Yeah, don't even speculate about it. It's Musou, Hokuto Shinken style, coming to the third-gen consoles come 2010.

"You're already dead."

Koei must have gotten their fair share of joyous experience bringing their Musou formula and applying it on manga/anime epic with their 2007 effort, Dynasty Warrior: Gundam. So much so that they are now releasing another such joint-collaboration.

Ever heard the everlasting single complaint (other than its repetitive gameplay) for Musou series that despite its usually heavy body counts in the gameplay, not one drop of blood were ever present in all the glorious violence? Samurai Warriors did nothing to change that, and so is Dynasty Warrior: Gundam. However, things will almost definitely be different for this animal.

Fist of the North Star (北斗の拳 AKA Hokuto no Ken), the iconic Japanese manga series illustrated by Tetsuo Hara and written by Buronson originally serialized from 1983 to 1988 in Weekly Shōnen Jump has been an inspiration to more pop culture products than you can possibly think of. And insanely explosive bloody gore violence (that actually inspired Riki-Oh (力王 Riki-Ō), which notorious HK movie adaptation remained as the staple of splatter fest for its insane amount of gore scenes.) is indeed the signature of the series, of which interestingly, transferring these scenes to the game is actually the main appeal of the game. Successfully getting the right gameplay mechanics for this element will in fact determine the success of this Koei's production.

Set for release on the next-gen consoles (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) in mid 2010, Hokuto Musou will take gamers down that nostalgic line to the apocalyptic wasteland in 20XX, with the ultimate tough guy protagonist, Kenshiro bringing the battle for survival to his brother, the equally cool and tough-as-nail Raoh, AKA Ken-oh (拳王) or the King of Fist, the fan-favourite antagonist. Pathetically sandwiched between them are hordes after hordes of freakshows, the likes of which only apocalyptic future can produced. Ever the master of the incredibly ass-kicking martial art, Hokuto Shinken, expect exploding heads, flying organs in the game, raising the bar of the Musou series.

According to the official media release from Koei, two main story modes will be featured; one chronicling the original manga plot (I wondered how are they pulling this off with the relative lengthy arcs), while the other one will feature Kenshiro in an original storyline.

Hardcore gamers will probably be wondering by now if the game will make it outside Japan due to licensing issues (not unlike Capcom's Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, as posted earlier). Although it is still early to speculate on this, a Koei representative had indicated that they have not made the final decision on this. Nevertheless, this should be inconsequential for PS3 owners since almost all PS3 Blu-Ray games have no regional issues though it will be somewhat costly to import the game this way.

Anyway, Fist of the North Star is no stranger to gaming adaptations with its stellar list of games ever since 1986, with Playstation One's Hokuto no Ken : Seikimatsu Kyūseishu Densetsu (北斗の拳 世紀末救世主伝説) in 2000 of particular interest. Not to forget the Nintendo Entertainment System Family Computer's longrunning series from 1986 to 1991.

The hype for this news can be summarized down one word. Musou. Known for its crazy-ass actions, the anticipation will no doubt be extremely high for this one.

Can't wait to see some of the actions? Well you can only make do with the teaser video trailer from Gamespot embedded below.


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