Steel Battalion

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Steel Battalion
Steel Battalion Coverart.png
North American cover art
Developer(s) Capcom Production Studio 4
Nude Maker
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Hifumi Kono
Producer(s) Atsushi Inaba
Artist(s) Hirokazu Yonezuka
Composer(s) Naru Shirai
Platform(s) Xbox
Release
  • JP: September 12, 2002
  • NA: November 21, 2002
  • EU: March 28, 2003
Genre(s) Action, vehicle simulation
Mode(s) Single-player

Steel Battalion (Japanese: 鉄騎, Hepburn: Tekki) is a video game created by Capcom for the Xbox console where the player controls a "Vertical Tank"—a bipedal, heavily armed mecha. To control the tank and play the game requires the use of a large controller made specially for Steel Battalion. The controller has two control sticks and around 40 buttons.[citation needed] Only limited quantities were made available. These quickly sold out, making the game a collector's piece. It has since been re-released in limited quantities worldwide, with blue controller buttons distinguishing it from the first edition with green buttons.

Gameplay[edit]

Steel Battalion controller

At the beginning of every mission, the player must 'start up' the machine and operating system; this is handled through a series of switches and buttons dedicated to this purpose. If a corner is turned too fast, the machine will tumble over. If the player's machine overheats, its operating system must be reset. The game even simulates window wipers in case of mud hitting the monitor. If the player does not eject when prompted, the player's in-game character will die, and all saved data will be lost, causing the player to start over.

Vertical tanks (VTs) are the vehicles piloted in the series. Essentially bipedal walking weapons platforms, VTs are classed by their developmental generation and sub-categorised by their combat role. Primary combat roles are standard combat, assault, support, scout, and fast attack. Vertical tanks are divided into three weight classes: light, medium and heavy. As the player progresses, new generations of VTs become available. This allows a newer, more advanced operating system, startup sequence, and combat functions, as well as a wider cockpit view and layout. New generation VTs also handle better and can provide better firepower over previous generations.

Development[edit]

Steel Battalion was developed by Capcom Production Studio 4[1] in collaboration with former Human Entertainment designers that would go on to form Nude Maker.[2] Producer Atsushi Inaba stated at the Game Developers Conference in 2005 that the Steel Battalion was a "product-focused project" in which the team initially focused on creating a new peripheral and software designed to go with it.[3] Inaba's superiors were skeptical about putting such a game on the market.[2] The amount of staff working on the project grew according to the team's experience with making new hardware. The earliest build of the game was created for the PlayStation 2. However, when the Xbox became available, the development team switched to it because of the system's greater power.[citation needed] Online play was taken out of consideration close to the development's start due to being too ambitious.[3] While the game and its special controller received critical acclaim, the project turned little profit. Inaba stated that Steel Battalion was developed to show "what can be done in the game industry that cannot be done in others."[3]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic83/100[4]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Edge6/10[5]
EGM8.5/10[6]
Eurogamer6/10[7]
Famitsu35/40[8]
Game Informer9.5/10[9]
GamePro4.5/5 stars[10]
GameSpot7.3/10[11]
GameSpy4/5 stars[12]
IGN8.3/10[13]
OXM (US)8.9/10[14]

The game received "favorable" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[4] In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of 35 out of 40.[8]

Steel Battalion was the fifth best-selling game during its week of release in Japan at about 15,092 copies.[citation needed] Inaba concluded that the game ultimately broke even in terms of units shipped and units sold.[3]

A reviewer on IGN wrote "where MechAssault and Robotech wouldn't let us into the cockpit, Steel Battalion won't let us out" and joked the $200 USD cost was for the controller while the game disc was free.[13]

Problems[edit]

There are problems playing the game on consoles fitted with some versions of the Xecutor modchip. The expanded controller 'IGNITION' button triggers the console reset function of the modchip, making the game unplayable as you cannot start up your VT. This reset can be avoided by pushing fully forward on the Right Aiming Lever when pressing the IGNITION key, or disabling the modchip before playing.

Sequels[edit]

A sequel called Steel Battalion: Line of Contact was released in 2004, and also used the game's unique controller.[15] The third installment called Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor was announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2010. This installment uses the Kinect motion sensor control rather than the original controller.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Production Studio 4". Capcom Co., Ltd (in Japanese). Archived from the original on February 6, 2005. 
  2. ^ a b Sheffield, Brandon (October 23, 2006). "Capcom & Clover, Over and Over: Former Clover Head Atsushi Inaba on a Post-Capcom World". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sheffield, Brandon (March 11, 2005). "Postcard from GDC 2005: Lessons from Viewtiful Joe: Making a Creatively and Financially Successful New Game". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Steel Battalion for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ Edge staff (April 2003). "Steel Battalion". Edge. No. 122. Future plc. 
  6. ^ EGM staff (January 2003). "Steel Battalion". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 162. Ziff Davis. p. 204. 
  7. ^ Taylor, Martin (March 26, 2003). "Steel Battalion". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  8. ^ a b "Xbox - 鉄騎". Famitsu (in Japanese). Vol. 915. Enterbrain. June 30, 2006. p. 106. 
  9. ^ McNamara, Andy (December 2002). "Steel Battalion". Game Informer. No. 116. GameStop. p. 132. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  10. ^ Tokyo Drifter (November 20, 2002). "Steel Battalion Review for Xbox on GamePro.com". GamePro. IDG Entertainment. Archived from the original on April 10, 2005. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  11. ^ Gesrtmann, Jeff (November 22, 2002). "Steel Battalion Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  12. ^ Meston, Zach (January 4, 2003). "GameSpy: Steel Battalion". GameSpy. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on December 17, 2005. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  13. ^ a b Boulding, Aaron (November 25, 2002). "Steel Battalion Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  14. ^ "Steel Battalion". Official Xbox Magazine. Future plc. January 2003. p. 89. 
  15. ^ Bishop, Stuart (January 6, 2004). "Xbox News: Steel Battalion: Line of Contact retail plans confirmed". Computer and Video Games. Future plc. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 

External links[edit]