It’s been a long time since we last heard about Vanillaware’s debut on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Dragon’s Crown. Originally announced as one of the very first PS Vita games back in 2011, the lushly animated brawler by the team behind cult classics like Odin Sphere on PS2 and Muramasa: The Demon Blade on Wii, was going to be one of the first third-party games to let console and handheld players play online simultaneously. The game disappeared from the PS Vita’s launch window though, and has been in limbo for almost a year. Now it’s back and ready for a summer release.
Atlus announced on Wednesday that Dragon’s Crown will hit PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in Japan on July 25th. In addition to the original four playable characters announced for the game, the new Japanese trailer below shows off some new combatants like the decidedly heavy metal Wizard, as well as some dancing mice and enormous, screen-filling bosses with individually animated limbs. The almost puppet-like visual style has become a Vanillaware trademark.
Although Atlus has since confirmed that it will be publishing the game in the US, it almost didn’t publish the game at all. Dragon’s Crown was originally backed by UTV Ignition, but the game was dropped in the spring of 2012. “Since the initial announcement, information on timing and features in the game have changed and other details regarding design and functionality are yet to be determined,” said Ignition VP Lokesh Dhar at the time, “We are confident that Atlus and Vanillaware will deliver the finest game possible.”
The game had just missed its March 2012 release date when the announcement was made, leading some to believe that the game wouldn’t come out at all, a rumor reinforced when Amazon.com started cancelling pre-orders for it in May. Vanillaware contradicted those rumors, but this, and a February trailer, have been the first public appearances on the game since.
Dragon’s Crown has an excellent pedigree even beyond Vanillaware’s solid action role-playing games. Vanillaware founder and Dragon’s Crown director George Kamitani used to work at Capcom during the company’s arcade development heyday in the mid-‘90s. During that period he worked on the famous beat ‘em ups Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara, which were just announced for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, the first time those games have been re-released since 1998.