Bloomberg Japan reports that Namco is aiming to establish a larger presence in England this year, and also bring hugely popular PS2 drumming title Taiko No Tatsujin (cousin to Donkey Konga) to Europe and North America during 2004. Namco is expected to localise the game, played by striking a drum-shaped controller to keep the beat in various tunes, with song listings revised in part for Western audiences. And presumably rename it.
Taiko No Tatsujin, which first appeared in Japanese arcades in early 2001, has been a surprise hit for Namco, which had estimated the home PS2 version would sell in the region of 100,000 units. At the time of writing the series has sold more than two million units, with Namco pumping out over 200,000 of the game's unique drum controllers every month. The developer is even working on an electronic toy derived from the game in partnership with Tomy, and plans to release two sequels in Japan this year.
Namco managing director Yoichi Haraguchi also revealed the firm's plans for European expansion, claiming that an enhanced presence in England will allow it to focus on developing more games for markets outside Japan, and compete with global publishers like Electronic Arts (who currently distribute titles like Soul Calibur II, R: Racing Evolution and Spawn: Armageddon through an EA Partners deal with Namco), overseeing relationships with third parties in North America and Europe.