Far away from the sensory overload that is E3, I had the chance to visit famed localizer Victor Ireland. This is a man many an RPG fan should know as the former president of Working Designs - best known for bringing the Lunar series to our shores.
Nearly a decade after forming his new studio and working on smaller titles, Gaijinworks is now focusing on giving the Summon Night series a chance to penetrate the Western market. After last year’s well-received 5th entry, they look to capitalize on their efforts with Summon Night 6: Lost Borders.
The plot of Summon Night 6 isn’t an entirely new one. Visitors from different timelines are being taken from Lyndbaum (the setting of the earlier entries) and thrown into the world of Filujah for reasons no one has yet to figure out.
After a short English-dubbed introduction (there will only be English voices), I was thrown into a battle that takes place a few hours into the game. The goal was to take down Hayato, a former hero from the first Summon Night game who has now been possessed and is being accompanied by demonic reinforcements.
Joining you in combat are other notable characters from the series including Aty from Summon Night 3 and Amer from Summon Night 2. Players should expect more crossovers as the story goes on, though context will be provided for newcomers.
Combat takes place in a grid-based format as is standard in the mainline series. The only difference here is that characters have 3D movement in their grid. Once an action is performed and a turn ends, players snap into one of the four cardinal directions.
In this game, party positioning is a very important factor. By placing two party members adjacent to an enemy, they both perform a combo attack that prevents the enemy from doing a counterattack. This can also trigger buffs, debuffs, and other important benefits too good to ignore..
There is also different methods of using the environment to your advantage. One of my party members can summon a block that can be placed down to help characters navigate around the height of different terrain. Then, by removing that block, enemies could not chase after me.
The game is certain to be a very challenging adventure as many of my party members were taken down in only a few hits. It’s difficult to say whether things were just rushed to get to this point and players will be given a chance to grind a few levels beforehand, but I could tell how easily I’d be decimated if I strayed too far from the main group.
I did not have time to finish the battle (I tend to strategize on each turn), but I know that there is an affection system that plays a part in battle which will eventually determine the ending you will receive. Expect a ton of dialogue - Victor Ireland said this is easily the biggest game they have ever localized, with far more text than anything in the Lunar series.
As a long-time strategy RPG fan, I had a great time with Summon Night 6 in this small hotel suite across the street from the convention center. Hopefully this will pave the way for the rest of the series to find its way into our hands soon because they’re all damn good games.
Summon Night 6: Lost Borders is set to be released in the West for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita (with cross-save functionality) in early 2017.