Monday, December 28, 2015

Digimon Linkz Is "In Development"

December 28th, 2015. The official @Digimon_game account tweeted that the upcoming smartphone game Digimon Linkz is "in development," asking fans to look forward to the game while its team makes improvements. Bandai also shared two screenshots from Linkz in the meantime. The images show a maxed-out Stamina bar, icons for Missions, Presents, a Digivice, options to Configure items in the DigiGarden, a Farm Goods option, and a Capture feature to acquire new Digimon. In the second screenshot, fans can also make out one of Digimon's traditional meat farms.

Digimon Linkz has had a troubled production since its first announcement, having its launch date delayed from 2015 to 2016, and very little concrete information about it is known. Most recently, the game introduced its navigator character Kurihara Hina to issue an apology for the delays. Nonetheless, the game has proved popular even in lieu of a release date, with over fifty thousand people having preregistered for the game as of last November.

Linkz will launch in 2016 on Android and iOS. The game will be free-to-play, with microtransactions. Watch the trailer here.

Chaos Dukemon & Omegamon Zwart Made Available in Store Exclusive -next 0rder- DLC

Chaos Dukemon, the preorder bonus for Bic Camera brand stores.
December 28th, 2015. The Digimon World -next 0rder- title site made a special update today; depending on which store players preorder the game with, they'll receive one of three sets of preorder bonuses in addition to the game's first print DLC. These bonuses take the form of evolution items that instantly evolve a partner Digimon to an Ultimate-level stage; items of this kind were also found in the original Digimon World, but did not increase the partner Digimon's stats or lifespan in the same way that natural evolution would.

The Geo original bonus is a product code for the "Ultimate Evolution W Item Set," which contains the evolution items Courageous Dragon Core/勇竜核 (Hououkaku) and Artillery Wolf Core/砲狼核 (Yuuryuukaku). These itemsn instantly evolve a partner Digimon into War Greymon or Metal Garurumon. Tamers that preorder with Amazon JP will instead receive the product code for a Black Zenith Core (極黒核 Kyokukokukaku), which will evolve their partner into an Omegamon Zwart. Those that preorder with stores that are part of the Bic Camera brand (including Sofmap and Kojima) will get a download code for the Chaos Core (混沌核 Kontonkaku) which evolve their partner into Chaos Dukemon.

Exclusive DLC deals of this kind are common in the Japanese gaming industry, with certain brands like Lawsons having particularly notable download campaigns that give players in-game store uniforms. Amazon is a frequent backer of such exclusive preorder content. However, for rare item hunters and collectors these deals create a small headache, as without an in-game shop feature there's no way to acquire all of the downloadable items on a single game. Whether these items will be obtainable through another method remains to be seen.

Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan March 17th, 2016, on the PlayStation Vita for 6,800 yen prior to tax. It is the latest entry in the World series, succeeding directly from Re:Digitize Decode on the 3DS, Re:Digitize on the PSP, and World on the PSX.

Cyber Sleuth LP on Hiatus

This is likely an announcement everyone following it already figured out, but Tamer Union's Cyber Sleuth Let's Play is on hiatus until the official localization comes out in February. There was a point in time where it would have been possible to continue with a weekly schedule, but various mistakes on my part made that no longer practical. I have already finished my playthrough of the game in Japanese, and currently I'm redirecting my energy to composing a comprehensive review of it to advise potential buyers of the English translation, as well as to writing more about the game's ranked multiplayer mode.

I'm glad to have generated interest in the game, and I recommend it to everyone that's followed the LP so far. I considered doing a playthrough of the Japanese Digimon Story in the meantime, but as there's only a little over thirty days remaining until Cyber Sleuth hits in English, this would be ill advised.

OpDecoded Translation Group Picks Up Digimon Story Lost Evolution

December 25th, 2015. Digimon fan translation group OpDecoded announced on their development blog today that the group will be picking up Digimon Story Lost Evolution, the last traditional Digimon Story game on the original Nintendo DS. Lost Evolution, along with Super Xros Wars, was never officially translated due to the catastrophic failure of the Digimon brand overseas and the general shift away from DS to 3DS development in 2011-2012. In gameplay and development, Lost Evolution is one of the missing links between Sunburst & Moonlight/Dawn & Dusk with Cyber Sleuth. According to OpDecoded representative Romsstar, the group is picking up the game due to the lower quality of translation produced by a contemporary circle of fan-translators that had previously been active on GBATemp. Progress on Lost Evolution until now has been slowed by the lack of dedicated translators, with almost four years of efforts yielding no functional patch. The OpDecoded team's Lost Evolution translation is being produced from scratch, with zero reliance on prior attempts by other groups.

OpDecoded was originally created in November 2012 to unofficially translate the games Bandai refused to officially localize, and released their translation patch for Digimon World Re:Digitize on the PlayStation Portable in June 2015 after overcoming numerous programming issues and production delays. Given the much smaller game size and greater development of DS hacking tools, the Lost Evolution translation project is unlikely to take as long.

Garurumon & Yamato G.E.M. Series Figure to Ship in July, Preorders Open

Over December 25th, the complete page for the Garurumon & Ishida Yamato G.E.M. Series figure was uploaded to Premium Bandai, opening up orders for MegaHouse's latest Digimon figure set. Previously featured at Jump Festa 2016 and the Mega Hobby 2015 Autumn Expo, the figure is preordering for 11,232 yen, approximately $94 at present. Garurumon & Yamato will ship in July, and are sized to be compatible with MegaHouse's existing Digimon figures.

The G.E.M. Series is a line of high quality figures aimed at young adult women, featuring characters from popular anime and manga series. The G.E.M. Series has most recently featured Wizarmon and Tailmon from Digimon Adventure, which has been one of MegaHouse's most popular G.E.M. Series franchises since it became a part of the line in January 2014. Past Adventure G.E.M. figures include multiple versions of Takaishi Takeru and Yagami Hikari with the various forms of their Digimon partners, repeated reissues of Yamato and Taichi, and other members of the Chosen Children.

The Digivice Ver. 15th Will Be Reprinted in March 2016

Over December 25th, Premium Bandai tweeted that the Yagami Taichi, Ishida Yamato, and Anime Original Color models of the Digivice Ver. 15th will all be reprinted in March 2016 to coincide with the recent preorder launch of the D-3 Ver. 15th. Preorders for the second run of the Ver. 15th are currently open until the launch date. The price of the device is set at 9990 yen, approximately $83 at the current exchange rate, and unlike the D-3, no specific limit on orders has been set. Tamers will have to order their Ver. 15ths before the launch date to receive them, and those outside of Japan will have to go through a proxy to purchase the Digivices.

Premium Bandai is Bandai's dedicated web shop, which sells directly to consumers rather than to toy stores. From August 26th to December 25th, 2014, Bandai sold the Digivice Ver. 15th in orange and blue to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of Digimon Adventure, and the Anime Original Color Ver. 15th later became available from March 3rd to May 11th, 2015. The AOC Digivice shipped with a flyer for the D-3 Ver. 15th, a limited six thousand units of which are currently available for preorder and will ship in June 2016. The Ver. 15th series has helped revive a long tradition of play in the Digimon fandom, becoming one centerpiece for the fan-organized DIGIMADO tournament series.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Digimon World -next 0rder- TV Commercial, New Story Info

December 25th, 2015. The first television commercials for Digimon World -next 0rder- went out today, with Bandai Namco Entertainment Japan uploading a copy to their official YouTube channel. The TVCM incorporates elements of the game's Jump Festa 2016 commercial, featuring Aoi Eir's Accentia and the Festa tagline in its narration;
Was the world waiting for you? Or were you waiting for the world? Bonds and memories connect to new world: Digimon World -next 0rder-.
The game's title site also updated the story information for the game, incorporating the storyline blurb from the October issue of V Jump magazine.
Meeting Himari and Kouta, the reconstruction of the Village was going well, but they still had no solution to the problem of Mugendramon.
At that time, Jijimon asked them to bring back the Digital World's leading sage, Taomon.
The protagonists learn from Taomon the real facts of what's going on in the world now... 
Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan March 17th, 2016, on the PlayStation Vita for 6,800 yen prior to tax. It is the latest entry in the World series, succeeding directly from Re:Digitize Decode on the 3DS, Re:Digitize on the PSP, and World on the PSX.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

How to Import Digivices from Premium Bandai

This article uses affiliate links. Affiliate links are hyperlinks to product listings on e-commerce websites; if a reader accesses one of these listings through one of the links below, and/or purchases the item listed, the editor is provided a referral fee and/or commission fee.

December 25th, 2015. In less than five minutes, the Japanese clock will tick over to 11:00 AM on the 25th, and the Premium Bandai web shop will begin opening up preorders for the D-3 Ver. 15th Digivice. The 15th anniversary D-3 is an extremely limited product that will only ship a cumulative six thousand units between its black and blue models. Given the short window of acquisition and strong demand, this leaves western fans with a conundrum--how do they purchase a product deliberately made unavailable to them?

Enter the middleman service. This is a section of commerce which acts in place of a foreign consumer, buying the product and shipping it to them. This is how westerners acquired last year's Digivice Ver. 15ths, and it's how they'll acquire this year's D-3. Some proxies operate through eBay, while others are independent sites hosting their own services.

Be aware that the middleman has to eat too. You will not be paying the base price of the Digivice; P-Bandai is normally a case of the manufacturer selling directly to the consumer without an intermediary, and introducing a proxy service into the equation effectively adds a layer of markup because of the additional labor it creates. The import service has to turn a profit on buying the device and selling it to you, which generally takes the form of either a flat commission fee or a percentage fee derived from the base price. They also have to pay for shipping and transportation costs, and this means that you will probably be paying closer to $100 rather than $80, possibly more. The good news is that many such middlemen deal in huge volumes of product being sold to hundreds or thousands of consumers, which reduces the markup on any individual product.

However, products like the D-3 are sometimes limited in how much quantity can be sold to individual buyers, which means each intermediary can only acquire a specific number of them. Meaning each resource has a limited quantity that they can sell. So where can you buy these devices?

Option 1: eBay
A small number of sellers have been taking preorders for the D-3 ahead of the actual preorder date open. Whether these preorders will be reasonable or not when compared to what independent sites are offering remains to be seen. Currently there are four listings available on eBay, two sets of black & white, and one black and one blue separate:
Each of these offer free shipping. The up front cost reflects slightly under a 40% markup from the $80 base price (the set of two is technically $10 cheaper, but only if you were planning on buying both versions in the first place). While these listings provide "free shipping," that's implicitly a formality--the persons selling these devices still pay to ship them, and instead is including the shipping cost in the base price along with all other expenditures. Some sellers are attempting to charge $154 for each D-3, which is very questionable when others are offering it for $120.

Option 2: Independent Sites
These order options will not be available until the device itself goes on sale. These sites are run by a single store rather than being available through a commerce network like eBay, and are sometimes managed by only a single person. The reason the D-3 isn't available early is because these stores are waiting until they can actually purchase the stock off of P-Bandai before they list it. It's somewhat questionable whether the eBay stores were behaving ethically in listing the D-3s without actually acquiring them first, as there's a remote possibility that they will be unable to purchase the Digivices and be forced to refund their buyers. You may see a fairer deal from these independent sites, which will charge either a flat rate like $10 per order, or a percentage of the original price on top of it. However, expect that shipping and handling costs will still factor in.
From Japan
Shopping Mall Japan
Toku Taku Toys
The catch is that no one quite knows which sites will have the D-3 available. Some may buy D-3s but not list them immediately after the products go live. Others may list them immediately. The product could sell out in a few hours, or the high price may intimidate consumers out of buying Bandai out of their stock up until its release date in June. Part of the reason the D-3 is so limited is that the company isn't sure that Digimon series other than Adventure can sell anymore.

D-3 Ver. 15th Digivice Canonizes Movie 3, New Trailer

December 25th, 2015. The Premium Bandai web shop has updated with a new trailer featuring the upcoming D-3 Ver. 15th Digivice, which will become available for preorder in a few hours. The revised D-3 will include over 150 types of Digimon, including six possible partners based on Digimon Adventure 02, and the never-before-playable Imperialdramon Paladin Mode. According to the updated D-3 homepage, the new device will connect with the Ver. 15th to unlock a "special production and message." Many more details have been given on the official website, and are summarized below.

The D-3 Ver. 15th will be able to connect with;
  • The D-3 Ver. 15th series
  • Digivice Ver. 15th series
  • D-3 series
  • Digivice series
  • Digimon Pendulum series
  • Digital Monster series
Based on this information, the new Digivice has very likely been programmed with the original Digital Monster rules available for battle, ensuring connectivity with almost all two-pronged Digimon toys released since 1997.

According to the updated D-3 Ver. 15th homepage, the in-game quest map will be based directly on the world of Adventure 02. The first area "Digital World 1" will be based on the Digimon Kaiser arc (episodes 1~21) of 02, with Chimeramon as its area boss. The second area "New York," will be based on the third movie Hurricane Touchdown!!/The Golden Digimentals with Cherubimon as its featured Digimon. The third area "Digital World 2," will be based on the Dark Tower Digimon arc (episodes 22~37) with Black War Greymon as its boss, area 4 will be Japan based on episodes 38~39 and featuring Triceramon, area 5 will based on the World Tour arc of episodes 40~42 and feature Mammon, and area 6 will be set in Tokyo (episodes 43~50) with Belial Vamdemon as its boss. Finally, area 7 will be set in Odaiba, based on Diablomon's Counterattack, with Armagemon as the final boss.

Hurricane Touchdown!!/The Golden Digimentals has had a disputed status in the fandom for many years now, with a significant number of fans arguing the film to be noncanon based on alleged discrepancies between it and the TV anime. Its inclusion in the Ver. 15th Digivice, as well as the inclusion of a Crest of Destiny in the most recent toy lineup, points to Bandai considering the film to be in continuity with 02. It's important to note that the company has never actually taken an anti-movie 3 stance, and no product has ever definitely stated that the film is noncanon.

Unlike last year's made-to-order Digivices, the D-3 Ver. 15th is being produced in far more limited quantities, with only 6000 units being manufactured between the Motomiya Daisuke and Ichijouji Ken editions of the Digivice. Each D-3 order will come backaged with five separate illustrations which collectively form a single interlocked image, featuring Yagami Taichi, Ishida Yamato, Ichijouji Ken, and Motomiya Daisuke.

"Through fifteen years' time...The Adventure once again, begins to revolve at full speed--"

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Digimon World -next 0rder- Becomes Amazon's #1 Bestseller in Vita RPGs, New Screenshots

December 22nd, 2015. Amazon Japan put up a preorder listing for Digimon World -next 0rder- which quickly became their bestseller in the Vita role-playing category, outstripping Dragon Quest Builders and Odin Sphere Leifdrasir. The listing includes a new batch of screenshots showing the game's version of the Village of Beginnings, as well as the previously-teased camping feature. Two different versions of the Village appear, the basic version, and a paved version of the village with Edo period architecture. This month's V Jump already revealed that players can upgrade the Village of Beginnings by finding items in the field, so it seems this is one possible evolution the Village can take.

A few of the Digimon appear to be reprising their roles from past World games. Patamon is seen running the local item stand, a similar role to how he expanded the item shop in World. Birdramon stands next to a booth with a road map in screenshots, and may be running the same Birdra Transport as in World and Re:Digitize. Additional screenshots provided below show Dukemon Crimson Mode and the DLC evolution Susanoomon in action, camping as Shiki, and the game's training gym. Note that the game's field interface has changed considerably since it was first shown; weekday information is in English rather than Japanese, and the order of icons has been reshuffled.

Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan March 17th, 2016, on the PlayStation Vita for 6,800 yen prior to tax. It is the latest entry in the World series, succeeding directly from Re:Digitize Decode on the 3DS, Re:Digitize on the PSP, and World on the PSX.

Takuto's V-mon and Tentomon get a "friendship bonus" and "time bonus" while training their Speed and Offense.
Jijimon: "Ah, it's a success."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Digimon Demographics Survey

December 22nd, 2015. @Fuzzleyan-scratchpad has set up a Google Forms survey for the Digimon fandom, compiling demographics data about English-language viewership of Digimon. Findings may be published at a later date. The survey is very short, and can be completed in the span of a few minutes:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Digimon World -next 0rder- Will Let You Go Camping With Digimon, Title Site Introduces Shouma

December 21st, 2015. The official Digimon World -next 0rder- title site updated system and character sections today, introducing several new gameplay features and the mysterious character Shouma, who was previously teased in this month's issue of V Jump and in the game's Jump Festa trailer. Shouma is seen carrying an original Digital Monster virtual pet, not unlike those worn by the Takuto and Shiki.

"A new possibility, huh...Interesting."
A baby-faced boy carrying a Digital Monster LCD toy. What does he see before those hollow eyes of his...?
The system updates explain how the player can gather items in the Digital World to improve the Village of Beginnings, and how with a fishing rod they can fish in rivers and lakes for ingredients to cook. The new camp feature allows the player to stay in a tent with their Digimon partners during rest hours, where they can cook the ingredients they've found. By recruiting Digimon in the field, the Village of Beginnings can gradually become more prosperous, until it eventually grows into a massive city.

The update includes an overview of classic Digimon World-style training, with the player taking their partners to gyms to train their stats, praising them to increase their attachment to the player, and evolving them once they meet the requirements. The player will be expected to care for their Digimon just as in the original Digimon World, feeding them meals and telling them when to go to sleep.

It also confirms some features discussed in the Japanese players' first gameplay impressions of the demo; the player will receive hints about what evolution their Digimon is on track for when communicating with their Digimon, and which evolution they take is influenced by whether the player praises or scolds them. The player, as a Digimon tamer, will also have a Tamer Level ranking which increases the effects of training, food items, and battle skills.

Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan March 17th, 2016, on the PlayStation Vita for 6,800 yen. It is the latest entry in the World series, succeeding directly from Re:Digitize Decode on the 3DS, Re:Digitize on the PSP, and World on the PSX.

Cherubimon Vice & Beelzebumon Blast Mode Teased in English Cyber Sleuth Trailer

December 21st, 2015. Bandai Namco Entertainment America uploaded their first English gameplay trailer for Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth today, illustrating the basic gameplay mechanics of the Story series for western audiences. Players gather scan data on Digimon by encountering them in the wild, then Digiconvert it to create their own copy of that Digimon. The end of the trailer promotes the game's upcoming original DLC, available for players that preorder the physical game or purchase a digital copy in the first month. Exclusive to the international versions of the game, players will able to download Beelzebumon Blast Mode and Cherubimon Vice, whose stats were leaked in a previous livestream. The trailer shows the two of them using their unique Special Skills, Chaos Flare (appearing under its dub name, Corona Destroyer) and Lightning Spear.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth will launch on the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 in North America on February 2nd, 2016, and in Europe on February 5th, 2016.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

D-Pet Beta to Revive Digimon Virtual Pet Battling

Over December 19th, Digimon Ver. PC developer Jorge "JoMdz" Mendez launched an open beta for a revamped version of the game, D-Pet. DMPC has been on a development hiatus for several years now, having not had a new version since the launch of 3.1.3 in September 2011. The test version of D-Pet is not fully functional, but is intended as a public test to catch bugs prior to the final launch of the game. As such, the beta does not have online battle or minigame functionality enabled, and tamers are locked into the Nature Spirits family of Digimon. (The final release will have nine available families.) JoMdz is asking tamers to download the game and test it, then report any bugs on the game's main page or Facebook group. Tamers can download D-Pet at its development blog.

D-Pet features a revamped menu with an expanded resolution and improved sprites over past versions, and basic implementation of higher quality music files. The stat system has been expanded so that Digimon receive different bonuses for specializing in a particular stat. If Attack is the highest stat, the Digimon deals additional damage on top of their base, while if Defense is the highest stat, then it reduces additional damage proportionally and deals damage to the opponent if it is higher than their Attack. If Dexterity is the highest stat, it causes additional damage regardless of the opponent's Defense. This creates an effective triangle where Attack beats Dexterity, Dexterity beats Defense, and Defense beats Attack.

D-Pet is also planned to introduce an X-Antibody system that has a low probability to give some tamers X-Antibody Digimon at random.

Some elements of D-Pet are more familiar than others. The game still runs in an always-on-top mode that gives it priority over other windows, and training is relatively unchanged from how it ran in 2009-2013, right down to using Paper Mario sprites in the dodging minigame. The training system inherits the original music from past incarnations of Ver. PC; a "demade" The Biggest Dreamer, and an original theme that's been present from the beginning.

Meeting evolution criteria is still challenging; this game uses the Pendulum system of training, where tamers are allotted a maximum of 10 DP (Digimon Power) which is decreased during by one for every training session. DP recovers by one point for about every five minutes that passes, is not recovered during evolution, and it can take several hours for a Digimon to evolve (about an hour and a half for Baby I to Baby II, and six hours for Baby II to Child; this is based on the original Digital Monster pets). This means tamers are encouraged to consume as much of their DP as possible as quickly as possible in order to maximize the efficiency of their training across their Digimon's lifespan, particularly as their Digimon progresses, and evolutions start depending on which stats are highest to determine their path.

Baby I and II Digimon can't engage in even offline battles, so tamers will be spending seven to eight hours just training and feeding their partners before they can see how the stat system is implemented. But these Digimon are talkative, and will periodically send messages, like welcoming their tamer back when they turn the game on again. Given the application's unintrusive nature and ability to run in the background while other tasks are taking place, it may be the perfect match to a generation that's spending an ever-increasing amount of their time at the computer.

Digimon Ver. PC was originally developed by Malaysian programmer Hong Ming (alias "nrg890110" or "hosc") during Digimon's dark age in mid 2009. In part due to Digimon's long official hiatus--Savers had ended two years prior and Xros Wars did not air until a year after DMPC came out--the game experienced a brief surge in popularity when it first launched. After hosc disappeared in 2010, DMPC was revised by JoMdz into 2.0, working with a small team of designers and individuals that acted as public relations contacts, managing its various communities. DMPC 2.0 introduced color graphics, additional evolutionary levels, and new Digimon. The game had been especially notable throughout 2009 and 2010 for having online battles through Hamachi, and an ever-growing count of available Digimon.

Eventually, the difficulty of managing community fanpages for the game, design conflicts over the direction of Ver. PC, and a lack of enthusiasm on the part of fans lead to a slowdown in development and its user base shrinking considerably. In 2013, JoMdz resumed work on Ver. PC, and began developing D-Pet in 2014 as a continuation of the program. The rechristening to D-Pet was chosen in order to reflect the fact that the new program will be playable not just on PCs, but also on Apple computers, iOS, and Android devices. D-Pet is planned to eventually have Facebook connectivity in order to make finding a battle easier once the online functions are completed.

The program immediately invites comparison to Digital Monster Ver. S, which simulated the idea of caring for a Digimon virtual pet on a PC and battling online more than a decade before it would become practical.

Digimon Adventure tri. Movie 1 "Reunion" Makes 218 Million Yen

December 20th, 2015. Anime! Anime! reports that the first entry in the six-part Digimon Adventure tri. film series, Reunion, earned over 218,000,000 yen as of December 16th. The film is presently in its fourth week in theaters, having been extended as late as December 25th at select locations. Several of the original ten theaters that ran the film are leaving open the possibility of extensions past Christmas, as tri. has been at the top of the small film charts since its premiere on November 21st. According to Anime! Anime!, about one hundred thousand people have seen Reunion in theaters.

Digimon Adventure tri. is a series of six theatrical films made in observance of Adventure's fifteenth anniversary. Currently two films have been titled, Reunion (premiered November 21st) and Decision, which will premiere in Japan on March 12th, 2016. For its international distribution, Reunion was officially licensed to be subtitled on Crunchyroll, broken up into four episodes rather than the one continuous movie shown in Japanese theaters. In Germany the film was subtitled by Animax and shown on broadcast television.

First Gameplay Impressions of Digimon World -next 0rder-

Demo play site, uploaded by @digimon_info
Over December 19th and 20th fans could demo Digimon World -next 0rder- at Jump Festa 2016. The simulation RPG drew a crowd soon after opening its doors, with waiting lines for the game being around 20 minutes; each player was allotted 5 minutes of time with the game, and given a pair of Agumon and Gabumon stickers for playing. Here's a collection of first impressions from various players that posted on Twitter and other blog sites about their experiences.

From Digimon Headline
Rough impression of gameplay. First of all, even though I had two partners, the hunger and toilet timing was the same. This time it was Agumon and Gabumon, but what happens when the partners' ages are different is unknown... Also, after battle both partners run over to below the protagonist, and their Happiness  stat can be adjusted by praising or scolding them.

(The Happiness (なつき度 natsuki-do "emotional degree") they're referring to is probably the same Happiness from the original Digimon World and Re:Digitize/Decode that reflects a Digimon's attachment to its tamer. Ordinarily both Happiness and Discipline act as regulating factors that affect a Digimon's natural evolution, with Discipline increasing as Happiness decreases, and vice-versa. Interestingly, none of the first play impressions have mentioned Discipline as being in -next 0rder-; the stat may be absent from the game.)

From Digimon Headline
The after-battle fanfare and menu selection sounds were similar to the original Digimon World. It feels a little nostalgic.
From Sasakani (3rd & in 2nd place in the previous DIGIMADO tournament)
Thoughts after playing the NekuOda demo:
  • Enemy Digimon are very fast on their feet.
  • When giving a Digimon meat, or praising them, you can see their evolution conditions? I was able to evolve to Seadramon, Tyrannomon, and Garurumon.
  • The Digimon's response time for each command is short.
From DigiKz
I could play for 5 minutes. You could choose between playing as either the male protagonist Takuto or the female protagonist Shiki. This time, I thought that the male protagonist seemed like the #1 candidate for main character, but because Shiki-chan seemed pretty nice, I selected her. If I buy the game, I think I'll probably begin as her.

In the demo you were thrown into an unknown grassland without explanation. Your partners [as Shiki] were Piyomon and Palmon (this time they apparently train simultaneously). If you chose Takuto it seems your partners were Agumon and Gabumon (I went with Keichi-san and saw him play as Takuto). For the time being, I walked around and encountered Goblimon. We rushed right into battle.

The battle system was autobattle, I didn't understand it well but it seems you told the Digimon what techs to use with the L & R buttons. You cheered with the O button, I don't know what kind of numerical value it increases. Anyway, we somehow won (because it's a demo). Beating Goblimon took a while because of how slow they go down. After winning a battle, it seems you could praise the Digimon (but I was able to battle without a relationship to them). When in the menu screen, Shiki-chan called over Piyo and Pal to the menu display. It felt like it took a little while. While the menu screen was up, the 5-minute timer stopped. However, in going through the menu you could only use items, you couldn't see the Digimon's individual status. I wonder if this feature was restricted for trial play? Even so, it really wasn't for the best, just battling Goblimon running through the grasslands. The trial version was honestly not that fun...

You also couldn't advance to other zones. Digitama were omitted, and before I could approach another Goblimon, time was up. I think it would have been a little more fun if I had more time with the demo. At the end, I received Dot Agumon and Gabumon stickers.
Dot Agumon & Gabumon stickers. Original image uploaded by @sasakani_cool
Poster for -next 0rder-, original image uploaded by DigiKz
Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan on March 17th, 2016, on the PlayStation Vita for 6,800 yen.

Goodbye Jump Festa, Hello New Year

Original image uploaded by @Digi_advntr15th
December 20th, 2015. With this year's Jump Festa over, the annual festivities have finally come to a close. The expo held a number of surprises for Digimon fans, chiefly at the Bandai Namco Entertainment booth, where a demo and trailer for Digimon World -next 0rder- leaked the formal debut of Xros Wars in a World game, as well as the first voice acted scenes in -next 0rder-. Fans were also able to hear Aoi Eir's upcoming single Accentia in the trailer. Near the end of JF2016, Aoi herself uploaded a pair of post-recording photos of her with her songwriter Yasuda Takahiro, asking fans to look forward to both the new Digimon World and Accentia.

Original image uploaded by @m0m0ichi
Although not quite visible from space, the line for Jump Festa was certainly significant this year, starting as early as 6:30 AM. Guests at neighboring hotels could see the line wrapping around the side of the building. Every year Jump Festa attracts thousands of fans from across Japan, upwards of one hundred thousand across both days. The event originally started in 1999 as a coordinated expo between Jump magazine publisher Shueisha and a number of media companies, and Digimon was with the festival from the very beginning.

At JF2016, figure production studio MegaHouse had the most to announce, introducing their product lineup for the coming year featuring G.E.M. Series Ishida Yamato & Garurumon, Beelzebumon Blast Mode & Impmon, and the Koro Collection figure set with Yagami Hikari and five different versions of Koromon.

Original image uploaded by @toeianimgoods
Digimon Adventure tri. was featured prominently as part of Toei's lineup at the Toei Animation Booth, alongside Dragon Ball Z and One Piece. Agumon and Taichi were both featured wearing New Year's hakama featuring the Crest of Courage. Digimon fans could play a Digimon-themed karuta variant, and hanetsuki (Japanese Badminton). Both of these are traditional New Year's games in Japan. In a special photography-prohibited session at the Digimon stage, Yagami Taichi's seiyuu Hanae Natsuki painted Digimoji calligraphy, in the spirit of another New Year's practice, kakizome. The Toei Animation booth had a message board fans could leave messages on, and a special screening of Digimon Adventure tri. was held a few hours after Jump Festa's doors opened on the first day. Many fans shared photos of their tickets on Twitter as a type of communal social practice. (A similar phenomenon had previously emerged during Reunion's first few weeks in theater.)

As at Jump Festa 2015, Bandai had their Agumon mascot character present, at both the tri. and -next- 0rder- sections of the festival grounds. A video of the mascot caught dancing briefly took off on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Original image uploaded by @zetumetugirl
At the trial play area for -next 0rder-, fans waited in line to demo the game. While waiting they could view the Jump Festa trailer on a nearby monitor. The same trailer was also shown on a larger screen at the Bandai Namco Entertainment booth. Fans could only play the game for five minutes at a time, having their choice of either Takuto or Shiki, each with their own set of partners; Agumon & Gabumon for Takuto, and Piyomon & Palmon for Shiki.

The demo of the game didn't reveal any story content, but had players navigate through a grasslands area fighting Goblimon with their partners. Those that played were given a set of jumbo Agumon and Gabumon LCD stickers to promote the game.

Original image uploaded by @sasakani_cool
Original image uploaded by @DigiKz
This year's Jump Festa was a relieving sight for Digimon fans. The franchise was absent from Jump Festa 2014, and at last year's JF2015 its future was uncertain; little was known about Adventure tri. at that point, and sixteen months had passed since Digimon had released a video game on a handheld or home console. With Cyber Sleuth having been playable for the first time, there was hope, but not the kind of concrete faith that Bandai could deliver that fans have now.

Digimon is alive and in the black; "popular" might not be accurate given the small scale of tri., but Jump Festa will seeing Digimon again next year. At Jump Festa 2017, tri. will likely be near or on its fourth chapter, and -next 0rder- will be nine months old. What will we have said about the game by then? Where will the brand be globally?

The world is waiting. Are you?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Remastered Digimon World OST Samples Put Up on -next 0rder- Site

December 19th, 2015. Among the preorder bonuses uploaded to the official Digimon World -next 0rder- title site is a tracklist for the remastered Digimon World soundtrack that will be included with first print copies of the game, as well as a set of four short music samples of the remastered OST. These tracks are Let's Walk Together (used for Gear Savanna at night), the iconic Earth and the Blue Sky (Gear Savanna day), Rejection Fight (used for battles against Digimon that refuse to return to the Village of Beginnings), and Digital Spirit (battle with Mugendramon). Fans can listen to the remastered tracks on the site.

Digimon World's soundtrack was originally composed by Yamada Kouji (山田耕治) and Ishii Yuko (石井祐子), employees of BEC (Bandai Entertainment Company, formerly a subsidiary of Bandai and now of Bandai Namco Holdings). Yamada has been working in game soundtracks for over twenty years, currently specializing in chiptune and other retro gaming music.

Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan on March 17th, 2016, for the PlayStation Vita. It will retail for 6,800 yen. It is the latest entry in the World series, succeeding directly from Re:Digitize Decode on the 3DS, Re:Digitize on the PSP, and World on the PSX.

Friday, December 18, 2015

(English Subbed) Digimon World -next 0rder- Jump Festa 2016 Trailer

December 19th, 2015. Above is Tamer Union's subtitle of the Digimon World -next 0rder- Jump Festa trailer, originally published by Bandai Namco Entertainment at Jump Festa 2016. The trailer shows Digimon from every past series as partners in the game, including Xros Wars' Shoutmon and Tamers' Dukemon. The game will feature a host of first print bonuses for those that preorder the game, including a copy of the original Digimon World soundtrack, several Vita themes, and exclusive DLC Digimon voiced by Chika Sakamoto & Yamaguchi Mayumi.

Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan on March 17th, 2016, for 6,800 yen on the PlayStation Vita.

(Update: Reuploaded in better quality with corrected subs.)

-next 0rder- Will Let You Have an Agumon & Gabumon Voiced by Their Original Actors

December 19th, 2015. The official -next 0rder- title site updated with information on the game's preorder DLC, revealing that the special pair of Digitama that tamers will be able to download contains a talking Agumon and Gabumon voiced by Sakamoto Chika and Yamaguchi Mayumi, the original Japanese voices of those Digimon from the 1999-2000 Digimon Adventure.

The DLC Digitama follow a special fixed evolution path, rather than evolving differently depending on how the player raises them. Agumon's path proceeds through the traditional Botamon > Koromon >Agumon > Greymon > Wargreymon line, with the Agumon-up stages voiced by Sakamoto. Gabumon evolves through Botamon > Tsunomon > Gabumon > Were Garurumon > Metal Garurumon, likewise being voiced from Child level and above. However, these versions of the characters are not fully evolved when they reach War Greymon and Metal Garurumon; they can be further Jogressed into an Ultimate-level Omegamon, which is jointly voiced by Sakamoto and Yamaguchi simultaneously. (This is why the Metal Greymon and standard Garurumon stages are absent from their lines.) Omegamon can also be made to appear through ExE-volution using the special War Greymon & Metal Garurumon.

In addition to a copy of the 1999 Digimon World soundtrack, those that preorder the game will get two original themes, "ver. Nostalgic" and "ver. Dot." Theme ver. Dot features a montage of original Digimon LCD sprites, while theme ver. Nostalgic turns the screen into the layout of a Digital Monster virtual pet. Each theme comes in two variants, black and blue for ver. Dot, and blue and red for ver. Nostalgic.

The preorder DLC also includes an item set, the "training Start Dash set," containing items used to enhance the effects of training on a Digimon's stats, as well as to 30 pieces of Big Meat to feed one's Digimon. Each item lasts for 6 in-game hours, and increases the impact of training on a stat by 1.2x. There are three items; the Challenge Carrot buffs increases to MP and Offense, Sakura Bird Radish to HP and Speed, and the Hidden Onion to Defense and Brains.

Finally, those that preorder will also receive evolution items that will unlock Susanoomon, Omegamon, Imperialdramon Fighter Mode, Dukemon, and Shine Greymon in the game. By speaking with the Poyomon in Jijimon's house responsible for the Different Dimension Box, the player can receive specific Core items for each Digimon;
Omegamon - Strongest Cavalry Core (最騎核)
Imperialdramon Fighter Mode - Imperial War Core (帝闘核)
Dukemon - Spear Cavalry Core (槍騎核)
Susanoomon - Contract Speed Core (建速核)
Shine Greymon - Sunshine Core (陽光核)
These are consumable items which disappear on use. While it hasn't been explained whether their effects are immediate or if they only make it possible to evolve with that Digimon, their description is very similar to the classic evolutions items in Digimon World that would instantly evolve one's partner into a different Digimon.

These various announcements and the most recent trailer have already garnered strong reactions in Japan, with some fans prematurely labeling it a "god-tier game" (神ゲー kami gē) in the same ranks as Final Fantasy VII, Super Smash Bros., and the original Digimon World. The inclusion of both Frontier and Xros Wars Digimon has sparked a massive positive response on the Japanese side; speculative numbers put -next 0rder- at including more than 300 unique Digimon, potentially 400, while Cyber Sleuth only sported 240 in its roster.

Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan on March 17th, 2016, for the PlayStation Vita. It will retail for 6,800 yen.

Digimon World -next 0rder- Jump Festa 2016 Trailer, Box Art & Price

December 19th, 2015. The Digimon World -next 0rder- title site updated with the game's Jump Festa 2016 trailer, showing off the game's voice acting and its opening theme performed by Aoi Eir, Accentia. In the trailer, protagonists Takuto & Shiki are shown being transported by their Digimon Mini virtual pet into the Digital World. The trailer features several new locations that resemble classic Digimon World locales, like Factorial Town, the Dark Lord Mansion, and Great Canyon. Training gyms, the dual partner system, and ExE-volution all are shown in the trailer, as is the enigmatic Omegamon variant Executor and the new character Tsuzuki Shouma. The trailer's slogan is "Our world is evolving," and it prominently features the phrase "Was the World waiting for you? Or were you waiting for the World?"

Accentia will launch on March 2nd, fifteen days before the game. Digimon World -next 0rder- will launch in Japan on March 17th, 2015, on the PlayStation Vita for 6,800 yen. (Approximately $56 at the current exchange rate.) More translations are forthcoming.

Koromon Collection Figure Set Shown at Jump Festa 2016

December 19th, 2015. Japanese Digimon news publication Digimon Headline leaked this photograph from the first day of Jump Festa 2016, of an upcoming official Koro Collection! figure set (ジモンアドベンチャー コロコレ!セット lit. Dejimon Adobenchaa Koro Kore! Setto) designed by studio MegaHouse. Based on the original Digimon Adventure 1999 pilot film directed by Hosoda Mamoru, the figure collection features a four-year-old Yagami Hikari with five different versions of the film's Koromon, in various eating, sleeping, and pooping poses. No release date or price has been set as of yet.

MegaHouse also announced an upcoming Beelzebumon Blast Mode figure, as well as a G.E.M. Series Ishida Yamato & Garurumon figure at JF2016.

Beelzebumon Blast Mode Figure Teased at Jump Festa 2016

Original image uploaded by @mega_girlshobby
December 19th, 2015. At the first day of Jump Festa 2016, figure studio MegaHouse has debuted an unpainted prototype of an upcoming Beelzebumon Blast Mode figure, featured alongside his Child form Impmon. Labeled as the "Digimon Tamers Beelzebumon Blast Mode" figure, no concrete release date nor expected price has been set on it as of yet. MegaHouse also showed a Digimon Adventure Ishida Yamato & Garurumon figure as part of their G.E.M. Series at the event.

Blast Mode has been a breakout character in the Digimon franchise since his introduction in Tamers; most recently he will be featured as one of two exclusive downloadable evolutions in the international localization of Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth.

Full Color Ishida Yamato & Garurumon G.E.M. Figure Leaked at Jump Festa 2016

Original image uploaded by @mega_girlshobby
December 19th, 2015. Representatives of figure news outlet Mega Hobby have leaked photographs of the upcoming G.E.M. Series Digimon Adventure Ishida Yamato & Garurumon figure, revealing that the figure will go out in July 2016, priced at 9,800 yen (approximately $81 at the current exchange rate). Reservations for the figure will open up on December 25th. An unpainted sculpt of the figure had previously been leaked late last November at the Mega Hobby 2015 Expo.

The G.E.M. Series is a line of high quality figures aimed at young adult women, featuring characters from popular anime and manga series. The G.E.M. Series has most recently featured Wizarmon and Tailmon from Digimon Adventure, which has been one of MegaHouse's most popular G.E.M. Series franchises since it became a part of the line in January 2014. Past Adventure G.E.M. figures include multiple versions of Takaishi Takeru and Yagami Hikari with the various forms of their Digimon partners, repeated reissues of Yamato and Taichi, and other members of the Chosen Children.