When .hack//Sekai no Mukou ni (or “.hack//Beyond the World” tentatively) came out short of a month ago it had big shoes to fill. Ever since the .hack//G.U. PS2 games the .hack multimedia franchise has been on a steady free-fall. The .hack//Trilogy movie, .hack//Link PSP game and .hack//Quantum OVA have all been failed attempts to fuel the franchise. They did contribute to the franchise in terms of plot, but failed to be a magnet for newcomers or to impressing the old fans who’ve been yarning for a new and exciting .hack experience. What the .hack franchise really needed to ascend from its poor state is something easy to define but hard to accomplish: a movie that will be easy enough for newcomers to follow, yet engrossing and rewarding enough for the older fans. A movie that will immerse us in The World like the first anime and games did. A new plot that does not replicate the old formula. Fortunately.hack//Sekai no Mukou ni does that, and much more. Continue reading
Yes, you are reading the title right. By playing the free game .hack//Versus, which is included on the .hack//Sekai no Mukou ni (Tentatively: “Beyond The World”) disc you can unlock an OVA called “The Thanatos Report”. According to a recent trailer (see below) the OVA will connect the events of the game with the events of the movie and “reveal the last truth”. It is not yet clear what are the conditions that must be met in the .hack//Versus game in order to unlock the bonus OVA. The trailer did not reveal which animation studio is behind “The Thanatos Report”. The length of the OVA also remains unknown, but judging from past iterations of .hack media it is expected to be presented in short movie clips, similar to the Online Jack OVA that was included in the .hack//G.U. games.
In addition to promoting the movie and introducing the OVA the trailer also shows how the online system for .hack//Versus will work. The game will advance it’s plot based on online battles. Players will be able to not only watch but also comment on other players’ battles in real time. By playing against other players online and commenting on other battles you will be able to “unlock further secrets”.
The mentioned trailer:
.hack//Sekai no Mukou ni will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 28th. Do note that only the Blu-ray version will have the game and OVA bundled on the disc, and that some retailers (such as Amazon) are currently listing the Blu-ray version in their games category instead of their movies/series category. The movie will not have English subtitles available on the Japanese disc and Bandai has yet to reveal any plans for a U.S. localization of either the movie or the bundled game.
Update: According to a report by the online Famitsu Magazine website players will be able to watch the Thanatos Report by clearing the game’s main scenario. The protagonist of the OVA will be Dave, who also appears in the main movie. The OVA will take place in both 2024 (the year in which the movie takes place) and 2025 (the year in which the game .hack//Versus takes place).
According to the latest news by Famitsu the Blu-ray of the newest .hack movie Sekai no Mukou ni (Tentatively: “Beyond The World”) will include a PS3 fighting game titled .hack//Versus. Details on the game are scarce at the moment, but it seems to be either a fighter or a brawler. Since the .hack game franchise is handled by Cyber Connect 2- the studio renowned for its Naruto Shippuden games – some have speculated that .hack//Versus will be a “Naruto game clone” with .hack characters. Famitsu has also kindly revealed the release date of the movie’s Blu-ray – June 28th. The movie will be released in two editions: a regular edition that will retail for 7140 Yen, and a limited edition that will cost you back 1050 Yen. The limited edition will include an additional DVD (titled .hack//Extension Disc), mini posters, an art book and an art box. Both the regular and limited editions will bundle the .hack//Versus game. Both the movie and the game will support stereoscopic 3D via the PS3 firmware.
That settles it then. Get ready for a big .hack celebration on June when the movie + game combo arrives on Japanese store shelves. Be sure to check back here in early July for my review of the movie (and maybe a short POV about the included game as well).