Digimon fans rejoice, as it would appear that Bandai Namco are planning to roll out several new Digimon video game titles in the near future, starting with respective Nintendo Switch and PC ports for Digimon World: Next Order.
The most recent entry in the long-running Digimon World series – the first release of which hit the original PlayStation in 1999 – Digimon World: Next Order places players in the role of their choice of two protagonists, Yakuto and Shiki (the male and female version of the main character, respectively), as they find themselves transported along with their unselected counterpart to the Digital World.
Though they’ve begun to fall out of caring about the entire world of Digimon as they’ve grown older, upon their arrival in the alternate dimension, the two are met by their former partners.
However, this reunion is soon interrupted by the ongoing pandemic of random Digimon spontanouesly turning into mindless, destructive Machinedramons, the effects of which are outright destroying the Digital World.
An RPG system mixed with sim-mechanics, Digimon World: Next Order’s gameplay takes heavy inspiration from the original virtual pet toys and tasks players with caring for their own Digimon by feeding them, interacting with them, and even cleaning up their ‘waste’.
Of course, also like the original toys, the core of its draw is its combat, which sees your Digimon go up against various opponents in an active-strategic battle system ala Final Fantasy XII – the results of which can go so far as to influencing your partner’s Digivolutions.
Originally released as simply Digimon World: Next Order for the PlayStation Vita in 2016, the game’s upcoming ports will be based on the game’s updated Digimon World: Next Order International Edition, which hit the PlayStation 4 in 2017.
This edition featured a number of changes and new features, including the introduction of a ‘Beginner Mode’, the implementation of a running mechanic, and the addition of several new Digimon.
At the time of its 2017 release, Digimon World: Next Order International Edition was met with a mixed response.
The game’s review scores ultimately settled at a 68 average on review aggregator Metacritic, with many of the criticisms against it focusing on the quality of the port from PlayStation Vita to PlayStation 4.
Some reviewers, such as Destructoid’s Alisa McAloon, felt that the game’s graphics failed to take advantage of the home console’s hardware.
At the time, Digimon had seen over a decade of its video game titles being held as Japanese-exclusives, and so many fans found it a breath of fresh air just to be able to get their hands on another officially localized title.
Even if Digimon World: Next Order has since come to be overshadowed by the more successful and popular Digimon: Cyber Sleuth, the game has no doubt developed its own respectable cult following.
Thankfully, the years of ‘Digimon Drought’ have come to an end – and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as alongside the announcement of the aforementioned ports, Bandai Namco Digimon games producer Kazumasa Jabualso revealed that there are currently “multiple Digimon game projects in the pipeline.”
As of writing, it is unknown what form these new Digimon games might take.
That said, one of the fascinating things about the Digimon games is that Bandai Namco loves to experiment with them.
Some games, like Digimon Cyber Sleuth and Digimon World, are RPGs and pet simulators. Yet, the franchise also holds such entries as Digimon Survive, a visual novel that borders on horror and was developed for a more mature audience.
Suffice to say, whichever way Bandai Namco chooses to go, it will at the very least be interesting.
Digimon World: Next Order International Edition on Nintendo Switch and PC on February 22nd, 2023.