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It has been very difficult to find information about Shien Mu until the press conference just two days ago. The conference lasted over an hour, and many details and pictures were gathered from the conference.
Yu Suzuki has declared Shien Mu to be a new genre. Instead of classifying it as an RPG, it has created a new type: Free Reactive Eyes Entertainment (FREE). Time is a factor in this game, as it can have it's own effects as weather changes, and events progress along their normal course. The graphics are stunning, almost lifelike. A screen shot of a city in China so closely matched to a picture, that the audience had to stare deeply to make out which was the game, and which was real.
To say that the world of Shien Mu is huge is an understatement. With over 370 characters and NPCs, as well as over 1,200 rooms, exploration may seem endless. Rooms will not be "clean", as in previous games. Shien Mu is searching for true realism, so expect to see rooms shown like you see in your everyday routine. Freedom to explore at your pace is one of Shien Mu's greatest features.
Interaction with NPC's brings in another level of realism. Instead of other people standing around waiting to share what you need to know, they will be doing their own daily tasks, and it's up to the player to seek out the information he or she needs. They also may not know, or will not understand, as shown by an elderly NPC, which wanders off after a few sentences of miscommunication.
Battles are fought with a series of movements, instead of time-delayed choices. If you don't move quick enough, the bad guys will easily take care of you. Realism shows up again here as you don't fight with hands and feet, but with any part of the body. There will also be points where the player must make quick decisions and required movements to avoid catastrophe.
Shien Mu has not been given a release date at this time, but speculation from the amount of the game shown is that there are only a couple months of development left. Creators of the game hopes this shows everyone, without a doubt, what the Dreamcast is capable of.
Source: [Dreamcast IGN]
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