Resonance of Fate is role-playing game developer tri-Ace's first game for Sega, its first not to be published by Japanese RPG giant Square Enix. It may also be the first Japanese role-playing game to feature dogs in neck ties.
Sega reps at Gamescom said that Resonance of Fate is "not the traditional RPG" that one might expect from tri-Ace, with a heavy emphasis on gunplay, some of it real-time, some of it turn-based in action. We got to see some of that action in real-time, as demonstrated by a Sega rep this week at Gamescom, to get a better sense of how just non-traditional Resonance of Fate is—dogs in formal wear and all.
The game is set on the man-made spire of Basel. That's where the residents of Earth live in the future, now that we've polluted the planet to the point that it can no longer support human life or even vegetation. Yes, it's a bleak future without the comfort of cotton, with our heroes likely forced to battle in leather and polyester.
As with most future societies, Basel has an easily understood hierarchy of placement on the spire. The rich rest comfortably near the top, the dirt-poor peons near the bottom. Your team of Private Military Firm employed heroes—Vasheron, Zephyr and Leanne—naturally live closer to the bottom, amongst the gears and levers that power the giant machine that is Basel.
Vasheron, Zephyr and Leanne will take jobs from various citizens of Basel, exploring the world's hex-based environment. Access to that environment is given to your team with the use of "hexers," essentially keys that unlock portions of the world map. You'll be given hexers upon the completion of certain missions and from defeated foes which, when used, give Resonance of Fate a bit of a strategic puzzle aspect in parts.
The battle scenes tend to veer a bit closer to what one expects from a traditional Japanese RPG.
With the exception of the game's focus on gunplay—and a lack of fancy armour and ornate swords—the battle system may look a little familiar. We watched as Vasheron, Zephyr and Leanne each took their turns trading bullets with a team of humans in futuristic battle gear (and a dog in a neck tie). Some of the attacks, like the semi-automatic machine gun fire, dealt "scratch damage," a rapid fire shot that chips away at an enemy's hit points. That scratch damage can be recovered by enemies, so the heavy shot members of your team will need to step in a deal heftier blows to finish them off.
Most of the action appeared to be input by simple commands, but the Sega rep controlling the demo did have to decide when to make characters jump and fire, two choices that will affect how much damage your team of PMFs will do to foes.
One interesting aspect of the battle system is the concept of squad leaders. It's pretty simple, just finish off the leader of the group and your opponents will scatter. Good for ending a fight that's potentially close, but less beneficial in terms of gaining experience points and item pick ups.
Sega wouldn't offer much in the way of information beyond what we saw in the demo, holding some of Resonance of Fate's features close to its chest. The game's due out in Spring of 2010, so we're guessing that we'll know a lot more about tri-Ace's original effort soon... probably by the time Tokyo Game Show rolls around.