Tired of Western shooters? Good news! Xbox 360 Games on Demand will offer unaltered Japanese retail titles starting next week.
The first foreign entry for the service is Japanese bullet hell shmup Deathsmiles IIX. Cave's sequel to it's 2007 arcade and console hit Deathsmiles was announced via the developer's Facebook page. Deathsmiles IIX will be sold for $29.99 on May 17 via Games on Demand. For now, the game will only be available for North America.
The Facebook post continues: "Xbox 360 producer Makoto Asada mentions that we were approached by Microsoft with the opportunity, and we will be giving this format a try for getting some of our Japan-only shooters released overseas."
This is very exciting news for both Japanese game fans and shmup lovers, as Cave is one of the best currently in the business. Xbox 360 has long been the favored platform for shmupdevelopers in Japan, due to cheap development cost. Titles such as Guwange (another Cave release) and Strania -- The Stella Machina found their way to a Western audience through Xbox Live Arcade, but the ability for foreign developers to upload previously released Japanese retail games to Games on Demand could open a new door for Western fans of niche genres and foreign titles.
It's appropriate that Microsoft approached Cave for this project, as the developer is one of the most ambitious ones out there. Between releasing iOS ports of its games (DoDonPachi Resurrection, Espgaluda II) and taking a gamble on putting out the original Deathsmiles on Western shelves (with a special edition, no less), Cave is always looking for new avenues for its games. Maybe, Games on Demand is what Cave has been looking for.
Deathsmiles II wasn't the most warmly received Cave title by critics and arcade enthusiasts - mostly, due to the developer stepping away from its signature colorful sprites - but it's great to see the developer increase its presence in the West.
So, download Cave's Christmas-themed shmup on May 17, fire a couple witch pellets at evil Santa Claus and Rudolph, and maybe we'll get Games on Demand releases for Pink Sweets & Muchi Muchi Pork, Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5, and other Japanese games in time.