THQ's Summoner preview.. for PSX2 or PC?

   THQ and Violotion's upcoming RPG Summoner has been assmued to be in the works for the PC, but recently there has been hinting that it will actually appear on the upcoming Playstation 2. This explains a lot, including their statement on multiplayer support. They had stated originally that "if everything goes as planned, the game will support cooperative play for four players over networks or through an Internet service." This is a very typical thing for PC games, which have had this kind of internet support for years, but if they had been planning the game for Playstation 2 all along, it would explain why they were so secretive on the subject.

   Here's a bit more info on this upcoming RPG. You are Joseph, a young man who is gifted and/or cursed with the abiltiy to summon demons. It goes into a storyline where you accidently destroyed your hometown. Of course, you move far away and regret what happened, but the game begins with an army coming to kill you because you might fulfill a prophecy where you overthrow the king. As for characters, you can have up to five characters/summoned creatures in your party at once. The other characters that we know of are Jekhar, a fighter who grew up in the city that Joseph destroyed. He actually is seeking revenge on Joseph and despises him, but circumstances that haven't been revealed have him join up with you. Then there's Flece, a thief who's in it for the money. Then there's Rosalind, who's the party spellcaster who is jealous of Joseph's summoning abilities. The plot differences are said to be very unique due to the fact that unlike most RPGs, these guys do not get along at all. There will also be four types of demons to summon, and they are the demons of light, fire, darkness, and stone. Interesting choice, but whatever works. We don't know at this time if there are other characters you can recruit, but there are NPCs in the game as well.

   Gameplay is said to be similar to Baldur's Gate. Combat is in real time, but you can pause the game to micromanage your party. Characters will learn skills over time that they can use in combat and in non-combat situations. The supporting characters will learn skills that are more suited to their talents, like Jekhar will learn combat skills, Flece will learn thieving skills, and Rosalind will learn more magical-suited skills. Joseph, on the other hand, is very open to learn whatever kind of skills you please. Characters will also have special attacks for combat, and they too will improve over time and use. There are also reported to be over 50 spells, including lightning bolt, heal, invisibility, resurrection, and a firewall spell.

   In case you were wondering about the graphics, they are said to be absolutely stunning. The game is incredibly detailed, from it's European inspired continent of Medeva to it's Asian influenced Orenian continent. The game will be in complete 3D with a three-quarter perspective, but you will have the abilty to change the camera angle as you would like. Apparantly the engine is also so powerful that cinematics, cutscenes, and gameplay are all displayed using only just the one engine. Character movement takes advantage of an advanced skeletal animation system to ensure that all guestures are as lifelike as possible, including attacks. The engine will use it's 3D abilities as much as possible, even going to the point where height will give you an advantage/disadvantage in combat. One last thing they revealed was that the creatures being fought would not be the typical goblins and kobolds or giant rats, but hinted at possibly some kind of reptilian humanoids and some undead-looking guys.

   At this point, no matter if this comes out for PC or for Playstation 2, it sounds like Violition, the makers of Descent: Freespace, have made a must-have game. The differences between console RPGs and PC RPGs are going to be a little less distinct after this gem hits the market, which was supposed to be around Fall of 2000 for PC. Keep an eye out for this game, as it looks to be a classic. If the PC market loses this game to consoles, it will definitely be a blow to PC gaming and another step in the right direction for the ever-expanding future of console RPGs.

by Doug "Stom" Hill    
Source: [IGN]
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