The Japanese mobile social game network with hopes to take over the world, GREE, has made every effort to be noticed at this year's E3 in Los Angeles. While it may get buried underneath the machismo of shooters and giant statues of aliens, mobile and social gaming is more present than ever at the conference, and GREE is leading the charge with over 20 games.
The network looks to take the Western world of gaming by storm with numerous partnerships across several genres from fashion simulators to shooting frenzies and racing romps. But that's not to say GREE isn't pulling some of its own weight with both its San Francisco and Japan studios. With so many games on display, let's just focus on the highlights, shall we?
GREE's legacy in the Far East began with what are known as card battle games, which are by and large the most popular type of mobile game in Japan. With hits like Rage of Bahamut and Zombie Jombie--from DeNA and GREE, respectively--going like gangbusters in the U.S, GREE looks to strike gold with a Japanese treasure, Driland (available now).
Driland is arguably one of the most popular card battlers in Japan, a fantasy-themed role-playing game that sees players going head-to-head in turn-based battles with various digital cards. Like any good card battler, players find new cards by killing monsters and seek to build the most powerful deck. If anything moves like these are indicative of the fact that larger companies like GREE are willing to take risks on mobile.
This developer slash publisher is taking leaps of faith in all directions, especially where lady gamers are concerned. Be My Princess, a romance simulator, is the type of game that Japanese women and girls go nuts for. But what about females in the U.S? That's what GREE looks to find out with this game that's light on action and heavy on dialog and drama. Anime-loving ladies can get their hands on Be My Princess later this month.
Saving the best for last, GREE has a kart racer in the works. Early on in development at GREE's Japanese studio, Wacky Motors is the company's retort to Kart Rider Rush by Nexon. Wacky Motors is like getting behind the wheel of a Saturday morning anime cartoon--literally. Players control their kart using the tilt function of their iOS device, tapping the screen to use items as they cut corners and drive over boost pads. There's nothing particularly social about this racer just yet, but we expect that to change as the game inches closer to release ... whenever that may be.
When Games.com editor in chief Libe Goad dubbed social and mobile games the silent giant of E3 2012, she wasn't kidding. The GREE booth is as large as almost any other publisher, but it stands to go largely unnoticed by the Xbox, Wii U and PS3 lovers attending the show. It's a shame, really, but such is the modus operandi of the scene: Hide from the competition in plain sight, slowly encroaching upon of all things "hardcore" from our own pockets.
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