Gojyo Taxi is hoping that the ability to evolve pig-tailed magic girls in their cars will boost usage, and “hope” is a wonderful thing.
■ They are a-changin’
In this day and age it certainly appears that the writing is on the wall for taxi companies. With the increasing presence of services like Uber soon to be followed by a slew of driverless transportation services, there is little room left for the personal touch of a good old cabbie.
So like any company that hopes to survive in changing times, Gojyo Taxi in Tokyo is looking to diversify… in the most delightfully unusual way. They are getting ready to release Gojo World, which is a smartphone game featuring magical moe girls whom the user can collect, evolve, and battle.
If this is all sounding vaguely familiar, Gojo World is unique in that characters evolve by accumulating mileage on Gojyo cabs. The cars themselves also have stickers with QR codes that allow riders access to special items in the game.
The game’s plot takes place in Gojo World which is divided into two countries: East and West. The West Country is ruled by the newly anointed queen, Emille, who is a sort of hippy-chick that uses her magical powers to stay connected with nature and all that other groovy stuff.
In the East, we have Moco who is revered as a god because of her ability to fuse weaponry and magic in a martial art called “Mado.” Moco also just happens to be the clone of Emille who’s a little ticked off for having been banished from the West years earlier.
▼ Emille (left) and Moco (right)
As the player you must make an allegiance to either nation and support the war effort by riding taxis as much as possible. Other details about the game are still under wraps for the time being.
■ Can it work?
The potential of Gojo World really seems to hinge on how important riding a taxi is to advancing in the game. Taxis can be rather pricey in Japan and not enough people in Gojo World’s demographic likely need to use cabs regularly enough for the game to build a strong user base.
However, if it happens to be a great game by itself and is simply enhanced by using taxis, it could work. In that case though they would still have to overcome the impression that you need to ride taxis to play which would likely turn off many potential players.
It’s all speculation at this point until more details emerge, but leading up to the game’s February release date on iOS and Android devices, Gojyo Taxi will try to raise awareness. For example, they will be at this winter’s Comiket 91 handing out 500 stickers with item-containing QR codes from 29 to 31 December.
▼ Sample sticker
By they way, some of you might think another challenge would be finding a Gojyo Taxi among the hundreds of others filling the streets of Tokyo. Well, don’t worry. Their London Taxi and Itataku (Itasha Taxi) are pretty easy to spot.
▼ London Taxi
互助交通 (@gojyo_taxi) July 31, 2016
▼ Itataku (with limited edition Santa driver)
互助交通 (@gojyo_taxi) December 19, 2016
It appears that Gojo World has an uphill battle to become a successful taxi-based video game. Nevertheless, I hope they do make it, because it’s a weird idea, and I like that. Now if we could just actually travel in the taxi with a 3-D Emille or Moco….