In a recent PlayStation Blog it was announced that the Tokyo RPG Factory game shown at E3 has an official launch date. As the sub header suggests in the blog post, this is a spiritual successor to I Am Setsuna. A game which has sadly for one reason or another, fallen under my radar.
The gameplay looks to be aiming at the classic turn based strategy. Something not very common in games today, and for me a welcomed refreshment from the multitude of action-RPG's cluttering today's gaming venues. That said, this means going back to the roots of JRPG's, and for some that's going to be an immediate turn off. I don't know how level progression will work in this game, but I almost dread the fact that there will probably be some necessary grinding. For me, this was always one of the most annoying things in RPG's. A lot of people hate turn based combat, but I feel as though a good number of those people don't hate the mechanics as much as they hate the necessity to completely halt progression in order to tune those mechanics tightly enough that they can be used fight higher leveled enemies. That doesn't really demonstrate skill, and kind of breaks the luck/skill rolling D&D style mechanics these systems are based off of. However I'm not going to be completely pessimistic, and coming out right now saying I'll gladly grind if the game offers that turn based strategy that's been lacking for the better part of a decade. There also appears to be the traditional character roles of a JRPG. From what I've gathered, you've got the thief/archer, warrior/damage sponge, black mage, white mage, maybe a red mage somewhere in there. The blog post talks about two new characters and their roles in the universe, so I suggest you check it out. It also goes into how you can obtain Mech Suits to aid you, which feels like a throwback to The Legend of The Dragoon. (Get on that sequel/remake Sony!)
The thing I love that they're doing with this game is integrating the roles of characters into the mythos of the world. All too often characters are handed to you with no real background or really good reason. The game just kind of says, "Hey you need a black mage, here you go." No real good reason given as to why he's joining up or what roles his powers play throughout the world. It feels disconnected and contrived. Not here though! Seems they're going to aim to make sense of the world around them, and address some of the more mysterious characters. Of course that said, JRPG's can always be considered the more confusing version of Metal Gear. So rest assured you'll be spending a few hours trying to puzzle the world together. From what I've seen in the trailer, I'm guessing they're going to be aiming at a relatively sad story here, which is fine. Some of the best stories are tragic or ironic. I can see this being a game about restoring clarity and balance to the world, only for the main character to realize the things he loves most are lost to the mists of time.
Whatever the story may be, I'm certainly looking forward to playing this gem during the winter of drought. For those not sold on the game, I'll leave some gameplay footage and a trailer bellow. You can pick this game up for the Nintendo Switch/ PS4/PC January 23, 2018. Sorry Xbox One. (Sad Emoji) Those interested in a physical copy of the game can snag one off of Square-Enix's store for 50$ USD.