Microsoft are madly scrabbling around looking for ways to make up their list of 70 Japanese developers, with some new additions just announced. That is of course, as we jokingly pointed out last week, if they didn't make it up in the first place. The latest new face on the board is Namco. There were rumours to the contrary about their interest in the Xbox, which we're guessing came from Sony, but it seems those have been quelled and the Arcade behemoth has locked arms with Microsoft. Once again, Namco are creating "multiple titles" for the Xbox's Japanese launch, with more details to be released at E3. Another firm putting its name on the dotted line at the Tokyo Game Show is Genki. Their "Tokyo Xtreme" series is expected to morph into some sort of launch racer. You may be more familiar with Genki for their part in the Dreamcast conversion of Virtua Fighter 3. Again, E3 is expected to be Microsoft's target for playable code. Finally, Artoon Co. LTD, a new development firm comprised of former (and presumably disgruntled) Sega employees has signed up for service with Microsoft, despite connections with Nintendo. Having just released "Pinobee" on the GameBoy Advance, Artoon are expected to continue developing for both companies. The various team members are credited with games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Panzer Dragoon, so Microsoft's interest is understandable. Interestingly, neither Genki nor Artoon are developing anything for Sony. After recent reports at the TIGA meeting that developers were feeling the pressure from Sony not to develop for the Xbox, and vice versa, one pays more interest to this fact. Especially since both companies are based in Japan and Sony is the market leader there. Rumour has it that Sony was retracting development kits from those unwise enough to wander from the flock. Namco of course are big enough to stand up for themselves. For Sony, allowing them to develop for both Xbox and PlayStation 2 would be a better situation than telling them to surrender their development kits and go and play with the enemy. After all, who's going to code the money-spinning beat 'em up franchises then? SCE? Microsoft still haven't announced 70 Japanese game companies. In fact, the number is (we reckon) less than 10, and certainly less than 20. Until 70 neatly dressed parties representing the firms trot out onto the stage we aren't really going to start believing the claims either. Which means there's a lot of cynicism to come between now and E3. Related Feature - Microsoft land Sega
Source - IGN
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