Level 5 has announced a new strategy RPG for the PSP, entitled Jeanne d'Arc. The game takes place in a world inspired by the life and times of the real Jeanne d'Arc.
The story begins in the ancient past with the "War Against the Gods of Death." Evil gods commanded armies of demons and attempted to invade the human world. However, they were foiled by five chosen heroes, who created five magic bracelets and used them to seal away these gods.
Many years later, France and England are engaged against one another in the Hundred Years' War. Jeanne is seventeen years old and living in the village of Domremy in the Lorraine region of France. One day at a festival, she is suddenly attacked by a demon. A disembodied voice commands her to defeat the demon, and a bracelet similar to those used by the ancient heroes appears on her arm. She defeats the monster, and then is told to go with her friend, Lian, and an ex-soldier, Roger, to Chateau de Chinon to assist the French army in battling against England as well as the demon armies.
Battles take place on a grid-style field, alternating between player and enemy turns. So far this is traditional for strategy RPGs, but here Jeanne d'Arc adds novel ideas. When one unit attacks another, the blow can overflow and extra energy lands in the spaces near the target. Anyone that stands in these spaces, called "Burning Sites," gains attack power, whether they are friend or foe. Also, when allied units are gathered close enough together, blue circles appear around them, indicating that their defense power has increased because they can work together to defend blows.
Jeanne d'Arc is being developed by Level 5, whose résumé includes Dragon Quest VIII, Rogue Galaxy and the Dark Cloud series. The Japanese release, published by Sony Computer Entertainment, is planned for this winter.