News Article

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 Will Be Download-Only In Europe

Posted by Andy Green

Becomes first ever download-only Wii U retail title

Tecmo Koei’s Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 is a 3D fighter that has you beating your way through countless hoards of enemies. The game is based on the popular manga series Fist of the North Star, which has been running in one form or another since 1983.

The game is set to be released on multiple platforms in Europe this February, but while the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions will be available as physical copies, the Wii U version will be download-only. This makes Ken's Rage 2 the first ever download-only Wii U retail game – in Europe, at least.

Originally, Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 was due to be released on 1st February but it has since been put back to 8th February. The one silver lining for the Wii U version is that it will be available to download from the eShop a day early on 7th February.

The original title was made up of interlocking campaigns with various characters and repeated levels; this new game will feature a fresh "Legends Mode" which consists of a single campaign that can be played through as multiple characters. Fans of the series will be pleased to hear that iconic scenes from the manga will be depicted during boss battles.

Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 is set to be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America on 5th February. The Wii U version is confirmed for North America but as yet does not have a release date - and we don't yet know if a physical copy will exist, or if it will be download-only like the European edition.

Here's the official press release:

TECMO KOEI EUROPE announced today that upcoming action title ‘Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2’, will be released across Europe on February 8th 2013 for the PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

A download only Wii U™ version will be available a day earlier, on the 7th of February.

‘Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2’ follows the storyline of the entire manga and offers players a variety of modes and new features:

Legend mode starts with a re-imagined version of ‘Raoh’ and covers ‘Celestial Emperor’ and ‘Land of Shura’. This way the game can be enjoyed by both existing fans of the manga and newcomers to Kenshiro’s post-apocalyptic world. Different characters will be controlled for each episode while ‘boss’ encounters will feature entire famous scenes from the manga.

Additionally, ‘Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2’ also features an episode dedicated to Ken’s faithful companions, Bat and Rin. This chapter, although part of the original manga, has never before been visualised and provides a brand new, original experience for players.

Over 20 playable characters will be available, including Juda, Rei, Shew, Shin, Thouzer, Jagi, Raoh, Toki, Fudo, Juza, Mamiya, Ryuga, Ein, Falco, Hyou, Kaioh, Shachi, and more.

Dynamic new moves. The destructive power of the techniques of Hokuto Shinken and Nanto Seiken meet the intense action of the Warriors series to produce a thrilling experience. In addition to the signature moves of the first title, new actions such as ‘sprint’ and ‘dodge’ have been added to the move sets.

Dream Mode introduces new, original storylines to the Fist of the North Star Universe while bridging the gaps between parts of the main story, often focusing on some of the series’ minor characters.

Online Co-Op and Versus play. Four to eight players can use Dream Mode to enjoy online co-op or versus play.

[via polygon.com]

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User Comments (50)

Bass_X0

#1

Bass_X0 said:

It's happening. Just as I sensed it would.

More and more retail games will be made as download only in a gradual switch to mostly download only. It will be slowly that by in two years we'll all be used to it and just something we accept.

Yosher

#2

Yosher said:

No dice for me then. Download-only 'retail' games are way overpriced and takes much of the charm away for me without the box and manual. Sorry Tecmo Koei, better luck next time.

Chrono_Cross

#3

Chrono_Cross said:

Bass is right. It's the cheapest route to expose your products, a route most developers want to take.

cornishlee

#4

cornishlee said:

Interesting that they should choose to go download only on only one platform. A way to reduce costs for a lower install base? I wouldn't have thought it would make that much difference to the overall production and development costs... I sense reviews citing "framerate problems" coming for this one.

Einherjar

#5

Einherjar said:

Better than not releasing it in the first place. Im fine with it. Koei is always struggling with disc releases and localisation, and if thats the way they can provide their games, so be it :)

Will-75

#6

Will-75 said:

I don't see why there is not a steep discount on download versions, it seems to me they are ripping us the consumer off its a lot cheaper for them to sell games this way , yet it seems we the consumer are not getting any deal at all. NO THANK YOU ! I refuse to buy retail titles at full price as a download without a discount of some kind . They need to QUIT RIPPING PEOPLE OFF!

cornishlee

#7

cornishlee said:

@Will-75
Well, technically premium owners do get a "discount of some kind". I agree it's not really enough to compare to retailer discounts. It would be nice if Nintendo held an eShop sale some time, but I doubt that will ever happen somehow.

Nareva

#8

Nareva said:

"download only retail title"
Is that not a contradiction in terms? What exactly is a download retail title? It will be interesting to see how pricing changes as 'download only' becomes the norm over the next decade or so.

SCAR392

#9

SCAR392 said:

They probably release it a day early to give you time to download it in a timely manner since it's download only. It's not even ripping people off. You were gonna buy the game anyway, the manual and box aren't even worth as much as the game. Having the manual electronically, and no title cover on the Wii U menu isn't gonna turn away true fan of the game in the end. Besides, more money for them, more content for you guys. That's the way it works. We wouldn't have iPhone 5 if no one bought the first 6 versions.
@Yosher
Considering there is a next time.

Mk_II

#10

Mk_II said:

if & when the entire industry goes download-only, i'll stop buying new games.

Ichiban

#11

Ichiban said:

Thanks, but no thanks. I like my physical copies thank you very much. At least its coming in some form or another though.

CanisWolfred

#13

CanisWolfred said:

@Nareva Download-only does not inherintly mean a lesser title. You're fooling yourself if you think otherwise. It just means there's no physical copy, which is easier to produce and easier for the consumer to obtain. Koei games are niche games. This just makes it easier for everyone.

Sean_Aaron

#14

Sean_Aaron said:

I'm glad to see K-T still supporting Nintendo platforms myself.

I'm not really getting how people are getting "ripped off" by giving a share of the price that would normally go to a high street retailer, shippers, packagers and everyone bar the companies that make and publish the games directly to the publisher/developers themselves.

I don't expect the death of packaged media will mean the end of media altogether. Hopefully it will make production of rubbish less profitable!

HandheldGuru97

#15

HandheldGuru97 said:

Hmm. It seems we sit on the edge of the end of physical games. I find it in a way funny Nintendo is the 1st company that this seems to be really hitting after all Sony tired it the PSPgo (which was abyssal failure only four years ago). It seems, thankfully, the transition will be gradual physical games will remain, but it seems only for maybe a decade at the most six or seven years at the earliest. I promised myself I would stop gaming when the day came that physical gaming ended. While the end is not here yet we are at the twilight of physical games.

SCAR392

#16

SCAR392 said:

That's crazy. You guys denying a game just because it's digital only is interesting. I'd rather have a download version over a physical copy anyday, as long as the game is actually worth it.

Nareva

#18

Nareva said:

@CanisWolfred

"Download-only does not inherintly mean a lesser title."

That's not what I'm implying at all. If a game is never available at retail, then it is a download title. When the term "retail" no longer has any meaning in regard to video games, pricing on a downloadable game cannot be based on the idea that a game is also available in retail. So if there are still higher priced downloadable games in the no-retail future, how will they be marketed in comparison to games that cost less. It's just a thought and not a value judgement on retail or download-only games.

CanisWolfred

#20

CanisWolfred said:

@Nareva Well then, I see you've brought up an interesting point, then. They really should be advertising the value people will be getting when they choose their game. It's supposedly implied when they say it's a "retail download", but judging from everyone's posts here, no one gets it. Everyone seems to think they're getting less for their money, when they really aren't. Koei games are meaty, possibly lasting you as long as a modern RPG. Honestly, I'm still working on the first Ken's Rage after all these years (I play it sporadically, to be fair, but I've still put a lot of hours into it). I'm not saying everyone should run out and buy it, but I think it's fair to charge full price for a game that's worth full price.

Not that it will be full price. They usually shave some money off the price of their retail downloads, even on day one.

Bankai

#21

Bankai said:

I really get sick of the "it's too expensive" folks. If $60 or so (in Australia, it's like $40 or $50 for Americans) is too much to pay for 20 (if not more) hours of entertainment (so, $3 an hour), then just give up on hobbies entirely.

Seriously, put all that money in the bank and just use it for food and other life essentials because any kind of fun is clearly too expensive for you.

It amazes me that people refuse to realise that the price: hours entertainment ratio for games is the best across all forms of entertainment (except perhaps books, depending how fast you read).

It's the most disgusting of first world problems to suggest that $50 or whatever for a game is "too expensive." Because it means the person saying it has put no thought into the hundreds of people he/ she would rather see lose their jobs than pay a fair price for dozens of hours of gameplay.

dizzy_boy

#23

dizzy_boy said:

TBH it's one of those games that I doubt most high street retailers would stock in anyway. Even if they do, it'll be in very limited numbers, which probably would more than likely be a loss to temco.
As long as it gets featured on the main eshop page, then there's a greaater opportunity for it to sell well.

DarkLloyd

#24

DarkLloyd said:

shame oh well, i can use my money for other physical games i still dont have retro or new.

a game being digital means its highly unlikely to go cheap in the first 2 years or so if at all and except for steam i dont see the others doing holiday sales etc etc

Einherjar

#25

Einherjar said:

I really dont get your reactions people. First, TK struggled to get their games on multiple consoles in the west, because they are, to be honest, niche titles, and at least the warriors franchise got horrible reviews over here for almost every instalment by default. There is a reason why Orochi 3 wasnt dubbed or localised in languages other than english. The warriors series (this game is part of it in some way) barely sells in the west and i guess its hardly making up for the localisation costs. But even so, they are making this games available over here for their quite small but strong fanbase wich is awesome in my opinion.
Stop whining about it.
If you want to know what "ripping off customers" looks like, look at Mass Effect. ME3 on WiiU costs the same as the COMPLETE trilogy of games on the other consoles. THATS a rip off if you ask me.

Bankai

#26

Bankai said:

@Einherjar You were so close to making sense.

Mass Effect 3 on the Wii U was a development project. Mass Effect Trilogy was throwing three pre-existing games into a box. One cost more to make - guess which?

Given that the Wii U barely exists in the world, greenlighting a development project (which significantly improved the game, it must be said) is a pretty fair job by EA.

cornishlee

#29

cornishlee said:

Wow, it's all kicked off. I guess, as someone who still buys CD's and refuses to buy download music I shouldn't be surprised and I fully acknowledge an inconsistency in me having no qualms about being happy to download a game. Different value judgements I guess.

As for the guy who mentioned $40 for a game, I'd point out that in the UK Wii U games are priced at £50-£55, which at today's exchange rate is $80-$89, so double what you just said. I completely get the time to money value, even as someone whose only other form of paid entertainment is books. Don't be so quick to judge what others can afford though, it's all relative and disposable income is not what it was a few years ago.

luminalace

#30

luminalace said:

I am very happy with this outcome. This game is a niche title and one that if probably not for the eshop wouldn't have been released on Wii U. Hopefully the price will be reasonable because I could very well end up downloading it, subject to a decent review.

Sean_Aaron

#31

Sean_Aaron said:

I'm also getting confused about this assumption that retail media pricing is strongly tied to the expense of putting it on the high street. To a degree that's true, but these days I imagine a large part has to do with the higher production costs of these titles or they'd already be download-only games in a mobile app shop.

If a multi-gigabyte title costs £50 at retail I cannot see any reason for that not to be the case for the download - in fact I'd say that would mitigate the risk of taking a loss on the product for the publisher as they'd then have more control over price and be able to realise a better profit to fund future projects. They also wouldn't be at the mercy of shop orders.

Look at something like Muramasa on Wii. Rising Star licenses the game and does the localisation effort and then finds they're unable to put it on shelves in GAME, which practically has a monopoly on pure-play game shops - that's a major blow and I expect would mean a massive dip in sales for anyone but people who already knew it existed and were willing to go online to get it.

Outside of region-locking and the fixed price I'm not seeing a downside to the migration to a download-only future. If riskier projects will seem less so and utter rubbish gets less of an audience because people become pickier it looks like a win-win to me.

cornishlee

#32

cornishlee said:

@Sean_Aaron
Thanks for articulating what I was suggesting in comment #4. At that stage I didn't think it needed spelling out.

At present Wii U has a low install base. If releasing games download only is a way to increase the number of available games by skipping some of the distribution costs (let's be clear here, Nintendo will take a cut, just as Game or anyone else would with a physical disc) and, more importantly, the up-front cost risk of producing physical media (the majority of which will end up in landfill somewhere down the line anyway) then I'm all for it. It will probably result in me buying fewer games (I can't remember the last time I paid full price and often wait as much as two years for a game, which I know does the developer no good but at least allows me to stretch my budget) but I can still see the benefits to both developers and consumers.

Bankai

#33

Bankai said:

@cornishlee if you can't afford a game, then you can't afford a game.

I would rather individuals without the money miss out on games, than for developers and publishers to bankrupt themselves making the game available to everyone. Not everyone is entitled to own a sports car, either. That doesn't mean you get to demand that sports cars start costing $0.99

And for the record games in Australia often cost as high as $100. Yes, we pay for our games too. I still don't understand people complaining about it. Reeks of entitlement, to be frank.

cornishlee

#34

cornishlee said:

@Bankai
Maybe I wasn't clear with that rambling sentence, but that was entirely my point:
"I'm all for it. It will probably result in me buying fewer games ... but I can still see the benefits to both developers and consumers."

Sean_Aaron

#35

Sean_Aaron said:

I would hope that if the model shifted to download-only and sales were consistent we'd see similar movements on price that we do with a lot of smaller online games: sales and titles being discounted as they age, etc. but the end of the "bargain" bin would clearly be coming with the lack of a need to clear physical shelves of product.

Whilst it's true that Nintendo probably takes a cut from every eShop sale (much like Apple from iTunes), I expect that would be preferable to giving a cut to a bunch of middle-men on the way.

IIt should also be noted again that as with books the actual cost of producing the physical media itself isn't that massive. Retail games aren't priced the way they are because optical discs cost a lot to make. Yes there is expense from making and distributing physical games, but pricing is largely about recouping costs of production; not distribution.

I think one of the good things about the eShop having both kinds of downloads is it allows for a broader range of budgets to enjoy games. If I'm feeling a bit skint I can get something from a smaller publisher/developer to tide me over until the next big-budget release.

Gamesake

#36

Gamesake said:

@Bankai Well there you go. Only people with deep pockets should be allowed to play. :)

There's really no need for anyone to get too worked up about it. If people want the game enough it will sell at a high price. If not that's when it's time to drop the price in an attempt to persuade uninterested gamers to buy it. And if some developers can't profit from their game that's just the way it goes. No one is entitled to success.

Bass_X0

#37

Bass_X0 said:

Is that not a contradiction in terms? What exactly is a download retail title?

My definition of a download only retail title is a game that was released at retail in one country and only gets released as a download in another country.

rjejr

#38

rjejr said:

@harman-smith There's a PS3 demo, but it might have been in Japan. It seemed a lot different than the first game, which looked and played like Wiiware. This game played like Samurai Heroes or Dynasty Warriors, you against continuous hordes of cannon fodder enemies followed up by the occasional boss battle, only with all the FotNS gratuitous violence thrown in.

I really liked the original movie, then once made the mistake of renting the tv series movie by mistake and it ruined it for me.

Sean_Aaron

#40

Sean_Aaron said:

Well I love Samurai Warriors 3 and am planning to get the Orochi game, so if this plays the same I'm all over it. I've only ever seen the original anime film and remember it for hilarious OTT violence and humorously bad dubbing.

cornishlee

#41

cornishlee said:

@Sean_Aaron
The cost of producing discs is indeed a small amount per disc and does represent a tiny fraction of most budgets compared to development. It is, however a risk: it's not a cost per disc sold but a lump amount that second guesses consumer demand, often before reviews are written: it's a gamble. Removing that gamble could be helpful to developers.

Yes, Nintendo may take a smaller cut than other middle-men, hence why I said "some of the distribution costs". Anyway, we're still singing off the same hymn sheet.

Gamesake

#42

Gamesake said:

@Bankai I wasn't arguing. Now if you'll excuse me this PS Vita ain't gonna play itself, although I wish it would so I wouldn't have to.

Araknie

#43

Araknie said:

So it's starting, this is not the first game is see like this, it's the second decline of gaming.

Einherjar

#45

Einherjar said:

@Bankai EA is a company that makes enough money with each copy and past game to buy the moon. For them, altering a pre existing game slightly for a new system is as pricy as if you would buy a stamp...
TC on the other hand, is a company, that only has two "well known" IPs today: Ninja Gaiden and Dead or ALive and even those barely stand agains similar games like devil may cry, god of war / street fighter, tekken in popularity.
All their other IPs are, more or less, niche titles with only a small but dedicated fanbase. Its much much harder for them to bring their games to the west than it is for EA to make the Mass Effect Trilogy Wii U compatible and selling a single game from that trilogy for a smaller price. I bet EA wouldnt even recognize the difference if ME3 WiiU would sell for halve the money they are asking for now.

Eien1239

#46

Eien1239 said:

Think about it this game wouldn't have a chance if it's wasn't able to download it might even get the unchained blade treatment, If not blame techmo. The future for must have japanese titles are bright.

mozie

#47

mozie said:

Understandable given the size of the current Wii u userbase, ill prolly pick this up on one of the other platforms now. Surprising no one has mentioned the bandwidth issues associated with digital downloads, many potential customers could be lost due to speed/size limitations. Dont think physical media is going away too soon, someday maybe but not for a while, regarding the pricing it's a moot point since the economic value of $50 is different for everybody, it may be alot for some people and nothing for others.

Lopezdm

#48

Lopezdm said:

the first game sucked and this one will too... Way to spend 2 million and make 50,000 back nintendo.

Bankai

#49

Bankai said:

@Einherjar You clearly don't work in EA management.

Making wild guesses and assumptions generally blows up in a person's face. Go look at EA's financial performance.

mozie

#50

mozie said:

From Businesswire:
Publishing giant Electronic Arts has issued its financial results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2012 and fiscal 2012 as a whole and, wouldn't you know it, a year with a new Mass Effect game results in revenue totals that are much higher than years without Mass Effect games.

Looking at just the fourth quarter of 2012, EA's total net revenue stacked up at $1.36 billion, a 24 percent increase over the $1.09 billion reported at the end of this same period last year. Net revenue generated from digital sales nearly doubled year-over-year, $419 million in Q4 2012 as opposed to $211 million in Q4 2011 – a 98 percent increase.

Packaged goods still made up the majority of the publisher's revenue, however, at $949 million, up from $879 in Q4 2011. Net income for the period was also up year-over-year, $400 million for the period ending on March 31, 2012 as compared with $151 million for the same period in 2011. Naturally, EA contributes its successful fourth quarter to the release of Mass Effect 3 and the continued popularity of FIFA 12.

Fiscal 2012 as a whole presents a slightly different story. While net revenue was up 15 percent year-over-year ($4.14 billion in fiscal 2012 vs. $3.58 billion in fiscal 2011), net income fell 263 percent, from $276 million in fiscal 2011 to just $76 million in fiscal 2012.
Looking forward to fiscal 2013, EA expects an approximate net revenue of $4.07 billion, $950 million of which it expects to earn during the first fiscal quarter of 2013, which ends on June 30, 2012.

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