Earlier today we met with Sony Computer Entertainment America to check out a near-finished version of Folklore, which was recently released in Japan as Folk's Soul. What we saw of the game today was more or less identical to the demo that we were given back in May, and although we've seen a lot more of the finished Japanese game since then, there was still some new information up for grabs in the form of story information and downloadable content plans.
Watching Folklore's intro movie, which we'd already seen in English in the Japanese game, we noticed that the name of the village where the two playable characters meet has been changed from Lemrick to Doolin. The change hadn't been implemented in all of the visuals yet, but during conversations between characters the village was always referred to by its new name. SCEA wouldn't comment today on why the name was changed, which, given the amount of work involved, suggests that there's much more to it than someone just liking the new name better.
Ellen, the first playable character, travels to Doolin after receiving a letter from the mother she believes died 17 years ago. In the letter, her mother claims that Doolin is a place where the living and the dead can meet, but Ellen still appears to take the letter as a sign that her mother is alive. Keats, the second playable character, is a reporter for a paranormal magazine who is investigating a series of murders and makes the journey to Doolin after receiving an anonymous phone call. When playing the Japanese game we assumed that the two characters were working together, but after today's meeting we can confirm that Ellen is simply looking for her mother in Netherworld, while Keats is somewhat reluctantly trying to stop her after being told that her actions are going to cause some kind of disaster.
We can also confirm that the two characters will develop very different fighting styles as you progress through the game and capture the IDs of different folk and add their abilities to your arsenal. Keats will effectively be Folklore's brawler character, primarily employing brute force. Ellen, on the other hand, will fight more strategically, and the abilities of the folk that she can equip will be those that inflict status changes and such on enemies.
If you read our preview based on the Japanese version of Folklore you might recall that, at one point, we visited a tavern/pub in which the patrons were anything but ordinary. We now know those patrons as "halflifes"--beings who exist in a state somewhere between life and death. The halflifes will offer you optional side quests to complete while you're in Netherworld, and talking to the barman will also let you access any additional quests that you've downloaded from the PlayStation Network after the game's release. Other downloadable content, incidentally, will include dungeons created by other players using the "Dungeon Trial" mode, and a number of additional outfits for Ellen to wear. Those outfits will grant Ellen various attribute bonuses such as improved resistance to certain elemental attacks. Keats doesn't get any because, at some point, he'll gain the ability to morph into his powerful "transcended state"--dramatically altering his appearance and turning him into from a mild-mannered reporter into an unholy-looking fighter who wouldn't be out of place on a Tekken roster.
We're told that Folklore should take you at least 40 hours to complete on your first play-through, and much longer if you're determined to complete side quests and collect all of the folk in the game. We're also told that the North American version of the game will differ from the Japanese original in at least one significant way, but SCEA isn't giving out any specific information on that just yet.
Folklore is currently scheduled for release in North America in October, and you should keep an eye on the PlayStation Network for a demo sometime before that. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.