The November 1994 issue of the Japanese 3DO Magazine arrived at a crucial junction for the platform’s fortunes in Japan. While Japanese developer support remained anemic, it was beginning to pick up, with a port of Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge (Super Street Fighter II Turbo) that blew away any previous 16-bit Street Fighter II ports leading the charge. Meanwhile, Konami was preparing a port of Policenauts, a PC-98 adventure game that was the spiritual successor to the popular Snatcher, and WARP, a development studio led by iconoclastic experimentalist Kenji Eno, was hyping up their upcoming D no Shokutaku, a mysterious horror game starring their “digital actress” Laura. The latter would prove to be a major hit and a defining game for the 3DO in Japan.
Yet that fleeting sense of optimism for the platform’s future would soon dissipate. On November 22, 1994, the Sega Saturn was launched in Japan, and the Sony PlayStation followed soon after on December 3. Both were immediate hits. The Saturn’s launch lineup was thin, but it had a port of Virtua Fighter, then the hottest fighting game on the market. The PlayStation had a port of Namco’s arcade hit Ridge Racer and the impressive first-person dungeon crawler King’s Field among its launch titles. Both systems handily outclassed the 3DO technically and quickly attracted Japanese third party support. By the end of 1995, even D no Shokutaku had been ported to the Saturn and PlayStation. The hopes of the 3DO faithful rested on the M2, a 64-bit successor that promised to outclass its competitors, yet would ultimately only ever power a handful of obscure Konami arcade games.
But for now, let’s enjoy this brief shining moment for the 3DO.