Sounds like we were just talking about nostalgia, and here we are again: Square Enix has opened an entire studio, tellingly named “Tokyo RPG Factory,” to work on new titles “inspired by the golden era of Japanese role-playing games” like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger.
Their first work, I Am Setsuna (Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna in Japanese) [official site] was released in Japan in February to positive, if not enthusiastic, reviews. They’ve now announced a western port of the game scheduled for this summer, and it will include a PC version too, even if that’s totally out of place with that nostalgia thing they were going for.
The game is going for that old-school feeling all the way, with 3d models, top-down camera, item names and even some music tracks being direct references to the Square Enix RPGs of the PS1 era. Fights will be using a variation of the Active Time Battle system, a staple of many Final Fantasy games as well as Chrono Trigger: simply put, each character has a bar that needs to refill before they can perform another action. The story will revolve around the titular Setsuna, a young girl who has been chosen as a sacrifice to appease the monsters and keep them from attacking humans.
I could probably type nostalgia a thousand more times, but this picture should do the trick.
That’s the overworld: when you needed to travel from one place to another, your party was represented by a giant sprite and you walked on the map. That tiny village should be a city you can enter, with NPCs and all.
Perhaps the most unique aspects of I Am Setsuna is the visual flavour of the world, all covered in snow. And even if they are a callback, the modern sprites are adorable, nothing like those spiky polygons of the early PS1.
“Kaiju Pop” released a video showing the first 90 minutes of the Japanese game with English subtitles (make sure you turn them on in YouTube), so you can get a nostalgia appetizer before the main course, which is due in Summer.