After finding out about The Legend of Alfur, a Japanese indy-made FPS for the PC, it struck me how weird it was to hear the words “Japanese-made” and “FPS” in the same sentence. While typically thought of as “overly violent games from the West” in Japan, they have recently grown in popularity here in Japan. Call of Duty: Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 and 3 each sold a quite respectable 400k copies in Japan.
But despite there clearly being an FPS market, I couldn’t for the life of me think of any first-person shooters made by a Japanese company. Could this be true? Have Japanese companies never dabbled in the FPS market? So off I went to do some research, and here’s what I found.
(Note: The included games were all made in Japan by Japanese companies. That’s why you won’t see Metriod Prime or Killzone. Railshooters and lightgun games are not included unless you have free movement.)
Kileak: The DNA Imperative
The oldest Japanese-made FPS I could find was the original PlayStation launch title Kileak: The DNA Imperative (1995). This game featured first-person shooting via Mech Suit and loads of bad CG cut scenes. It wasn’t very good.
Resident Evil Survivor
There was a time when gamers couldn’t get enough of Raccoon City, and Capcom was happy to oblige. What we got was Resident Evil Survivor (2000) for the PSX — a non-canon Resident Evil FPS that could optionally use the Namco GunCon controller. Thus its claim to fame is that it’s counted as one of the first off-rail, lightgun games. It is also not very good.
For the release of the Dreamcast, Sega ported a two-year-old FPS from the arcades called Outtrigger (2001). It was a class-based shooter and could go online for games up to six players. There was really nothing special about it, especially when set next to other DC titles like Unreal Tournament and Quake III.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds Of The Battlefield
Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield (2006) is well known in Japanese arcades for having each player sit in his or her own life-sized Gundam cockpit to play. More than that, it actually plays pretty well. Even now, six years after its release, it is still found in most Japanese arcades, and teams of six regularly compete with each other across the country.
Metal Gear Arcade
Metal Gear Arcade (2010) is exactly what it sounds like. While it uses Metal Gear Online as a base, it plays quite differently with a lightgun, tilt censor headset, and 3D goggles. There are also many additional game modes besides the standard online battles. And since the MGO engine has been retooled to only allow a first-person perspective, Metal Gear Arcade gets its own place on this list.