Well, I knew way back when it was announced that Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (set for a worldwide April 11, 2019 release as a PS4 exclusive) was going to be a big departure from the Sandlot-developed games, but that new Ant riding class? Nice… and kind of really weird at the same time. Anyway, veteran developer YUKE’S is on the case with some gorgeous Unreal 4-powered visuals, character customization for a player’s chosen class and a few other features geared to a wider audience that may want all the series hard-core bug, beast and ‘bot battles with a more serious story. In other words, it looks as if the campy dialog is possibly getting put to the side for this new game. Even if this isn’t completely the case, this interview over on the official PlayStation blog with series producer Nobuyuki Okajima makes for an interesting read.
Oddly enough, while the Sandlot-developed games are well known known for their intense action and incessantly, intentionally inane dialog (delivered via some oddball voice acting), the games are all fiercely difficult as the missions throw hundreds of enemies at you and ask you to take care of the swarms as you see fit. There’s also a deadly serious undertone to the games as the Earth always seems to be at the end of its rope and your character(s) are the sole means of stopping the aliens from exterminating what’s left of humanity. Seriously, if it weren’t for the dopey commentary in the last few EDF games, you’d have a really dire story line where millions are annihilated around the world every few years and you and what’s left of the EDF are the world’s last best hope every single time.
The new Prowl Rider’s ant antics aside, It seems that Iron Rain is looking at Western audiences in much the same way the Vicarious Visions-developed Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon tried (and some of the pickier fans would say, failed, although I personally like it quite a lot). But I’d gather YUKE’S long history of developing a wider range of titles (and yes, the dev team’s Japanese roots) will be more palatable to those who didn’t appreciate EDFIA’s take on the series. We shall see, of course, but a 15-year fan of the series ever since a friend in Japan sent me that first game as a gift, I’ve been quite pleased with each new installment, warts and all.
Here’s part of the press release if you need the more official line:
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain Coming Soon to PlayStation®4, Global Deployment Set for April 11, 2019
D3 Publisher Ups Ante as the Battle to Save the World Continues in Latest Chapter of the Beloved EDF Series
Sunnyvale, CA — Jan. 25, 2019 — D3 Publisher Inc., a leading Japanese games publisher, is excited to announce the global launch date for Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain, the latest chapter in the beloved Earth Defense Force series. Developed by YUKE’S and scheduled to launch exclusively for the PlayStation®4 system on April 11, 2019, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain enters new territory, introducing character customization, a new cast of characters focusing on one of the strongest military units in EDF, equipped with even more advanced gear, tech and weaponry – and a brand-new threat facing the Earth Defense Force and citizens of Earth.
The Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain Standard Edition ($59.99 USD) and Ultimate Edition ($89.99 USD) are available today on the PlayStation Store for new recruits ready to enlist. Pre-order perks for both editions include exclusive customized costumes, enhanced weapons, and much more. In addition, the Ultimate Edition includes a critical weapon and an additional mission scheduled to release shortly after launch. To learn more about extra content and perks for Standard and Ultimate Edition pre-orders, please visit the official website.
Since it first launched in 2003 for the PlayStation 2 console, the Earth Defense Force series has earned a strong reputation for its relentless wave shooter gameplay and co-op fun, featuring swarms of enemies, a wide array of unique classes and weapons — and charming B-movie dialogue and settings with cities under siege by giant insects, kaiju monsters, and alien invaders.
This focus on pitting players against an overwhelming force of enemies continues in Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain while introducing exciting new gear and technology for stalwart EDF soldiers and a brand-new separatist faction, the Kindred Rebellion. Players will need all the help they can get as the Aggressor’s alien invasion of giant insects, monsters, and mechs continues to rain down terror around the world.
Meet the New EDF Ground Trooper Unit, Prowl Rider and
Ride a Giant Ant into Battle!
Alongside the Trooper, Jet Lifter, and the Heavy Striker unit that players can arm themselves with, the latest Prowl Rider’s PA-Gear is based on a prototype originally developed by the Kindred Rebellion faction, and was later analyzed and improved for deployment to the Earth Defense Force.
This gear grants the user astonishing mobility on the battlefield with its wire-powered “E-Needle” ability that allows players to grapple buildings, trees, and even enemies to zip towards their destination. The Prowl Rider’s E-Needle ability can even be used to blast gigantic insects with neural pulse waves, essentially transforming enemies into giant, living tanks.
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain Key Features:
Twelve years have been passed since mankind’s first encounter with the alien “Aggressor” invasion that devastated planet Earth. In this time of great despair, the battle to free mankind from the Aggressor’s extended assault continues in Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain.
Developed by YUKE’s with the Unreal Engine 4, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is the best-looking EDF to date. Players will see and feel the difference with an overwhelming number of on-screen invaders raining down from the sky in over 50 intense, story driven missions.
- Master Four Soldier Classes: Thanks to advances in “PA-Gear” technology, the EDF are on more equal footing with the “Aggressors”. These powered exoskeleton suits can be customized with hundreds of weapon, armament, and item loadout combinations with four unique soldier classes, each with their own critical Over Drive ability to change the tide of battle, including the Trooper, Jet Lifter, Heavy Striker, and most notably, the brand-new Prowl Rider.
- Multiplayer: Staying true to the series’ roots in arcade action, both online and local multiplayer split-screen modes are available. Online supports up to six player co-op – and the new Mercenary mode, which finds teams competing for Energy Gems hosts up to 8 players.
- Character customization: For the first time in the series, players will step into the boots of Closer, a decorated war hero who awakens from a seven year coma. Players can customize his or her appearances before diving into the game’s character driven campaign.
Expect more news as the game’s April 11, 2019 global launch draws nearer. In the meantime, to stay up to date on the latest regarding Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain, please visit the official website, official YouTube channel, and follow the EDF team on Twitter @EDF_OFFICIAL_EN.
Sounds like a plan to me, but here’s a little GIF from me to you via D3 Publisher as a friendly reminder: