GC '07: Eternal Sonata Update

We check out some previously unseen areas of this beautiful RPG during a meeting with members of the development team.

LEIPZIG, Germany--Earlier today, during a visit to Atari's business area at the 2007 Games Convention, we had an opportunity to meet with key members of the Tri-Crescendo development team and take a look at some previously unseen areas of Eternal Sonata. We're no strangers to the game--which is being published by Namco Bandai in North America--but after today's meeting it's clear that there will still be plenty of surprises in store for us when we get our hands on the retail version.

Our presentation got underway in the beautiful city of Ritardando, which we were told is the home of playable characters Beat and his older brother Allegretto. This was the first time we'd seen any area in Eternal Sonata where there weren't monsters waiting to fight us at almost every turn, and the lack of combat meant that we had plenty of time to take in the city's quite elegant architecture. Practically every structure in the city appeared to be white with a hint of blue, and if we were talking about a more conventional fantasy game, we'd have guessed that the whole place was designed by and for elves.

While exploring the city and interacting with numerous non-player characters along the way, our presenter wandered into the city's Mandolin Church. Inside the church there was a stairway leading down to some catacombs that, although much darker than the city above, were still far more aesthetically pleasing than we've come to expect from any video game locale with "catacomb" in its name. There were a handful of monsters to battle beneath the church, but the only thing that really distinguished those encounters from the numerous others that we've played and reported on previously was that, because the catacombs' only sources of light were small torches positioned on the walls and in the middle of the floor, almost the entire combat area was in darkness. That's worthy of note, because it makes it very difficult to use any of your characters' light abilities.

The Ritardando portion of our demo came to an end after a couple of fights down in the catacombs. Next up was another new area, the Celesta Forest. Covered in snow, the forest was every bit as easy on the eyes as the city we'd just left and, given the design of nearby fences and such, we're guessing that the two locations aren't too far apart. The presenter fought with a number of relatively small enemies in a clearing but, when crossing a bridge, took great care not to get into a fight with any of the large, fishlike enemies that were patrolling it.

At the end of our session we were given a few minutes to pose questions to the Tri-Crescendo staffers, and here's what we learned:

* When playing as Beat and taking photos of enemies, the value of the photos is determined by a number of different factors. The criteria include how close you were to the enemy at the time, whether or not the whole enemy is visible in the shot, and if you were unlucky enough to catch them blinking.

* You definitely won't be able to play through the entire game stuck with the same party of three characters. Your party will be divided at certain points in the story, and you'll also find that certain battlegrounds and enemies encourage you to give each character some time in the spotlight.

* Your first play-through of Eternal Sonata will purportedly take around 30 hours. It's impossible to see everything the first time, though, because there are a number of features that only become available after you've beaten the game.

* Like their counterparts in North America, European players will have the option to play Eternal Sonata with the original Japanese voice acting intact. The European game will also be localized in French, Italian, Spanish, and German.

* Eternal Sonata Xbox 360 faceplates like those released in Japan and headed to North America are currently being considered for Europe.

Eternal Sonata is currently scheduled for release in North America on September 17 and in Europe on November 9. Expect a full review of the game next month.

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23 comments
hellpolice
hellpolice

This is one game I been waiting for the past couple of weeks and its nice to see more JRPG's on the 360 even though PS3 get and will get most of them. The other franchise I want to see on the 360 is the Persona series. I can only dream.

Knightmare_King
Knightmare_King

With Microsoft now dipping its hand in the JRPG realm it makes you wonder if Mistwalker is MS's answer to Square/enix saying, "we don't need your pretty boy/girl heroes" here? And if Eternal Sonata being that this is the wave of things to come for the JRPG market for 360 will show other RPG companies that Microsoft has the means to make a very good and detailed RPG? I've played the demo and was visual and musically impressed, I'm counting the days until the 17 (Maybe earlier depending on the stores) and i hope that this game got what it takes to let others know that 360 have potential even if no one likes it in there own right. anyways after playing this demo I hope this is what i expected cause i'm playing Blue dragon now and i really like that game but i REALLY want Sonata more!

cesarblue
cesarblue

you gamers need to see how the set up is going, for x360 if you really want a rpg with some advancement get 3enchanted arms, it has the visual that we love, and the summons..... no story, and the first openly gay character in rpg history that i know of.... BUt know we got Blue dragon and it's a straight back to 90's rpg, doesn't do anything new just finally gives us a classic jrpg, with cool character and some nice summons once you get up in the level... I would say this is that classic rpg and story that we wanted for xbox. so appreciate it for what it is. now we get enternal sonata, this is a rpg that's allows some realtime action for those who can't deal with the turnbase sit a watch you character do all the work.. basically people who always have to be engaged in the game.. this will be a good look for the x360 because we needed something like this that still had the basic of a jrpg but also adds a little twist to the genre,, just like updated vagrant story, but not as adult... the jrpg that's going to have all x360 owners stastify and is going to set the bar, is going to be lost Odyesse this is the equvilant to Final Fantasy but now it's that in 2007-2008 I mean this is the game we been begging for and we should be all content when this game finally comes out. Now I know that nothing can replace final fantasy, but Lost Odysees is the new final fantasy, you can say this is the beginning of a new chapter for us as x360 owners, finally the game to end whether or not you want a ps3, cause we all were loyal fan's to the ps2 but they didn't respect us as a consumer and tried to put a 600 console on the market that wasnt attainable to the masses now they will be crushed like the neo-geo...... So just thank Sony for killing a brand,, no one should get a ps3, I mean a neo-geo., who the helllll want's to pay 60dollars for a blu-ray disc i mean is a movie really worth it, i can think of alot more things that can be better than that. console are video games first and dvd second, what the companies or sony has didn't remember is that this was the rule. sure everybody that got a system did leave the dvd market but we played it for the games now we have a system that most people don't even have the tv requirements to run the thing and wow who would want to pay that much for a dvd. sucker is born every min Back to what i was saying LOst Odyesse is the game that we been waiting for to shut down sony, we couldn't get the orginal final fantasy series but we got the creators of that , and this is there product so there feeling like new people with a new task, u can expect the best from them cause they have alot more riding on this than you can imagine

Thanos_of_MW
Thanos_of_MW

Looking forward to this game. Hope I'm done with Blue Dragon by then.

yaminoshadow
yaminoshadow

oh why oh why do we have to wait till november (down under)

volpexpress
volpexpress

this wil be a much better RPG than blue dragon by far. it looks like this will be a RPG with alot of potential and will have great gameplay and storyline.

sirkel28
sirkel28

Much better game than Blue Dragon judging from the demo.

sirkel28
sirkel28

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Knightmare_King
Knightmare_King

With blue dragon out now and with mixed reviews and being that the start of good RPGs to come I'm really having expectations for Eternal Sonata...i hardly listen to Chopin's music and when i do and play the demo of this game and listen to the boss fight theme....i feel like its a beautiful, and lushly colored adventure waiting to happen. And that said since I have blue dragon and its pretty good to some extent my eyes is dead set on Eternal right now and next month seems so far away right now...LOL

manicmantra
manicmantra

I'm already liking Eternal Sonata more than Blue Dragon. The demos showed me that the only thing Blue Dragon has is pretty graphics. The gameplay was boring, the music (especially the boss segment) was not good, and the chracters were pretty generic. I play RPG's primarily for the story and presentation, so the gameplay has to keep it fresh to make me want to continue. Eternal Sonata seems like it's going to do so. Finally, a traditional RPG on the 360 that could be more than "just okay".

ArchNinja
ArchNinja

I think the art direction is beautiful in Eternal Sonata, makes a nice change from the never ending stream of FPS which all seem to take place in the dark!. (exception being Bioshock which is genius) This, Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed should round out an expensive November for me!.

wjc04c
wjc04c

this sounds so good. i'm impressed with the details. so many good games coming on 360, i think i'll have to buy one.

Extra_Life
Extra_Life

I can't wait for Eternal Sonata. I only hope I've completed Blue Dragon by then!

Staryoshi87
Staryoshi87

Eternal Sonata is my next purchase.... and I'm looking forward to it quite a bit.

gord_mose
gord_mose

This and Mass Effect sound awesome! Definitely looking forward to it!

nobeaner
nobeaner

I've seen some reviews that gives this game around a 7 -7.5, but I played the demo and I love the graphics! I also tried Blue Dragon and in a toss up I would choose Eternal Sonata first.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Looking forward to next month's review. Graphics appear awesome and hope that the storyline is the same. Hope that it is not a Napolean at Liepzig.

damswedon
damswedon

i need a new face plate so whoo

makemeweak
makemeweak

This game looks amazing - I can't wait to play it!

SpigleyMcCheese
SpigleyMcCheese

Eternal Sonata should be pretty good. It looks fun anywho.