DJMAX Technika Tune: Turning PS Vita Into a Rhythm Game Machine

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DJMAX Technika Tune: Turning PS Vita Into a Rhythm Game Machine

Making the decision to develop an entry of the DJMAX TECHNIKA franchise for PlayStation Vita was something of a no-brainer. The arcade game is known for its stylish cabinet, high-definition background videos, and innovative touch-screen game play. PS Vita is known for its stylish design, high-definition graphics, and innovative dual touch control scheme. Everything seems to line up, until you realize that the gameplay experience on a 22” touch screen has to be re-created for a handheld platform.

If you’re not familiar with the DJMAX TECHNIKA arcade franchise, at its core it plays like most other arcade music games. It has a dedicated control interface used to activate “notes” in as accurate timing with the music as possible. In TECHNIKA’s case the game uses two sets of four horizontal lanes with a timing line that scrolls clockwise on the screen. Even on the 22” arcade monitor, the play field takes up nearly all of the real estate out of necessity.

DJMAX Technika Tune on PS VitaDJMAX Technika Tune on PS Vita

Our solution was to cut two of the rows to make the interface on TECHNIKA TUNE separate into two, three lane sections instead. The first time many high-level players heard this, it became a concern. “Wouldn’t the game become too easy at that point?” or “The charts won’t feel complete with less note lanes.” We considered this from the get-go and made new charts for every song featured in the game. This allowed us to properly tailor the most important aspect of the gameplay specifically for PS Vita and create a faithful, yet unique, version of the existing game.

Another challenge we faced was the five different types of notes featured in the game. The most basic notes were pretty simple. Standard notes (you tap once to activate), drag notes (you follow along with your finger), and chain notes (kind of like connect the dots) were all easy enough to fit intuitively on the touch screen for the Vita. Hold notes and repeat notes (both of which require you to tap in one stationary spot even when the timeline moves) needed to be reworked to keep the game portable. We couldn’t remove or change them too drastically because they really round out the game play, but there’s no comfortable way to carry the system and use two hands on the touch screen.

DJMAX Technika Tune on PS Vita

DJMAX Technika Tune on PS VitaDJMAX Technika Tune on PS Vita

Enter PS Vita’s rear touch panel. Having a second surface to activate the notes with allowed us to include their mechanic in a new way, while staying true to the core functionality of each note. Now when activating a repeater note, you just tap the rear touch panel in time with the on-screen indicators. Likewise, with hold notes you just tap once and don’t break contact through the length of the note. Using the rear panel makes it comfortable to play the game on the go and still play expert level songs (arcade purists will be happy to know they can turn the rear panel off in the options menu)!

All in all, we’re sure existing fans of the DJMAX franchise will be pleased with the way the game turned out. The transition from a dedicated arcade cabinet to a handheld console doesn’t seem like the most natural one, but the end result with Tune is all about keeping true to the core game play while expanding on the idea to deliver an easy to grasp and fun to play concept using the PS Vita system. If you’re an existing fan of TECHNIKA, we hope we’ve shed some light on the transition to the new platform, but if you still have unanswered questions feel free to ask! You can find us on Twitter, and I’ll be hanging out here to field questions and chat it up.

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17 Author Replies

  • Cool! I’m glad this is finally coming out in the US. Any word on how much it’s going to be?

  • Looks fun. This is a rough time to release though unless its pretty darn cheap.

  • @the video: Look like they mastered their own game O_o!

    • That actually isn’t even the hardest difficulty! But the game has a pretty friendly learning curve, like most music games they tend to look more intimidating than they actually are at first glance.

  • Where are the crackle, hulu, espn, nfl, and other sports apps that you promised on vita at E3 2012 huh?

  • Yes! Sucks the psn version released before the physical copy. I wanted a hard copy but I guess that’s not gonna happen now.

  • looks like fun, how much it’s going to be?

  • I want this game!!!!!!!

  • Love it!

    I bought a psn card with 10% off (black friday) just to buy this game tomorrow!

  • I’m a huge fan of rhythm games so this looks right up my alley. Any chance there will be a demo so we can try it out?

    • A demo is in the works, but we don’t have a definite date as to when it’ll be available on PSN just yet. As a rhythm game fan we’re pretty sure you’ll love the game once you get a chance to try it out. Even though it’s not the traditional DJMAX style that everyone is used to, it’s a really fresh take on rhythm based gameplay. We’re really proud of the finished product!

  • Can’t wait, though I’m scared of the DL size as they said you would need at least a 4 gb stick for the game. Not to say I don’t have plenty of room so it’s still not a problem. Wanted to get the physical version but due to cheaper situations had to swap to digital. Will pick this up regardless.

    Price on PSN is $45. Retail version is $50.

  • $45 is a steep price for this IMO. But it does look like a very fun game.

  • good news i used to have to worry aboute sony games rakeing up my internet bill but no more becuse this friday im getting aol canada internet i pay 12.00 a mouth unlimted no limte data its the ownly compeny i found that offers unlimted i can even download 94859385789786907 tb if i want and still pay 12.00 a mouth

  • Will this game have DLC songs? I’m really interested in those, specially older songs that didn’t make the cut.

  • I was going to pick this up on cart but they keep delaying the release.
    I’m glad to see it finally get a release date.

  • looks interesting but wouldn’t pay more than $10 for a Vita Rhythm game. This should have been a PS Plus game this week instead of the 3 year old Bioshock 2.

  • I’ve have the Japanese version of this game! Absolutely EXCELLENT! Tried it when I friend brought it over, and he eventually wanted to sell it so I bought it off of him! If you’re into rhythm games, this one is a MUST!

  • Wait, this game is $50/$45 (PSN) bucks?


    No Vita game should be over $40 and that’s pushing it. Most games should be $30 or less, and this seems to be one of those $20 games.

  • As a general rule every vita game is about $10 too much, except – of course – the games less than $15.

    This game is about $20-$25 too much. So you have that going for it. I actually own over 30 vita games at this point and have dealt with overpaying for the vast majority of them. But this is just crazy. Not quite BLOPS Declassified crazy, but close.

  • @19 agreed. Not sure if its the publishers or Sony but digital games are too overpriced for both Vita and PS3. Especially that crappy Declassified game. I love Black Ops 2 on PS3, but the Vita game is just a lazy cash in and doesn’t deserve to be priced that high.

  • Never got a chance to check out Technika in any of my local arcades as they are all but dead, but I did follow the news stories on Bemanistyle hoping some kind of news like this would eventually surface. Looking forward to checking it out!

    • As stated in the article, a lot of thought went into keeping this game as faithful to the arcade game as possible. We know there are a ton of fans all over the country who don’t have access to the arcade game, so we hope that those fans especially will be happy with the game!

  • $50 / $45 is way too much for me
    $40 / $35 then I would of gave it a second thought.
    even though I love DJ MAX series, going to wait a while for price drop for this series.

  • Hey, Mr. Lehecka, Where can i buy the retail version?. I check Amazon and GameStop, and it seem like they don’t carries it. BTW, thank you for localizing this game.

    • Amazon should have the game available for purchase very soon. Brick & mortar retail support is limited right now, but we’re still working on it. You can also purchase the game directly from Pentavision Global at (begins shipping this week).

      The small remaining quantity of the limited edition collector’s set will be available on the Technika Tune website within the next week or so as well. We’ll be announcing via twitter when those will be available.

  • Wow. I wasn’t aware of this game at all. Never seen the original game anywhere, but this looks exactly like my thing. I love rythm games, and I love my shinny new Vita, so I’m pretty sold on this one. But, 45? That’s quite a hit to the wallet. Guess I’ll have to check more videos and reviews before buying.

    Haven’t played a portable rythm game since Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 on… well, another handheld. Oh man, I enjoyed that game so much.

    I assume the game has trophies. But does it have a platinum?

    • It does indeed have a platinum trophy.

      We know the price is a sensitive issue for some players out there, but we packed this game full of content (more than 60 songs, tons of unlockable stuff) so if you’re a fan of rhythm games already we’re sure you’ll find plenty of replay value!

  • Where am I suppose to buy this? Can’t find it on Amazon or Gamestop.

    • Amazon will have it available once the game is released (this is one of those cases where the digital game is coming slightly earlier thanks to a few delays), and we’re taking orders on right now.

      We’ll make an announcement on twitter when the amazon product page is up. Brick & mortar retail support is still being worked on.

  • Nevermind, I saw #23! I’ll be sure to pick it up when it comes out on Amazon.

    Anybody else think the cover looks a little … much?

  • Thanks for the answer =)

    So there’s more than 60 songs and several difficulty levels, I imagine. Well, then the price sounds quite a lot better. I was thinking there would be like 25 songs or something.

    As a suggestion, you probably should have added more details like those in the post, because, at least for me, those are the kind of details that can make all the difference between buying right away or waiting for a better price.

    Or maybe you were going to do another post in the future, I don’t know.

    • All difficulty levels considered, there are over 180 individual note charts in the game.

      We definitely considered going more into the content of the game in the article, but really wanted to focus on how the game played. A lot of existing players expressed concerns over how the title would translate to a smaller platform, and new players could easily be confused by the screenshots alone. The product description pages will definitely do a better job of letting you know what’s packed into the title.

  • This and Hatsune Miku are the reasons I own a Vita! Keep the good Rhythm games coming!

  • Hoping for some free future DLC if this ends up being $50 though.

    • We’re not 100% sure how DLC is going to be handled just yet, but it’s definitely not impossible that we’ll offer some for free down the line. The game has more than 60 songs included from day one though, so we feel the price point is justified.

  • All touch screen gameplay? Looks like a damn iPhone game. Why is this being put on a gaming system with buttons.

    • The game is just better suited for VIta. The system allows us to include full motion video backgrounds, higher quality audio, and provide a better portable experience. The Vita includes a touch screen and a touch panel for a reason, and we’re making use of that.

  • I am so excited for this game! I’ve been a huge fan of DJMAX ever since I first played the demo of Portable 2, and I always wanted to play Technika but there aren’t any cabinets around me. My wish has come true!
    I have been following updates via Facebook and I know there have been a lot of struggles in releasing this game for the US, so I am glad that things are finally looking up. I look forward to DLC in the future also!

    • We hope you enjoy the final product! Technika really is a different beast from the traditional DJMAX games, but it’s one that really holds its own, and delivers the same kind of feeling as other entries in the series. I think you’ll be really pleased with the gameplay since you’re an existing fan of the franchise.

  • Looks cool but when I saw DJ I thought we were gonna be able to make our own music/beats. :(

  • I loved the arcade version! So I bought the Japanese version of TUNE while I was in Shinjuku and love the game. I would recommend it to every Vita owner!

    I might buy the american version again if DLC for the Clazziquai songs comes out. Please put Clazziquai on the DLC! Hopefully licensing doesn’t become an issue.

    • We’ll definitely keep your request in mind. We’re keeping an eye out on what the most requested songs are right now, and when we’re ready to release DLC we’ll likely be taking them into heavy consideration. The Clazziquai stuff was produced in cooperation with us for the PSP title, so it’s not unrealistic that it could be included down the line!

  • Interesting rhythm game but will not buy if it’s really expensive.

  • Why is everyone crying about the price? Gaming has never been a cheap hobby. You can always develop your own game and price how you see fit.

  • 3gb for the digital copy, Ahhh i will wait for the physical copy if and when it shows up at gamestop

  • @35 wasn’t really griping just it’s a high price point for a game when the rest of the library except a couple games are priced at 39.99. Now if this wasn’t coming to the West the price of me Importing it would have been much more but still would be nice to have a plus discount on it. The price also can keep people who haven’t played the other DJMAX games from playing it since it costs more than most of their other VITA games.

  • I know this sounds like griping, and I want to get this game, too, but I have DJ Max Fever for the PSP. Is there any word on getting PS Vita compatibility for that game?

    • DJMAX FEVER was put together by PM Studios in the US so we actually don’t have any control over that title. We may possibly release the Korean DJMAX Portable games that never came out in the states on PSN at some point though, so keep an eye out for that!

  • This game looks like a lot of fun. I will definitely be picking it up by the end of the year. I have been holding off on importing, hoping that it would be released here in NA, so thank you for that. I am also glad to hear that you are working on the retail support. I will likely order through Amazon when I am ready.

  • Production values are super nice. Still unsure if I’ll buy it, but we shall see.

  • @4, three- is this the ESPN + Hulu + Crackle thread? Come on man; that’s like attending the weekly town meeting & asking “Anybody try the new taco joint?” Le sigh… :/

    Anyways, thanks for the announcement Eddie! I breezed through the comments & I may have missed it- what is the digital size of DJ Max?

  • $50/$45 is a bit too steep for my blood. Pass. As much as I’d like to play it, I’ll wait till the Vita has a sale or the game gets a price cut.

  • Now this is a fresh IP for PS Vita keep the support rolling out for the system.

  • Not too surprised by the comments on price but people expecting games to be in the $30 range is asking too much. A game like this especially that has more or less endless replay value with multiple difficulties, different control schemes/ways to play, unlocks and more it just makes sense.

    Thanks for the heads up on Gb size, glad to hear it’s reasonable (though the dlc might be killer, I’ma buy it all.)
    Now I just have to refresh the page an infinite number of times until dusk when the store updates and then curse my ISP for being garbage while slowly downloading the game.

  • P…. M…. Studios…

    Got it.

  • Haha, Not to disappoint anyone, it seems like they are making a iOS game (using mostly touch screen)

  • This game looks pretty catchy and addicting, interested in seeing how it turns out for sure.

  • I hopr it’s not too late to ask, i’m a huuuge fan, but….i live in europe… any chance of the game being released there ? on psn or retail, i don’t care >.<

  • thanks for bringing this over to the states. i will buy once amazon puts it up.

  • @ 48

    Vita is region free and most (if not all?) versions have an english option if you don’t care to import.

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