The World Ends With You (herein referred to as TWEWY) is a unique JRPG that was released thirteen years ago for the Nintendo DS. It’s still a beloved game that tells an intriguing story, has great art and music, and has a unique battle system that no other game ever truly replicated. That all means that TWEWY has a special place in the hearts of many gamers who played the game when it came out in 2007 - and with its re-release for the Nintendo Switch, even more people were able to fall in love with it!
Not long after the remaster came out for the Switch (along with a collaboration at the Square Enix Cafe in Akihabara), it was announced that TWEWY would be getting an anime. It seemed like a lot of attention was suddenly being put on a game that was over a decade old... and then some great news for TWEWY fans just dropped last week. The game is getting a sequel next summer, releasing for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The new title, called NEO: The World Ends with You (which we will now refer to simply as NEO), seems, from the trailer, to have both old and new elements from its predecessor.
One thing that has remained stable, but updated, is its iconic setting. So let’s take a look at how Shibuya has been updated for NEO to keep this fantasy game grounded in reality! Check out the new trailer below and watch for the landmarks we are going to talk about.
NEO: The World Ends with You - Official Announcement Trailer
A Living, Breathing Shibuya
One of the coolest parts about TWEWY was its setting - Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s most famous and trendy neighbourhoods. TWEWY featured a lot of locations and landmarks that were from actual Shibuya in 2007, and its map layout was also true to the real city. Fans in Japan could appreciate the realism and accuracy, and fans abroad got to experience a little bit of Tokyo without ever leaving their homes. Shibuya was more than just a setting for the background of the game, it set the tone and atmosphere for the story itself. That’s why it’s important that NEO, which is also set in Shibuya, carries on this legacy. Shibuya is an ever-changing, modern city though, so NEO had to add in a few updates and iconic new locations. Let’s check out the ones we could see in the new trailer, and what real parts of the city they represent!
The first is one that was a location in the original TWEWY game, but it’s such an important part of the Shibuya skyline that it’s back! Of course, we are talking about Shibuya 109, the heart of Shibuya’s fashion scene. This huge mall stands on a corner easily seen from the Shibuya Scramble crosswalk and is home to many fashion brands that have a long history in the neighbourhood. In the original TWEWY game, fashion brands were an important part of gameplay, so we imagine they will be again in NEO. While the building name has been changed to 104 in both games, everyone knows exactly what it is - and the reason for the change is quite cool. In Japan, the number “4” is synonymous with death, and without giving too much of the plot of TWEWY away to newcomers, well. It's very appropriate for the Shibuya that the characters are in!
Next up a new addition especially for the otaku, the new Shibuya PARCO. PARCO is a mall that is all over Japan, but the one in Shibuya opened in 2019 to the delight of otaku worldwide. It has an entire floor dedicated to otaku goods, including a huge Pokemon Store, a Capcom Store, a Jump Shop, Japan’s only Nintendo Store, and an eSports cafe. It’s great to see this new building that has become such an otaku destination in Tokyo already featured in a new video game.
There’s another shopping mall in the NEO trailer that you may not know unless you’re a local, and that is MODI. MODI is a shopping mall in Shibuya that has fashion, a book store, home goods, and more. It also has a coffee shop where you can get served by a robot and a VR game centre in the basement! While it may not be the otaku hotspot PARCO is for the fashion centre of 109, it’s still a recognisable building to anyone who spends time in Shibuya, with a vine-covered exterior and huge video monitor.
Next, it’s onto another update from the original TWEWY game, Tower Records. Tower Records is a CD shop chain all over Japan, but it’s Shibuya location is one of the biggest and most recognisable. It’s exterior is all bright yellow with huge video monitors playing the latest hit music in Japan. Inside, there are floors of music and other media to purchase, and Tower Records Shibuya often hosts live events for signings with Japanese musicians of all genres of music. In the original TWEWY game, the shop was called “Towa Records,” and you could buy the awesome soundtrack of the game to choose what songs were in the background when you played. It looks like Tower Records is going to have its real name this time around; hopefully, NEO is going to have a memorable OST, too.
Finally, it looks like NEO is going to be visiting a whole new area - Takeshita Dori, the main road through the alternative fashion district Harajuku. While Harajuku is not part of downtown Shibuya, it is in the same ward less than a twenty-minute walk away from Tower Records. The original TWEWY game didn’t leave the main part of Shibuya, but the inclusion of Harajuku means that we might be looking at a bigger and more elaborate map in NEO. We are undeniably excited to take a virtual walk down Takeshita Dori and see what other real-life sites we can find in this all-new area!
Shibuya was such an important part of the original The World Ends with You game, and it looks like it’s going to be again in NEO. So important in fact that the trailer focused more on showing iconic shots of Shibuya than it really did gameplay and story so far! Of course, it’s just the first trailer, so it’s setting up the atmosphere and building hype for the game’s release next summer. So consider us excited for the new game, and for a new generation of gamers to experience the TWEWY world in a modern Shibuya. We love seeing all that attention to detail and can’t wait to see what other real locations make it into the final game!
Did you play the original TWEWY? Are you excited for NEO? Did you recognise any of the locations from Shibuya in the new trailer? Are you looking forward to seeing how the location has been updated for the latest game? Drop us a comment below!