President of Level 5, Akihiro Hino has unveiled new details about his current project, Rogue Galaxy, a PlayStation 2 title to be published by Sony this upcoming December. He stated that it will be the company's most massive title to date, including last years Square Enix-published Dragon Quest VIII. This title utilizes a unique mixture of anime-styled, cel-shaded 3D graphics for characters and highly stylized and realistic 3D graphics for the backgrounds. Hino stated that while the game's story will be serious, the many different races in the game will give the game a mood that those who are younger should enjoy as well.
Players step into the role of Jester Rogue, as he wanders the many planets across the galaxy with various party members in tow. Each planet has its own unique theme, meaning one planet might be overrun with forests, while yet another is populated by mechs. Screens in Famitsu magazine also showed planets with modern looking skyskrapers, vast deserts, and fields of lush countryside. Hino is confident that Rogue Galaxy will include more areas to explore than any RPG that has come before it. At this time, only one region has been shown for different planets, but Hino states that each planet will have numerous areas to explore. Originally, they had wanted to include innumerable amounts of planets but they opted to tone down the total number and instead added new areas for each planet.
This title will be Hino's, and Level 5's, biggest challenge to date. This is because the company has decided that it will be trying to develop an RPG with zero loading time. Though the game will be loading from the disc, Hino hopes that they will be able to get rid of any noticeable loading when entering buildings and traveling between planets. He mentioned to Famitsu that while he understands how hard this task will be to accomplish, he always wanted to give it a try.
The main character, Jester Rogue, a 17-year old boy, was born and raised on a desert planet named Rosa. He has always wanted to travel the galaxy, and he received his wish when a famous space pirate, Dorgengore, recruits him into his group. He carries a large sword on his back, despite his gentle nature. He has a birthmark on his cheek which is said to be an important part of the game's story.
Rogue Galaxy will include a total of eight party members, three of which, Kisara, Zegram, and Luluka, have been unveiled in Famitsu. Kisara is a 17-year old girl and Dorgengore's daughter, which explains her tomboyish tendencies. Zegram, a pirate with medium-length hair, unshaven face, and a red eyepatch, has been described as a troublemaker among the other pirates. Luluka is a strong warrioress from the heavily forested planet of Juraika, who is highly skilled with a bow and arrow. Hino mentioned that while the four characters currently unveiled are all humans, the galaxy will have numerous other races and species. Trailers and screens from the game have shown off a fish-like people, robotic characters, a catlike general, and a greenish ogre species.
Battles in the title will take place in real-time with the player controlling the main character while the other two characters in the active party are controlled by the computer. Players will be able to give commands during battle, which will play an especially large role during boss battles. Each party member will use two unique weapons, which means the game will feature a total of 16 different weapons. The battle strategy will also have a support system similar to the materia from Square's Final Fantasy VII. The player will collect items during his journey which will be placed on a board that allows all the characters to learn new abilities.
There will also be quite a few mini-games within Rogue Galaxy for the player to peruse for his enjoyment. One such game will have players capture certain creatures to be used in a chess-like game on one of the planets. Hino didn't mention exactly how the game would play out, but he did say that the game would be fully featured and will allow players to collect and level up their game pieces. There is also a new invention system used in the game which will be similar to that of Dark Cloud 2's creation setup. At one point during the game, players will be able to obtain their own "factory" which may be used to create new products for the characters to use.
At this time it is unknown whether Sony will be releasing this title outside of Japan. Stay tuned to RPGamer for new details as they're announced.