If there was one software developer outside of
Japan and the United States that made a strong impression to the attendees
of the Tokyo Game Show, it was the Seoul-based Gravity Corporation.
Despite being bought out by Japanese IT giant SoftBank, the company still
maintains its Korean roots and has a mainstay MMO to its name; namely,
Ragnarok Online. So, despite drawing long lines more for its
bags and quirky booth babes (not my thing, but it worked for them, I
guess), Gravity's centerpiece was the brand new Ragnarok Online II.
"...this should be a game to look out for, if only
for the buzz that was generated by its immediate predecessor."
Anyone who has at least seen screenshots of the
original game should know that the most important change to this game is
the jump to full 3D. The anime-influenced art is still there, but the
2D-based field is now a thing of the past in the series. On Gravity's
demo computers (which actually had very short lines, much to my
surprise), the game ran pretty smoothly, although it lacked play with lots of
other characters on the particular terminal I was playing on. Still,
despite the jump of 3D, the look of the original Ragnarok Online
is still there.
Several other tidbits have come up about the game
which might be of interest to a few people: the score will be done by
Yoko Kanno of Cowboy Bebop fame, and one of its toted features is
the ability to change to multiple jobs with the same character. If
Gravity can do all of this while maintaining a good portion of its user
base, they might have a potential powerhouse on its hands.
Nevertheless, one of the main appeals of the
original Ragnarok Online was its ability to run with very low
hardware requirements. While the graphics of Ragnarok Online II can
hardly be called groundbreaking, they are a considerable step up from
that of the original, though this might not be a problem if the game runs
as smoothly as it did at the show. No release date has been set for
Japan, and there has been no confirmation of a port to North America either. However, this should be a game to look out for, if only
for the buzz that was generated by its immediate predecessor.