With one of the games industry’s best catalogs of memorable IPs, Japanese developer Konami picked the cult classic Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner — Mars to bring into VR and 4K. Today, the futuristic mech game officially received a U.S. release date of September 4, as well as a list of VR-specific enhancements that may help the 2003 title reach a larger audience on PlayStation 4 consoles and PCs.
Produced by Hideo Kojima, Zone of the Enders was a short-lived Konami franchise focused on mech battles and dramatic storylines. When you’re not watching cinematic cutscenes, you’re slashing and shooting enemies using a flying “Frame” called Jehuty — action elements that were enhanced in the sequel. Both of the mainline Zone of the Enders games were designed to show off the capabilities of the PlayStation 2.
Originally, Zone of the Enders 2 was a third-person game, but the updated version will include a first-person cockpit perspective, as well as a “Very Easy” difficulty option that lets new-to-VR players focus more on the story and graphics. For VR users, Konami has also added a 3D hangar, 3D model viewer, and the option to view any cutscene in full VR. The new VR features will be compatible with PlayStation VR and SteamVR headsets.
On the PlayStation 4 Pro and compatible PCs, the title can be experienced in up to 4K resolution, benefitting primarily from radically sharper rendering of the polygonal mechs and futuristic environments. Additionally, a new “Pro Mode” controller option enables faster sub-weapon toggling, while a “revamped” version of the Gradius-ish shooter Zoradius boasts both an alternate control scheme and a new power up system.
Konami says that PS4 players will receive a “Welcome to Mars” theme and avatars as bonuses, though preorders have not yet opened on Sony’s or Konami’s U.S. sites. A demo version for the PS4 will also be offered in the near future, most likely ahead of the game’s slightly later European and Japanese release date of September 6.
Register for GamesBeat's upcoming event: Driving Game Growth & Into the Metaverse