Producer: Bandai Namco
More details on Tokitowa have surfaced from this week's issue of Weekly Famitsu via our usual source, Sokuho@Hokanko.
As detailed earlier, Tokitowa, which can be translated to English as "Time and Eternity," is a PS3 RPG that's being published by Namco Bandai Games and developed by Imageepoch and animation studio Satelight. The game is produced by Kay Hirono and Kensuke Tsukanaka, has character designs from Vofan and music from Yuzo Koshiro.
The game is set in Kamuza Kingdom, a nation formed when a prince, known as the Knight King, and a magic wielding princess married. The castle town floats on the water (I'm not sure if this means it's on an island or if it's actually floating on the water like a ship).
You play as that prince whose marriage formed the Kingdom. You're 18 years old, and even though you're married, you still haven't had your first kiss. The prince is meant to be named by the player, although he does have a voice actor, Tsubasa Yonaga.
The princess's name is Toki. Toki is 16 years old and always keeps Drake, her blue colored dragon-like pet, at her side. Toki is voiced by Kana Hanazawa.
In this image from the game's teaser site, Toki is the second girl from the left.
One of the big early talking points for the game appears to be its animation system. The game uses hand drawn 2D animation for main characters and enemies during movement throughout the world and in battle. This isn't an approximation of hand drawn artwork using cell shading -- it's actual hand drawn art. Backgrounds and other areas appear to be 3D.
Outside of these story and character details, Famitsu scored commentary from the various staff members along with Imageepoch CEO Ryoei Mikage. Here's what they had to say:
Kay Hirono (Producer, Namco Bandai)
The project has been in development for over two years. Hirono promises a completely new title that is full of new experiments.
Ryoei Mikage (CEO, Imageepoch)
Mikage said that he created this project plan long ago when he thought that he wanted to show 2D anime as is on a game system. The systems at the time were incapable of pulling this off. To get it to work on the PS3, they had to do many trials.
Vofan (Character Concept)
Vofan is from Taiwan, but loves Japanese games and anime. He started character design for the game in 2010. The themes for the game are "Love" and "Time."
Yuzo Koshiro (Sound Composer)
Yuzo says that when he was first shown the design doc, he was drawn to the game by Vofan's characters. The background art is also beautiful, he said. This is serving as inspiration for his composition.
Development on Tokitowa is currently 45%. In a blurb next to the percentage, a Namco Bandai PR person refers to the game as "the world's first HD animation RPG."
Following Tokitowa's announcement earlier this week, we're all waiting to see how this will look in motion:
The screenshot has what seems like an impossible mix: hand drawn characters against 3D backdrops. Tokitowa uses hand drawn character art for primary characters and enemies during battle and field exploration. Can hand drawn characters be made to animate fluidly in a 3D world?
Ryoei Mikage, CEO of Tokitowa developer Imageepoch, appears to be aware of some of the concern players have about how the mix will look in motion. He addressed the issue in a series of Tweets today.
Mikage first reiterated that the character visuals are not cell shaded -- that is, they're not polygon models shaded to look like animation. The character art is continuously loaded in full HD size from the PS3.
Things like "how smoothly can you make such visuals" and "can you rotate the camera" were all addressed in the early phases of development, explained Mikage. The project started with the question of can you really make it move?
While other companies have created technology for showing 3D as 2D, Imagepoch is using a different approach, said Mikage. Because of this, and the many walls that resulted, development work was extremely tough.
Mikage does not seem to be annoyed by the doubt expressed about the game's visuals. He said that the more he hears expressions of doubt about the ability to make the visuals move, the happier he becomes.
We'll get our first look at Tokitowa in motion on the 25th.
We'll be getting a first look at Imageepoch's PlayStation 3 RPG Tokitowa later tonight during the company's JRPG Declaration 2012 press conference. But before that, Famitsu has a few details as part of a dialogue between CEO Ryoei Mikage, Tokitowa producer Kay Hirono (Namco Bandai), and Tales series producer Makoto Yoshizumi (Namco Bandai).
Yoshizumi said that upon seeing a video of the game he felt that they were doing something incredible.
He also provided some hints about what we can expect from the gameplay, one of the more mysterious parts from last week's announcement. The game's battle system will not be the type where you select commands from a menu. It will have action elements. Also, the element of "time" will have a role in the battle system in unexpected ways.
The theme of the game is time, said Yoshizumi ("Toki" means time). An important keyword is marriage (your character and the main heroine are married). The game will be full of serious, sexy and comical elements.
There are currently no plans to make the game into a series, said Yoshizumi. However, he does not want the game to end with this first title.
For details on how you can watch the Tokitowa debut trailer during today's Imageepoch press conference, see this story.
Mikage revealed that the game originated as a design document from long ago. He pulled it out one day and thought that it could at last be done on the PS3. He did end up rewriting much of it, though.
Mikage also discussed how the other key staff members got involved in the project. For composer Yuzo Koshiro, he revealed that he'd actually written the design doc while listening to Koshiro music. They played a sampling of Koshiro's music during the broadcast, but it was just a prototype.
Illustrator Vofan did not come in until midway through the project (between the second and third prototypes, said Mikage). The staff discussed who would be a good match for the characters and decided on Vofan.
The game's main voice staff, Tsubasa Yonaga as the main character and Kana Hanazawa as heroine Toki, delivered video messages. They noted that the main character is 18 and still hasn't had a kiss, so he's very pure. Toki has a major secret, they revealed. We'll have to play the game for ourselves to find out what it is, but the it's something that the main character does not know.
Nico Nico viewers were invited to ask questions. Unfortunately, they mostly asked questions that could not be answered. However, Mikage did share a few bits in his responses:
* The game is not a turn-based RPG. It's very close to an action RPG.
* The game has a mix of fixed and moving cameras.
* The game will be released this year -- 2012. Mikage said that it probably won't take all the way until Winter.
* The game will be ready in time for TGS (I believe Mikage is talking about it being shown at TGS rather than being released by then).
* The game will have download content.
* Mikage said that you can cheat on your wife and you can select your wife. It's possible he was joking.
* Asked to give a percentage completion, they said said around 20%. The basic program is done.
Imageepoch si affaccia finalmente su ps3 con un jrpg prodotto da Bandai Namco, con il coinvolgimento di Yuzo Koshiro per la ost e dello studio d'animazione Satelight. Al character design invece c'è VOFAN.
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