Monday, July 12, 2010

Cavia Caves In

Many of you probably are unaware of the Japanese development company known as Cavia, and if you do, you have my condolences because it was announced by Japanese website 4Gamer that Cavia has been dissolved and merged back into its parent company, AQ Interactive.

Allow me to explain the past of Cavia, for those who are unaware.

Cavia was founded in 2000 in Tokyo, Japan, with an extensive list of investors backing the company. The name is apparently an acronym for Computer Amusement Visualizer, as Wikipedia would explain. In late 2005, the company turned into AQ Interactive Inc., with Cavia's game development moving to a newly formed Cavia, Inc.

Up to that point, Cavia had been primarily known for its titles with Capcom (notably, Resident Evil: Dead Aim for PS2) and Square-Enix with the Drakengard series, known to being one of the most disturbingly weird action RPG series in existence.

Let me put it briefly: in the endings for Drakengard, one involves going to the present day and another involves a post-apocalyptic world filled with demonic flying babies. GIANT demonic flying babies. And it gets weirder.

Since 2005, Cavia's exploits have grown, though a majority of its outputs were anime-based titles including Naruto. Its first major outing for the new generation was BulletWitch, a third-person shooter in which players control Alice Claus, a witch whose purpose is to destroy the demons that have destroyed the world in a post-apocalyptic setting. It was given mediocre reviews for its Poor AI and boring level design.

The company continued its works on the Resident Evil series with Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, both Wii rail-shooters. The Umbrella Chronicles refocused on scenarios faced in Resident Evil 0, 1, and Nemesis (3), while at the same time adding a new story facing off against Umbrella in a final showdown. Darkside Chronicles, meanwhile, retold the stories of Resident Evil 2 and Code: Veronica, along with its own full-fledged section with Krauser and Leon Kennedy (using Resident Evil 5 assets, I assume). Both games were given mixed but closer-to-positive reviews overall, though Darkside Chronicles only sold a fraction of the first.

The last title Cavia produced before its "demise" was Nier, an action RPG with a lot of the Drakengard-style story telling and plenty of paths through which the story can lead. The game is perhaps best known for the two versions released in Japan (an "American" 360 version Gestalt and a more "Japanese" main character in the PS3 version Replicant). Or was the main thing it is known for is the woman who is possessed by a demon and has a .... yeah....

The company was working on a game called Cry-On, but after its cancellation, the company's existence was cut, and it is now back into AQ. Pour one out, boys and girls.

Who will be the next Japanese developer to collapse?


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