GameSpot reports that Capcom will localise, publish and distribute both the PS2 and PC versions of Grand Theft Auto III in Japan. Rockstar's new partnership agreement with Capcom will see a release for the 18-month-old title on Japanese shores before the end of the year.
"We at Rockstar Games have great respect for Japan's passionate gaming community and admire its celebrated video game history," said Rockstar president Sam Houser. "We have always felt that the freedom, nonlinearity, and gameplay mechanics explored in the Grand Theft Auto series possessed a universal allure that would appeal to gamers worldwide, and clearly Capcom shares the same beliefs."
The question of course is whether or not Sam, Rockstar and Capcom are right. We've read countless interviews with Japanese developers who say GTA3 simply couldn't be done there, that the Japanese games market isn't open to this particular degree of Western gaming brashness. As such, GTA3's success in the region could offer an interesting snapshot of the current state of Japanese gaming.
The other question is, will they revoice the game? And will there be English subtitles? As much as we like our own GTA3, we reckon a proper Japanese language version might be good for a laugh, rather like Winning Eleven 6's infamous Japanese commentary.