Irem Software, the Japanese developer behind earthquake escape title SOS: The Final Escape (Zettai Zetsumei Toshi in Japan, Disaster Report in the States) has announced its latest project for the PS2 - a story-driven firefighting action-adventure called Sakurazaka Shouboutai, or Fire Company.
Offering a mix of serious story elements and firefighting 3D action sequences, Sakurazaka Shouboutai sees the player dousing fires, calling in medical units and other backup, and then returning when the fire is extinguished to investigate the scene in puzzle-driven adventure segments. The player's actions in the aftermath of a fire can fork the plot in certain directions, with multiple endings achievable.
Irem is also promising various co-operative elements for fighting fires, allowing two players to join together in a dedicated multiplayer mode, although sadly not together as part of the same story. The game is scheduled for a June release in Japan.
If Sakurazaka Shouboutai conjures up any images, they might come from Konami's rival PS2 title, Firefighter F.D.18, in which you control a guy called Dean McGregor with a sort of Bruce Wayne-esque motivation for saving innocents from the clutches of fiery death. It'll be interesting to see how the two compare, although with F.D.18 reportedly due out in March over here, it could be a while before Irem gets to hit back.