Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune is one of the best racing game series to be oft-shafted by its developer outside of Japan.
Many of you reading are likely plenty aware of the franchise. Maximum Tune is absolutely stellar, with a dedicated fan base to boot.
So why, oh why does Bandai Namco treat it so poorly?
The series initially received pretty good U.S. support. The first game was released in 2004, followed by WMMT2 in 2005 and WMMT3 in 2007 (with 3DX+ upgrade coming in 2010).
Maximum Tune 4, on the other hand, was not so lucky. Its 2011 Japanese marked the first time an installment was not released outside of Asia, according to the Wangam Midnight Wiki.
The dry period after 2010 was an arduous one for Maximum Tune diehards. And when Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune returned for its fifth installment in 2014, it seemed the U.S. community would once be left out.
Until 2017 rolled around, and Bandai Namco finally brought the beloved driver back to our shores. Even though I, up to point, was not familiar with the series, I immediately understood how incredibly special this was.
But you know what we didn’t get? The 5DX upgrade—nor 5DX+.
And you know what we really, really didn’t get? Maximum Tune 6 in 2018.
This is something many U.S. players, including myself, have taken serious issue with. There’s a pocket of players in the States who care deeply about the franchise. And yet, it seems our voices just aren’t strong enough.
From what I’ve heard, Maximum Tune 5 didn’t meet sales expectations in America. But to be perfectly frank: What exactly did Bandai Namco expect when releasing the game in forced a four-player configuration and initially dubbing it a limited release?
(Bandai Namco reportedly limited Maximum Tune 5 to only 50 four-unit purchases upon launch. This no longer seems to be the case, as operators can now purchase two-player units, and the title is still listed as one of Bandai Namco’s “current games” on their U.S. website.)
I won’t say Namco screwed the game over, but I will say this: They could have promoted the game much more, and they could have supported it with the content updates they promised.
Now, while you can find MT5 at Round1 and some other U.S. locations, its overall scarcity is pretty pitiful.
So yes, perhaps the poor performance of Maximum Tune 5 contributed to our present dearth of Maximum Tune 6. But you know what I say?
Why should that matter?
Bandai Namco’s handling of MT5 was a tad tepid. If they decided to push out the sixth installment with the same fervor and favoritism they apply to “games” like—gag—Red Zone Rush, maybe we’d get somewhere. Maybe, by some good fortune, they could more effectively serve the U.S. community.
And now’s the perfect time to do it. With Wangan Midnight Maxium Tune 6R hitting Japanese arcades on January 1, 2020, I firmly believe it’s time Bandai Namco gives the series a shot again.
If anyone at Bandai Namco Amusements is reading this, I’d like to direct you to the approximately 1,500 members of the “r/wmmt” subreddit, where you can gauge precisely how much they love this series. They demonstrate admiral passion.
Though I’ve only had the opportunity to play Maximum Tune 5 once—a true testament to its limited availability—it was an unforgettable experience. I want to experience that again with big number six.
(Keep in mind, this entire article was written from an American's perspective. European fans, goodness knows, have gotten it even worse.)
So let’s answer that question:
Oh where, oh where is Maximum Tune 6?