E.X. Troopers

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E.X. Troopers
File:E.X. Troopers logo.jpg
Developer(s) Capcom
HexaDrive (PlayStation 3 version)
Publisher(s) Capcom
Director(s) Yasuhiro Anpo
Producer(s) Shintaro Kojima
Artist(s) Takahiro Kawano (art director)
Chisato Mita (character design)
Writer(s) Dai Satō (StoryRiders)
Composer(s) Yasumasa Kitagawa
Series Lost Planet
Engine MT Framework Lite
MT Framework (PlayStation 3)
Platforms Nintendo 3DS
PlayStation 3
Release date(s) Retail
    Digital Distribution
      Genre(s) Action, Third-person shooter
      Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

      E.X. Troopers (Japanese: エクストルーパーズ Hepburn: Ekusutorūpāzu?), stylized as E.X. Tr∞pers, is a third-person shooter game developed and published by Capcom for Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3. The game was released exclusively in Japan to retail customers on November 22, 2012 and later on Nintendo eShop and PlayStation Network on January 24, 2013.[1]

      It is a spin-off of the Lost Planet series which Capcom describes as "exhilarating manga-esque action" (マンガチック爽快アクション Mangachikku sōkai akushon?),[2] rather than "action shooting" (アクションシューティング?)[3] like prior console instalments or Lost Planet 3's "cinematic shooting" (シネマティックシューティング?).[4][5]

      There are currently no plans to localize the game outside of Japan.

      Gameplay

      The game features similar gameplay elements to previous Lost Planet games, including the presence of major boss battles, extreme terrain, and Vital Suits (VSs).[1] The player controls the protagonist, Bren, from a third-person perspective as he is challenged to navigate through different areas by running, dashing, grappling, zip-lining, and using his jet pack to quickly boost over a short distance.

      Combat primarily focuses on shooting enemies using a primary and secondary weapon (typically a weaker and short-ranged firearm with more ammo and a stronger and more versatile weapon, respectively). The game also features melee combat, involving punching foes into the air to juggle them with firearms (much like Devil May Cry), kicking them away, and blocking their attacks. The jet pack can be incorporated into attacks to increase their strength and effectiveness. Experience is earned by eliminating enemies and completing objectives. As they gain levels from experience growth, player characters gain improvements like increased health points, stronger melee attacks, better defenses, and prolong jet pack boosts. Occasionally, there are missions involving VS piloting, which enables limited flight as well as the ability to perform stronger ranged and melee attacks.

      Thermal energy (T-ENG) is now used for charging up special attacks and restoring the life bar, rather than for survival (represented numerically by the player's HUD in Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and Lost Planet 2) or as currency (used in Lost Planet 3). Players can tap into their T-ENG reserve to release numerous forms of an exothermic (EX-T) blast to deal large amounts of damage to enemies.

      Armour and weapon upgrades are created from gathering materials (sometimes from enemy remains, similar to Monster Hunter) and require paying vendors with points, which are rewarded after successful missions. Points can also be used to purchase food items that provide various short-term buffs. Mission-based mechanics allow players to take on core quests that progress the story-driven adventure, or sidequests from other characters during the campaign.

      The game also rewards players with medals, which require progressing through the main campaign, completing secondary objectives in VR training missions, or playing in a unique manner. Once the game has been beaten, additional VR missions are unlocked and the main campaign can also be replayed with the inclusion of secondary objectives, which may be attempted for more medals. Medals can be spent to obtain music tracks and costumes for the player to customize their avatar.

      Multiplayer

      Both the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3 versions of the game have multiplayer support, however the former only supports local play through wireless communication while the latter only supports online play through PlayStation Network. This allows players to play through the VR missions cooperatively in a group of up to three people. There is also a versus mode is featuring team deathmatch and capture the beacon for up to six people split into two teams.

      Synopsis

      Setting

      The game begins with the approach of spacecrafts transporting enlistees to Neo Venus Construction Inc. (NEVEC) Academy's educational institutions on the planet E.D.N. III. Bren Turner, a candidate from E.D.N. II, is on board among the new recruits when the fleet is suddenly attacked by mysterious VSs. To confront the hostile force, Instructor Walter Stingray selects Bren to pilot a prototype VS equipped with a next-generation AI, capable of even autonomous behaviour. As the new "master" of this state-of-the-art machine, Bren designates it with the name "Gingira" and joins Walter to defend the fleet.

      After a fierce and intense fight, Bren and Walter successfully destroy the attackers, but are forced to eject from Gingira during atmospheric entry to the surface of E.D.N. III - a planet with an unforgiving environment and the alien race known as Akrid (AK).

      Characters

      Main Characters

      Bren Turner (ブレン・ターナー Buren Tānā?)[6] (voiced by Yūki Kaji) is the protagonist of the game. He's a new transfer from E.D.N. II, hot-blooded and full of curiosity. Bren possesses an open personality and isn't shy about expressing his desire to aim for the top.
      • Bren pilots Gingira (ギンギラ?) (voiced by Takehito Koyasu), a humanoid prototype VS equipped with a next-generation AI. In addition to being able to communicate directly with the pilot, it is also capable of autonomous behaviour. The VS was originally scheduled to be assigned to Chris, but it was instead registered to Bren in an emergency by Walter during a surprise attack.
      • Bren is the son of Lawrence Turner (also voiced by Yūki Kaji), a former hero that went missing during an incident before the start of the game. Bren and his father have very similar appearances apart from their hair colour; Bren has light pink hair, whereas his father has green hair.
      TeeKee (ティキ Tiki?) (voiced by Saori Hayami) is a priestess of a modern generation of snow pirates that strive to co-exist with the indigenous biological AK that inhabit E.D.N. III. She has a gentle personality, but will not hesitate to fight when the occasion arises. TeeKee also has a unique ability to communicate with the AK.
      • TeeKee is the successor of Selka (セルカ Seruka?) (voiced by Maria Kawamura), the previous priestess that fought alongside Bren's father in the past.
      Chris Landbird (クーリス・ランドバード Kūrisu Randobādo?) (voiced by Kishō Taniyama) is part of NEVEC Academy's elite. He is a student at the Tech Base, and a specialist in both VS piloting and field-combat. When Bren becomes the pilot of a VS that was originally assigned to Chris, a bitter rivalry develops between the two.
      Julie Fliesher (ジュリィ・フライシャー Jyuri Furaishiyā?) (voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro) is a girl that brightens up the mood of whatever room she barges into. She has a passion for customizing and piloting her VS, "Honey Bunny". Her extraordinary and rich knowledge about VSs allow her to excel as a mechanic and impress even Chris in the arena.
      Luan Forest (ルアン・フォレスト Ruan Fuoresuto?) (voiced by Tsubasa Yonaga) is a senior student at the Academy's Frontier Base on E.D.N. III. He is always seen with his device in hand, eagerly collecting data about AK for his already vast library. Although his appearance gives an initial impression of being physically weak, Luan is in fact quite dependable and will go to great lengths for his friends. Luan also provides narration throughout the game during key events.

      Other Characters

      W.I.Z (ウィズ Uizu?) (voiced by Yū Kobayashi) are a series of AI operators that help manage each of the bases for NEVEC Academy.
      • Bren is first introduced to the mischievous W.I.Z-γ at the Advance Base. The Advance Base is the latest addition to NEVEC Academy's educational institutions, and serves as a central hub for travel on and off the planet in addition to providing a nurturing environment for students to develop and sharpen their skills. W.I.Z-γ also possesses the most sophisticated processing capability of the W.I.Z series.
      • The calm and collected W.I.Z-α, the eldest "sister" located at the Frontier Base, is later encountered by Bren. The Frontier Base is primarily responsible for carrying out developmental studies on the surrounding forested and marine areas.
      • Eventually, Bren meets the remaining cool-headed W.I.Z-β after discovering the Tech Base. The Tech Base is well known for its high scientific and technological capabilities, and has a reputation for training top-tier VS pilots. Every year, they put pride on the line and host a tournament to test the VS pilots from all three bases. The elite members of the Advance Base are responsible for the developmental studies in harsh environments, like desert and volcanic areas.
      Walter Stingray (ウォルター・スティングレー Worutā Sutingurē?) (voiced by Kenta Miyake) is an instructor at the Academy's Advance Base, and looked up to by everyone around him as a strong leader with a strategic mind. His intimidating, no-nonsense demeanor and all-seeing eye has also earned him a reputation as a "demon" among younger Academy members. Walter is the one responsible for assigning Bren to Gingira.
      Diana Highline (ディアナ・ハインライン Diana Hainrain?) (voiced by Yuka Komatsu) is an instructor at the Academy's Frontier Base, and wields a position of political power at the Academy. Her alluring appearance and playful personality has garnered her many fans among the student body. Although Diana would much rather do nothing more than continue fostering her popularity at the Academy, her combat ability should not be underestimated.
      Regan Watts (リーガン・ワッツ Rīgan Watsu?) (voiced by Shin-ichiro Miki) is an instructor at the Academy's Tech Base, and although he is the least experienced of all the instructors, he demonstrates that he is able to provide a curriculum that results in highly talented graduates. Regan is rarely seen without his mask, which he wears to prevent others from reading his emotions.
      Kreis Ravel (クライス・ラヴェル Kureisu Raviru?) (voiced by Yoshitada Ōtsuka and Shin-ichiro Miki (young)) is an elderly gentleman and the director at NEVEC Academy. He has little contact with most members at the Academy aside from at special events and ceremonies, where he's always seen with a generous smile.
      • Kreis was previously a good friend of Bren's father, Lawrence Turner.
      File:EXT characters.jpg
      First anniversary wallpaper showing characters from E.X. Troopers.
      Yamato (ヤマト?) (voiced by Toshinobu Iida) has an impulsive attitude and a borderline unhealthy obsession with military tactics. His weapon of choice is the ice shotgun, which is frequently confiscated by Walter.
      Yuna (ユナ?) (voiced by Ruriko Aoki) is a cheery girl that works at the cafeteria inside the Advanced Base alongside her Aunt Sophie (ソフィ Sofi?) (voiced by Kazuyo Aoki) and occasionally likes to try out her new recipes on Bren. In battle scenarios, she prefers to keep her distance with the use of her fiery rocket launcher.
      Gota (ゴータ Gōta?) (voiced by Tomohiro Waki) is Luan's friend whom Bren first meets at the Academy's Frontier Base.
      Tsubaki (ツバキ?) (voiced by Mika Takashita) is a sporty member of the Frontier Base that enjoys long-distance running.
      Max (マックス Makusu?) (voiced by Hiroki Gotō) is a health fanatic that likes to encourage all members at the Academy to exercise. His large physique allows him to easily wield his chain gun in battle.
      Bell (ベル Beru?) (voiced by Moemi Naoki) is Max's younger sister, and expresses her annoyance when he dotes upon her. She is often seen sneaking candy from her purse, which likely contributes to her inconsistent weight (something that doesn't seem to perturb her).
      Blatt (ブラット Burato?) (voiced by Kazunari Ninomiya) is a proud and popular member of the Academy's Tech Base. He is often seen being admired by a dedicated trio of cheerleaders. He favours a horizon rocket launcher in battle.
      Ein (アイン Ain?) (voiced by Kaito Ishikawa) is Blatt's friend and teammate.
      Surge (サージュ Sāju?) (voiced by Asami Seto) is a friend of Julie's and a studious member of the Tech Base. Her initial primp and proper appearance often gives strangers an unfriendly impression, but she is in reality warm towards her friends and shows that she can be somewhat conscientious about her looks (most notably her glasses and hairstyle). She depends on the use of her flamethrower in tight situations.

      Plot

      The story is divided up into six episodes and one post-game scenario episode:

      Episode 0: Ichiban-BOY!
      Bren and Walter manage to survive the fall to the surface on E.D.N. III. After making their way across the frozen landscape and an encounter with some aggressive AK, they finally arrive at the Academy's Advance Base.
      Episode 1: FirstStarShootingStar!
      Episode 2: KIRAKIRA Rendezvous
      Episode 3: GIRAGIRA Starting Over
      Episode 4: Awakening KIRAKIRA
      Episode 5: GINGIRA Good-bye!
      Episode 6: Eternal Sun-set!

      Reception

      Critical response

      In the Japanese video game magazine, Famitsu, E.X. Troopers scored a rating of 34/40 (9/9/8/8) for the Nintendo 3DS version and 32/40 (8/8/8/8) for the PlayStation 3 version.[7] However, since the title was only released in Japan, it was not professionally reviewed for English-speaking audiences. Impressions from available previews of the game were nonetheless largely positive, and players have expressed their interest in seeing it translated for a wider release.

      Kotaku explains that "Lost Planet is a serious sci-fi/action series with a plot built around drama and treachery. E.X. Troopers is a lighthearted "save the world" adventure in a school setting with mystical shamans and Gundam robots. While both take place in the same universe and even on the same world, the tone, plot, and much of the lore feels completely different."[8] They also complimented the manga art style, saying "The bright cel-shaded graphics are a joy to look at and the manga framing of the cutscenes is a creative way to tell the story." It also said the game is "simple to pick up and play", and noted the "co-op supports the single player". the site has mixed responses to the fact that the game "takes everything about Lost Planet and twists it", and that you get the "same enemies again and again".[8]

      NintendoLife wrote that "graphics don’t make a game, but they can help a good one become great. The presentation in E.X. Troopers is flawless, but most important of all it’s consistent and it enhances what was already there, highlighting the hot-blooded cast and underlining the plot in a way that just wouldn't work if it was done differently. E.X. Troopers is different, proud of it, and we’re all the better for having it."[9]

      BitParade concluded their review by saying that "the beautiful simplicity behind its combat, and its razor-sharp speed and progression, are the culmination of carefully designing a game from the ground up for the portable format", claiming that E.X. Troopers was a more effective big budget effort for the 3DS than Resident Evil Revelations (both being 2012 Capcom 3DS releases).[10]

      Sales

      The game sold 17,402 copies on the Nintendo 3DS and 8,717 copies on the PlayStation 3 within the first week of release in Japan, marking it as the weakest debut for a Lost Planet title at the time. This may have been partially attributed from E.X. Troopers competing with the high-selling Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which was released during the same time period.[11]

      Development and release

      While E.X. Troopers had a trademark was filed in November 2011,[12] it was originally teased in an issue of Famitsu as a new Capcom project with limited information and without a title in April 2012, the same month as Lost Planet 3's announcement.[13]

      The mysterious game was officially announced in another issue of Famitsu during May 2012, and revealed to be an action shooter for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3 headed by Shintaro Kojima (Monster Hunter producer). The game would share the same world as Lost Planet, but feature an anime art style (using a cel-shaded design aesthetic) and a school-themed atmosphere akin to a science fiction version of Capcom’s Rival Schools: United by Fate or Project Justice. There would also be manga-style storytelling used between stages, similar to the cutscenes in Gravity Rush.[14] Famitsu also reported that E.X. Troopers would see a return of snow pirates, VSs and the Akrid aliens, and introduced the bases on E.D.N. III as well as Bren and TeeKee as new characters.[15]

      At the time of announcement, E.X. Troopers was estimated to be approximately 60% complete and would be released later in the same year. The game's playable debut appearance occurred soon after at Capcom's Summer Jam exhibition event held at Tokyo Big Sight on June 30 and July 1, 2012.[16] Capcom also announced on September 20, 2012 that Dai Satō (Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Eureka Seven) was in charge of writing the script for the game during a presentation at Tokyo Game Show 2012 (TGS 2012).[17]

      During TGS 2012, a free demo for the game at was announced to be released, which eventually arrived on the Japanese 3DS eShop on October 17 and the Japanese PlayStation Network on October 18, prior to the planned November 22, 2012 launch date. The demo consisted of one single-player mission and two co-op VR missions.[18]

      The game was released exclusively in Japan to retail customers for Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3 on November 22, 2012. Digital versions of the game were also released two months later, on January 24, 2013.[1]

      Versions and merchandise

      For the most part, both Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3 versions of the game content are identical.

      Nintendo 3DS version

      The Nintendo 3DS version of E.X. Troopers lacks online services for multiplayer, but supports local play and a bonus "AR Marker" feature which activates in response to images from the game's website.[19] This feature displays one of six of the game's characters (Bren, TeeKee, Chris, Julie, Luan and Gingira) in Augmented Reality allowing the player to use inputs to have the chosen character perform emotes or attacks.

      Otherwise, the game utilizes the two screens with the top screen supporting Stereoscopic 3D at all times and the touch screen handling numerous user interface options including the minimap and the E.X. Thermal Blast inputs (mapped onto the L2 and R2 buttons for the PlayStation 3 version). Like Capcom's Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and Resident Evil Revelations, the game supports the Circle Pad Pro for additional control support.[20][21]

      Input Result
      ZL (Mission) Fire EX-T Resonance.
      ZR (Mission) Fire EX-T Blast.
      ZR + X (Base) Shortcut to access the Mail (メール).
      ZR + A (Base) Shortcut to the Comrade List (仲間リストなかまリスト , Nakama Risuto?).
      ZR + B (Base) Shortcut to access the Database (データベース).

      While, the PlayStation 3 version has one save file assigned to each PlayStation 3 account, the Nintendo 3DS version has two save slots assigned to each cartridge or game file in the case of the downloaded version.

      PlayStation 3 version

      HexaDrive, a studio notable for many HD remakes including Capcom's Okami HD the same year, supported the development of the release on PlayStation 3 to run at 720p HD. In addition to using high resolution assets and more detailed effects than the portable version, it supports online multiplayer and trophies.[22] This version is compatible with the Sixaxis and Dualshock 3 controllers.

      Limited Edition

      Alongside the standard edition of the game, there was a Limited Edition version of the game delivered on launch day through e-Capcom for both the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3. Each E.X. Troopers Limited Edition set contained a standard copy of the game, a 1/8 scale pre-painted TeeKee figure, and two rubber straps (one featuring TeeKee and an additional random character selected from Bren, Chris, Julie, or Luan).[23]

      Soundtrack

      File:EXT The Resonance track.jpg
      Chisato Mita (Macross Delta) illustrated a commemorative picture for E.X. Troopers' second anniversary and "The Resonance"'s remix.

      Music for the game was composed by Yasumasa Kitagawa and published by Suleputer. The albums also include performances by Yū Kobayashi (voice of W.I.Z), Miyuki Sawashiro (voice of Julie), and Saori Hayami (voice of TeeKee).

      A total of 23 songs were placed into E.X.TROOPERS - The Bounded Soundtrack, which received a physical release on November 21, 2012, a day before the game's official release.[24]

      Capcom shared "Re@union with you" with fans on the first anniversary[25] of E.X. Troopers' launch, and a remix of "The Resonance" (along with English lyrics and artwork) on their second anniversary.[26]

      The E.X.TROOPERS - ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (containing a total of 115 tracks from the game)[27] and E.X.TROOPERS - END OF CONVERSATION - EP (containing a total of 6 original tracks)[28] both went on sale in online-only form through the iTunes Store on November 20, 2015, two days before the game's third release anniversary.[29]

      Theme song

      The game’s theme song is "Mr. Super Future Star" sung by J-Pop artist May’n (Macross Frontier).[30]

      Marketing campaign

      Promotional anime

      Japanese animation studio Satelight Inc. created a two-minute promotional anime advertisement for the game.[31]

      Internet radio promotion

      Onsen Radio featured a biweekly segment, the E.X. Troopers Gingira broadcasting station, on Thursdays from August 23 to December 27, 2012. The program was hosted by Shintaro Kojima (producer) and Yū Kobayashi (voice of W.I.Z).

      Downloadable content

      A series of SP (Special Promotional) Missions were given to players weekly following the game's release through SpotPass for the Nintendo 3DS version and through the game's menu for the PlayStation 3 version.[32][33] Currently, all five extra levels are readily available to players completely free of charge and be accessed through the VR Mission menu.

      Various "secret codes" were found on Capcom's own website, as well as on retail store signs and in cross-promotional products like magazines and comics (Weekly Famitsu, Dengeki PlayStation, Newtype Ace, Kerokero Ace). Players can use these codes by inputting them at the in-game console and unlock various items including costumes, weapon blueprints, and food. Many codes unlock content which is part of a collaboration between the game and other parties ranging from external companies like Zoff & Otsuka Pharmaceutical but also other Capcom franchises like Monster Hunter.[34] [35]

      Localization

      Although Capcom Japan initially filed U.S. and European trademarks in November 2011 for E.X. Troopers, there were no intentions for its localization anywhere outside of Japan.[12][36] No new plans for a localization of the game have been announced as of January 24, 2014.[9]

      After the game's 2012 release in Japan, Capcom USA's Senior Vice-President Christian Svensson said the following about localizing the game for the West:[37][38]

      "[E.X. Troopers] was not planned for Western release. You can tell this because all of the text is 'hard coded' as actual art. The text isn't just standard 'text' that could be swapped relatively easily ... To localize a release, one would have to redo a ton of art in the game, not just do the localization and loc QA.”

      In August 2013, Capcom Producer Andrew Szymanski spoke to Siliconera about how input through direct community interaction rather than petitions can lead to localisation:[39]

      "Whether it’s E.X. Troopers or any other Japan-only games we do or even games we are considering doing, the best thing we can get is input. I don’t need an online petition. I just need people to go on the community sites, e-mail some of our community guys, and say these are the kinds of games we want to see."

      In the same interview, Szymanski cited Strider as an example of community interest and demand leading to a game's development and release:

      "Whether they are games released overseas that they want in other territories—again what made Strider possible was having that backup. James [Vance] and I can walk into a boardroom and say we want to make Strider, but they’re going to say, ‘Who cares about Strider anymore?’ These people care. You have got to be able to drop that big printout on that table."

      In an August 2013 interview with GameSpot, Szymanski detailed the perceived demand for the game and suggested there needed to a way to gauge foreign interest:[4][40]

      "[In terms of overseas demand], it's only from a vocal minority. You have a lot of people who say they want it, but how many copies do you think we're going to get out there? Don't get me wrong, it's great to have hundreds and thousands of people who want to play the game. But just a hundred or a few thousand isn't enough to justify localization and outside distribution. There has to be some way to gauge the desire for the game above and beyond that."

      Speculation

      PlayStation Vita version (rumour)

      There were rumours that a PlayStation Vita release of the game was planned, when players noticed that the trophy list for the PlayStation 3 version of the game read "PS3-PSVita". No explanation for the inclusion of the "PSVita" label in the trophy list has been provided.[41]

      Mega Man Legends 3 (cancelled)

      Some Capcom followers have noticed visual similarities shared with the cancelled Mega Man Legends 3. Former senior manager of community, Seth Killian, denied that art assets from the game were reused, and confirmed that E.X. Troopers was already well into development before Mega Man Legends 3 was cancelled. The two games did not initially share development staff, it is however possible that some team members would have worked on both projects after the cancellation.[42]

      Non-canon

      Otoranger (2013)

      Otoranger (オトレンジャー?), lit. "Sound Ranger", is a tokusatsu-themed battle RPG rhythm game released by Capcom for iTunes in Japan. The game had promotional events with other Capcom characters, including E.X. Troopers. Bren, TeeKee, Chris, Julie, Luan, W.I.Z-β, and Gingira made appearances as usable Rangers.[43] The service for the game ended on October 14, 2014.

      See also

      References

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