July 21st, 2006, 02:32 Posted By: wraggster
In case you missed our report yesterday, Famitsu broke the news on Level 5's oft rumored PSP project, officially titled Jeanne d' Arc. Today, we have additional details from a Famitsu interview with producer and Level 5 president Akihiro Hino, and Jeanne d' Arc director Ken Motomura.
Jeanne d' Arc is a strategy RPG featuring grid-based strategy elements. While only a few details have been revealed on the game's strategic battle system, the storyline, which blends French history with videogame style fantasy, has drawn lots of attention. Also contributing to the hype is that Level 5's past two titles were Dragon Quest VIII and Rogue Galaxy, both well received.
Level 5 decided that it wanted to make a strategy RPG prior to the launch of the PSP, Hino disclosed to the magazine. With the launch of the PSP, Hino felt that he had to make a game for the system, so he and Motomura began discussing a concept for the title. Hino felt that a game based off historical happenings could be interesting, and the idea that floated into his mind was the French hero Jeanne d' Arc (known more commonly in English as Joan of Arc).
The deciding factors for going with this particular part of history were that Level 5 had yet to make a game with a female hero and that the middle ages setting would fit well with a strategy RPG. However, Hino also wanted to add magic and monsters to the mix, resulting in the historical fantasy setting of the game.
Arriving at this unexpected setting was just the first step. Level 5's development staff went through a lengthy process of determining what to do with the game's characters and scenario. It was a long time before actual game development started, commented Hino to the magazine.
With the mix of history and fantasy, you might be wondering just how much emphasis the game places on either side. According to Hino, Level 5 started off by strictly following the history books, and added its own creative arrangements afterwards. When playing the game, the first half is meant to follow history, with the last half having a greater focus on "if" elements.
Characters are split half and half between real and fictitious. Sometimes quite literally. One character who actually exists in real life takes the form of a lion in the game in order to show his strength.
Regarding gameplay, Hino stated that Level 5's goal was to make a battle system that would be suitable for both newcomers and hardcore fans of the strategy RPG genre. The development staff looked at previous strategy RPGs, removed areas it thought to be too hard core, and added new elements. As mentioned in yesterday's preview, original elements include the Burning Side and Connection Guard systems. Other new systems, including the "Skill Stone" and "Transformation" systems, are a mystery now, but will be properly unveiled at a later date.
Level 5 seems to have a whole lot of content planned for its first PSP title. We can expect around 150 characters, including guest appearances from Level 5's other titles, and between 40 and 50 stages. The stages, according to Motomura, are meant to take between 10 and 30 minutes, as the team doesn't want to battles that last too long.
With a Japanese release set for this Winter, we expect to get a closer look at Jeanne d' Arc in the not so distant future, and maybe even get some hands on time at the September Tokyo Game Show. Strategy RPG fans should stay tuned!
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