Fans of Nautilus's renowned Shadow Hearts series are in for a major treat, as both an official site update and several new pieces of propaganda have revealed a continent's worth of new information regarding Shadow Hearts III: From the New World. New characters, familiar faces, new locations, and a new magic scheme all rear their heads in this latest bit of information.
With the rosters for the good, the bad, and the weird now full, it's only fitting that Nautilus would move on to describe the NPCs players will find along their journey. As mentioned above, several familiar faces will make return visits, so long time fans of the series should be pleased. The NPCs are:
Two other characters were disclosed as well, but it is unknown yet whether they are playable or not. These characters are:
- Gilbert: A shady looking professor from Arkham University, Gilbert is technically the single man responsible for the story of Shadow Hearts III, as he commissoned Johnny to follow the mysterious man whose eventual consumption spawned the title's journey. Gilbert seems to have a permanent, condescending smile attached to his face, and whenever he talks he acts as if he knows a great deal more than he lets on. This is especially true whenever Johnny's lost memories are the topic of discussion.
- Meiyuan: The returning acupuncturist has abandoned his business in China to pursue a living as a biker in the United States, where he works with the mysterious "Stellar Charts." Of course, Meiyuan could never do this alone; his beloved partner, Gerard Mazymell, will be riding in the sidecar.
- Gerard Mazymell: Despite being well past retiring age, Gerard still continues his item business with devout enthusiasm. He and Meiyuan will continue the infamous Mazymell practice of dashing into the game's dungeons, wherein they will wait for Johnny and Co. so as to make a profit off the adventurers' needs for weapons and items.
Finally, the name of Shania's earth fusion was unveiled as well: Ta Tanka. Interestingly, tatanka is the Lakota word for "buffalo." Those who have seen the propaganda would most probably agree that this is a very fitting title indeed.
- Ann Lafite: It's not every day that one sees an 8-year-old pirate captain, but that's exactly what Ann is. As the commander of the Lafite pirates in the Carribean Sea, the mature and responsible girl has made it her personal goal to find her grandfather's lost treasure.
- Edna Capone: Yes, you read that correctly. She's a Capone -- one of the Capones. More specifically, she's Al's younger sister. Surprisingly, she has little taste for her brother's less-than-holy exploits, and she prefers a much cleaner existence. She also harbors a massive crush on a certain Mexican guitarist.
Characters aside, more information has been revealed about the title's strange intro. From the moment Johnny received that fateful commission it had appeared that everything he went through was staged. Well, it was. Professor Gilbert, the client who hired Johnny on that fateful night, is in fact the architect of the monster-spawning "Windows" appearing all across the country. While it is known that he got Johnny into this situation intentionally, it is not yet known why he picked Johnny specifically.
As most gamers probably know by now, Shadow Hearts III takes place in the United States during the Great Depression and will have players visiting such famous locations as Brooklyn, Chicago, and the Grand Canyon. Several new locations, including different countries, can now be added to that list. Johnny's journey will now be taking gamers to locales like Arkham College, the Carribean, Bermuda, Roswell, Las Vegas, and Mexico.
The Crest Magic system from Shadow Hearts II: Covenant will be replaced in this installment by the "Stellar Magic" system, so named because of its basis on the Constellations. In this system, players must first find items known as Stellar Charts, of which there are twelve: one for each Zodiac. Each chart sports a number of open spots, called "Nodes." The Nodes will accept a only certain type of item, called "Stella." Once the Stella has been inserted into a Node, all a character has to do to utilize the magic is equip the corresponding Chart. Shania, however, cannot use the Charts.
Stella come in one of three different catagories--attack, healing, and effect--and each catagory has four levels. Different spells become available depending on which Nodes players place their Stella in, but Nodes will often have restrictions on the types of Stella they will accept. These restrictions may include a demand for a certain level, a demand for a certain element, or any number of other demands. Players that are having particular difficulty getting their Charts to work out they way they would like can, of course, have Meiyuan tweak the nodes for a fee. Changeable characteristics include required levels, MP costs, and spell power.
Shadow Hearts III will see a July 28 release in Japan. There has not yet been any word of a North American localization, but RPGamer will be sure to keep you updated should this news arise.