RPGamer Feature - Interview with Magna Carta: Tears of Blood Production Staff

Magna Carta: Tears of Blood
Developer: Softmax
Publisher: Atlus USA
ESRB: Rating Pending
Release Date: Winter 2005

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IN DECEMBER 2002, a Korean company named SoftMax released the original Magna Carta title, Magna Carta: The Phantom of Avalanche. The game sported gorgeous artwork from well-known Korean artist Hyung Tae Kim, and caught the eye of many an RPGamer--locally in Korea, as well as abroad, which resulted in the game being localized for the Japanese market. Unfortunately for those of us in the western world, the game never saw the light of day in North America.

Two years later, SoftMax announced the development of a new Magna Carta title; Magna Carta: Crimson Stigmata. Based on the original Magna Carta, the game once again touts artwork from Hyung Tae Kim. Furthermore, the game sports a different battle system, improved graphics over its PC predecessor, and a brand new story for players to adventure through.

Even though the game tucked itself under the radars of RPGamers in North America, there was little hope that it'd be released here. Just prior to E3 in May however, Atlus USA announced its E3 lineup, which contained a surprise title Magna Carta: Tears of Blood, which is one in the same as Magna Carta: Crimson Stigmata.

RPGamer recently had the opportunity to have a discussion with the production crew that is helping to localize the game for North American audiences. Discussed were many things concerning the game, including the battle system, whether or not the game will see any changes in the North American version, and what chances the original Magna Carta has of getting localized for North American audiences.

- Phillip Clayton

RPGamer: Many thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to chit-chat. Can you introduce yourself, and explain your relation to Magna Carta: Tears of Blood?
Atlus USA: The answers provided are the combined effort of various members of our production staff and testing department. Since so many people are involved in the project, we wanted everyone to have a chance to add their two cents, and to make sure the information we included was accurate.

RPGamer: Does the game have any real historical background, or does it use the name of the Magna Carta in a largely fictional way?
Atlus USA: For the most part, the name "Magna Carta" and how itís used in the gameís story is largely fictional. However, I think people will find parallels between this story and the real Magna Carta charter, as well as certain events in US history. While these events only loosely resemble their real-world counterparts, they may offer gamers a fresh perspective on the past. Magna Carta: Tears of Blood deals with the issues of colonization, exploitation, race relations, religion and war, among other things.

RPGamer: What kind of theme does the game work in? It appears to be largely 'medieval fantasy' in nature, but 'science fiction' almost always seems to appear in RPGs these days.
Atlus USA: Yeah, for the most part we'd call this game "medieval fantasy," but there are a few sci-fi elements added in to make things interesting. Gamers should expect to see an airship or two before their adventure is over.

RPGamer: The battle system appears to be an interesting combination of action and tactical elements. How exactly does the system work?
Atlus USA: The Carta System is a combination of action and rhythmic elements that set it apart from your standard RPG battle system. Players will be able to move around the battlefield freely and strategically place their characters wherever they want. Actions are performed using a rhythmically based input feature called the Trinity Action System. Additionally, there are multiple fighting stances you can use in battle which may benefit your characters depending on the situation.

RPGamer: In your opinion, what do you think it was that garnered this title so much attention from gamers outside Korea?
Atlus USA: First and foremost, the stunning artwork from renowned artist, Kim Hyung -Tae is what likely attracts most people to Magna Carta. But, I think people will be surprised with how much this game has to offer in terms of gameplay and story. The size and scope of Magna Cartaís world is very large.

RPGamer: It took a while for this game's English localization to be announced. Was there any particular reason for this, if there was one at all?
Atlus USA: We've had our eyes on this game for awhile, but licensing a game requires the involvement of many departments from both the developer and publisher. It takes time to evaluate the game, consider all the factors that would be involved in localization, and to seal the deal. Fortunately, Magna Carta will be well worth the wait.

RPGamer: Will this translation be a direct port from the Japanese version, or will you be making significant changes?
Atlus USA: Story-wise and content-wise, the game will stay true to the Japanese release.

RPGamer: On that note, will there be any censorship in the North American version? Was there any censorship in the Japanese and Korean versions?
Atlus USA: Though Magna Carta tackled thought-provoking material, there was really no need to censor any of the content within the game, and to the best of our knowledge, there was nothing censored in the Japanese port.

RPGamer: Do you have any plans or interest in releasing the first Magna Carta (made for the PC) if the PlayStation 2 title sells well?
Atlus USA: We have no plans to release Magna Carta: The Phantom of Avalanche.

RPGamer: If Atlus USA could choose any Japanese game to localize, which one would it choose?
Atlus USA: Everyone here at Atlus USA is likely to answer that question differently. Suffice it to say that we have some surprises in store, and hopefully gamers will be as excited about our upcoming releases as we are. I should also mention that our parent company has made many members of our US staff happy with their recent releases of SMT: Nocturne and SMT: Digital Devil Saga, both outstanding RPGs. Most of the games we release are the games we love, because nearly every member of our staff is involved in their selection.

RPGamer: Is there anything else you would like to say to RPGamer's readers?
Atlus USA: Winners don't use drugs.

A big thanks goes out to Atlus USA for talking with us. RPGamer currently has many more interviews in the works, so be sure to check back with RPGamer soon to read the new ones.

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