Phillip Clayton - August 10, 2004 - 12:51 Eastern Standard Time
This week's Japandemonium contains the answers to questions that have been haunting mankind for millennia. This very article is packed to the brim with deep philosophical connotations that will make you question your very being.
Okay, not really, well...maybe. But if the above paragraph is true for you, you probably take Japanese gaming way too seriously, and should seek help. But if you really want to know bad enough, then who am I to keep it from you? So, if you feel so inclined, read on for the latest RPG news from the land of the rising sun.
With the release of the PS2 port of Tales of Symphonia rapidly approaching Japan, Namco has revealed some additions that will appear in the upgraded game. Along with extra cinema scenes, the development team is adding new event scenes and some more gameplay elements.
The PS2 version of the game will have several new unison attacks for different combinations of characters. Some of these new moves will have both offensive and defensive benefits, depending on which characters are performing the move. Also, a casino will be included, which will contain some gambling mini-games, along with some playing-card artwork featuring the game's cast.
The story in the PS2 version will basically be the same as the GameCube version, but Namco has decided to include some new cinemas which will give the characters a bit more depth. Raine and Kratos will accidentally end up starring together in the theater, Zelos will flash back to his forgotten past, and other new scenes will be included that provide some more character development.
A North American release for the PS2 port of Tales of Symphonia has not yet been announced, and while it has been reported that Namco is considering a North American release, nothing is certain. However, importers will be able to pick up a copy of the PS2 port on September 22.
According to Sega public relations representative Tadashi Takezaki, the development of yet another title in the Shining series is just beginning. This news comes alongside the Japanese release of Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, which will be released in the land of the rising sun this week.
"The new history of the Shining series starts today," Takezaki said. "We've also begun planning for the next-next game." He also explained that he hopes to see no long breaks between future releases in the series. Takezaki did not reveal whether the game would be an action RPG, strategy RPG, or something completely different.
Sega has already announced that the development of two more Shining titles are underway. Shining Tears, a PS2 action-RPG, will see release later this year, while another still tentatively-titled Shining Force game will make an appearance at next month's Tokyo Game Show before its planned release in 2005.
Square Enix has announced that the prequel to 1997's Final Fantasy VII, Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, will see a release for FOMA900i mobile phones in Japan on August 31. In Before Crisis, players can chose to play as either the male or female lead. The male is a former gang leader who, after being caught breaking into the Shinra building by Reno, joins the Turks, while the female lead graduated at the top of her class from Shinra's military school.
Nintendo, on the other hand, has announced that their upcoming Zelda title The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap will be released in Japan in November 2004. This game features Link going on yet another adventure in Hyrule, only this time his hat will somehow become animated, and will serve as an annoying companion throughout this adventure.