Feudal Red Riding Hood – Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

By Nathan Grayson on September 12th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

That's a rather worrisome number of big bad wolves.

American McGee. Now that’s a name. I would give his parents high-fives, but they’re probably eagles who’ve been surgically attached to giant, forever-billowing US flags. McGee’s studio Spicy Horse, however, has a slightly spottier track record. I mean, its most recent big release, Alice: Madness Returns, was chock full of imaginative locales, but it was also overly long, and platforming (kind of important in a platformer) wasn’t exactly enjoyable. So it is with much trepidation that I bring you the first trailer of Akaneiro: Demon Hunters. On one hand, just look at that. An Okami-esque hand-painted style? Glorious. I wish to stroke it suggestively and make everyone feel really uncomfortable. But Akaneiro’s also a click-click-click-a-thon ARPG, and those can become mighty tedious if not executed with tremendous attention to detail.

All the standard ARPG beats, of course, look to be present and accounted for – by which I mean hacked and slashed until they violently rupture, gushing out a tidal wave of randomized goodies. And probably blood. Character progression’s also apparently pretty freeform, although Spicy Horse hasn’t detailed it much beyond saying you can “choose the abilities, specializations, and stat growth that best suit your personal play style.”

The most intriguing bit to me, though, is the overarching theme and plot. Basically, it’s a mythical feudal Japanese re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously. For all McGee’s frequent gameplay gaffes, he certainly has a knack for hitting on some strikingly bizarre aesthetics. I’m pretty excited to see what he and Spicy Horse do here.

It’s slated for release in “late 2012,” but you can register for the closed beta right now. Less optimistically, it’s also headed for Facebook and Android tablets in some capacity, so we’ll see how that affects the version we get. It’s looking pretty solid right now, though. Hopefully it stays that way.

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51 Comments »

  1. Brainkite says:

    Looks pretty cool
    Looks a lot like Okami too

    • Gnoupi says:

      Funny, I see more Deathspank in this art style (matches the gameplay as well)

      • yonsito says:

        I like the art style but the game does look a bit like the standard button masher / potion drinker without much tactical finesse.

        • Snidesworth says:

          I think that’s the problem with Crazy Horse. They are absolutely amazing at visual design but they lack experience when it comes to game design. Not that they’re useless in that regard, mind you. Alice: MR may have suffered from cut content and levels subsequently padded out by tedious platforming sections but occasionally you’d get a level where everything came together and it played beautifully. Chapter 4 is a good example of that (card castle in the sky, Queen of Heart’s realm).

          Still, the mechanics weren’t as fine tuned as they could be and so much of the platforming was either numbingly routine or frustratingly fiddly, the latter being exaggerated by the somewhat floaty controls. I enjoyed it, but there were stretches of time where I was grinding through the game just to see the next level or cutscene.

    • Suits says:

      And sounds like Okami too

  2. yhancik says:

    A re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood? Where does he get all these crazy mad ideas? Genius.

    • frightlever says:

      Ignoring Scrapland (which I rather liked) and Bad Day LA, which he only put his name to, his post-iD work has been Alice, Grimm and Alice 2. So his genius lies in taking existing properties and adding heaps of violence. The original Alice was probably a fluke because the rest of his games have been fairly mediocre – but, critically, he is a relentless and convincing self-promoter.

      (Oh, and bear in mind Red Riding Hood has already been given a game treatment in “The Path” – so not SO novel.)

        • MichaelPalin says:

          *ahem*? What does that even mean? Could you stop talking in riddles!?

          • yhancik says:

            “Used to represent the noise made when clearing the throat, typically to attract attention or express disapproval or embarrassment.”

      • yhancik says:

        I was (“of course”, I thought) being ironic when I said “Genius”. The Little Red Riding Hood must be one of the most overreinterpreted story with Alice. This feels so trite, especially considered McGee’s resume.

  3. sakmidrai says:

    Free to play? Why?

  4. Okami says:

    I approve this game’s art style.

  5. luckystriker says:

    The running was impressive at least.

  6. RedViv says:

    Ah, hippie parents. We thank you for American’s first name, and my half dozen.

    Game looks nice, too.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    I’m not quite sure if I like this, or think the ye olde Japan “reimagining” thing is a bit overdone.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Yeah, I know, so many games do that! I mean, there’s Muramasa, and Okami, and… it’s even worse than “post-apocalyptic brown”, or “modern brown”, or “ww2 brown”!

  8. D3xter says:

    So, I don’t wanna push or anything… but seeing as there were at least 5 or so articles speculating about speculations regarding to a new Planescape game, is RPS ever going to post about this or are they waiting? :P http://www.obsidianent.com/

    Also, what about the first ten Greenlit games: http://store.steampowered.com/news/8839/

  9. AshEnke says:

    The music at the beginning makes me think of this :

  10. acho says:

    It’s a shame it uses mouse controls. I’d much prefer analog or even WASD.

    • antoniodamala says:

      Could not agree more. All ARPGs where the battles are based on the speed of your mouse clicks tend to bore me faster than anyother game.

      • misterT0AST says:

        That’s because in those games you play with the right hand and use the left hand to hold your head up.
        You could almost sleep in that position.

  11. rustybroomhandle says:

    Somewhat unrelated, but American McGee’s view on the $100 Steam Greenlight thing is that it should be $1000. What’s he doing on Greenlight anyway?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      http://steamcommunity.com/id/spicyhorsegames/myworkshopfiles/?section=greenlight

      He’s at Spicy Horse Games (it’s his company, based in China).

      Including this game, he has 2 others on Greenlight.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Let me rephrase that since my point seems to have gotten lost. What’s a guy with a long-standing track record doing on an indie meat market when he can likely get any game on Steam by traditional means?

      • frightlever says:

        Why is PR-whore American McGee seeking the largest exposure possible for his new games? It’s a riddle all right.

        • Ohle says:

          Alas, you’re maybe being a bit harsh :) (I’m handling PR on this one with Spicy Horse)… the games are on Greenlight because they need to be if we want to get them on Steam :). Believe me — as a PR rep, being on Greenlight certainly doesn’t mean “largest exposure possible”… I’d much rather just be confirmed to be on Steam.

          • frightlever says:

            Maybe being too harsh? Maybe? You’re saying maybe cos you agree with me, right? I get it. You can’t say.

            Oh and the link in your name isn’t working right. That’s some nice PR-ing, right there. :P

      • The Random One says:

        The correct answer is, because he had $100 to burn.

        • Ragnar says:

          The correct answer is actually that he can’t get any game onto Steam via traditional means, and thus has to go through Greenlight (and probably wants to bump up the entry price to eliminate competition).

  12. maninahat says:

    A question to people who play ARPGs. With the whole clicking enemies to death thing, are there any games where you can hold down the mouse button to attack? That makes a lot more sense to me – you just keep slashing as long as you hold the LMB down whilst in striking range of enemy. That way you can still be in control of fighting, whilst not having to click like mad. Do any ARPGs do that?

    • Ohle says:

      Dungeon Siege 2?

    • ffordesoon says:

      All of them?

      • derbefrier says:

        thats what i was thinking

        • maninahat says:

          Ah, okay. My only knowledge of them is from all the jokes I hear about having to perpetually click enemies to death.

    • Minsc_N_Boo says:

      Diablo 2 and Torchlight allow you to exactly that. I think it is a pretty standard thing in ARPG. Click and hold till the enemy spills his guts / gold all over the place!

      • Ragnar says:

        As does Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2. Dungeon Siege does them one better by not requiring any buttons.

  13. ffordesoon says:

    Hmm.

    It doesn’t look like they’ve gotten the formula quite right yet. A game in this genre lives and dies on a few key things, and the game looks worryingly free of those.

    On the other hand, the premise is the greatest thing ever, and I love the art.

    Which, uh, is more or less what I’ve said about every American McGee game yet, and my skepticism has usually been borne out.

    I’ll play this one on premise alone, and I already upvoted it on Greenlight, but hearing that McGee’s associated with it isn’t exactly great news, as far as I’m concerned.

    We’ll see.

  14. Popcornicus says:

    The art style reminds me more of Muramasa: The Demon Blade than Okami, but it doesn’t match up exactly with either. Hopefully the gameplay fundamentals will be solid.

  15. innociv says:

    Why isn’t there dynamic lighting? It makes everything look so dull and static.

  16. Nim says:

    Alice: Madness returns: the amount of cut content and unfinished ideas rivals that of the Sith Lords. Interaction with NPCs, swimming sections, boss fights, rabbit chases, alice as a murder suspect in london, whole sections of wonderland gone! Thanks EA.

    • Buemba says:

      That’s disappointing, but at least the omissions weren’t as obvious as in, say, Brutal Legend for example (You can clearly tell the first act was the only one they didn’t have to rush). Which is also published by EA.

      I really liked A:MR and hope McGee gets to make another sequel.

    • Jackablade says:

      I hadn’t heard of this before. Are there any good resources for reading about what was cut from the game?

    • Ragnar says:

      And yet, with so much cut content, Alice 2 still had too much padding. Sad that the interesting bits didn’t make it in, but too much empty fluff did.

    • Nim says:

      The padding is a result of the cut content.