Multimedia franchises are all the rage in Japan these days. The market for brands which straddle video games, toys and anime is huge, and it's little wonder that companies like Nintendo, Sega and Capcom have all tried to crack this lucrative market.
Square Enix is another veteran video game player which has spotted the potential of fusing games with other media channels, but sadly it hasn't exactly gone according to plan for the firm. Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter was envisaged as a merchandising behemoth; it would encompass an anime series, manga publication, toy range and - naturally - a video game outing on the Nintendo 3DS. The concept was solid - it's about cars which transform into cool robots - and everything seemed to be in place for a massive cross-media success.
Unfortunately for Square Enix, the anime show was a flop and was promptly cancelled after its first season in 2013. The timing was disastrous, as the show was dropped just as the 3DS game hit the market, taking any momentum out of the release. Without a hit TV show to promote it, Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter: Albatross no Tsubasa performed poorly at retail - despite being a pretty decent game, by all accounts.
It's still possible to find retail copies of the game in bargain bins up and down Japan, but the final nail in the coffin is now being administered by Square Enix itself - it is pulling Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter: Albatross no Tsubasa from the Japanese 3DS eShop on March 31st. This could be for licencing reasons, or - as some have suggested - it could be Square Enix trying to erase any trace of its failed multimedia escapade. We'll leave you to decide which is more likely.