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VA-11 Hall-A devs’ next game is a modern successor to horror strategy classic Parasite Eve, and that has me unreasonably excited

Sequel N1RVAnn-A development is on pause for the moment, say Sukeban Games

The player pauses combat to target an enemy during a battle in .45 Parabellum Bloodhound
Image credit: Sukeban Games

The developers behind cyberpunk bartending gem VA-11 Hall-A have revealed their next game, and it looks a doozy. .45 Parabellum Bloodhound draws its inspiration from PlayStation masterpiece Parasite Eve in offering a mix of real-time and turn-based combat dubbed as “active time action”.

Sukeban Games acknowledge the influence of Parasite Eve - which emerged from a collaboration between Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and Chrono Trigger director Takashi Tokita, among other JRPG veterans - as a key foundation for the upcoming game, but insist “that’s about where comparisons end” without giving any further details for now. Still, the clips of combat in the announcement post definitely recall both the look and vibe of the 1998 Square Enix gem, with the player character’s action bar needing to fill as they freely run around and evade before pausing to select an action and target in a polygonal target zone.

That player character is ex-merc Reila Mikazuchi, who takes a last chance at returning to her mercenary ways before having things complicated by the realisation that “the real enemy isn’t in front of her gun”. Reila will be able to explore the game’s world across a set of seven chapters and various moody environments (with secrets hidden around), running into “hand-placed encounters” rather than random battles. Each level will also conclude with a boss battle, in classic RPG fashion.

Sukeban said that the game has been in the works for around two years - discounting a few ditched variations before that - with .45 Parabellum Bloodhound aiming for more of “a uniquely ‘Sukeban’ experience” in comparison to the many references and pastiches in VA-11 Hall-A. (The explicit Parasite Eve gameplay root aside.)

The player character runs down an alley towards the screen in .45 Parabellum Bloodhound
Image credit: Sukeban Games

The devs are yet to put even a rough release date on the game, citing a desire to “not repeat a N1rvannA situation” - a brief update on the VA-11 Hall-A sequel announced back in 2018 expresses that the studio are all-in on .45 Parabellum Bloodhound for the foreseeable, which is “significantly ahead in development” and now taking the devs’ full attention.

“I was actually gonna wait until we had the entire game built before announcing it Officially, but selling games has become much harder. It’s not 2016 anymore, so if we want this game to have a chance we gotta start now and hoard those wishlists and shit,” Sukeban wrote, before giving a release expectation of: “In short: When It’s Done.”

As someone who came late to Parasite Eve, only actually playing it in the last few years as I filled out my endless to-do list of cult classics and nineties gems, it still holds up extremely well in terms of combat and atmosphere. Still, parts have undoubtedly aged, and it’s surprising that few games - aside from its own sequels - have taken its excellent battle system as a leaping-off point for a modern successor. From this early tease, .45 Parabellum Bloodhound looks like a very promising way to carry the torch, from its stylistically low-res textures and low camera angles to the cyberpunk text treatment and vivid colours of your status bars. Count me in.

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