I Am Setsuna devs announce Lost Sphear

Tokyo RPG Factory, Square Enix’s glamorously-named retro RPG studio behind 2016’s I Am Satsuna, have announced their next game. Lost Sphear [official site] will be another throwback JRPG with some modern stylings, this time telling the tale of a lad trying to stop his world from vanishing. Squeenix say Lost Sphear is “expanding upon the beloved features” from I Am Satsuna, rather than being a whole new thing. Lost Sphear is due some time in “early 2018” but, for now, here’s the announcement trailer:

And here’s Squeenix to explain what’s going on:

“The adventure of Lost Sphear begins in a remote town where a young boy, Kanata, awakens from a devastating dream to find his hometown disappearing. To stop the world from being lost forever, Kanata and his comrades set out to rebuild the world around them with the power of Memory by manifesting thoughts into matter.”

What’s changed beneath the story since Setsuna? Squeenix say that Lost Sphear “features an enhanced gameplay system with a revamped ATB battle system where players can strategize and freely adjust their placement mid-fight, seamless environments, and various locations to explore.”

Improvements sound good. Kirk McKeand told us Wot He Thought of Setsuna as a throwback JRPG and he wasn’t best pleased:

“Those golden-era JRPGs are beloved because they were packed with memorable locations, characters, and combat. I Am Setsuna unfortunately falls short on all three counts, and instead delivers an average and forgettable adventure, albeit one with wonderful music.”

Tokyo RPG Factory is a grim name, isn’t it? Very industrial. Rote repetition. The only worse name that springs to mind is GameMill Entertainment, a studio where I imagine children losing their fingers in the gamelooms.

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16 Comments

  1. Gothnak says:

    The story reminds me slightly of two of my favourite JRPG’s, Dark Cloud & Dark Chronicle where you went around collecting parts of towns in Geo-nodes (Gems) and then got to rebuild the town in a sort of primitive RPG-lite Sim City. Was a great idea, and i’m amazed no one has done it again since.

    The fact you could build a town, and then wander around it chatting to people you had placed in it was great.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      The one I immediately jumped to was the timeless, beautiful classic (that nobody effing played) Legend of Mana, though admittedly its “build the world map” system was different, and honestly not what made it so good.

      • GeoX says:

        Legend of Mana IS beautiful, there’s no denying that, but “timeless classic?” Eh…it’s got nothing on Secret. The stories are disconnected in a lazy way, and the utter lack of challenge is, well, what it is.

        Dark Cloud is also very good.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          The disconnect between the stories is hardly what I’d call ‘lazy’, it’s a very different kind of game from Secret, and for me is something I’m far more drawn to. The little fractured bits and pieces of a world that fell to bits, the completely bizarre but outright loveable characters. The stories that NEED ongoing, connected narrative have it, and when you stumble upon the next part of that story it feels natural – these people have been going about their own lives in your absence and now your paths have crossed again. It’s also, as you rightly pointed out, utterly beautiful.
          I’d call it both ‘timeless’ and ‘classic’ quite emphatically, but if your mileage varies that’s fine. At least you played it.

          Although if you’re complaining of a lack of challenge you possibly didn’t play it more than once. Nightmare and No Future modes exist specifically for people who feel that way, and are great at making all those skills and spells and customization mechanics necessary, rather than totally optional.

          • GeoX says:

            I’ve played it on Nightmare mode. The only difference is that enemies have WAY more hit points, making it tedious as hell.

            I actually do LIKE the kind of storytelling it’s sorta-kinda trying to do; I just don’t feel it does it well. It feels to me like a sub-par SaGa game (of course, plenty of SaGa games are subpar themselves, so what the heck do I know?). To me, SaGa Frontier 2 (yes, a game I know many people hate) is most effective at this sort of thing.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Eh, different strokes. I certainly wouldn’t have expected SaGa Frontier 2 to be brought up in that regard but that’s probably exactly how you felt about LoM.

            It makes me slightly melancholic when I realise that others didn’t get such joy out of a beautiful game I cherished so much, but on the other hand if we were all into the same stuff, a lot of great games would never have even been made, so I’ll cope.

      • Emeraude says:

        LoM is such a beautiful example of game design, warts and all.

        So is Saga Frontier 2, though for different reasons.

        But then I’m Kawazu fan, so…

  2. Andelect says:

    Just in case, the whole article is on the front page at the moment.

  3. EMI says:

    Is Setsuna intentionally misspelled as Satsuma on the page? I know it’s kinda RPS’s thing at times to mock weird titles (and Lost Sphear is intentionally spelled differently), but this just feels like to me to be a bit of a tasteless othering of a foreign name, since Setsuna is both a possible given name in Japanese, and also an important concept in Buddhism: link to thoughtco.com.

  4. Ghostwise says:

    Why is this game named after my headphones ? I am deeply puzzled, and certainly do not want to lose them.

    This world is so complex.

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    DantronLesotho says:

    I am so hyped for this. I loved Setsuna and really like the idea of these kinds of games coming back.

  6. draglikepull says:

    I Am Setsuna was disappointing for some of the same reasons most “retro” JRPGs are disappointing. It took some of the surface features of games like Chrono Trigger (such as an ATB battle system) but has a bland world, characters, and plot. Bravely Default (which I do like more than Setsuna) had the same issue. The primary thing that’s great about the SNES/PS1 era Squaresoft RPGs is their stories. If the story isn’t captivating, the rest of the package doesn’t matter.

  7. nakami says:

    i fear that this game will be as disappointing as i am setsuna as it seems that the devs don’t realise that the core problem was the really dull combat and the lack of variety scene-wise.
    oh well they mention “the combat fell short”.. but that is incredibly understated.

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