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SOE announces Kung-Fu Hustle

While Sony Online hasn't been secretive about the fact that it had a Taiwan-based wing named Soga, the company also hasn't been terribly vocal about just what that studio was doing. Aside from Asianizing a few EQ II models, for all we knew, the folks at Soga were just over there watching God of Cookery and Shaolin Soccer DVDs over and over. Little did we know they were actually hard at work on a videogame adaptation of another of actor/writer/director/everything movies guy Stephen Chow's flicks: Kung-Fu Hustle.

The film is a brilliant wire-fu-filled comedy about a dorky wannabe street thug finding his place in a city ruled by a merciless gang and filled with unlikely martial arts masters. The game? It's a side-view fighting game about beating the wontons out of everyone else.

Little has been revealed thus far (Sony Online didn't give out screens, and showed the game only in video form) but what we do know is tantalizing. It looks bright and cartoon-ish, a bit like the One Piece games. There will be more options for clothing and hairstyles than you could humanly imagine. Story Mode will move left to right, as is the style of such games, and there will be a multiplayer mode in which up to eight friends can pound one another into puddles.

Most interesting are the business models being examined. In Asia, and possibly the US, the game is expected to be free. It will likely be ad-supported, with players able to play a limited number of matches every day but able to earn more through skilled play. It's just like winning bonus lives in arcade games or extra balls on a pinball table.

We'll have more news on Kung-Fu Hustle as it develops. Until then, look up Stephen Chow on IMDB and see what he's all about.

May 11, 2007

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