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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Editorial: Four 2016 JRPGs That We're Looking Forward To (And Aren't By Square-Enix).

Editorial: Four 2016 JRPGs
That We're Looking Forward To
(And Aren't By Square-Enix).

Who has two hands, recently discovered a bunch of non-Square JRPGs coming out in 2016, and doesn't have anything to review right now? That's right, it's me, and since it's always nice to have a sunny, looking forward to the future editorial, here are some JRPGs we at Fission Mailure (that is the royal we, yes) are looking forward to come 2016.

A few quick notes: As far as 'coming 2016' goes, we're going by the European release date or, if there's no European release date confirmed, the Japanese release date. This is mostly because I'm European and this is an editorial about things I'm looking forward to, but partly because every time I acknowledge that places other than the US exist on this blog I get complaints, and those are kind of delightful to me.

I'm also not including any games that I've talked about on this blog before - otherwise Persona 5 and Genei Ibunroku would be on this list. This is also largely why this is a 'no Square-Enix' list - I'm excited as all get out for Bravely Second and Final Fantasy XV, but I've talked about both of those before.

So, let's roll on with the list.

Legend of Legacy.

I know what you're thinking, and you're right: Legend of Legacy is a really stupid name, and that's just not okay in this day and age. 

In spite of that, Legend of Legacy is a very exciting title: A spiritual successor to Square-Enix's SaGa series (it must be a slap in the face that Square isn't publishing it - in Japan, it's being published independently by its developer, and in the US and Europe it's being published by Atlus and NIS America respectively), and boasting an impressive line-up of developers, with designer Kyoji Koizumi, who worked on SaGa; Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross writer Masato Kato; and Final Fantasy XIII composer Masashi Hamauzu.

Furyu, the company taking point on developing it, is a new creation, however it's collaborating with developer Grezzo, whose recent works have included the 3DS Majora's Mask and Ocarina of Time, Tri Force Heroes, and 'Mendelian gardening game' Flower Town. So there's an impressive pedigree going into Legend of Legacy.

As for the game itself, it seems to be very typical high fantasy fare, with an art style that has been compared to Bravely Default, but looks more like Etrian Odyssey to me. It will apparently be open world with non-linear progression, and there will be seven playable characters, one of whom is a frog.

Stella Glow.

Stella Glow is an interesting one. The company developing it, Imageepoch, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and seemed all set to collapse in on itself. Worse still, the CEO of the company disappeared under mysterious circumstances shortly before the company declared bankruptcy and still hasn't been found.

Atlus seems to have swooped in to save Imageepoch, though, or at the very least, to save Stella Glow, which will be being released early next year. Whether it will be Imageepoch's last game remains to be seen.

The game is apparently about a young knight, Alto, who must seek out and recruit witches to help him defeat Hilda, the Witch of Destruction. Like Legend of Legacy, it looks like a fun, high fantasy adventure, and it has an art style which is also very Etrian Odyssey

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight.

This is another slightly interesting one, as it is apparently two games in one, including both a remake of Etrian Odyssey 2: The Heroes of Lagaard, along with an entirely new story that is wound into the narrative of the original story. That's an original idea, at least, and since Heroes of Lagaard is now about eight years old, it's far from the most egregious remake I've ever seen.

Also interesting is that the game has both a 'Classic Mode', which is essentially a spruced up version of the original game, and a 'Story Mode', which has a defined set of characters as your party, an orchestrated soundtrack, and a host of other new features.

This one has already been released everywhere except Europe, and will be coming out here in February.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final is not, as the name originally led me to believe, a re-release of SMT4. It's actually a spin-off? Sequel? To SMT4, focusing on a new protagonist who, after dying, makes a contract with a demon to return to life. Apparently the key word of the game is 'deicide', so I guess we'll be murdering God? After all, he never showed up in SMT4, you just fought his agents.

It's not clear whether this will be taking place during the period of time when Tokyo is covered by a rock dome (as the synopsis mentions the dome in passing), or after the dome has been lifted (as the character descriptions mentions the ghost of Navarre, a samurai who died during the events of the game), but I personally hope it's the latter, because that seems a lot more interesting.

The game is scheduled for release in Japan in February, but there's no word as yet as to whether it'll be released in Europe or the US.

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