What Is Happening With Digimon Survive?

Bandai Namco assured fans that Digimon Survive was on track for its 2020 release. With 2020 close to ending, it's starting to look like this isn't going to happen. In the absence of further communication from the publisher, a look at the information we have to try and piece together what exactly is going in with this title. What's left paints a worrying picture for the future of what looks like a promising and refreshing addition to the Digimon franchise of video games.

What Is Happening With Digimon Survive Cover

Back in 2018, Bandai Namco announced and teased a Digimon-themed tactical RPG slated for a 2019 release, and subsequently delayed it to 2020. We are running out of 2020, without so much as a peep about the game in months. Today, I’m digging in to piece together exactly what is happening with Digimon Survive.

The Facts

  • Bandai Namco announced Digimon Survive on 5 September 2018.
  • Witchcraft Inc. is developing the game. Akifumi Kaneko founded this company, along with some other ex-Media.Vision staff. Kaneko is best known for creating the Wild Arms series.
  • Bandai Namco announced at the Anime Expo 2019 that the game would be delayed to 2020.
  • In April of this year, Famitsu changed the release date of Digimon Survive from “2020” to “TBA”. Bandai Namco was quick to say that this was an error on the part of Famitsu, and that the game is still on track for a 2020 release. 
  • Liam Doolan reported that the Toei Animation Europe website listed the release date as January 2021. They removed the release date within a week of discovery, now only displaying the title.
Digimon Survive – Teaser Trailer

Just what is happening with Digimon Survive?

Kazumasa Habu, a producer in the employ of Bandai Namco involved in the development of this game, had this to say regarding the delay back in 2019:

Regarding Survive, the planned release date has been changed to 2020 because of a reorganization of our game development structure. Sorry to keep you waiting. Once again, I feel deeply the hardships of game development… We will continue to develop the game in order to make it a good product, so please look forward to it.

 

It’s hard to take that at face value. In the interest of staying as objective as possible here, I’m going to try. “Reorganization of our game development structure” says absolutely nothing about the status of the game’s development, except that it’s not going as planned. 

There isn’t a lot of information available out in the wild, and I don’t want to resort to speculation. I think it’s fair to take a closer look at the developer, Witchcraft Inc. A name I hadn’t heard until I had a look at the official website for Digimon Survive, which you will notice has not been updated in over a year as of writing. 

A battle scene from Digimon Survive depicting several recognizable characters from the long-running series.

A battle scene from Digimon Survive depicting several recognizable characters from the long-running series.

Witchcraft Inc.’s website has also not been updated since 2018. The company itself has not really been involved in such an ambitious project either – they have been involved in the development of games like Breath of the Wild and Bloodborne, albeit in a small capacity. Other than that, they have developed a few Japan-only titles, but nothing quite as ambitious as a multi-platform international release of one of Bandai Namco’s most recognizable franchises. This begs the question, was Witchcraft Inc. set up to fail from the start? Does the company even still exist?

Conclusion

Personally, it doesn’t bother me all that much when a company delays the release of a game. It’s disappointing, but totally understandable in most cases. Metroid Prime 4 comes to mind.

I find the dearth of information around Digimon Survive to be very strange, indeed. Disturbing, even.

2 Comments

  1. Bandai never had trust in this project, I bet they got scarred as hell after that crap Sword & Shield sold more than 10 million copies, but it’s not because the game is popular or good (never was since the first trailer at all), but the support the company invest at the franchise are monstrous, even if you don’t want to complete the history you have forms to discover evolutions and rare Pokémon or compete online, things that are completely off the table in Digimon, Cyber Sleuth had online PvP but it just don’t was enough to bring competitive player to this game base. Digimon ever was a complex game(while Pokemon are blunt and empty, history are always lame) since PS1 and if Bandai (or any company related to game creation) don’t understand what Digimon can contribute to the fans and new players, we will only get amazing games that no one’s care about, just like Cyber Sleuth.

    Reply
    • Thank you for commenting! I think part of the problem with Digimon as a video game franchise is it hasn’t really been consistent – Digimon World was great, Digimon World 2 was completely different, and DMW 3 was also completely different. The games on PS2 were both kinda low effort, and then they simply stopped localizing them for a while.
      Digimon never needed to be like Pokemon, I think it could have benefitted from being more consistent and finding it’s groove at some point. the OG Digimon World was charming, and had they stuck with that formula perhaps things would have been better. I personally loved DMW 3 and wish they would make another game like that.

      They just keep alienating their fans by changing everything with every other game. Likely that’s why they have not been able to build momentum. I agree that Bandai simply has no idea what the appeal of the franchise is, they don’t understand the fans.

      Nintendo, on the other hand, takes great pains at making the fanbase happy. SwSh were enjoyable enough, and arguably once all the DLC is available I would say the greatest Pokemon game ever. Not because of the story, the story has and always will be pretty secondary to the meat of the game. They know that which is why it’s always a cut and paste low effort affair.

      Reply

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