Way back in 2004, long before “Bloodborne” and “Dark Souls” and “Demon’s Souls,” From Software released a little game called “Metal Wolf Chaos.” You may not have heard of it, since it only released on the original Xbox in Japan (a market that never really took to Microsoft’s original console).
“Metal Wolf Chaos” stars United States President Michael Wilson, who has been ousted from power by his vice president. With a powerful mech suit and tons of weapons, Wilson travels the United States from Miami to San Francisco to defeat the coup.
For the first time, From Software’s bonkers take on American politics (if American politics were powered by mechs) is finally coming West. It all began in January 2016, when Devolver Digital tweeted at From Software that they stood ready to help bring the nearly forgotten gem to the west.
To date, that tweet has received more than 3,500 retweets and 4,500 likes. It was also an integral part of convincing From Software to export “Metal Wolf Chaos” after all these years.
“They contacted From and used the tweet in their pitch,” Kakehashi Games business manager Zach Huntley says. “From said, ‘Wow. Maybe we do need to take this seriously.’
“It’s not a remaster. We’re not touching things too much. It’s about people who always wanted to play the game. They’ll finally get their chance to check it out.”
Kakehashi Games is a regular Devolver collaborator in Japan. Huntley and assistant manager Yujin Tsuruta have assisted with Devolver’s satirical E3 press conference and handle the publisher’s BitSummit presence.
Devolver plans to make small improvements, including lighting and other visual effects. The original, comical voice overs (originally recorded in English) are coming over exactly as they were in the original release.
The pairing of From Software and Devolver might not be intuitive, but the “Hotline Miami” publisher has a following in Japan. Games like “Ruiner,” a hyperviolent cyberpunk action game have found purchase there. Dodge Roll’s roguelike “Enter the Gungeon” has also done well in Japan.
And, if “Metal Wolf Chaos” is successful when it releases later this year, we might not have heard the end of President Michael Wilson. Masanori Takeuchi, the mind behind “Metal Wolf Chaos,” could be persuaded to make a sequel.
“This is his baby,” Huntley says. “He loves this game. He understands it’s over-the-top and crazy, but to him it’s not a joke. This was a serious project for them. We talk with him about Metal Wolf 2, and he says he’s actually been thinking of a story for the second game for a really long time. Whether or not that’ll happen? Who knows. They really do like the franchise. This isn’t a situation where Devolver got the license and is doing its own thing. This is a really deep collaboration with From.”
Despite the excitement around the announcement, Devolver drew some criticism for what appeared to some as a politically flippant statement. The publisher hosted its second over-the-top press conference satire at E3, during which “Metal Wolf Chaos” was announced.
Devolver pointed fans to a website for the game, MechAmericaGreatAgain.com (a riff on a slogan popularized by President Donald Trump). As you might imagine, some people were not amused. Despite the blowback, Devolver remains as irreverent as ever.
“Honestly, we don’t care,” Huntley says. “Whatever. People are always going to complain. It’s the internet.”