Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories has an interesting, ironic, and most of all, a tragic history. The fourth entry in the Disaster Report series was originally scheduled for a March 10, 2011 release on the PlayStation 3, but it’s production was cancelled due to the destruction wrought by an undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan exactly one day before the game’s original release date.
The earthquake, the most powerful ever recorded in Japan and the fourth most powerful in recorded history, hit off the northern Pacific coast of Japan, sending a tsunami with cataclysmic, 40-meter waves hurling toward the coast of Tōhoku, Japan’s largest island. These waves traveled 435 mph (700 km/h) for 6 miles (10 km) inland, destroying everything in their path.
With less than 10 minutes of warning, residents in the path of the destruction had little hope, and the tsunami resulted in nearly 20,000 deaths and left another 230,000 people displaced from their homes as far off as 2015. The game was cancelled only three days later, on March 14, 2011. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami was, by all accounts, a tragedy.
So, when we say that the game is surrounded by an aura of irony, we don’t mean to make light of the terrible events that unfolded in Japan that year. However, that Disaster Report 4 takes place in a metropolitan city crippled by a major earthquake in midsummer is irrefutably coincidental.
The game’s focus is on a character visiting the city for a job interview who becomes stranded in the wake of the earthquake’s destruction and must escape to safety through the untold perils left behind, including collapsing structures and panicked survivors.
In 2014, Granzella acquired the IP for the Disaster Report series and in the following year, announced that Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories was starting development from scratch. Finally released in November of 2018 to the Japanese market, NIS America is now ready to bring the title to a western audience.
Today, they unveiled a new trailer for the game and confirmed its April 7, 2020 release date. While the game has a tragic past, it was well received in Japan, and the history surrounding its production has no doubt lended an air of authenticity that comes at the highest of costs.
After all, who else could better understand the situation of the game’s protagonist than the compatriots of the men and women who had to deal with that same tragic reality? While nothing can ever fully communicate the horrors of such a tragedy, we still think the good men and women at Granzella have provided us with an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by pouring their hearts into this game.
Our hearts go out to the victims and survivors of 2011’s horrific events.