Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Localization Prospect: Fairy Fencer F

With the news recently of an Idea Factory International office being opened in California and headed by former NISA president Harusato Akenaga. With IF now having their own localising/publishing branch in the west, I think its safe to assume that we may get more games from the likes of Compile Heart etc in the west. I'm not sure how it all pans out for NISA though as I'm sure they may not be too happy with losing franchises that, while niche, have garnered quite a following in the west. I hope this means we get the Neptunia Vita games in the west now! Ill scream like a fan-girl if that announcement follows soon. This all leads to some a new type of post for me to start. While I do Reviews, Previews, Retrospectives & News at the moment - I'm going to be doing these Localization Prospect posts now too. These will focus on Japanese titles that have a good chance of being localised, or are already in the process of being brought over. So today I'm going to focus on the soon to be released Fairy Fencer F, which has a good chance of coming to the west due to recent developments with IF and demand across the web seeming unusually high.
A long time ago there was a conflict between a goddess and an evil god. The two deities didn’t fight directly, but created a large number of special weapons for others to use. Eventually, these powers sealed each other and the power vanished from the world. Fast forward to modern times where these leftover weapons are called "Furies" and warriors that wield them are "Fencers." Fury weapons are said to be incredibly powerful, so Fencers constantly scramble to acquire them. By a strange coincidence, two fencers, Fang and Tiara, get caught up in the struggle between the goddess and evil god. 

The story does sound like it has potential to be pretty deep and intriguing. With it being developed by Galapagos RPG/Compile Heart, the Neptunia devs, I would hazard a guess its storytelling will be in a similar style to other series they are known for.  Yes, that means Visual novel-esque dialogue with the odd in-game engine cutscene. Compile Heart don't have the astronomical budgets that the more mainstream developers like SquareEnix give to their Final Fantasy series, so don't be expecting anything like sumptuous pre-rendered cutscenes with photo-realistic detail. Lets hope the potential for the story is realised though as most of the other aspects of the game sounds just as, or even more, promising. 
With the game not due to be released till the 10th October in Japan, there isn't really anything to go on from a gameplay perspective as Ive not found any videos to study at least. There is constantly a mention in articles of the game using a refined version of the Neptunia battle system. For those yet to try the Hyperdimension Neptunia series (shame on you! Victory is superb!) I'll give a brief description of how it plays. Basically, its a dungeon crawler. Most of the time you will be exploring dungeons, grinding to level up or collecting ingredients to synthesise, and the rest of the time will be mostly spent in boss battles. You are free to go to any dungeon or City on the map, but the game is not free roam as you are probably envisioning. The real bread & butter of Victory though is in its battle system, which Fairy Fencer F is no doubt using. Its your typical turn-based affair, which I prefer for my Jrpg's. The key to victory with its battle system though is in taking advantage of the Guard Break system. Under the enemies health bar is another that once depleted from attacks strong against the guard will leave the enemy vulnerable. Attacks do far more damage then, making it essential during boss encounters. Transformations are also in FF, which boost your character when done in Victory so its safe to assume the same here. Little else is know about how the rest of the game plays out here in the west. A recent Trailer showed some of the combat system so that's confirmed. I can see it playing similar to the Neptunia series, so if that's not your cup of tea then you may avoid it.
On the presentation side of things, its probably at its most interesting. Former Final Fantasy artist
Yoshitaka Amano & Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu have both worked on this title. This news alone was enough for the hype machine to start rolling online when it was announced earlier in the year. There are screenshots floating around so we can at least get a glimpse of how the game will look, I don't think these niche developers have the budget or the need for 'bullshots' so its safe to assume they are genuine. Graphically it looks to be similar to Victory, except those enemy character models look to be superbly detailed. Its not just me that sees that? You can tell the artist of the Date-A-Live anime has worked on this with the character designs. I'm just hoping that the framerate issue that plagued the Neptunia series has been fleshed out. It was defiantly baffling as to why it did have issues. I would recommend looking at as many trailers as you can find for the game to see if its style suits you.
I hope we see a localisation. Like I said earlier, with IF international opening in the west there's a good chance we'll see more of these titles. I reckon NISA probably would've localised this anyway with how popular it seems to be on the Internet at he moment. Having some former Final Fantasy stalwarts working on the title probably gives it that extra little something to make it appeal to some beyond its usual niche. For me the story sounds interesting, the art is beautiful, graphically it looks to be an improvement and the talk of it playing similar to Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory is enough to ensure my interest. What about you?
Let me know on Twitter @MadchesterManc

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