Parasite Eve-Inspired Cyberpunk Game Announced, Looks Cool As Hell

Parasite Eve-Inspired Cyberpunk Game Announced, Looks Cool As Hell

Sukeban Games, the developer best known for 2016’s charming and poignant VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, has announced a new game. Titled .45 Parabellum Bloodhound: Cyberpunk Active Time Action, the new project is a moody, retro-inspired adventure taking major inspiration from Square’s cult classic 1998 PS1 game Parasite Eve. That last part is really all I needed to hear to get excited about it, and from what Sukeban has shown off, it looks like it’s gonna be great.

First off, what exactly is .45 Parebellum Bloodhound about? Thankfully, Sukeban shared a short elevator pitch as part of the announcement.

You play as Reila Mikazuchi; a washed out mercenary whose glory days are long gone. In a last attempt at grabbing life by the horns she decides to go back to the life, only to realize the real enemy isn’t in front of her gun.

The whole game plays out inside these highly atmospheric environments peppered with hand-placed encounters. You’ll be roaming around finding secrets hidden all over the game’s world, as well as talking to quite the unique cast of characters. Not to mention cool boss fights at the end of every level.

That sounds pretty fantastic to me! I’m really excited by the sense of intrigue the short pitch evokes. The few screenshots and clips of the game also show off those atmospheric environments, which all have a sort of run-down industrial look to them. Sukeban also suggests that development for the game is well underway, with five of its seven planned chapters already playable from start to finish.

Gif: Sukeban Games

The most interesting part of .45 Parabellum Bloodhound is definitely its subtitle: Cyberpunk Active Time Action. It clearly calls back to VA-11 HALL-A’s own subtitle, itself an ode to Metal Gear Solid, but it also gives us an idea of how the new game will play. “Active Time Action” may make you think of Final Fantasy’s iconic ATB (or Active Time Battle) system, but the action part of .45 Parabellum Bloodhound’s subtitle can, again, be traced back to that Square release, Parasite Eve.

The 1998 horror RPG from Square Enix was developed by much of the Final Fantasy team (including series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, FF7 character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and FF4 lead designer Takashi Tokita) and released just one year after Final Fantasy 7 blew minds across the world. Set in modern-day New York City and going for an unsettling vibe as you take out genetic horrors with firearms, Parasite Eve leaned more into real-time action than Square’s other RPG offerings, but it retained a link to the classic ATB system. Combat in Parasite Eve allows you to run around a small arena dodging attacks while an ATB meter fills, at which point you can pause and execute attacks or other commands. It’s a fascinating blend of real-time and turn-based systems that gives the game a fast-paced yet strategic feeling. The system would be iterated upon in 2000’s Vagrant Story and is at the heart of .45 Parabellum Bloodhound, as shown in short clips of combat on the announcement blog from Sukeban. You can even see the familiar sphere-like grid from Parasite Eve in action as the game’s protagonist fires a pistol at an enemy.

Image: Sukeban Games

According to Sukeban, that is about where the comparisons to Parasite Eve end. What that means I’m not entirely sure, and Sukeban remains cryptic in the announcement, saying they will “talk about this some other time.” Still, based purely on the announcement blog, it seems to me that the comparisons to Parasite Eve go beyond just the combat system. Visually, .45 Parabellum Bloodhound looks to be a PS1-inspired game with low-poly character models and fixed camera angles. Maybe Sukeban just means that we shouldn’t expect the game to deliver the same horror elements fans of Parasite Eve love. In any case, you should still absolutely go play Parasite Eve if you haven’t before, it holds up!

Currently there is no release date for .45 Parabellum Bloodhound. Sukeban just says the game will release “When It’s Done,” though the team does hope the release is sooner rather than later, and originally planned to announce the game when development was complete. However, the reality of selling an indie game has become much harder since VA-11 HALL-A was released. “It’s not 2016 anymore,” the devs write, “so if we want this game to have a chance we gotta start now and hoard those wishlists and shit.”

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