Bandai Namco is opening a limited-time VR cafe based on the “Tales” series. By the “Tales” series, I am referring to that long running RPG video game series that includes title like Tales of Symphonia, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Vesperia. (wikipedia for more).
The series will make its VR debut in a special VR themed cafe (called the Tales of VR Cafe), to be held in Anion Station, Akihabara Tokyo from Thursday March 1st to Sunday April 15th. It is an actual cafe, and patrol will be wearing a VR google to interact with the virtual casts from the game series.
These characters will be hanging around in the cafe where you are at, and they will be conversing with you as if they are patrons of the cafe themselves. Some characters may even introduce and recommend some of the foods to order on the menu.
The cafe uses some kind of a ‘coin’ system for payment, which I suspect is used to help hide the actual cost of the meals. Each coin is worth 200 yen, and according to the menu, drinks cost 4 coins while the main course and desserts cost 5 coins. There are also special, exclusive merchandises you can purchase too.
According to the web site, you can also trade your coins for additional scenes. A basic VR scene will be free for all paying patrons. Paying 4 coins will unlock the second (extra) scene, while the third and final scene will cost 6 coins.
A pre-opening campaign will be held from February 24th to 26th. It is an even where patrons can enjoy collaborative food and drinks based on the series ahead of the actual opening. Patrons of this pre-opening campaign will receive a memorial novelty item using the key visual of the event.
Before you head down, do take note that advance reservation has to be made though. Check out here for more information.
Bandai Namco is also at the same time, opening new VR Zone Portal in the UK, following the success of “VR ZONE SHINJUKU” in Tokyo. VR Zone SHINJUKU is a collaboration of Bandai Namco’s Project i Can (Project i Can is the collective term for Bandai Namco’s VR game development project) and HTC Vive, where users can enjoy a variety of VR games and experiences, some of which based on popular animes and games including Dragon Ball, Evangelion, Mario Kart and Gundam.
The UK expansions will be located in the London area: The O2 Arena and Tunbridge Wells, situated within the Hollywood Bowl. Expect to see the same VR activities such as Fear Heights, Hospital Escape Terror and Argyle Shift from the one in Shinjuku to show up in the UK sites, and with luck, probably Mario Kart, Gundam and the rest of the VR titles too.
Bandai Namco isn’t new to VR, having invested in Summer Lesson, VR mode in Tekken 7, as well as the VR compatibility in the upcoming Ace Combat 7 for Playstation VR, not to mention Project CARS 2 VR on PC as well. Here’s hoping their investment is successful.