Valve's long awaited sequel to Half-Life is heading to Japanese arcades, following news that arcade veteran Taito has signed a deal with the developer to produce a version for its Type-X arcade hardware for release in the summer of 2005.
Details of the game modes included have already been released, with the single player story campaign joined by two online modes; competitive Battle mode, and co-operative Mission mode, and both will be playable between anyone visiting Japanese arcades.
Player data is stored on a server level, allowing players to continue their progress and store statistical information regardless of which machine they play on thanks to Taito's NESYS system, previously used on other titles including Battle Gear 3 and Zoid Infinity.
Accordingly for such a high profile title, visitors to Japanese arcades can expect to play the game in a salubrious cockpit-style cabinet, complete with full 5.1 surround sound, although control device information has yet to be revealed. We're expecting something typically adventurous.
As regards whether the machine will be released outside of Japan, that's something we'll be aiming to establish shortly, and its success could well provide a shot in the arm for the spluttering arcade industry over in Europe, where finding a decent, up-to-date arcade is almost impossible these days, and a far cry from the thriving scene of 20 years ago when visits to smoky haunts to play the latest games was all part of the ritual for any keen gamer.
For those interested in the technical side of the arcade version of Half-Life 2, its based on Taito's relatively new Type-X board, a PC-based system that makes the task of converting PC games a relatively painless exercise. In terms of specifications, the innards sport just a 2.5ghz celeron, 256mb ram, Radeon 9200se, and onboard AC97 5.1, and could prove to be an interesting avenue for PC game developers in the coming years, although could do with significantly more beef in the graphics, CPU and RAM department to cope with anything Doom-III related.