On September 20th, 2006, a 3D fighter called Jingi Storm: The Arcade was officially released for the Sega NAOMI arcade board in Japan. Typically the release of a game is the beginning of the story, but for Jingi Storm it might as well be the end, because leading up to that is a tale of a canceled game, asset purchasing, and supposed involvement of the Japan Amusement Machine and Marketing Association. What happened to make Jingi Storm the game it is and who is the developer Atrativa?

Before we can look at Atrativa and Jingi Storm we must first look at Anchor Inc. and Force Five. Force Five was a 3D fighter being made by Anchor Inc. for the Atomiswave arcade board and shared much DNA with Anchor’s previous 3D fighter, Toy Fighter (which in turn, shared much DNA with their Fighters Destiny release on the N64). This 3 button fighter features a catch parry system called Atemi (previously seen in older works) as well as a colored tier system for attacks that allows some strikes to blow up certain types of guarding, a new twist on a common system in Anchor games. The game is not complete, but the foundation of its mechanics seem to be finished. I assume this game was shipped out for location testing and either poor results at the arcade or some other reason caused Anchor and Sammy to never properly release it as a final product.

Two years later another 3D fighter called Jingi Storm began showing up for location tests and it bore an undeniable similarity to Force Five. Jingi Storm featured the same UI, many of the same fonts, and most obviously, the exact same stages that were seen in Force Five. I have never been able to confirm exactly what the case was, but the most likely answer is that developer Atrativa purchased the unfinished assets of Force Five off Anchor and Sammy and used that to make their own game. Models were given reskins to make new characters, new illustrations were made, and honestly not a whole heck of a lot else, this is pretty much still Force Five with a new coat of paint on it.

This video from Video Game Esoterica has a great showcase of just how little Jingi Storm changed from Force Five

But the one addition that Atrativa made would be the reason Jingi Storm is remembered as more than just a lackluster 3D fighter; during its location tests it was being shipped around as an Eroge fighter. Jingi Storm removed the female fighters from Force Five’s starting roster and left only the males while pairing each of them up with an anime waifu. I’ve seen it said that Atrativa either couldn’t decide on an illustrator or outsourced the work to multiple illustrators to speed up production, but in the end each female companion is obviously drawn by a different artist, leading to a somewhat strange clash in illustration styles across this part of the cast. The way this breaks down is that when you defeat a fighter, how good you did in the fight (health, time left, and win ratio, reportedly) would determine how much of their clothes get removed in a post-fight illustration. 0 to 20 points gets you barely any change, 21 to 50 points gets you the opening of their outerwear garments, 51 to 74 points is partially undressed with a chance of panty shots, 75 to 100 points is visible breasts, and over 100 points is nudity. Now, footage from these location tests still exist but because it is compressed to hell and back it’s a little hard to tell what’s happening, but outside of a 100+ point score we have the evidence to prove this was the case during the location tests.

NSFW: Anime girls in their underwear and one (1) nipple. Footage of the location tests with the eroge elements enabled.

However, when it came time for Jingi Storm to be officially released, the eroge elements were removed. I was unable to corroborate this claim to know for sure, but I have been told that the game was censored by the Japan Amusement Machine and Marketing Association. Because so much of Jingi Storm’s unique elements were in the eroge mechanics, so the official release of the game is more or less Force Five but with a frankly more bland coat of paint on it. This was 2006 and the standard for a 3D fighter was already far passed what Jingi Storm was offering, heck, Soul Calibur III had released a year prior. This is commonly seen as the only game developed by Atrativa, but who was this company responsible for an eroge-based, asset-flipped 3D fighter? And was this really the only game they worked on?

Let’s clarify a couple things about Atrativa for starters. So far the Atrativa we have been mentioning is Atrativa Japan, the Japanese wing of the company that looks to be based in Sao Paulo, Brazil and founded in 2000. Atrativa looked to work primarily in browser-based gaming, the kind of generic Flash games you would find on the internet in those days. Thanks to the Wayback Machine we can find their websites for Japan, Latin America, and North America. Between these snapshots of their websites and the description of the company from their english website, it seem that this was their core strategy, not fighting games.

Which makes it all the more confusing that Jingi Storm was not the only fighting game Atrativa Japan was associated with! Atrativa Japan worked with Yuki Enterprise (who we would now know as Examu/Team Arcana) to publish the very first Arcana Heart. It’s a bit harder to find out what exactly they did, but it looks like Atrativa Japan also had a hand in the arcade revision Arcana Heart Full, be that some form of development or publishing. Finally, Atrativa Japan shares a polyphonic copyright with Yuki Enterprise for the Original and Arranged version of the Arcana Heart Heartful Sound Collection. All of this takes place between 2005 and 2007 so it ends up being contemporaneous with the Jingi Storm development.

Its almost impossible to see, but the logo made of four blue balls is the Atrativa logo.

So what happened to Atrativa? Well around the end of 2006 to the beginning of 2007 Atrativa was acquired by Real Networks (The people behind Real Players, if there are any other Olds in the audience today) and continues to operate as one of their subistaries, offering browser games for your Facebook Aunt to play. Does that leave us with any clue as to what caused Atrativa Japan to pivot into fighting games? Not really, but if you will allow me to baselessly speculate, I have a couple more strings on my Pepe Silvia board left to show.

Atrativa and its sister company PlayPhone, features many of the same executive staff as 1980s video game distributor Romstar Inc. Romstar worked as a distributor for many big name companies, such as SNK, Capcom, Taito, and Seta. Among these names, the name Takahito Yasuki sticks out, often being credited as a founder personnel in both Romstar and Atrativa and credited as being the Director of Operations for Atrativa Japan. While it looks like Yasuki primarily stuck to executive roles, there is one incredibly interesting video game credit to his name:

An Executive Producer role on the cult-classic Street Fighter The Movie Arcade.

This is pure speculation, but with Atrativa being absorbed by Real Networks the company could have been under financial pressure in the previous years. With the need to expand potential revenue sources, maybe Yasuki drew on the only credited experience he had; fighting games. They started working with Yuki Enterprise to establish themselves and then took an opportunity to asset flip the failed Force Five to draw a profit, but their plans to make an eroge fighter backfired as they got censored and were left with an unsuccessful and lackluster game that was years behind its contemporaries.

We will probably never know the true story of what happened, but my speculation would at least make a little sense. There has never been a dump of the location test version, but if you wish to play the official release it is currently available on Fightcade 2 with rollback netcode.