Come September 25, PlayStation 3 owners with access to the PlayStation Network Store will have a chance to experience the rigors of Darwinian evolution firsthand. According to a post published this morning on Sony’s official PlayStation.blog, that’s the day that the previously Japan-exclusive Tokyo Jungle hits the service for the very affordable price of $15.
Why are we so excited about a downloadable game that none of us have any real exposure to, outside of various Japanese screenshots and official trailers? To put it simply, the game has an awesome premise. To wit:
Tokyo Jungle puts you in the shoes (paws?) of over 50 playable animals ranging from Pomeranians to Lions. Playing your animal of choice, unleash your inner beast to hunt your way to the top of Tokyo’s post-apocalyptic food chain.
There are two game modes: in Story Mode, you’ll play as a range of different animals whose lives are intertwined as they struggle to survive in the Tokyo wilderness, while unraveling the mystery of mankind’s disappearance. In Survival Mode, you will hunt, occupy territories, and produce offspring to secure future generations and resist extinction. As you progress, you’ll also obtain survival points to unlock playable animals and purchase costumes to increase your abilities.
Though that sounds like a pretty cutthroat situation, the game also seemingly abounds with that special brand of weirdness exclusive to Japanese game developers. Yeah, the trailer embedded below — Sony’s official Tokyo Jungle trailer from the recent Gamescom conference — seems epic and majestic, that all screeches to a halt the moment the Pomeranian shows up. Sure, one of the tiny pooches does manage to kill a rabbit, but it’s not exactly like these dogs are a match for the elephants and tigers we saw earlier in the clip.
While we are a bit concerned as to how exactly how well this thing plays, that premise alone is enough to earn our $15. Granted, Tokyo Jungle could turn out to be a quirky, yet terrible game, but in our wildest dreams the thing plays like a Final Fight-style beat ’em up set in an open world with a story that reads like a cross between The Lion King, Watership Down and The Plague Dogs. Cute animals are neat, but the game’s post-apocalyptic urban setting is so perfect for something dark that it would seem like a missed opportunity if the entirety of Tokyo Jungle is cutesy fluff. Unfortunately we won’t know anything concrete one way or another until the end of September, but we’ll fill you in as soon as we have more information.