Here is the explosion (no pun intended, per se) of Gunslinger Stratos info we were waiting for.
Yoichi Wada (Square Enix CEO) was quoted (roughly) at the announcement presentation: "Arcade games were originally the main thread of the videogame world. We developed from the question of whether we could create a game in that main thread that would really get your adrenaline pumping."
Producer Nobuki Kadoi commented, "We want this to be a game that changes the history of arcade games." He introduced the trailer:
Director Shinichirou Obata described the game. The theme was "to make a game where the gunfighting feels good." They concentrated on the cabinet as well as the actual software—and what a cabinet it is! 60 inch plasma screen showing 60 frames per second in HD.
While the game comes with plenty of CPU battles lined up, the main and more longterm thrust of the fun is 4 vs. 4 battles online. Using a NESiCA IC card, you can sync on the game's offiical website to customize your character and weapons using points you earn in-game. Also, if you make a group with friends, you can lend people rare or expensive items to ensure everyone on your team is equipped with the best gear.
The "double gun device" was explained in detail. Turns out, yeah, you can dual wield pistols, but there are also two different ways to combine the guns into new weapons. If you attach them (physically, the arcade guns you hold in each hand) left to right, it's called "side style." Joining them top to bottom is called "tandem style." Transforming your guns (in real life!) allows you to use different weapons right away on-screen. There are also hand-to-hand moves.
Levels take place in various urban areas from around the country. Shibuya was shown off in a private meeting, but Ikebukuro (also in Tokyo) and Dotonbori (in Osaka) were mentioned. The environments, including buildings, are destructible. It sounds like you can be killed if someone destroys a building and it falls on you.
The plot, from Gen Urobuchi (Fate/Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica) kicks off in 2115. Two different Japans with two different histories mutually destruct, so to avoid this fate, they both go back in time 100 years to ensure that the other one ceases to exist. So, the hero/ine has to fight with his/herself from a parallel universe in the year 2015.
Three of the game's vocal talents appeared as guests at the presentation.
Atsuhi Abe (Mashiro Moritaka from Bakuman, Itsuki Tomofusa from Blood-C) commented, "From the beginning, the character was drawn thoroughly and I didn't think the game would be a shooter. I'm curious how the controls will work. As for the world, I was surprised that there are two of them! Even during combat you meet yourself. It was refreshing during recording to have conversations between…my own character. I'm looking forward to it as a player! See you at the arcade."
Hisako Kanemoto (Cure Peace from Smile PreCure, Squid Girl from Squid Girl) said, "It's not just a game where you beat up enemies; I'm looking forward to the plot and characters. There are lots of different lines, so it doesn't seem like you'll get tired of them while playing. The city crumbling is really intense and the movements of the characters are cool. It seems like even people who haven't played shooters should be able to have fun."
Kana Ueda ((Haruko Maeda from Usagi Drop, Rachel Alucard from Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend) remarked, "Shizune Rindo is a character with two sides. Her expressions vary so I think it's fun. The game has high replayability, so please get stoked and talk about it with your friends. I'm looking forward to playing it!"
Finally, a Japan-wide Gunslinger Stratos tournament was announced. Put on by Square Enix, it's the first arcade game domestic tournament with a cash prize. Daigo Umehara, famous progamer and winner of many a fighting game tournament, was introduced as an official supporter of the game.
His initial impression: "I don't know all the details yet, but at a glance I feel that this game will become the heart of the arcade—that's how big of an impact it had on me."
On the topic of the cash prize: "It changes your motivation for playing depending on whether or not there is a tournament, so I've been thinking it would be cool to have this sort of competition domestically as well."
He added, "For both people who often went to arcades back in the day and people who are thinking of going to arcades, there maybe hasn't really been a really good reason to go back, but I think this game could become that good reason."
Gunslinger Stratos should begin appearing in Japanese arcades this summer.