Unless you're a diehard fan of Omega Force, its upcoming titles Bladestorm Nightmare and Toukiden: Kiwami probably don't mean a thing to you whatsoever. That's how I felt when I heard those two games would be a few of the main headliners for a recent showcase event for Tecmo Koei, alongside Dead or Alive 5: Last Round and Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires.
It took me about ten minutes to remember that Anthony LaBella reviewed the four-player hack-'n'-slasher Toukiden: The Age of Demons for the Vita about a year ago, and about twenty minutes to remember that I actually reviewed the original squad-based Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War way back in November 2007. Oh my, has it really been that long? But then, if it's taking me this long to recall both these games, what kind of interest would there be for these two enhanced sequels?
Luckily, this is where Tecmo Koei is banking on a trend that I actually support in this DLC-ridden world of video games. Not only are they bringing both franchises to modern consoles, elevating BladeStorm and Toukiden from their respective PS3 and Vita origins to the PlayStation 4, but they're also revamping the original titles as well and bundling them together in one package. Bladestorm: Nightmare will include a soft remastering of The Hundred Years' War, and Toukiden: Kiwami will include the original campaign scenarios from its Vita predecessor.
Specifically, BladeStorm: Nightmare adds an original fantasy narrative starring an evil Joan of Arc, includes an online multiplayer function, revises the character edit mode, and gives players the ability to command hordes of cyclops and dragons. Toukiden: Kiwami will double the number of demons, add two new characters, extend the original story, and add new equipment. Better yet, it will also feature cross-save and multiplayer cross-play between the PS4 and Vita.
Now, we've seen variations of this bundling strategy before. 2K and Gearbox Software will be adding Borderlands 2 to the upcoming Handsome Collection for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and Deep Silver along with 4A Games updated both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light in reduxes that were sold separately. And we can't forget the fantastic Bayonetta 2 on Wii U which comes with the original Bayonetta.
But where Tecmo Koei is taking this one step further is awesome. It's not some repackaged version of the game that comes out six months later with all the included DLC. And it's not just bundling the original games for the sake of extended value. Bladestorm: Nightmare could have easily been marketed as a full-on sequel, and Toukiden: Kiwami could have easily been a DLC expansion pack or a shrug-your-shoulders port of the original Vita title to the PlayStation 4. Instead, they're enhancing everything at once and not selling it in pieces.
Of course, there's a legitimate argument against developers recycling old material instead of working on new franchises, and falling into what Capcom did with Street Fighter IV, releasing the Super, Arcade, and Ultra versions of the same content with a few extras every time. But that likely won't happen with Bladestorm or Toukiden. Tecmo Koei's thought process is that if it's going to create new content in DLC and sequels, port games to next-gen consoles, and remaster the original versions, why not go all-out?
Instead of nickel-and-diming gamers with itty-bitty pieces of content and retailer exclusives deals and pre-orders, make it easy for gamers to purchase the complete package upfront and appreciate the breadth of the franchise from the ground-up. It's a refreshing perspective that other publishers should think about adopting to win back its community before we have yet another judicious blow-up on Reddit against triple-A shenanigans.
Toukiden: Kiwami releases March 31, 2015 on PS4 for $59.99 and Bladestorm Nightmare releases March 17, 2015 on PS4, Xbox One, and PS4 for $59.99.