Mistwalker, headed up by the father of Final Fantasy Hironobu Sakaguchi, has been working on the DS exclusive SRPG A.S.H for longer than most people would like, but it is all coming together very nicely now and firm details have been released via Famitsu in an interview with Sakaguchi-san himself. Below is a quick translation of the key points, thanks to duckroll of NeoGAF:
- There are plenty of pre-rendered movies, sprites, plus voice work to help make the experience more realistic and serious than other DS RPGs;
- The theme and tone are very different from Mistwalker's Blue Dragon on Xbox 360;
- A.S.H includes a mixture of both traditional RPG commands, as well as Simulation RPG style maps where you can plan out your strategy in a similar vein to Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. You form teams of up to three characters with a leader at the head of the group, with said group represented as a single unit on the map. As the game progresses you can have up to five teams in total;
- When it comes to engaging enemies on the battlefield, rather than jumping into a one-on-on automatic battle as in Fire Emblem, the scene changes to a normal RPG fighting scene where the whole team of three faces the enemies in a menu driven approach;
- Being an SRPG, everything is governed by Action Points and these are shared between an entire team, not individual characters;
- There are two types of characters - main characters and ash warriors. Only main characters who are actual living beings and story characters can be team leaders;
- Ash warriors are considered as troops in your army that can level up and gain skills. When you are satisfied with their development you can then absorb them into a main character to transfer the powers. Absorbed ash warriors are then lost forever;
- This will be the first ever 2 Gigabit DS ROM. There have been plenty of 1Gb games, but this time much more space has been required to fit all the extras in;
- Field skills will be present in the game, with you able to use them on the battlefield itself, as well as support magic that allows one team to boost the stats of another team, and so on;
- It appears that Mistwalker is working on this game alone, unlike the 360 games that have used the likes of Artoon and Cavia. Sakaguchi-san actually states he's the Executive Producer, overseeing the entire project. Kensuke Tanaka (Marketing Producer for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Blue Dragon) is the Producer of the game. For the main scenario they both sat down and discussed it, but it is mainly Sakaguchi's idea and story.
With the game definitely still set for a 2007 release in Japan, it is safe to say the media deluge will only ramp up in the coming months. Stick with Cubed3 for all the coverage you need!