Japan knows a good giant mecha when it sees one. And from the sound of it, the country's gamers are more than pleased with what they are seeing with Titanfall.
Today is the first public day of the Tokyo Game Show and the first time that Respawn Entertainment has shown its mecha-filled FPS Titanfall in Asia.
Japan is notoriously particular about mecha and mecha designs. There are years — no, decades — of manga, anime, and games with a long, proud history of innovative and amazing mecha and robot designs. There's a tradition here.
Respawn's Abbie Heppe told Kotaku that the studio wasn't exactly sure what kind of reaction to expect from Japanese gamers. "That's why we brought it here," Heppe said. "It was a let's see."
So far, the reaction from Japanese gamers has been overwhelmingly positive. Shortly after the show opened today at 10am, there was already a two hour plus wait.
The line at TGS has reached well over a three hour wait, and gamers who got hands-on with the title have been chatting up the title on Twitter, calling the game "fucking fun" or "cool," expressing their desire to play the game, or even saying they were going to buy an Xbox One because Titanfall was that good.
It shouldn't be surprising that Japanese gamers seem to be taking to Titanfall. The art style and the mecha design aren't Japanese per se; however, they are filled with clear, yet subtle Japanese influences.
According to Heppe, Joel Emslie, one of Titanfall's artists, has been influenced by Masamune Shirow, the famed manga artist best known for Ghost in the Shell.
But, as mentioned above, there are more obvious Japanese nods — they're subtle and smart. One of the in-game weapons manufacturers, for example, is a Japanese company. What's more, the Titanfall map demoed at TGS, for example, has a few cherry blossom trees dotting the landscape, which not only pay homage to the Japan and Japanese art, but give the map touches of lovely colour. These elements also help Titanfall feel different from other brown or drab FPS games.
"I got a really interesting interview question the other day from a Japanese journalist," said Heppe. The journalist apologized for being rude, but said that other Western-designed mecha are usually, ahem, "shitty," and wanted to know why the Western-designed mecha in Titanfall were so good.
As Heppe noted, "I guess that's the greatest complement you could get — that Japan likes your mecha." And an even greater complement is that it's not just Japan.