Wizards of the Coast has announced plans to bring the popular Duel Masters property back to North America in a new multi-platform Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters iteration that will encompass an online game, a trading card game, and a new TV series produced by Hasbro Studios that will begin airing on Hasbro’s The Hub cable network this summer. In Japan the Duel Masters Trading Card Game has maintained its position as a market leader with boys in the 8-12 age bracket for ten years.
WotC’s new iteration of the property, Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters, is an attempt to create the same kind of interest here that has existed in Japan for a decade during which the TCG has been a favorite of millions of Japanese kids. In the Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters TCG, the online game, and the new TV series kids will be immersed in a world of combat and strategy in which they will develop strong bonds with powerful and edgy creatures that they must lead in a battle to save humanity from annihilation.
Back in 2004 WotC attempted to introduce Duel Masters into a crowded TCG marketplace. Even with some support from the Cartoon Network, which actually ran the original Duel Masters anime on a daily basis for awhile in late 2004 (see “Duel Masters Goes Daily”), the property foundered on its first foray into the American market. But Hasbro’s The Hub network should provide the new Duel Masters property with more consistent and available support, and the new Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters cartoon series adapts the TCG property to new story and product lines that WotC hopes will strike a chord with American kids. In a good example of the increasing amount of vertical integration in American pop culture, Hasbro (WotC's corporate parent) is producing the new cartoon series at its Hasbro Studios as well as airing on its Hub network (see “Duel Masters: American Style”).
So far WotC has not indicated when the revamped Duel Masters TCG will be released, but a banner on the Kaijudo Website indicates that the cartoon series should start its run on the Hub network this summer, so it would appear likely that the game and other assorted tie-in merchandise could be launched by the fall. Look for more announcements from WotC about the Duel Masters revival over the coming months.