Trailer Dissection: Project X Zone

Welcome back to Trailer Dissection, the CF probably-not-original series wherein trailers for movies, television, and games are (over)analyzed for your enjoyment. Our enjoyment. That’s what we meant to say. If you can’t suss out for yourselves how this works, check out the debut article on the Doctor Who Season 7 trailer.

This time, we’re taking a look at the first official trailer for Project X Zone for the Nintendo 3DS, a mammoth crossover strategy/RPG featuring characters from Sega, Capcom, and Namco Bandai franchises. Something about trailers with two minutes of nothing but character reveals and said characters beating the hell out of each other makes for solid article fodder… or just easily-written material.

But enough about that. Let’s do this thing.

0:04 – Duelling lens flares! And yet the Bad Robot logo is conspicuously absent. #obviousjoke

0:10 – Squiggly lines!

0:15Even bigger squiggly lines! Even more lens flare! Dramatic tones!

0:20 – All the above pomp finally congeals into the Project X Zone logo. I’m now wondering whether or not this is a working title, and assuming that such a beast will ever make it outside Japan (Namco X Capcom was never localized), if that title will make the journey.

0:24 – …oh, and apparently we’re supposed to be referring to this thing out-loud as “Project Cross Zone”. Why not cut the “project” part and combine the remaining words? Crosszone. See? That’s slightly less generic!

0:26 – Art for various in-game locales are shown. Not sure if it’s all original to this game or culled from the same games the characters are from. None of it looks particularly interesting.

0:36 – Capcom’s roster: Demitri (Darkstalkers), Dante (Devil May Cry), X and Zero (Mega Man), Ryu and Ken (Street Fighter), and Chris Redfield (Resident Evil). I always find it funny when characters from Resident Evil games are shown along with the rest of Capcom’s stable since the artwork never, ever matches. “Anime dude, anime vampire dude, anime robot dude… realistically-rendered police officer.”

0:37 – “…and more!” Likely additions in my mind are Chun Li or Cammy from Street Fighter and Jill Valentine from Resident Evil. What about Frank West? He’s covered wars.

0:39 – Sega roster: Ulala (Space Channel 5), Akira (Virtua Fighter), the Sakura Wars lead whose name I forget but quite likely is Sakura, I think one of the Valkyria Chronicles 2 characters, and a ton of others I don’t recognize. This is what happens when you either don’t localize major franchises or neglect brand awareness, Sega!

0:40 – “..and more!” I’d like to think that as an old Sega fan, they’ll throw me a bone somewhere and toss in a few faces I actually know/care about. Ryo Hazuki (Shenmue) is fairly likely; Vyse and Aika (Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles) would be awesome; any acknowledgement of old-school Phantasy Star or Shining Force would make me very happy but will never happen. Chances are we’d get “random Japanese guy in a life-size Sonic costume” first. Because Sega hates us.

0:43 – Team Namco consists of Jin (Tekken), KOS-MOS and T-elos (Xenosaga), the two walking anime character design tropes from .hack, and the badass Yuri Lowell (Tales of Vesperia). Oh, Estelle is there too. Nice to see Yuri again, but I’m especially stoked that Xenosaga is getting any love at all considering how parts 4 through 6 will almost certainly never happen.

0:46 – I am not really the biggest Namco Bandai guy in the world, so I can only really guess at the rest. I’d rather have Xenosaga’s Shion than T-elos, personally, or Shion’s brother Jin, but there’s probably a “only one Homer allowed” treehouse limit in place or something.

0:54 – In-game footage! The sprites remind me stylistically of the old Dragon Force games on the Saturn, another strategy/RPG so great, yet so unsung, and on a platform no one owned, that I should probably be wearing hipster glasses whenever I talk about it.

space channel 5 box art
He was even on the box!

0:58 – I love the way Ulala just kind of prances around the stage amidst the total chaos going on around her. Hey, do you think the likeness rights for Micheal Jackson are transferrable from Space Channel 5 Part 2?

1:00 – So, in light of that really awkward Mega Man situation last year, what are the odds that the inclusion of those characters here will be the last we see of them for the foreseeable future?

1:03 – KOS-MOS and T-elos appear to be fighting a Gnosis. Should be interesting to see how all the non-playable monsters ‘n’ stuff from all these games fit together.

1:11 – Full-screen character art for special attacks or finishers. Some are fairly static, like that first one, but most are at least partially animated with first-thunder or boob-physics. Japan!

1:23 – This is the first time in a while that I’ve seen Street Fighter characters rendered without the filters introduced by SFIV. Even Street Fighter X Tekken has that look going on I think, so I was a little thrown off for a second.

1:34 – Jill Valentine sighting! Naturally, her special move artwork is introduced to us ass-first.

1:41 – Yuri Lowell. If this game is localized into English, losing any of the original voice actors will be a big loss, and nowhere is that more of a problem than it would be with Yuri.

2:00 – “2012 OUT!”

Now, it’s time for some stray thoughts.

• It’s really hard to tell from the footage how exactly this is a strategy/RPG and not something more akin to Smash Brothers. That said, I’m probably more likely to play, pay attention to, not totally suck at, and understand the appeal of Project X Zone over any of the Smash Brothers stuff.

• I wonder how the 3D part of the 3DS will come across here. I’m still waiting to impressed; not just with the 3DS, but with all 3D entertainment. My apathy towards/distaste for 3D movies in particular continues to colour my perspective. Sorry.

• I’d love to see a much larger, heavily retooled version of this for consoles proper. Bigger concepts deserve bigger venues. That, and handheld gaming has never held my attention for long.

Until next time, folks!