Aside the super-brief trailer shown at Microsoft's pre-TGS conference that's now looping at Square's booth and the anemic website, tri-ACE hasn't really given us much about their long-festering, upcoming RPG Infinite Undiscovery. Piling into a hotel suite with director Hiroshi Ogawa (tri-Ace) and producer Hajime Kojima (Square Enix), they filled in a few of the blanks for us, including the big question: "What the hell does 'Infinite Undiscovery' mean?"
While the "underlying concept" of the game is discovery, the "overall concept of the game is that it's always going." The game's engine, in fact, seems to be its raison d'etre. Everything is in real-time, so that it's hard to separate the battle system from the rest of the game—it's seamless. For instance, weather and other outside forces can influence the battle, like a tsunami. World damage is persistent as well, so that if a wall or something is destroyed by a dragon, it stays that way. Interestingly, Ogawa said it's kind of like an MMO in that way, but singleplayer with a party system. More specific details about the game's engine—in particular the battle mechanics—beyond that point were disappointingly scant. For instance, we were told you only directly control the protagonist during battle, but wouldn't elaborate on the "systems" you'll use to control your other party members.
Moving on, we talked a bit about the game's plot—or rather, they laid it out for us, as the teaser isn't exactly an expository wonder. Basically, the moon gives power to the people of the planet; some asshole (probably the guy with pink eye in the trailer) slaps some chains around it, causing the world to start to crumble. Naturally, a hero shows up for some questing action to cut the chains. But, you're not that hero. No, no, you just look exactly like him and find yourself sucked into 40 or so hours of RPGness spread across multiple discs. There's something "special" about your character, but you have to discover that when you play.
Frustratingly, "all business questions" were off-limits. To translate, "business questions" meant anything about how the game landed on the 360 exclusively as opposed to the system-which-cannot-be-named. They are hoping to make use of Xbox Live, though right now they're not sure how.
In a roundabout way we were able to ask about the development process, which goes back 10 years for the original idea, four years for active planning and two for full-steam ahead work on the game, which has been consuming "roughly" the same amount of resources as Star Ocean 4. When we asked if they've been able to stay within budget and timeframe, Kojima and Ogawa responded with some very hearty laughter. But they quickly added that is "no such thing as a smooth development process."
Oh, and the meaning of the game's title? Well, the opposite of a "discovery" is an "undiscovery". And they're sort of infinite. Yeah. Sorry guys.