Guess the game I'm describing:
It's a DS "port plus alpha" of a GBA Capcom hit which spawned a successful franchise, marketed as a 'revival' of the series. In it, a blue-suited hero proudly wearing the symbol of his profession on his chest does battle in an unusual environment to protect the innocent. This DS update adds a new scenario near the end of the game where the main character comes in contact with a new villain. However, the graphics and music are much the same as the GBA version. Budget-priced, the game is clearly meant to appeal to the fans, and sells about 50,000 copies its first week.
If you guessed Operate Shooting Star, you're right. Or maybe I should say "wright".
Because everything above I mentioned describes one of Capcom's other DS series, the Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban) series. The first game, originally for the GBA, received a DS update in 2005 under the headline "Yomigaeru Gyakuten" (Turnabout Revived), eventually released stateside as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The game's pretty much the same as its GBA incarnation (though, to be fair, PW:AA has much better remixed music on the DS) besides its new content.
Granted, the new content in OSS probably won't take the average player as long to get through as the extra scenario in PW:AA, but that's not important. What this comparison reveals is simple: Capcom's going for OSS the same they were going for PW:AA. Yes, PW:AA became a cult hit in the US, but this was far from expected - indeed, early sales were quite low, with only a few thousand units sold per week, and it's doubtful they would have updated/translated AA2 and 3 if not for such surprising sales figures.
Capcom's aiming to do with OSS what they wanted to do with PW:AA; hold the fans over and revive interest a bit at minimal cost. Busting out an entirely new BN or SF game is too risky given SF's low sales, but with OSS Capcom can revive the BN fanbase and set the stage for future releases, with only minimal sales needed to recoup costs. PW:AA was essentially a holdover game while the series was on hiatus; AA4 wasn't released until 2007 in Japan, a year and a half after PW:AA's NDS update - but in the meantime, they translated and ported AA2 as well. Had the series been left languishing between AA3's original GBA release in 2004 and AA4's 2007 release, it's likely interest in the series would have significantly declined. PW:AA neatly sidestepped the problem by renewing interest at low development cost, and even if AA2 hadn't been translated and re-released Japan would still have more interest in the series than if it had vanished off the face of the earth until TGS 2006.
So while OSS likely won't make huge sales, it doesn't need to - all it needs to do is remind people EXE is still around. Remember all the talk of doing more with EXE down the road if OSS does decent and of the many plans for Rockman's 25th anniversary? One way or the other, I have a feeling we'll be seeing the electronic incarnation of the Blue Bomber again sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Post author: GSR