R P G A M E R - J A P A N D E M O N I U M
Season of Change
1 0 . 1 2 . 2 0 0 4
Whilst looking over the Japandemonium layout today, I came to the realization that I have always liked Rob Parton's layout a lot more than the one that has been in use for the past three months. So, in an attempt to do something that makes sense, I will be using this layout, albeit with a few tweaks, until my tenure as this column's host comes to a close.
Yep, I'm leaving Japandemonium. I'll still be kickin' around here and there, fulfilling my other RPGamer responsibilities and the like. But my full time job, mixed with Japandemonium, sauteed with my other RPGamer duties, and gently breaded with my tireless quest to solve string theory (I'll get yooooooou!) would leave me with a lot less gaming time than I would like. And nobody wants to see that, as I can be cranky when I don't get my recommended daily allowance of fightinatin' and damsel savin'.
Namco has announced that they will partner up with Dwango to release a new title in the Tales of Eternia series. Only this time a different spin compared to previous installments will be put on the game, as this game is being developed as a MMORPG.
The original Tales of Eternia (titled Tales of Destiny II in North America) was released in 2000 for the PlayStation, and has a port in the works for the PSP. Namco will be taking the reigns in regards to the management of the online service and providing the game's graphics, while Dwango will be in charge of planning out the game's specifications and developing the server and client programs. No hardware specifications have been announced as of yet. It is known, however, that the game will run on Windows 98 SE and higher operating systems.
Thus far, it seems as if Tales of Eternia Online will employ game mechanics similar to that of traditional console RPGs in that enemy encounters will switch you from the field map to a battle screen. The series' trademark Linear Motion Battle system will also be present, which shows real-time fighting on a 2D plane. Another of the series' claim to fame, the skit system, which allows users to open a dialogue window in which your party members chat with each other, will also be featured in the game. Subscribers can expect to trek through dungeons, wander through towns, and take part in other standard RPG fare. However, players will also be able to cook food using ingredients acquired by players, another series staple.
It seems as if areas from the console version of the game will be featured in Tales of Eternia Online. Although, it is unknown whether any cameos from characters from the previous games will be included. However, an interesting thing to note is that one of the released screenshots shows a number of players walking around the home of Rid Hershel, the hero of the first Tales of Eternia title.
Tales of Eternia Online will begin beta testing in early 2005, with the full service planned to kick off in the spring. Other Asian countries may also get a taste of this game, but the prospect of a North American release has not been mentioned. Any new information will likely be posted on the game's recently opened website.
Kingdom Hearts Goes Mobile
Two years ago, Squaresoft and Disney partnered up to bestow the world with Kingdom Hearts: an action RPG that plopped Disney and various Final Fantasy cast members into the same world. The title ended up being a success, and has inspired a few new incarnations; Kingdom Hearts 2 for the PlayStation 2, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance, and a newly announced game which looks to be a remake of the original, only shrunk down for mobile phones.
The build that Square Enix released to the press features Sora wandering around, looking for materials to construct a sailboat to escape an "uninhabited island." After this task is completed and you clear the mission, the player is prompted to download missions that aren't yet available, such as the Alice in Wonderland adventure.
In other Kingdom Hearts related news, Square Enix has plans to release a Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Game Boy Advance SP Bundle Pack in Japan. The bundle will come with the game as well as a "Kingdom Deep Silver" model GBA SP.
Nothing about a stateside release of the bundle pack has been mentioned. And Being that North America doesn't exactly have a lucrative market for cell-phone based gaming at the present, chance of a release on this side of the world seems slim for the mobile Kingdom Hearts.
New RPG Maker In Development
Enterbrain has announced that a new title in the RPG Maker series will be released in Japan on December 16 for 7140 yen. Maps, events, monster designs, battle scene designs, music, and many more options will be customizable..
Namco has disclosed that Tales of Rebirth will see a December 16 release in Japan. Japanese gamers will be able to pick up the latest entry into the Tales series for 6,800 yen ($62.) Those who preorder the game will receive a DVD containing artwork and other information concerning the game.