Saturday, September 23, 2006
TGS 2006: Level 5 Working On RPG For PS3.
The latest RPG from the experts at Level 5 has been revealed in Famitsu. The developer of Dragon Quest VIII and Rogue Galaxy is working on Shirokishi Monogatari for the PlayStation 3. The title translates roughly to White Knight Story. Level 5 president Akihiro Hino is serving as producer on the title.
In this fantasy RPG, you take control of a boy who comes into the possession of an ancient artifact. The artifact gives him the ability to transform into the White Knight of the title, a 7-meter warrior from a time when such creatures nearly destroyed all of civilization.White Knight Story places an emphasis on scale.
In addition to the giant White Knight himself, and a similarly sized rival Black Knight, you'll encounter large-scale cities and enemies that extend over 2000 meters in size.
One turtle-like enemy carries a full town on its back!Speaking with Famitsu, Hino revealed that making a game with such a large scale is not an easy task. Texture limitations on previous machines meant that showing small details on large objects was not possible.
Hino also shared some insight into the original plans for the game. Rather than having the main character transform into the White Knight, Level 5 had originally considered having him ride on top of it. However, it was determined that this would require a giant of over 20 meters in size. Such a size discrepancy would have made it difficult to have the knight fight against human characters.
The main character isn't the only standard sized character in the game. Famitsu also introduces a short-haired heroine who appears to wield a knife, and an elderly knight who knows how to use magic. You'll also encounter a small species that uses small-sized aircraft for quick transportation and makes its living by selling the energy that the giant enemy creatures emit.
White Knight Story has all the elements of a Japanese RPG, from giant, freely navigated fields of play to battles. The fields of play let you see far into the distance so that you can identify enemies from afar. Enemies will also spot you, and will combine forces to attack.
Hino revealed to Famitsu that one of the big goals of the battle system in White Knight Story was realism both on the visual and gameplay levels. The game uses some sort of complex animation blending system, which Hino feels could not be achieved on previous systems. Level 5 made its own capture studio in order to create the game.
The developer also shied away from some of the paradigms of RPGs, like turn-based battles and standard "attack/magic/item/flee" menus. Prior to battle, you go into a "Battle Preparation" menu to set up your party of up to three characters. Each character can be equipped with a "function palette," consisting of a string of skills and moves, everything from kicks to sword slashes. Skills can be added to the palette freely as long as you follow simple rules about what can follow what.During battle, you can freely switch between the characters in your party, but you only control one character at a time.
In addition to moving your character around on the battle field, all you have to do is press circle to execute the currently equipped function palette. The character then executes the moves, which are blended together realistically using the slick animation system mentioned above.A palette can store up to 7 skills. You can save palettes and switch between them, suggesting that preparing different palettes ahead of time will be a strategic part of the game.
So where does the White Knight fit into the gameplay? You can transform into the White Knight during battle once you've filled up a meter by attacking enemies while in human form. When transformed, you make use of a special function palette which offers up powerful attacks. When facing off against a giant enemy, you'll want to full up your transformation meter and transform as soon as possible.
The Tokyo Game Show will offer our first look at White Knight Story, which despite its recent unveiling, seems to be far along in development. Stay tuned for more details later in the week.