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Vanillaware

Dragon's Crown photo
Dragon's Crown

Feast your eyes on the full Dragon's Crown intro


I want to be...part of this worlddddddd
Jun 07
// Chris Carter
Atlus Japan has shared the full intro for Dragon's Crown, and it's looking great. It has pretty much everything you'd expect, from character vignettes, to a general look at the world and its riches, to actual dragons. Well, ...

Dragon's Crown fans the fires with new trailers

Jun 06 // Kyle MacGregor
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Dragon's Crown trailers photo
Atlus puts Amazon and Wizard back in the spotlight
Dragon's Crown is still a couple months away from release, but that isn't stopping Atlus from keeping the unexpectedly high profile brawler fresh in people's minds. Putting yet another log on the fire, the publisher has drop...

Dragon's Crown DLC photo
Dragon's Crown DLC

Dragon's Crown receives day-one DLC, free for first month


Atlus USA offering unique narrator add-on content for each character
May 31
// Kyle MacGregor
Dragon's Crown is receiving day-one downloadable content, Atlus USA has announced. The publisher is giving players an opportunity to augment their narrative experience with a set of raconteurs which offer unique voicework tai...
Dragon's Crown photo
Dragon's Crown

Dragon's Crown will have different character palettes


Tanned Dwarf confirmed!
May 23
// Chris Carter
Now that we've gotten a good look at all the characters in the game, more info on Dragon's Crown is steadily rolling in. Evidently, you'll be able to customize your characters with different color variations. Upon leveling up...
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Jimquisition happens every Monday!
A common argument in the ongoing debate over gender and videogames is that women and men both are equally objectified. Is that really true? As always, Emperor God King Jim Sterling puts His holy foot down and delivers wisdom true to the masses. He totally isn't smug about it, either!

Dragon's Crown Amazon photo
Dragon's Crown Amazon

The final Dragon's Crown character trailer is the Amazon


If you like balanced playstyles, this might be it
May 10
// Chris Carter
We've seen spots for Dragon's Crown's Dwarf, Fighter, Wizard, Sorceress, and Elf, and now the time has come for the final character video -- the Amazon. The Amazon looks to be a mix of the Elf, the Dwarf, and Fighter's plays...
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Slice all the things in this Muramasa Rebirth trailer


Plus the song is pretty badass
May 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Muramasa is gorgeous, this we know. It's still always a delight to see the game in action though, as is the case with this latest gameplay trailer for Muramasa Rebirth. Not much longer till the release! Rebirth will be out o...
Dragon's Crown photo
Dragon's Crown

The cover art for Dragon's Crown is decidedly safe


We're getting the same box as Japan
May 09
// Jordan Devore
George Kamitani's female character designs for Dragon's Crown have received a rather surprising amount of attention -- that's ... that's still going on, isn't it? -- but at least for the game's box art, the presentation is fa...
Dragon's Crown photo
Dragon's Crown

Dragon's Crown box art is [insert extreme opinion here]


The controversy rages on
May 01
// Kyle MacGregor
Atlus has unveiled the final Japanese box art for Dragon's Crown, the latest sidescrolling action title from Vanillaware, and it's pretty tame from the looks of things. You almost wouldn't guess that the game is currently emb...

Gearbox artist slams Dragon's Crown character design

May 01 // Jim Sterling
As one might expect, Hamm's comments have drawn considerable heat from Dragon's Crown fans, particularly on NeoGAF. Gearbox's own history of female design has been brought up multiple times in response to the criticism, with Borderlands' Mad Moxxi and Duke Nukem Forever's entire existence providing alleged examples of similar female objectification.  Images such as the one above have been used to refute Hamm's point, though to be fair, it's worth pointing out that Hamm is responsible only for Gearbox's environmental art, and her own designs of female characters are both tasteful and quite excellent. Still, gender issues are treacherous waters, and it's inevitable Gearbox's history would be part of the splashback.  That said, it's also been argued that Gearbox's designs as they stand can't be compared to Dragon's Crown's overtly exaggerated characters.  "Nothing in Borderlands posted so far is remotely in the same ballpark," said one NeoGAF poster.  Indeed, while Moxxi clearly has her breasts on show, she is at least sensibly proportioned and her costume actually fits the context of her character. She's not going out to battle dressed in that attire, she's supposed to be an entertainer and the owner of a bar with a deliberately titillating aesthetic. That's not to say she's designed inherently "better" than Tamikani's characters, but it's hard to compare the two in this particular discussion.  In any case, the Dragon's Crown debate rages on, even as those who claim to be tired of it continue to post in forum and comment threads every time it comes up. Indeed, this shows no signs of going away yet.  Still, this is probably the most advertising a Vanillaware game's ever gotten.
Dragon's Crown photo
The boob wars continue
The Dragon's Crown "thing" shows no sign of stopping, with vehement and sometimes venomous opinions flying this way and that. To bring you up to speed, Vanillaware's upcoming brawler features a big-boobed Sorceress, the desig...

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Jimquisition: Boob Wars and Dragon Crowns


Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Apr 29
// Jim Sterling
Dragon's Crown has become the latest game involved in a big argument. Big boobs, burly dwarves, and Kotaku were all involved. Gender issues in games are important. They are worth thinking about. They are, contrary to po...
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BREAKING: Dragon's Crown's Elf will wear clothes


Filth
Apr 26
// Jim Sterling
Dragon's Crown has been causing a ruckus lately, what with its semi-clad female characters thrusting their massive clumps of flesh in every direction, regardless of physical possibility.  Here's the latest huge controve...

In defense of boobies

Apr 25 // Vito Gesualdi
It’s the same realm of harmless fantasy that inspired my fourteen-year-old self to rewind the shower scene from Starship Troopers a few hundred times, or spurned me to save up an absurd amount of money for Chie’s maid outfit in Persona 4 Golden. A cheap erotic thrill which in no way influences my attitudes towards actual women. This would be the weirdest crossover ever. I bring this up because of the recent controversy surrounding Vanillaware’s upcoming hack-n-slash Dragon’s Crown, a game whose female characters possess some rather obvious assets. The game’s brazen character art inspired a news post by Kotaku writer Jason Schreier, who jokingly accused it of having a fourteen-year-old for a character designer. The insinuation, of course, was that only a teenage boy could design something so blatantly over-sexualized, scribbling his depictions of Amazonian fantasy women in a dark corner of the middle-school cafeteria. I personally found this joke both lazy and offensive, diminishing the abilities of character designer George Kamitani and missing the obvious elements of parody evident in the art style. See, unlike our fourteen-year-old strawman, Kamitani’s seems entirely aware that his absurd depictions of the female form are beyond even the realm of fantasy, which seems to be the point. The game’s art is obvious satire, taking the already unrealistic anatomies laid out by fantasy art masters like Frazetta, and cranking them to 11. The fact that his characters are being compared by critics to the outdated fantasy heroines of yesteryear is precisely what makes them such a brilliant homage. Frazetta - the reason fantasy women don't know about armor. While we could easily get sidetracked regarding Kamitani’s arguably offensive reply to Schreier, it did force the writer to elaborate on his particular criticisms of the game’s art style, an eye-rolling attempt to demonize Dragon’s Crown simply due to its attempts to titillate.  Says Schreier: “Why complain? Because it's embarrassing. Because I wouldn't want to be seen playing it in public. Because I love Japanese games and Japanese RPGs and I don't want them to perpetuate the ugly "boys' club" mentality that has pervaded gaming for almost three decades now.” For Schreier to make the point that he’s embarrassed by this game, or that he wouldn’t want to be seen playing it in public seems bizarre, insinuating that games shouldn’t offer material which might be offensive to certain audiences. No, I wouldn’t play Dragon’s Crown with most of my female friends, nor would I invite them over to watch the latest Girls Gone Wild release. Though the game doesn’t appeal to all sensibilities, why should we expect it to? It's kind of like arguing for more family-friendly porno stores. Though the gaming industry should be taking efforts to attract a more mainstream audience, this is something that requires a diversification of offerings, not simply doing away with potentially-offensive outliers. This is similar to how Citizen Kane can be rented from the same video store as Dangerous Dongs Down Under Vol. 5. Same media, though the latter is kept in that roped-off section in the back (which given the niche appeal of Dragon’s Crown is probably where it belongs as well). Meanwhile, regarding the “boy’s club” complaint, it is worth admitting that the gaming industry is definitely lacking in strong portrayals of women. However, I take special exception to Schreier’s claim that media does not exist in a vacuum. His argument is that while Dragon’s Crown alone is not cause for concern, because it contributes to a growing selection of games which fail to portray women maturely, it should be considered part of a larger problem and decried as such. This thinking is wholly unreasonable, burdening creators with restrictions on what sorts of characters are “acceptable.” The creators of Dragon’s Crown do not owe us effective female characters, nor are their elaborate cartoonish fantasies something that could be considered morally unsound. It’s a simple stylistic choice, and though the game fails to provide the positive-gender portrayals the industry needs, looking for such things in your silly arcade hack-and-slash is honestly absurd. You might as well complain about how the game unfairly stereotypes dragons. While some accuse Dragon’s Crown and similar games of “holding the industry back,” it seems they have a different idea of what direction the industry needs to head in. I personally don’t believe every game need to include fleshed-out characters and plotlines, that I can sometimes be content to simply hit bad guys until they fall down. I even think it’s okay to show players some boobs, even if there’s about as much character development contained within them as in those pornographic movies I’m so fond of. Now admittedly, there is an obvious sexism problem within the gaming industry, with some still believing it’s appropriate to display women-objects at our “professional” events, or for news outlets to publish booth-babe photo spreads. However, to try and hold individual games responsible for this culture is entirely misguided. Yes, these games are often male power-fantasies, though that’s not a problem in and of itself (even if the fantasy involves large-breasted women). Few games seem truly malicious in their sexualization of women, and are guilty of nothing more than providing some cheap (and often lazy) thrills. The real problem is when these cheap thrills are interpreted incorrectly by the audience, potentially contributing to an unhealthy attitude towards women. Though again, the solution is not to outlaw titillation, but simply to broaden the realm of media, giving people more exposure to how actual women both look and act. However this will still leave room for the occasional science-fiction shower scene, or RPGs which let you dress up your characters like little dolls. We don’t need such harmless sexual depictions to disappear entirely, just for them to be balanced out by the mature characterizations the industry obviously needs. More of this please. Point is, Dragon's Crown has boobs. I can both enjoy them while simultaneously hoping for more realistic depictions of women in gaming. You can too.
Keeping Games Sexy photo
Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the fantasy
Let me preface this article by stating a few simple facts. I am a young, white, American male who consumes vast amounts of pornography. As such, I am occasionally drawn to depictions of the female form which are perhaps outsi...

Dragon's Crown US photo
Dragon's Crown US

Dragon's Crown is officially hitting the US in August


Atlus announces an August 6th release date
Apr 23
// Chris Carter
Previously, we knew that Dragon's Crown was hitting the PlayStation 3 and Vita for $49.99 and $39.99 respectively, but today, Atlus has informed us that the game has an official release date of August 6th, 2013. The official ...
Dragon's Crown photo
Dragon's Crown

Rock out with the Dwarf in this Dragon's Crown trailer


This dude is like Blanka mixed with Thor
Apr 19
// Chris Carter
Atlus is rolling out the character vignettes for Dragon's Crown, giving us a closer look at how each hero will handle themselves as they fight through the depths of the darkest dungeons. First we got the Sorceress, and now, ...
Dragon's Crown photo
Dragon's Crown

New Dragon's Crown video highlights the Sorceress


She can ride her staff like a broom and turn people into frogs
Apr 12
// Chris Carter
Atlus Japan has shared a new video for the upcoming Dragon's Crown, and it shows off what the Sorceress character can do. As a magic user, she has the ability to summon a number of elements, like wind, electricity, ice, and ...
Muramasa Rebirth photo
Muramasa Rebirth

Muramasa Rebirth out on June 25 for the Vita


Collector's Edition also announced
Apr 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Muramasa Rebirth is an amazing experience that plays great on the Vita. And now we know the game will be out on June 25 for the PlayStation handheld. What's that? You want more? Lucky for you, Aksys Games has a Collector's Ed...
Muramasa Rebirth photo
Muramasa Rebirth

Check out Muramasa Rebirth's improved translation


Compare these screens from both Wii and Vita versions
Apr 06
// Tony Ponce
Muramasa Rebirth, the Vita port of 2009's Muramasa: The Demon Blade for Wii, is more than just a simple up-res. As noted in Steven Hansen's recent preview, publisher Aksys Games has re-translated the game, resulting in a much...

Muramasa for Vita is amazing, plays great

Mar 27 // Steven Hansen
This is one of the prettiest games I’ve ever seen. Like, look at these screenshots, and then imagine something infinitely better, thanks to meticulous animation and other visual flourishes. The copper haze of a setting sun, pink cherry blossom leaves fluttering on the wind. Man, I’m as much of a sucker for cherry blossoms as I am for rain-slick neon signage. It’s the best foliage. The Japanese mythology inspired aesthetic is such a treat. For the similarly uninitiated, Muramasa stars two protagonists, an amnesiac ninja being hunted by his own alleged former friends, Kisuke; and a princess, Momohime, whose body has been possessed by an evil spirit. The two characters are making their ways in opposite directions (east to west, west to east), all the while trying to collect all 108 Demon Blades. Collecting Demon Blades is an important part of the game. Either character can have three equipped at any given time and each carries its own special move. The blades wear down with use -- particularly when deflecting attacks or using special moves -- and will eventually “break,” requiring it to be sheathed and you to switch to a different blade. After a while in the sheath, broken blades will repair, incidentally sapping your soul in the process. They are demon blades, after all. There are two types of blades, quicker ones and slower long blades, which also help differentiate the 108 amongst each other beyond their special moves, which get decidedly complex for the better swords. In addition to finding blades throughout the game, they can be forged from enough souls and other items, from the start menu. The environment is littered with other items, including cooking supplies. With the purchase of cookbooks, you can do into certain locations and order food, actually pressing square to take bites or dip individual sushi rolls in soy sauce before scarfing down. It’s kind of amazing. The cook in me dug it. You can also go to hot springs patronized by monkeys and chill with them to replenish your health. Best game. I tried out both characters in a couple of separate, early boss fights, and I dig the combat a lot. The jump button is now mapped to “x,” versus the Wii version that employed a fighting game styled “press up to jump,” and it works well. The boss fights are lengthy varied, and multi-tiered -- switching betwixt blades and using different specials in conjunction with combos helps to that end, too. There also two gameplay modes, one of which is suited to a more hack and slash, level up style, and the other of which calls more precise swordplay. Other environments are strung together 2D exploration, with a sort of overworld hub linking various locations in the game. Rather than have enemies bandying about, the game uses something like a random encounter mechanism, in which you’ll be attacked by a group of enemies, have a quick brawl, and keep on keeping on. Otherwise, the there is a lot of exploration off of the beaten path available as you collect money or items or find out of the way locations to talk to various NPCs, all of whom feel interesting and worth talking to due to the incredibly original art style. If you haven’t played Muramasa yet, Muramasa: Rebirth is a welcomed point of entry. Even if you’ve played it, you might want to check out the fresh localization and banging visuals, as well as the additional, post-launch content. It’s a perfect game for handhelds.
Muramasterful photo
Hoping to breathe new life into an underrated gem
God damn this game is pretty. Vanillaware’s 2009 Wii title Muramasa: The Demon Blade inevitably pops up in just about any discussion of the best Wii games. It’s sitting on my shelf, snug in its shrink wrap, becaus...

Dragon's Crown NA details photo
Dragon's Crown NA details

Dragon's Crown coming to NA, will not support cross-play


PS3 and Vita prices confirmed, but cross-play between the two are out
Mar 25
// Chris Carter
[Update: a NeoGAF user has located more information based on the Japanese version of the game. Going off of the official website, both versions will have online play, and cross-save capabilities, but as previously stated, wil...
Dragon's Crown photo
Dragon's Crown

New Dragon's Crown trailer has a dancing mouse!


This game looks off the chain
Mar 21
// Chris Carter
Dancing mice! Skeletons! Giant creepy creatures getting their faces bashed in! It can all be yours for the low price of watching this pretty awesome Dragon's Crown trailer. Based on the video, the game seems to have a very o...
Dragon's Crown dated photo
Dragon's Crown dated

Dragon's Crown raiding dungeons on July 25th in Japan


Release date get!
Mar 19
// Chris Carter
It's two more days until the big Dragon's Crown reveal from Atlus, but it seems as if Famitsu has gotten the jump on them, as the game has been revealed for a July 25th release. Right now we don't have exact pricing details o...
Dragon's Crown info photo
Dragon's Crown info

More Dragon's Crown info is coming next week


It's like a countdown, without the clock!
Mar 15
// Chris Carter
After months of radio silence, it appears as if Atlus will reveal new information about Dragon's Crown on March 21st. Clearly, more development time is needed to square away those beautiful visuals, among other gameplay eleme...
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Atlus Action RPG Dragon's Crown reconfirmed for Vita


New trailer
Feb 18
// Dale North
[Update: The bootylicious trailer shown during the stream can now be viewed above. A North American teaser page has launched. Also, Atlus says that we can expect more info on the title in late March.] This game lives and is ...
Muramasa Rebirth photo
Muramasa Rebirth

New vid of Muramasa Rebirth as pretty as expected


Sweet Vanillaware
Feb 14
// Conrad Zimmerman
A new gameplay video for the Vita port of Muramasa: The Demon Blade has cropped up on the interwebs and ... yep. That's Muramasa. Note the beautiful sprite designs and animation, as well as the torrent of flashing blade...
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Here's the official Oboromuramasa Vita trailer


That's Muramasa: The Demon Blade to some of you
Jan 11
// Chris Carter
Muramasa: The Demon Blade is still one of the best Wii games available, and it's coming to the PlayStation Vita in Japan on March 28th. This new trailer shows off the beautiful new visuals, and gives you a general outline of...
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First look at Muramasa: The Demon Blade for PS Vita


Vanillaware's latest looks more delicious than ever
Nov 04
// Kyle MacGregor
The Vita seems like its becoming something of a home for underappreciated Wii games. That is, atleast is Marvelous is any indicator. The company recently teamed with Konami to bring New Little King's Story to Sony's double-br...
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Second chance: One-week PSN sale on Odin Sphere


PS2 Greatest Hit title goes half price
Oct 17
// Jordan Devore
Vanillaware's Odin Sphere is priced to sell right now on PlayStation Network. You can pick up a digital copy of the PlayStation 2 action-RPG for five bucks this week. Half price sounds pretty good, but more than that, the sal...
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Oboromuramasa coming to PS Vita in Japan next year


Sep 19
// Conrad Zimmerman
One of my favorite games released on the Nintendo Wii, Oboromuramasa (Muramasa: The Demon Blade in the west) will soon be arriving on the PlayStation Vita. At today's Sony press conference in advance of Tokyo Game S...
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Grand Knights History isn't coming to North America


May 02
// Kyle MacGregor
[Update: It appears the localization is finished, but for the time being Vanillaware is focusing its attention on completing development of Dragon's Crown.] Vanillaware fans can't seem to catch much of a break lately. Af...

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