What you need to know
- The core dev teams behind the classic JRPG series Wild Arms and Shadow Hearts have joined forces to fund the creation of spiritual successors to these franchises through Kickstarter.
- Penny Blood is a gothic horror JRPG successor to Shadow Hearts, while Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness is a Wild West JRPG successor to Wild Arms.
- Both games will have a Kickstarter goal of $750,000 each for the PC versions, with stretch goals for ports on the Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and the newest Nintendo console at the time.
Recently, two indie videogame companies formed by veteran JRPG developers, Wild Bunch Productions and Yukikaze, have teamed up to launch a Kickstarter campaign on August 29, 2022, to fund the creation of two JRPGs. These games are Penny Blood and Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness, both of which are successors to classic JRPGs from the PlayStation One and PlayStation 2 — Shadow Hearts and Wild Arms.
Penny Blood is a gothic JRPG being developed by Yukikaze, a company made of the core creators behind the Shadow Hearts series. While Armed Fantasia is a wild-west themed JRPG being helmed by Wild Bunch Productions, a company comprised of key developers who created the Wild Arms series.
According to RPGFan and Gematsu, the base Kickstarter goal for each game will be $750,000 to fund their PC versions, and there will be stretch goals for the games to be ported on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and the newest Nintendo console available at the time of their release.
Here are the rundowns of both projects.
Penny Blood is a gothic-horror JRPG set during the early 20th century and contains elements of H.P. Lovecraft stories, a combination you rarely see in this genre. It is the 1920s and you follow the exploits of Matthew Farrell, a private investigator who is on a globe-trotting journey across America, Europe, and Asia to solve a dark mystery surrounded by supernatural intrigue and otherworldly terror.
Along his journey, Matthew will meet allies who will aid his investigation and confront nightmarish creatures and cosmic horrors beyond human comprehension in turn-based combat. Fortunately for our detective, he is gifted with a curse to help combat these freaks of nature: Fusion. Calling forth the powers of the abyss, Matthew can transform into a monster himself and give monsters a taste of their own demonic medicine.
This game will be developed by Yukikaze, a team of key members who helped create the Shadow Hearts series. This includes the lead game designer Matsuzo Machida, the character designer Miyako Kato, and the main sound design and music composter, Yoshitaka Hirota. This team will also include Akari Kaida, the composer of classic Capcom JRPG, Breath of Fire 3, to help Yoshitaka create the soundtrack.
Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness
The other game in this double-Kickstarter Campaign is Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness, a JRPG inspired by Wild Arms, a cult classic series of JRPGs that combines the fantasy genre with the wild west. Set in the Westernpunk fantasy land of Londenium, you play as Ingram Goodweather, a young man journeying across the wild wilderness to reunite with a childhood friend.
During his journey, Ingram becomes a Pathfinder, a group of adventurers wielding magically-powered weapons called ARMs (a.k.a. Aether Reaction Maximizers) whose goal is to protect the land from savage monsters dubbed "Anomalies." Our young hero will meet many friends and enemies on his adventure, and will eventually become embroiled in a grand conflict that could decide the fate of all Londenium.
Armed Fantasia will take players on an unforgettable odyssey across a massive world filled with tons of activities such as engaging in high-speed races, solving complex puzzles, and exploring ancient dungeons using Pathfinder gadgets to uncover long-lost treasures.
The meat of the game aside from exploration will be turn-based combat against the many foes plaguing Londenium. This game's combat system's main draw will be to utilize your party's special abilities to interrupt enemy turns and blast them away with your ARMs.
Wild Bunch Productions, the team in charge of Armed Fantasia, will be comprised of developers who helped created the Wild Arms series including lead game designer and scenario writer Akifumi Kaneko.
The Kickstarter page for Penny Blood and Armed Fantasia is set to open on August 29, 2022, and pledgers will get the option to choose which game they wish to back.
The original Shadow Hearts is one of my personal favorite games of all time, for its macabre atmosphere, its unique early 20th-century setting, horrific monster designs, and its cast of memorable characters. I'd never thought in my wildest dreams I would see the original dev team behind the Shadow Hearts series return and create a spiritual successor for it on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. I would imagine the same goes for Wild Arms fans upon witnessing Armed Fantasia, which looks insanely impressive by its own right.
With these announcements coupled with the recent release of Soul Hackers 2 and upcoming Xbox games like Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and the Xbox Series X|S port of Persona 5 Royal, I'd say the future of Xbox JRPGs is looking brighter than ever.
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Alexander Cope is a writer for Windows Central and iMore that has been gaming since the 16-bit era.
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