The latest issue of the Japanese magazine Dengeki PlayStation reveals a host of new details on the upcoming tri-Ace RPG Radiata Stories. "Tri-Ace is mostly known for the Star Ocean series, so we wanted to make an RPG that's totally different," producer Yoshinori Yamagishi told the magazine.
The game is set in a fantasy world called Radiata. Two races--humans and fairies--are at war with one another over some small differences. Unfortunately for the humans, this means going up against the fairies' protectors: the dragons. "We made it into a standard fantasy RPG rather than a sci-fi setting, and the graphics also have a kind of warmth to them," Yamagishi said.
Jack Russel, the hero of the story, is a 16-year-old boy with brown hair who grew up in a village on the outskirts of the Radiata kingdom. His late father was a famous general and a renowned dragon killer; Jack wants to become a great knight like his father, and takes the entrance exam for the Radiata militia.
The heroine, Ridley Timberlake, is the only daughter of the famous Timberlake family. She was raised to become a knight, and tends to be rather strict and stubborn; she has a weaker side, though, and once she begins to dwell on something she can't pull herself back together. She joins the Radiata militia together with Jack, but the two constantly squabble because of their conflicting personalities.
There are roughly 300 characters in Radiata Stories, including Jack's sister Airdale, military chief Gantz Rothchild, and various nonhumans, including elves, dwarves, orcs and other beings. Over half of them can be used in battle.
Battles will take place in real time, with Jack (controlled by the player) and three other party members of the player's choosing (controlled by the computer). There are a number of ways for party members to fight in cooperation. One is the "Link" system, which allows the player to organize the party in various formations for attack, defense, restoring life, and other purposes. Another is the "Bolty" system, where the player can perform special actions (execute a super attack, give special orders to a party member, etc.) by using up a meter on the battle screen. Radiata Stories will also feature conversations between party members during battles, though it is unknown what effect, if any, this will have on gameplay.
The world of Radiata Stories changes from day to night as time passes by, at a rough rate of one day inside the game for every 30 minutes in real life. Moreover, the characters live their own lives according to the time. People can be observed waking up in the morning, going to work, eating a meal at lunchtime, then coming back home in the evening. Knocking on a store's door outside of business hours will only net a player complaints from the owner. As in real life, though, not all people live by the same schedule; some have night jobs, and sleep during the day.
Kicking seems to be the interface option of choice in Radiata Stories. Jack can kick things in towns, dungeons, and on the world map. He opens treasure chests by kicking them; there are also items hidden in various places, so it behooves him to kick desks, display signs, and other suspicious-looking things in the field. As in Paper Mario, kicking a monster before a battle starts will reward the player with a chance at a preemptive strike. Jack can also kick townspeople, which may start a battle with them.
Radiata Stories is scheduled for Japanese release on the PlayStation 2 in Spring 2005. The game's official site is scheduled to open September 10.