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BanDai Conceives .hack//Another Birth
04.01.05

HEATH HINDMAN
STAFF COLUMNIST



.hack//Another Birth

This was an April Fool's Joke

For a full listing of all of the April Fool's jokes posted on RPGamer in 2005, click here.

After the end of .hack//Quarantine, fans of BanDai and CyberConnect2's .hack were left wondering if there would ever be another video game incarnation of the project. .hack has appeared in forms of anime, manga, and games--just about every entertainment medium available. Recently, BanDai let out some information pertaining to a fifth RPG in the series, entitled .hack//Another Birth.

Story details are scarce, but the major twist has been revealed; players will not be controlling Kite this time around. Instead, Another Birth puts Black Rose in the spotlight, placing Kite as a supporting character. This story is said to be a video game version of a manga of the same title, so far only released in Japan. Looking at this image, the story looks to be a lot more personal in this round.

Veterans of the first four .hack titles will likely remember the feature allowing them to carry their save data from game to game. Since this will be on PlayStation 2, a degree of this is possible once again. With the switch of main characters, a complete data transfer from Quarantine to Another Birth would be impossible, but all non-equipment items in the player's inventory can be moved. This is because the "Item Completetion" quest will be continued from Quarantine, with over 200 more items set to be added to the list of things to collect. All party members on the player's contact list can also be imported, and no new characters have been unveiled. Whether or not Another Birth will allow recruiting of characters the player missed in the previous four games has not been specified.

The press release containing this information did not reveal much gameplay infomation, other than the fact that CyberConnect2 plans on increasing the size of the towns and adding, in CC2 Marketing Manager Jay McKee's own words, "more MMORPG-like content," and all talk of such things ended there. No comments regarding the battles system or anything else were made, presumably because the game is still in early production.

"I'm excited to be working with everyone again," said Masumi Asano, Japanese voice of Black Rose. "It will be neat to be voicing the lead character. Black Rose's part was already a big one before, but now I have a lot more work to do. I can't wait to start recording!"

The game has been announced for Japanese release some time near the end of the year, with a North American localization to follow in early 2006. Whether or not Atari will step in and release the game in Europe as it did the other games in the series is not known. RPGamer will continue to post updated information as it becomes available. In the meantime, take a look at the game's earliest pieces of official artwork.

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