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Sunday, June 28, 2015

The 15th Anniversary Livestream Extravaganza (28/06/15)

Fifteen years ago, a humble new rhythm game made by Namco was sent to arcades nationwide in Japan. It wasn't very good at first, but it had a strong niche; using a traditional Japanese music instrument in a more contemporary setting, and of course, the overall cute and colorful vibe.

Fifteen years after that fateful event, the Taiko no Tatsujin games still prove to be strongly popular and worthy of huge events in order to celebrate its success, and last Thursday's livestream was here to be the front-runner for some of the biggest deals in 2015 and beyond. It's finally time to spill the beans and find out what the livestream was fully about!

The video above started June 2015's second livestream, broadcasting two of the major 15th Anniversary events that were also included in the Donder Page website's redesign a few hours earlier. With remarkable snapshots from the Taiko arcade tourney of a few years back and the 11 related CreoFuga-spawn songs, we have been reminded of the incoming Taiko no Tatsujin Donder! World Playoffs/World Championship 2016 (太鼓の達人 ドンだー!世界一決定戦2016) and the third Taiko-themed CreoFuga contest for said tournament, both of which have been discussed later in the stream.

After that, we cut to our usual Taiko Team hosts and... boy, if the broadcast room change means business. Etou, Masubutchi, Takemoto and Daifuku happen to shoot the livestream at the Bandai Namco Future Lab Press Stage, the very same one who hosted the last Taiko tournament's Finals event. The three fan-autographed posters for the 15th anniversary are here as well!

Before having a flashback about how Taiko came to be throughout the years, portable Taiko games programmer Sasaoka and Taiko games programmer Ken Nakadate come here on stage for the shortest livestream cameo to date. Seriously, Go Shiina's past 5-minutes cameo was a presidential speech in comparison!

After the first guests left the stage, the livestream comment challenge was revealed, consisting this time in a much simpler schedule; 50k comments brought new Twitter/smartphone profile pictures for everyone, 76.5k comments gave a user-voted special title part and 100k will make Yuugen no Ran's unlocking process much easier for arcade players, now involving either its purchase at the Rewards Shop or the completion of all Zeami's 'no Mai' and 'Rose' songs beforehand. The last stretch goal will also add a new boss song for the Taiko 2016 tourney's winner, making the even juicer.

For the first time ever, stream watchers have been in trouble for unlocking all the goals this time around, but generous time extensions from the team and over 17.000 comments in the last 5 minutes ultimately managed to break the three stretch goals as usual. Congrats!

Back to the stream's schedule, the first slideshow projected was about Taiko no Tatsujin's history, with the events brewing for the 15th Anniversary celebration. First things first, there was an info-graphic about Taiko games' diffusion, counting over 4,000 arcade rooms with Taiko cabinets, over 800 million console Taiko games being sold overall and over 1,600 million downloads for the i-app and Android Taiko games!

Next, Taiko games' history has been briefly acknowledged by a couple of images summing up the release of the major arcade releases and the first console game per gaming platform, as well as this year's currently planned games. For a more complete, overall view, the updated Donder website also offers a vertical timeline that merges both game divisions in one!

In between the two timelines above, the Taiko Team issued a quick poll, confirming that the majority of the stream's viewers believe that Taiko no Tatsujin has become a national-level music game.

Back to the slideshow, we come across the 15th Taiko anniversary's motto: Anyone can have fun in Taiko no Tatsujin! For the latest yearly milestone, three special "Festivals" will further help carrying on the message, in the guise of special events and collaborations.

The first festival is about Studio Ghibli, celebrating this birthday with promotional art for the website and a short animation clip by the hands of producer and former Studio Ghibli president Toshio Suzuki (鈴木敏夫). For those who want to see the cute video below outside from the Internet, it will also be featured in the 2015 Taiko games!

Festival No.2 is something completely unheard of before, with two members from J-Pop band EXILE joining the party later this year. No further details were given at the time, but sounds promising!

The third festival is about the aforementioned Taiko 2016 and the related CF song-making contest, both of which -again- have been talked about later on.

In tone with the 15th Anniversary's slogan, the Taiko Team reveals their will of making the Taiko no Tatsujin series an international franchise (link), with their first attempts being the Chinese version of Taiko V Version and the previously-reported Korean localization of the second 3DS Taiko videogame.

Also on the works is a localized Asian version for the i-app and Android Taiko games, as the picture below testifies:

As the slideshow ends, another quick poll pops up, with Kat-Chan pulling a Luigi stunt and barely affirming himself as the streamers' favourite Taiko sibling. Another poll towards the end sees Don-Chan the winner of the brotherly feud, but once again it's a really close victory!

After a break, the team is finally back to discuss the rules of the Taiko Tournament '16. Since the slides that followed only contain a sea of Japanese writing and nothing else, we'll give you the skinny here instead.

From what we know so far, this tourney will have a preliminary phase on each arcade room in Japan with updated Taiko arcades who are connected on Internet. Each of the participating stores will have the players prove their best at the future winners of the third Taiko CreoFuga contest, with Japanese contestants being able to compete in two different divisions (Junior and Senior) and overseas Asian players being chosen in slightly different ways which will be discussed on a later date. Nevertheless, all the participating players have to be citizen from an Asian nation and have proper knowledge of its language in order to compete.

About the CF contest, the only details being given out so far is that will last from August 1st to September 30th this year, with the winners being decided within the next two months.

Believe it or not, the tourney/CF, some lovely close-ups of the 15th Anniversary posters (from the NicoNico Chokaigi and Taiwan/Japan's Reitasai outings of this year) and the live chatting portion with the streamers went on for over an hour, before the next break time hits in! At the return, we are greeted with current Taiko games updates, starting from Murasaki Version.

First off, the list of the new songs for the July 1st update was progressively displayed on-screen, also featuring a short portion of upcoming Namco Original Natsumono☆ from Tanqun Democracy! Sadly, no alternative Youtube clip can be found to this date...

Following up is a reminder for July 2015's monthly rewards between DonChare and monthly play treats: a 'Concert Light' body piece, and legacy Namco Original,, Negaigoto Puzzle, which debuted on Taiko 12 Zoryoban.

Anyway, remember when Etou said last week that there was something else in store for this update? The livestream unveiled this aspect as well, resulting in a promo campaign with Taiko V Version! This one will last from V Version's release day to September 23rd.

In a nutshell, the campaign will work out in a similar way as the one for Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken, with Murasaki Version earning new outfit parts and tickets upon completing V Version's theme song and most of its boss fight tracks across its seven weeks of duration. A special folder with V Version songs will be also added in the update, for easier browsing.

During the whole campaign, the always-popular "Taiko-riding character" parts genre gets two new companions in Lira de Gamba and Maple, both unlocked by playing V Version's theme song on Murasaki Version arcades when it'll come out. Plus, every play session with V Version songs will be rewarded by more Don Points across the event!

Again, the campaign will also see new two-parter outfits across 7 weeks, with the first part available as a Rewards Shop item and the other unlocked upon clearing a selected boss track on V Version.

During the V Version event will also be another point-boosting promo, with 2-player plays on anything rewarding even more Don Points upon completing songs together!

With the promise of something interesting happening on V Version during said campaign period, the arcade portion ends in favor of a V Version discussion, together with another couple of guests...

The guy at the center with the black name card is V Version director Matsumoto, and producer Oosawa, who made the back cover for the game!

With less than two weeks left to the game's release, the Team discusses three distinct aspects of the game, the first of which being the already-known early-bird free song downloads.

Coming next is a 4-player live playing session of V Version's multiplayer mode, featuring Etou, Masubutchi, Sasaoka and the two programmers as the players. The four played together with the returning long Don cushion, which was also the protagonist of an after-stream nod to Japanese memes!

The first trial played is a warm-up session, with the four players tackling a test mannequin with Yureau Pleats Jikkouin on Oni mode. The objective of the quest (and the later two shown) is to reach a set amount of hits correctly landed on notes and drumrolls, while handling Taiko fights' bombs as usual distractions.

Trial No.2 was about BLAZING VORTEX, one of the many many new tracks for the Game Music genre. Here the enemy is a ginat spider in a volcano, which makes for a visual distraction-based fight with lava pillars! The song has an Oni mode rated 7*.

Before fiddling with the multiplayer mode one last time, we had the chance to spot Oni ratings for some other songs, with Hisui's upcoming Megamina Sekai I being rates a 8* Oni. Not pictured below is also an 8* Oni for only my railgun, for the Anime genre.

The final trial consisted in one of V Version's currently un-revealed new Namco Original tracks, in Nyotei ~Imbarato-ura~ (女帝~インバラトゥーラ~). The song has a 9* Oni, and the mission played by the team features a venom-powered dragon that ultimately crushed the party. Better luck next time!

The "Let's watch someone else Play" segment was followed by an extended cut of the Taiko V Version commercial, featuring voice actress Erika Suzuki (鈴木えりか) saying the titles of the 86 (+3) songs available at launch and displaying a rather funny typo at the very end(link). Unfortunately, the titles of the currently-unknown songs are mutes by audio cues (save for X-DAY2000 for some reason); however, some lip-reading action may let us understand the remaining names before the next V Version website update!

The last mystery song is definitely Norudon 2000...

Speaking of which, the last pre-release website update is set for next Thursday, as this image testifies:

This ended the V Version corner, but the console talk isn't over yet! Taiko + programmer Akai steps in to talk about the game's new features after the version 3.0.0 update.

As we previously reported earlier this week, the latest update's new feature is the Gakkyoku Tori Houdai subscription system, featuring over 100 of the past songs (and a few exclusive tracks) for determined periods of time. As you can see from the rightmost picture, a particular mark below a song's title shows which songs can be played with the subscription deal.

The last segment, as anticipated, was all about meeting the 100k comment goal at the last minute, while determining the 76.5 free title part for this livestream. After some intense voting, Fo'sho (せやな) has risen victorious!

At almost one hour after the initially-scheduled stream's end, we finally come to the conclusion of theis broadcast, filled with some of the exciting Taiko-related stuff we look forward to in the next few months.

Here's to another 15 years of cheerful Taiko drumming with Banadai Bandai Namco!

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