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RPGamer Feature - Ragnarok Odyssey Interview with XSEED Games
Ragnarok Odyssey
Platform:
Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: XSEED Games
Release Date: 10.30.2012










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First off, our apologies for the lateness of this interview. Both parties were a tad swamped, so instead of this being ready before release, it's a bit late. That said, if you're still not sure about Ragnarok Odyssey, here is a little more information for you. We will have an official review up just as soon as I'm able to beat Grendel for the billionth time. But for now, read up and learn more.


Michael A. Cunningham (RPGamer): Greetings and thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us about the upcoming PlaySatation Vita RPG, Ragnarok Odyssey.

Multiplayer features are one of the most interesting aspects of the game. Could you share how online play works? Is it tied to friend lists or open to everyone? Are we restricted to playing with people of the same skill level? How do players communicate with each other? Is there voice chat?
Brittany Avery (Production Assistant): Multiplayer is online and not limited to Ad Hoc, so you can play with up to four people if they've got a Vita and a copy of Ragnarok Odyssey. You're not necessarily restricted by strength; an extremely powerful player can play alongside a brand new player. However, you can only choose missions and maps that the newest player has progressed to. For example, if you have four players where three of them have progressed up to the final chapter and one player is only on Chapter 2, they will only be able to choose maps up to Chapter 2.

There is no voice chat in the game, so players communicate by using a variety of emoticons and body language. There's a chart of different options for both types, so you're certainly not limited there.

MAC: I've read that difficulty changes based on whether missions are tackled solo or with a group. How rough is the game solo versus multiplayer?
BA: Personally, I found the game challenging enough going solo once I reached the halfway point in the story. There were quite a few monsters that pummeled me the first few times taking them on, and I really had to strategize on how to defeat them. I haven't played multiplayer on the more challenging levels with anyone, but I did do the first few chapters of the game on multiplayer difficulty by myself in order to get the better item drops and it can be quite unforgiving if you're not prepared.

MAC: Ragnarok Odyssey's job classes all fit a unique role as were outlined on the official site and the PS Blog, but how does progression work in the game? Are there new skills to unlock or is improvement based mostly on equipment upgrades?
BA: Each class is given all skills from the very beginning, so performing various attacks in certain orders or charging special attacks will produce various combos. You can use cards to equip new abilities such as the ability to inflict status ailments or enhance certain abilities, and also to increase health, attack and defense power. You can even increase the height at which you double jump in the air (or triple or quadruple jump, depending on how large the Giant you're facing). So upgrading your weapons and armor, as well as equipping cards to your armor, are the keys to progressing through this game.

MAC: It is possible to change jobs at a certain point in the game, but how easy is that to do? Does it reset progress on previous jobs? Can you change back and forth easily enough? Do skills or abilities get shared between jobs?
BA: The beauty of this game is that it allows you to seamlessly change jobs at no risk to you! Well, after a few chapters, anyway. The game begins with you choosing one out of the six jobs available — choose wisely, because that will be your only job for the first few chapters. After that, there will be a crystal in your home base (your personal room) that allows you to choose any job you want. It doesn't cost anything, and the game will remember cards equipped, outfit and accessories worn, etc. for each job class.

You can also 'set' several outfits — over 40 of them — meaning that you can prepare a few different job classes, wardrobes, weapons, and deck of cards for different strategies, which saves a lot of time. For example, you've prepared a Sword Warrior who is equipped with nothing but cards that pack pure strength, but you've come across a boss where perhaps inflicting poison and adding to your defense will better increase your chances. Instead of erasing your powerhouse and replacing it with a more careful set, you can create two different saved sets and just equip them when you need to change your strategy without the hassle of resetting all of your equipment. It's an invaluable tool as you progress through the game.

MAC: Now about weapons, the Hunter is a ranged attacker with a knack for using a bow and arrows, but is his ammo limited? What are some of the more unique weapons and equipment available to different classes?
BA: There's no ammo limit for the Hunter, thankfully. You do have to be within some distance of the enemy though, so you can't be a genuine sniper. Each job class has several tiers of weapons as the game progresses, but they stay true to their job class — Sword Warriors will always have swords, Assassins will always have katars, that sort of thing. Hammersmith, my favorite job class, has my favorite set of weapons as well — you'll frequently be carrying hammers bigger than your body. The sword sizes can also rival or even surpass a certain infamous spiky-haired man's weapon, too, haha.

MAC: How does loot work in the game, especially in multiplayer? Do players have to fight each other for the best loot when playing together or is it handled differently?
BA: There's no versus play in multiplayer and all dropped items from monsters will be distributed equally to the party members. However, the quest rewards, weapons and cards are a little different as there is a set winning ratio for each quest. In a way it's sort of like a lottery — some quests will have a low quest reward winning ratio, but the item will be very rare. For the weapons and monster cards, all members will get the equal amount of weapons/cards but the specific content is randomly selected and may vary from player to player.

MAC: The monster cards that are used to enhance your armor, are these one-time use items or can they be shuffled around between equipment?
BA: Once you've got them, you never have to let them go. I had pages upon pages of monster cards to equip by the time I had finished playing, each with their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. They also don't have to stay equipped to only on one piece of armor — whether you change sets within a job class or change your job class, you can choose to have the same one card equipped to every combination available if you wanted.

MAC: When venturing out on missions, how does travel work? Is the world fully explorable or are players dropped off at specific locations based on the mission? If the world is wide open, is there quick travel?
BA: When choosing your mission, it will tell you which location the mission will be based at, so players will be dropped off at different maps. The story designates which areas become open for exploration. In the beginning, the maps for each location will be limited, but as the story progresses more locations within that map will become available to explore. As for quick travel, there's nothing like teleportation within a map, but you can choose to run faster during your missions in exchange for draining your AP.

MAC: Anything else you'd like to share about Ragnarok Odyssey?
BA: Hammersmith. Best class.

MAC: With the departure of Jun Iwasaki for GungHo America and former Atlus USA head Shinichi Suzuki taking over as president of XSEED Games, should we be expecting any major shifts in XSEED as a publisher?
Ken Berry (EVP of XSEED): There shouldn't be any huge changes as we will continue to pursue and publish the best titles possible, as evidenced by our recent announcement of Corpse Party: Book of Shadows. Perhaps one change moving forward will be us working more closely together with our parent company in Japan, MarvelousAQL, which should be a good thing as they have some great titles that we'd be excited to work on.

MAC: With Ragnarok Odyssey just around the corner, does XSEED have any other Vita RPGs in the works? I'm sure fans have been hounding you for Ys Celceta, as the Japanese 25th Anniversary package was very impressive.
KB: We absolutely love the Vita hardware and plan to put out a lot more titles for that platform (Orgarhythm is another Vita exclusive that recently launched), but I'm afraid that we can't confirm any other titles at this time. Remember that licensing is a two-way street and we can't make the decision by ourselves, so fans are free to write into their favorite Japanese Developers/Publishers directly to let them know which games they want to see localized for the North American market.

MAC: Any other treats you'd like to share with fans or at least hint at an unannounced game or two?
KB: Sorry, but I really don't have any juicy gossip to share. But to give some insight into what some of us crazies here at XSEED Games do in our free time, I know that our localization manager Jessica was overheard during Oktoberfest telling some joke that started, "A pumpkin, a ghost and a sheep walk into a bar..." I think she passed out after that though, so we never did get to hear the punchline.


Many thanks to the staff at XSEED Games for working with us on this interview. Ragnarok Odyssey is now available for the PlayStation Vita, both in retail format and on PSN in North America and will be available in Europe via PSN through GungHo Online Entertainment America later this year.



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