THE iDOLM@STER: Live for You!
THE iDOLM@STER: Live For You! (アイドルマスター ライブフォーユー AIDORUMASUTAA RAIBU FOO YUU) is an Xbox 360 game released in Japan by Namco on February 28, 2008. The game is a spinoff to THE iDOLM@STER, which followed the career of a producer who works for the fictional 765 Production studio and had to work with a selection of ten prospective pop Japanese idols. In this game, due to the temporary absence of their normal producer, the player, in the role of one of their fans, is given the role of "Special Producer" and is charged with coordinating the idols' concert.
After the success of the Xbox 360 version of the game, Namco revealed the production of Live for You! in October 2007. The game focuses more on the concert event section from the original, with higher customization of the stage, costumes and songs.
Live For You! was developed by Namco Bandai Games and directed by Akihiro Ishihara. In mid-2007, development for the game began in response to player tendencies for the original THE iDOLM@STER arcade game and its Xbox 360 port. Despite the Xbox 360 version of THE iDOLM@STER having 10 idols to choose from and 16 songs, Namco Bandai Games producer Youzou Sakagami was surprised to find that very few players would try to raise each of the idols and choose all of the songs. Instead, Sakagami notes that most players would only choose one or two of the idols to raise and only about three of the songs. Sakagami suggests that this is because the player starts with a single idol in THE iDOLM@STER, and it takes a while to be able to produce three idols at once. Furthermore, because of the competition in the auditions, players would not want their idol to fail, so they would choose idols they are used to raising and choose songs they are used to hearing; Sakagami had noticed this trend since the arcade game version.
The Xbox 360 port of THE iDOLM@STER was developed to allow in part for the player to comfortably enjoy the various scenarios, but the game still had limitations that made viewing live performances difficult. For example, not only did players say that passing the auditions was difficult, but once the idol was able to perform, she could also make mistakes if she had not trained enough, so there were many players who could not readily see a whole performance without flaws. Taking these concerns into account, Sakagami and the development team thought about how they could allow those players to easily view the live performances, which Sakagami notes is a large part for why Live For You! was developed.
Sakagami notes that Live For You! basically extracted the performance system from the previous game, but with changes and improvements. Instead of calling it a traditional video game, he describes it as a game that allows the player to freely view and enjoy the singing and dancing. To achieve this goal, the development team included added functionality with camera angles and close-ups during performances. Sakagami had previously talked with Hiroyuki Onoda, the director of the Xbox 360 port, about how fans wanted more camera functionality in the next game, but Sakagami wanted it to be kept as simple as possible to maintain the lightheartedness in Live For You!. The team also touched on the idea to add in a "sense of unity with the audience" and wanted the player to get excited with the idols during performances, leading to the development of the rhythm minigame. Over the course of the minigame's development, the staff started with a simple rhythm game and began to take a more different approach to it, but after some trial and error, they returned to their initial idea for the minigame.
The staff wanted to create a game that would not cause any stress, and that would allow the player to easily choose any character and form three-girl idol units. The protagonist in the game was developed to be a "fan representative" who would coordinate the idols' performances, so any complex scenarios were left out, resulting in a simple story. Live For You! marked the first in-game appearance of 765 Pro's office clerk Kotori Otonashi in the main story, who was included to help guide the player. The game also marked the first time that Mami Futami could appear on stage independent of Ami Futami, and both can now be on stage at the same time. Sakagami calculated that it would take about 300 billion years without sleep to view every possible combination of idol (from one to groups of three), song, stage, costume and accessory available in Live For You!.
The game was sold in two versions, a Limited and a Regular Edition. The limited edition included a custom slipcase and a special DVD containing an OVA and previews of remixed versions of the songs, available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Pre-reservations contained a download card that would allow users to download a new song, 'shiny smile' (3/27 release) for use in the game. A set of prepaid Microsoft Points cards featuring the iDOLM@STER characters have also been released to accompany the game. Two different versions were offered in 3,500 point denominations.
The game focuses mainly on the concert coordination aspect of the original and expands on it in many ways. Rather than playing as a producer, the player is a fan representative of the idol(s) in the performance. Kotori Otonashi, in her first on-screen appearance, serves as the player's assistant.
Before each performance, the player is introduced to their idol of choice in a small communication event with no branches. The event is randomly selected from about seven conversations for each of the twelve idols (including Mami and Awakened Miki). Afterwards, the player is able to customize the song, stage, costumes and performance.
During the concert, the player is engaged in a rhythm mini-game using 6 different buttons to build up a voltage meter indicating the excitement of the fans during the concert. A higher meter corresponds to a better ranking and higher score during the post-concert evaluation. The player may also set the game to do a video only performance and save that video to their console's memory.
If a player manages to score more than 90% Voltage, they will unlock the Remix-A version of the song they just played.
Multiple downloadable content updates have been released, including songs from the THE IDOLM@STER MASTER ARTIST series. The updates include new costumes, costume pieces, song remixes, themes, gamer pictures, and Idol Drama skits in the form of short videos. Each content piece ranges from 200 to 1000 Microsoft Points.
To coincide with the release of THE iDOLM@STER 2, downloadable content was marked down from its original price.
|765 Production Idols|
|765 Production Staff|
The game was received well, with initial Famitsu scores placing it higher than its predecessor. The game sold 40,000 copies of the limited edition and 2,000 copies of the normal edition on the first day, exceeding the first week sales of the original.
Since then, it has become available from Xbox Live Marketplace from its Games on Demand service, along with the original game.
- Although Awakened Miki is a selectable character, there is no personality change from her regular slothful personality, compared to Mami Futami who tries to act as if she really is Ami.
- 10 of the songs above labeled as returning songs, as they debuted in THE iDOLM@STER SP only weeks before becoming Live for You! DLC.
- Although Takane Shijou and Hibiki Ganaha did not appear in Live for You!, a calender sold at THE IDOLM@STER 5th ANNIVERSARY The world is all one!! concert showed what they would have looked like in this game.