, but we can dream.

This news comes from Famitsu via JapaneseNintendo; apparently the game will boast a new “AGES Mode”, though what exactly that doesn’t isn’t clear just yet. There’ll also be the standard difficulty level toggle, and online rankings to compete in.

An official confirmation from SEGA’s Twitter, as is usually the case, probably isn’t too far off now. That might also shed some extra light on what exactly AGES Mode changes.

GDC 2020 Exhibitor List Includes “Wonder Boy Universe: Asha in Monster World” from Studio Artdink; Possibly a Monster World IV Remake

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

We’re coming up to a fair number of expos and conferences for the world of video games, including PAX and GDC 2020; and one announcement that hardcore SEGA fans might appreciate may have been let slip by GDC’s exhibitor list.

First noticed by Sonic Paradise’s AshTheDragon on Twitter, the list includes an entry for “Wonder Boy Universe: Asha in Monster World”. For those unaware, Asha is the protagonist of Monster World IV for the SEGA Mega Drive, widely considered to be not only the best title in the series but perhaps one of the best games on the entire system. At one point Japan exclusive, it was later translated by M2 for numerous platforms, including the recent Mega Drive Mini.

The plot thickens further though, as the lovely folks at HardcoreGaming101 actually chimed in to say they’d heard rumblings of this project – and suggest it will be a 3D remake of the original Mega Drive title. They do note that they weren’t aware of Artdink’s involvement, so it’s possible we could be looking at a situation in which Artdink are simply supporting another studio’s development. HG101 are generally a reliable bunch, but as with any rumour, take this specifically with a grain of salt.

Whatever the case we’re very excited to see what this is, and with GDC taking place next month, hopefully there won’t be too long to wait.

[ Source: GDC 2020 Exhibitor List ]

Sakura Wars Coming to the West on April 28th 2020 for PS4, Launch Edition Revealed

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

SEGA has officially confirmed that “Shin Sakura Wars” will be launching westwards under the name Sakura Wars, for Playstation 4.

The game offers a unique blend of dating sim and action RPG gameplay, against the backdrop of a fictionalised Japan. As SEGA’s site for the game puts it:

The stage is set in a steampunk version of 1940s Imperial Tokyo. Only a short while ago, a cataclysmic event destroyed the Imperial Combat Revue of Tokyo, the capital’s global defense force stationed at the Imperial Theater. Now home to the Flower Division, an inept rookie squad who also strives to impart hope on the citizenry with their theatrical talents, the theater has fallen on hard times and risks closure. It’s up to Seijuro Kamiyama as the captain of the new Tokyo revue to lead his squad and restore the Imperial Combat Revue and the theater back to their former glory! With the help of the revue’s five colorful performers, he must rise to the challenge of competing in the Combat Revue World Games, protecting the inhabitants of Tokyo and getting the theater back on track.

Also notable is that the game runs on the Hedgehog Engine 2 – the very same engine used to deliver Sonic Forces’ graphics. It looks like it’s been put to good use here, too.

The game is currently slated as a PS4 exclusive, with no word on ports to other consoles or PC. The launch edition will include a reversible cover and sticker set.

[ Sakura Wars | Official Website]

Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash! Launches for PS4 on February 25th

Monday, February 10th, 2020

It’s been announced via the Playstation website that Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash! will be releasing on February 25th in America, and the 26th in Europe.

The game is a brand new adventure in the Space Channel 5 series, seeing Ulala return to her reporting duties alongside a slew of new characters. On offer are various modes, including Story Mode, an Arcade Mode for beginners, Trial Dance, Viewing Mode, as well as extra content such as unlockable outfits for Ulala and a set of character biographies. Ulala’s also sporting a new voice actress – Cherami Leigh, who SEGA fans may recognise from her role as Makoto Nijima in Persona 5.

There’s no word on a PC release date yet, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for one. Full details are available via Playstation.

Gotta Go Fast: The Official Sonic the Hedgehog Panel Confirmed for SXSW, takes place March 20th 2020

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

SEGA’s recently announced Sonic 2020 initiative is off to a flying start – earlier today it was announced that SEGA AGES Sonic 2 will release on the eShop on February 20th, and now it’s been confirmed that Sonic will once again make his presence known at the SXSW expo in Texas, as the annual Sonic panel returns for 2020.

The panel’s onsite description is as follows:

Sonic the Hedgehog is back at SXSW! Join special guests from SEGA and Sonic Team as they talk about the latest for the blue blur and his next steps for 2020 and beyond. There’s almost always a special announcement or two to be had, so be sure to stay tuned!

The panel is usually hosted on the 16th, but the switch to the 20th conveniently lands it within the Sonic 2020 campaign. As for what’ll be announced there – only time will tell!

SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo Tsu for Nintendo Switch Comes West on February 20th… alongside SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2!

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

UPDATE

SEGA has now confirmed the Feburary 20th release date for Puyo Tsu in the West, with another surprising detail – Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s AGES release will launch on the same day!

This is the first time an AGES release has had it’s Western release in-line with the Japanese versions since launch, so it’s great news. AGES Sonic 2 will include the extra modes from the 3DS version, as well as Knuckles in Sonic 2 and the Drop Dash from Sonic Mania.

ORIGINAL STORY

Back in January, Puyo Puyo Tsu joined the SEGA AGES lineup on Nintendo Switch over in Japan. The good news is Western players won’t have to wait much longer to get their Puyo fix; as the port will be coming westwards on February 20th.

The information comes from a listing on the Nintendo eShop’s “Coming Soon” section, stating the ‘planned release’ date is 20/02/2020. For those unaware, this is a port of the arcade version, with a slew of extra features including online multiplayer, an endurance mode in which you fight every single opponent in a row, and even options to assist colourblind players. It’ll be £5.99, as with the other AGES ports.

Numerous SEGA Soundtracks Vanish from Spotify overnight, including Virtua Fighter, Puyo Puyo, and Team Sonic Racing OSTs

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

UPDATE

The removed tracks have now returned to the service – along with some new additions, including Phantasy Star Zero, Roommania and Ollie King soundtracks. Much like the last time happened, it seems the downtime had something to do with expanding to other services, as SEGA has added their music library to new services such as Rakuten and LINE Music over the past day or two.

ORIGINAL STORY

And now for some not-so-good SEGA music news – SEGA’s back catalogue on Spotify has suddenly dwindled from the comprehensive selection it offered, virtually overnight – with a seemingly random selection of the company’s beloved music being pulled from the service.

Right now, it’s probably easier to list what is still there than what isn’t; most Sonic soundtracks have survived the cull, as well as soundtracks for Yakuza, Chain Chronicle, Border Break, Rhythm Thief, Jet Set Radio, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, NiGHTS Journey of Dreams and IDOLA Phantasy Star Saga. Even Rent a Hero’s soundtrack release is still up!

…however, that leaves a lot on the cutting room floor. The original NiGHTS into Dreams soundtracks, for example, are now nowhere to be found. Music from SEGA’s arcade lineage, including Power Drift, Space Harrier, OutRun and others have also been axed from the service. Other soundtracks removed include Virtua Fighter, Puyo Puyo, and even the SEGA Sound Team [.H]’s rearrangement album (although Takenobu Mitsuyoshi’s album From Loud 2 Low is still up, somehow).

Even Sonic wasn’t completely safe – in addition to part of Sonic Generations’ and Sonic Rush’s soundtrack being AWOL for a long time now, Team Sonic Racing’s soundtrack has now also vanished – kind of a confusing removal, given how recent it was.

However, this exodus may not relate to SEGA directly; as noted by several users, albums from EXIT TUNES, a Japanese label responsible for many Vocaloid album releases, have also gone. Could it be a legal thing holding these soundtracks back from the service? The main point of confusion is why certain albums are affected, while others remain up.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time SEGA soundtracks have vanished from Spotify – the same thing happened 2 years ago, with many of the same soundtracks affected, and it wasn’t until nearly a month later that they began to return. Fingers crossed we see a similar return this time.

New Album from Former SEGA Sound Team Band “Blind Spot” Inbound, Rearranges Turbo OutRun, NiGHTS and More

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Back in the day, SEGA music was so beloved that it was frequently performed live by SEGA’s own in-house band, the SEGA Sound Team Band (S.S.T. Band). They gave us some of the most incredible performances of SEGA music the world’s ever known, and in recent years several members of the group actually reformed under the new banner of Blind Spot. Their latest albums include both entirely new original pieces, as well as covers of classic SEGA tunes – and now they’ve announced a fourth album (technically their fifth?) is on the way.

With 12 tracks on offer, Blind Spot IV offers a mix of new and old tracks from beloved composers such as Katsuhiro Hayashi, Koichi Namiki, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi and more. In the SEGA department, the album promises remixes of tracks heard in Virtua Racing, Daytona USA, and even a new arrangement of the main theme of NiGHTS into Dreams – complete with a fresh vocal track!

It’s very exciting, and thankfully it shouldn’t be too hard to have a listen to the full release either; Blind Spot’s work has actually made it onto Spotify, even in the UK!

Blind Spot IV releases February 15th, and hopefully it’ll be on Spotify around then too.

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