Hero Bank, first announced a few days ago on Japanese websites, looks like any other Japanese kids' game at first. It's for the Nintendo 3DS and it features middle-school-aged kids raising virtual heroes that they fight against each other for fame and prestige. The difference is that unlike all the other games you could describe this way, this one's produced by Sega's Toshihiro Nagoshi, the main guy behind Yakuza. And he's looking to shake things up a bit.
"Making a new hero-oriented game is really pretty risky," Nagoshi told Famitsu. "It's as if you're trying to challenge all the heroes already out there on their own turf. That's why, if we're going to do this, than we're going to put our all into it. Also, making a game for children is also one step in raising the gamers of the future, so it's not something we can be lazy with. I think some publishers tackle this genre with tried-and-true hero stories, but I think there's room for games that deal with the themes Hero Bank deals with as well."
Among those themes, the main one (as you may guess from the "bank" part of the title) is money. The hero, Kaito Gosho, and his virtual warriors fight "Hero Battles" a wildly popular government-sanctioned sport where winners can potentially earn tons of cash for future upgrades. It's not just about winning, though. The audience, not to mention your sponsors, want you to win in flashy, exciting fashion, and the way you fight and emerge victorious can greatly affect the purse you earn at the end of it all. Do well, and you can upgrade your heroes and even purchase new, more powerful ones which require more money to keep in one piece.
"This is a game that's more targeted toward children than anyone else," Nagoshi commented, "but nonetheless 'money' is an important theme here. Some people might think that's a little too raw a topic , but I think it's good to have a theme like that in a hero-oriented story. Money is an inescapable part of our lives, and while the amounts we're talking may differ, it's something near and dear to children as well. Mixing money in with this heroic kind of game lets us explore new types of drama, I think."
Hero Bank isn't out until Dec. 19 in Japan, but locals can get their first taste of the game in playable form at the Tokyo-based World Hobby Fair, which begins June 29.