While Disgaea 3 for the PlayStation 3 was well received critically, the strategy role-playing game was dinged for its dated visuals, which hadn't evolved much from the series' first two PlayStation 2 installments. Developer Nippon Ichi Software is apparently addressing that complaint for Disgaea 4, as it officially announced the title today, specifying that it will be built on an entirely new graphics engine.
Set for North American release next summer, Disgaea 4 will incorporate new visuals and battle systems while retaining many of the series' most familiar aspects. Characters like "Dark Hero" Axel and the penguin-like servant Prinnies will be returning, as will many familiar character and enemy types, all re-rendered to take advantage of the new engine.
Impatient gamers eager for more from the creators of Disgaea can instead look forward to the PSP superhero strategy RPG Z.H.P. in North America this fall. Known in Japan as Zettai Hero Keikakuin, Z.H.P. lets players create their own heroes and bases of operations and then do battle with the forces of evil on randomly generated maps. Disgaea series producer Souhei Niikawa set a very high bar for the game when he introduced it at an NIS America event in July, saying it was made "to surpass Disgaea."