Bandai Namco announces that Digimon World: Next Order, a well-received spin on the series released in Japan last March, will now be getting a western release.
While Pokemon might be the collectible creature game that has dominated western headlines in recent years, Bandai Namco's Digimon series has been quietly amassing a dedicated, passionate fanbase in its own right. Part of the reason that Digimon has been much slower in gaining North American and European traction has been Bandai Namco's reluctance to release most of the newer games outside of Japan, although the developer has started to change its tune. Bandai Namco recently announced plans to bring the Naruto MMORPG to the west due to the anime's prevalent popularity there, indicating if there's enough demand, the developer is willing to meet it.
Luckily for fans of the Digimon series, the unexpected global success of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is responsible for what could be the beginning of the franchise targeting demographics outside Japan more aggressively. Bandai Namco has announced that Digimon World: Next Order, a Vita game released exclusively in Japan last March, is now coming to the US and Europe on the PS4. Oddly enough, those regions won't be getting the game on the Vita, although that's likely a product of the fact that the Vita is struggling outside of Japan and has been for years now.
Digimon World: Next Order follows high-school students as they form partnerships with Digimon in order to battle a vague, ostensibly evil threat - gamers familiar with any of the other Digimon games that have seen western releases will already be familiar with the story dynamic. Digimon World: Next Order did pretty well for itself in Japan, however, receiving a good 33/40 score from Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu and achieving high sales figures.
Digimon World: Next Order features a battle system that lets players partner up with two Digimon while giving them commands in semi-automated fights. Those unfamiliar with the Digimon series and expecting a game that plays a lot like Pokemon Sun and Moon's gameplay will be in for a shock - despite their' similarities in terms of story and creature combat, the gameplay itself is very different for the respective franchises.
Digimon World: Next Order could be the first in a long line of Digimon games coming west if its sales are strong, and fans of the series will likely do everything in their power to make that a reality. If the game can capitalize on the surprising in-roads made by Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, the Pokemon versus Digimon debate might finally start to heat up again in the west after a long period of inactivity.
Digimon World: Next Order will be available in the US and Europe as a digital-only download on the PS4 in early 2017.