For the first time ever, Bandai Namco is bringing their biggest Gundam game to the West. In a new trailer, they announced Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Force is coming worldwide next year.
The Gundam Vs. series has been an extremely popular franchise in Japan since 2009. It has been the most profitable arcade machine in Japan for almost 6 years straight. Since its initial release, there has been a sequel and two expansions to the arcade version of the game. Additionally, 3 versions of the game have been released on console, but they were exclusive to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable in Japan.
This iteration of the game will come out exclusively on the PSVita, which may change how the game normally plays. Also, adjustments seemed to have been made to accommodate the western audience. Instead of a traditional online mode, this version of the game will only have local ad hoc play to maximize the multiplayer experience.
While a PSVita release may limit the potential growth of this series in the west, there are groups of hardcore fans that will create grassroots gatherings to play with one another, especially within the fighting game community. The Gundam Extreme Vs. series has been prominently displayed at multiple major fighting game tournaments, such as SoCal Regionals. While not confirmed, compatibility with the PlayStation TV could give the game more reach and make it more accessible to traditional console gamers.
Many Gundam fans assumed that the series would never come westward in a proper form due to the nightmare it would be to obtain all of the proper licenses. It is speculated that they handled this issue by only using Gundams that are part of the “UC Universe,” the main timeline of the Gundam anime series. This will take out many of the niche mobile suits and reduce variation, but that may make for a more balanced, competitive experience.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. Force will release on the PSVita in 2016.