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Final Fantasy Brigade, Metal Gear Rising and more in this week's Japanese news roundup

Gamasutra rounds up recent reports on the Japanese games industry from local news site Andriasang.com, including the director for Metal Gear Rising revealed, success for Final Fantasy's new mobile soci
[Gamasutra rounds up recent reports on the Japanese games industry from local news site Andriasang.com, a leading destination for English-language news on Japan's game industry.] In our latest round-up of Japanese game industry news not previously reported on Gamasutra, we look at the reveal of Metal Gear Rising's director, user milestones for Final Fantasy and One Piece's social games, and the upcoming closure for Japan's oldest game magazine. Game over for Japan's oldest game magazine Gemaga (short for "game magazine"), the longest running magazine devoted to games in Japan, will release its last issue in March. The publication got its start covering various platforms as Beep in 1984, than became Beep! Mega Drive, Sega Saturn Magazine, Dreamcast Magazine, Dorimaga, and finally Gemaga in 2006. The monthly magazine catered to "core" gamers, and often included foldout posters and bonus items. When Gamasutra profiled Gemaga in its State of Game Magazines In Japan article three years ago, contributor Kevin Gifford said the magic that the magazine captured in its earlier years was "largely gone." Hudson Bee may live Though Konami will absorb Hudson Soft, which it acquired last year, on March 1, the subsidiary may continue to live on in some form. In a message about the imminent merger posted on its website, Hudson said, "We will continue to work to deliver new entertainment to our fans, now as a member of Konami Group." Hudson, which is best known in the west for producing titles like the Bomberman, Adventure Island, and Bonk series, also said in its brief online notice that its brand product and services will continue to be developed. The company did not specify in what form those products and services would continue on. Bayonetta main programmer confirmed as Metal Gear Rising director Bayonetta's main programmer Kenji Saito is heading development for Platinum Games' Metal Gear Rising overhaul. Hideki Kamiya, who oversaw projects like Bayonetta and Capcom's Okami, was previously rumored as the director for the Konami-published game, but Platinum said he has no involvement in the title. Saito, however, has worked with Kamiya on various games since the Viewtiful Joe series at Capcom. Platinum producer Atsushi Inaba said Saito's work on games and game design has gone beyond the duties of a mere programmer, according to an interview posted by Japanese site [email protected] One Piece social game tops one million users in four days Namco Bandai's One Piece Grand Collection, a social game based on popular anime/manga franchise One Piece, reached more than one million registered users just four days after the free-to-play title launched on Japanese mobile social gaming network Mobage. The news comes just a week after the publisher announced that its mobile social games reached over 10 million total registered users -- six million of which are from its three releases based on mecha series Gundam. Namco Bandai expects annual sales for its social games to reach ¥10 billion ($130 million). Final Fantasy Brigade reaches 500,000 members Final Fantasy Brigade, one of the first mobile social games based on Square Enix's flagship franchise, hit half a million users 13 days after its launch on DeNA's Mobage service, according to a report from Social Game Info. Square Enix intends to hold in-game campaigns for players to celebrate the milestone. [This story was written with permission using material from Andriasang.com, a leading destination for English-language news on Japan's game industry.]

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