M2 Livestream
Image: M2

It's been a sweet while since M2, Japan’s number one specialist for classic games on modern hardware, invited their fans into a livestream to announce new projects or give updates on its release schedule. So it's no wonder we were glued to the screen today when CEO Naoki Horii and M2 Shot Triggers Director Kazuki Kubota welcomed various guests in the course of 90 minutes in order to discuss what’s next for M2.

Ray’z Arcade Chronology

First on the agenda: Yuichi Toyama from Taito and director Yujiro Yamamoto talk about Ray’z Arcade Chronology, a collection of three Taito classics. RayForce, RayStorm and RayCrisis will be released on Switch and PS4 on March 9th, 2023 in Japan as a regular release and a special edition with lots of bonus items and a corresponding price. All three games look quite beautiful, and as usual, there are many useful M2 Gadgets to help players master the mechanics of each game. There will also be a western release via Strictly Limited Games, and we can only hope for a timely delivery this time around, considering this particular company’s track record.

DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou

Next up is a new M2 Shot Triggers announcement: the legendary Cave-shooter DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou from 2002 will be the next title in M2s prestigious series and join shooting legends like Mahou Daisakusen and Ketsui: Deathtiny. Cave’s Tsuneki Ikeda and composer Manabu Namiki joined Horii and Kubota during the stream to discuss the upcoming release.

There´s no date yet apart from a vague '2023'; also, no platforms have been announced, but our bet is on PS4 and Switch. M2 is pointing out how close the port will be to the original; direct comparisons between the different variants of the attract mode on the original and the port should drive that point home. Another goal here is to reduce input lag as much as possible.

Aleste Branch

Next, there's was some news on Aleste Branch, even though the first message serves to keep expectations in check: "Please wait for a little while and look forward to it" – we didn't get platform information, nor did we get a release date. What we got, however, were names and designs for the three main characters. There's Ellinor Wizn, Rosalin Numells and Dr. Mandred Cytegort. These three were the focus of the material shown and no real new gameplay was presented. However, director Masato Yamanaka pointed out the game will use two buttons, and it won't be a bullet-hell-shooter.


The last part of the stream was about Ubusuna, the sort-of spiritual sequel to the legendary Ikaruga. There was a new, lengthy letter from designer Hiroshi Iuchi – basically an explanation of why progress has been so slow. There was nothing shown, but there will be a music presentation shortly – that´s a least a little bit on the expected shooter.

Despite being teased before, there´s no major news on the Toaplan Arcade Garage series; there is only a simple statement that development is progressing smoothly, but they´re not ready to announce it yet. Too bad; we'd really have liked to get an idea of what's coming next. (It has to be Truxton / Tatsujin, right?)

That's M2s update for the end of 2022 – with Ray'z Arcade Chronology and DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou on the way and the hope for Aleste Branch and Ubusuna on the horizon, the next months should certainly be interesting for the shooting game community.