THE iDOLM@STER 2
It was released on the Xbox 360 in Japan on February 24, 2011, and on the PlayStation 3 seven months later, on October 27, 2011. Both versions were re-released on August 2, 2012, for both systems as part of a Best Seller's line. The game was developed by Bandai Namco Games Inc. (later known as Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. since 2015).
The game takes place about half a year to a year after the idols first debuted. 765 Pro is facing a lack of recent success in Story Mode. One of the only recent hits is Ryuuguu Komachi, a unit comprised of Azusa Miura, Ami Futami, led by Iori Minase, and produced by former idol Ritsuko Akizuki. The 9 selectable girls have made solo debuts already but haven't become anywhere as popular as Ritsuko's group. Because of Ryuuguu Komachi's success and the recent lack of public interest in solo idols, Junjirou Takagi entrusts the Producer with creating a idol unit, with the goal to make 765 Production successful.
Takao Kuroi's secret weapon to beat 765 Pro involves a batch of male idols forming the idol unit named Jupiter. It includes Touma Amagase, Hokuto Ijuuin, and Shouta Mitarai. The group becomes very popular with their songs Alice or Guilty and Koi wo Hajimeyou.
Faced with living up to Ryuuguu Komachi's success and attempting to deal with the mysterious new threat of Jupiter, the Producer must manage each girl's tension, produce songs, and aim for the Idol Academy title.
Gameplay mostly remains unchanged from the previous game, only this time the player has to choose three of the nine idols and create a trio group.
The player can invite two additional idols for a quintet performance for certain songs, resulting in five idols on stage.
Also included in the game is the Stage For You! mode, which resembles Office Mode from THE iDOLM@STER SP, to create a stage without producing an idol unit, utilizing 1, 2, 3, or 5 idols on the stage. All 13 idols are available to use in S4U! mode, though Ritsuko, Azusa, Iori, and Ami are not initially available in this mode until later in the game. In the PlayStation 3 version, Jupiter and the other DLC idols can also be used in S4U! as guests, but there are limitations to customization and songs.
|765 Production Idols|
|765 Production Staff|
|961 Production Idols|
|876 Production Idols|
|PS3 DLC Special Idol|
|Default Songs (X360 version)|
|New Default Songs (PS3 version)|
|X360-only DLC||DLC for both versions||PS3-only DLC|
|Special idol songs|
The game was first released for the Xbox 360 on February 24, 2011, with a limited first print edition called the Sparkle Pack. The Sparkle Pack edition contained a 4 part photo set, a 765 Pro Employee ID with an unique employee number and Serial ID, a download card for the DLC song Little Match Girl, and two Weiss Schwarz promo cards.
The game was re-released for the PlayStation 3 on October 27, 2011 with extra content on the disk, including the first 3 catalogs of downloadable content. The PS3 version of the limited first print edition included the limited edition of the first volume of THE iDOLM@STER anime on Blu-Ray disc (which also includes the PERFECT IDOL 01 CD), volume 1 of Gravure For You!, a mini-gravure model magazine featuring Iori and Haruka, a 5 photo image set of Iori, as well as the official soundtrack CD with BGM from the game. This all came packed in a special box which seems to be for other volumes of the anime, as the box is simply labeled "THE iDOLM@STER", referencing itself to the anime, and not the game.
Changes from THE iDOLM@STER
- A change in voice actors occurred. Azumi Asakura is the voice of Yukiho Hagiwara in this game, replacing Yurina Hase.
- The original 765 president Junichirou Takagi was replaced by Junjirou Takagi.
- Although the settings and characters strongly resemble the ones used in the older games, iM@S2 is in fact a standalone in the series. One could call it a parallel universe where Producer never joined 765 Pro. 961 Pro's Project Fairy didn't exist either. However, the characters Miki Hoshii, Takane Shijou and Hibiki Ganaha exist and are part of 765 Production, suggesting that the events of THE iDOLM@STER SP likely never happened.
- Nearly all of the characters, specifically the idols from 765 Production, underwent design updates in this game. Most notable to these changes are Mami Futami, Azusa Miura, Iori Minase, Ritsuko Akizuki and Makoto Kikuchi. Many girls' profile sizes changed, some rather dramatically, such as Ami and Mami's height. The idols from 876 Production also received their first HD appearance within the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
- While the address for the 765 office stayed the same, the building itself gained a floor in height and was changed to be brown in color. The stairs on the side of the building are no longer rounded and the roof is now flat. The building no longer has a series of signs attached to the stairs, and does not have an adjacent building attached to the right. The tape on the office windows is now yellow and the office space itself is now much more defined. There are more rooms, bulletin boards, computers and chairs within the office.
- While only shown in the Gravure for You! segments for 876 Production, the 876 office actually had a minor update. The poster in the background depicting Sophie of the Tales series was removed upon porting to the PlayStation 3.
- Costumes are now classified as FLORAL, LUXURY, and STARRY, replacing the previous CUTE&GIRLY, COOL&SEXY, and COSMIC&FUNNY categories respectively. The standard versions of the costumes are called Vital Sunflower (FLORAL), Pink Diamond 765 (LUXURY), and Charming Venus (STARRY).
Differences between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions
- Two songs, READY!! and Nanairo Button, have been added, along with the Princess Melody costume. The FLORAL costume Snow Strawberry NEO received a redesign and is now known as The☆Wild Strawberry.
- A "hard" difficulty mode is included, which changes the costumes and songs the rivals perform.
- Guest performances are available in the S4U mode, where the player can set up and view a Jupiter performance, though their costume and song choices are very limited. Ai Hidaka, Eri Mizutani, Ryo Akizuki, and Hatsune Miku are also available in this mode as DLC; if the player purchases them, they will appear as Festival rivals and in song rankings, though they do not appear in the story mode. S4U! mode also supports DLC stages.
- Songs and costumes from the first three X360 DLC catalogs are now included as unlockable, non-DLC content in the PS3 game.
- By the time the PS3 version was released, the X360 version already had released 10 DLC catalogs. Because of this, the X360 version's DLC concluded with the release of Watashi-tachi wa Zutto... Deshou? and the 14th catalog in March 2012, so there are some songs and costumes that are DLC for only the PS3 version. However, the DLC costume Punkish Gothic is only available as DLC for the X360 version for unknown reasons.
- The three rivals, Azusa, Iori, and Ami, are available in the PlayStation 3-exclusive "special episode", unlockable after beating the main story. In this special episode, the Producer takes on the role of Ritsuko's assistant as she produces Ryuuguu Komachi and tries to beat Jupiter. Although not produceable, the player can choose to see Azusa, Iori, Ami, or Ritsuko's story.
THE iDOLM@STER 2 was developed by a team within Bandai Namco Games, and was directed by Akihiro Ishihara and Masataka Katō. From the project's beginnings, the team had intended to again develop a major, high-definition quality iDOLM@STER title. At the same time, they also decided to recreate the game from scratch in a similar fashion to the original arcade game's development process, and made it a goal that the game would have the potential to earn the support of fans for another two to three years. The staff began the game's production by first designing the game's setting, and this was finalized soon after development of THE iDOLM@STER SP had ended and before THE iDOLM@STER Dearly Stars was unveiled to the public.
As the voice actresses had already been playing their characters in THE iDOLM@STER for a long period of time, the development staff asked the actresses whether they would continue their long-term support for the franchise. While the other voice actresses reaffirmed their support and reprised their roles, Yurina Hase did not reprise her role as Yukiho Hagiwara. Hase originally attributed her decision to leave her role as Yukiho Hagiwara to concerns that further participation in the franchise and its concerts would become a hindrance to her voice acting career. However, in November 2015, she attributed this to her agency's decision to remove her from the role and anxiety from death threats. The development team held an audition for the character's role in 2009, but they could not find a satisfactory replacement. Instead, Ishihara reviewed the audio recordings of previous auditions, and thought auditionee Azumi Asakura's singing voice was a fit for the character. He later offered her the role after a recall audition. During recording, Asakura was concerned about the differences between her rendition of the character's voice and Hase's. However, neither Ishihara nor songwriter Kōji Nakagawa were concerned about this change, as they were convinced that Asakura's voice was fitting after having listened to her recitations.
The development team made several changes to the game's characters over the franchise's previous titles. In comparison to Live For You!, some characters' hairstyles were changed, and Hibiki Ganaha and Takane Shijou, who made their first appearances in THE iDOLM@STER SP as rival characters, were reintroduced as 765 Production idols. Instead, the characters Iori Minase, Ami Futami, and Azusa Miura were introduced as a new rival unit called Ryuuguu Komachi, and Ritsuko Akizuki was made its producer. A second rival unit called Jupiter was also introduced. Ishihara stated the introduction of the rival units and offline battles against them was motivated by the game's removal of online player versus player battles, which were removed as Ishihara did not want to alienate the offline players. In turn, Ishihara attributed this removal to the lack of online connectivity requirements in home video game consoles and the results of a previously conducted survey, which showed that the players of the previous game's home version enjoyed communicating with idols more than the game's online battle aspect.
THE iDOLM@STER 2 also received several graphical improvements over the franchise's previous titles, and its graphical engine received an overhaul to facilitate the additional processing demand. Gradation is added to the game's character toon shader, a method which graphics programmer Keiichi Maezawa referred to as "sensitive toon". Maezawa noted that this change made the characters' shadows look more delicate, and believed it addressed concerns from the franchise's artist staffers that the 3D graphics looked cute when the characters are moving but not as still images. Although toon shading is prominently used for the characters, the technique is not applied to the stages in performances. To reduce the sense of discrepancy that this created, bloom and flare effects were added to the stage performances' graphics, in addition to the depth of field and soft focus effects previously used in the original Xbox 360 game. Maezawa also pointed to moving and wavering objects in the background, such as palm trees and beating waves, as major additions to stage performances that serve to make the idols more appealing. To create the confetti and steam used in the performances, Maezawa reused the particles engine from DeadStorm Pirates, a video game also released by Bandai Namco Games.
Pre-release and unused content
An unused save icon graphic can be found in the files of the PlayStation 3 version of THE iDOLM@STER 2, depicting idols that resemble Reika Kitakami and Momoko Suou. It was later discovered that both characters were originally planned to appear in the game along with Julia, as evidenced by an early build of the game that was leaked in the year 2020. Included in the data were 3D models, recordings of The world is all one!!, and several early commus with voice data. Their character concepts were similar to their appearances in later media, but with different voice direction, although the identities of their original voice actresses remain unknown. All three characters were eventually revived with the release of THE iDOLM@STER Million Live!. While many initially believed that they were meant to be rival idols just like Jupiter, the beta data indicates that they were to be produce-able characters in the place of Ryuuguu Komachi. It is theorized that they were cut from the game due to the controversial events that occurred during the game's initial announcement at the Tokyo Game Show 2010.
- For more information, please see 9.18 Incident.
- Reika was originally from Hong Kong. Little Match Girl was originally intended to be her image song before being repurposed as a preorder bonus for the X360 release, and later a standard song in the PS3 release.
- Momoko was originally 12 years old, 142 cm tall, and given the first name "Rinko" (凛子 Rinko). Visionary was originally intended to be her image song before being repurposed for THE iDOLM@STER SHINY FESTA Funky Note.
- Julia was originally supposed to be 15 years old and 155 cm tall. Vault That Borderline! was originally intended to be her Image song before being repurposed for THE iDOLM@STER SHINY FESTA Honey Sound.
- Additional leftover text data also indicated that We Have A Dream was originally intended to make its debut in this game before being repurposed for THE iDOLM@STER LIVE in SLOT!.
It has also been alleged that more DLC special idols were planned after Hatsune Miku.
- Fellow VOCALOID characters Kagamine Rin and Megurine Luka. They were previously featured in a cross promotion campaign alongside Miku.
- Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier was allegedly considered after her outfit and signature song were previously featured in iDOLM@STER-releated media.
- THE IDOLM@STER 2 homepage (portal)
- PlayStation 3 version homepage
- Xbox 360 version homepage
- 961 Production homepage (Formerly had data with Jupiter on it; in 2021, it has been changed to accommodate the 961 Production idols featured in Starlit Season instead).
- 765 Production homepage (Formerly linked to the 765 Pro homepage; as of an unknown date it's been directing to the currently next to empty 765Pro page on the anime site, then later changed to be a redirect to the official IM@S website).
- "長谷さんからバトンタッチ――『アイマス2』雪歩役・浅倉さん最速インタビュー!!" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works (July 5, 2010).
- "The Idolm@ster's Yurina Hase Explains Why She Left Yukiho Role". Anime News Network (November 3, 2015).
- "【CEDEC 2010】『アイマス2』ではココまでこだわる！ かわいいアイドルの作り方" (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works (September 3, 2010).
- "バンダイナムコ、Xbox 360「アイドルマスター2」を2011年春リリース「THE IDOLM@STER 5th ANNIVERSARY The world is all one !!」で発表" (in Japanese). Game Watch (July 3, 2010).
- "Snippet of Beta Momoko (Rinko) singing The world is all one!!".