Afrika finally arriving in North America; for real this time
The original trailer for Afrika didn’t reveal anything of the gameplay, a topic that became quite the ‘Internet wildfire’ as speculation mounted about what you might actually do in the game. Much later, a second trailer showed us a human character taking photographs, and there was even talk of the game shipping with a ‘pressure mat’ that could sense your movements as you got closer to the wildlife.
We waited with baited breath for news of Afrika’s release into the West. So what happened?
Afrika never made it out of the Far East. In addition to the photography-based gameplay, it included a massive encyclopedia that would have been difficult for anyone who doesn’t read Japanese with ease to get any benefit from. This also made it difficult to publish thanks to the localisation issues, costs and projected sales for such a potentially niche title.
Afrika did appear in other Far East regions, sometimes under the name Hakuna Matata, and for a time it seemed that it might make it across to our region. But it was the news in June 2008 that left us feeling disappointed; Afrika was not coming to Europe after all.
As if part of some mad soap opera plot, it was in November of that same year that we heard National Geographic were going to publish a localised version of Afrika in the US. Sadly, that title disappeared from the listings almost as quickly as it arrived, and we couldn’t get confirmation of when it might arrive.
Now, in what we hope is the final twist in the story, Natsume is bringing Afrika to North America.
By way of some evidence, IGN got some time with a preview build of the US version and had the foresight to capture some gameplay video (below).
The IGN hands-on article also explains that National Geographic have indeed provided the US version ‘in-game wiki’.
Remember, PS3 games are region-free, so once Afrika is released in the US you can import it for use on EU systems too. We’ll give you more details and a launch date as they are made available.