One of the games unveiled at NIS America's recent Premiere Event in San Francisco was GrimGrimoire for the PlayStation 2. Currently scheduled for release in June, this fantasy real-time strategy game will see you assuming the role of Lillet Blan--a young magician who has recently been accepted into the prestigious Magic Academy. Without wishing to give away too much about the game's plot, Lillet awakens on her fifth day at the school to find that everyone else has mysteriously vanished and then, in a scenario somewhat reminiscent of Groundhog Day, she revisits the days that she remembers and attempts to solve the mystery. We got our hands on a work-in-progress version of GrimGrimoire at the event and were surprised to find that what looks like a 2D platformer at first glance is in fact a real-time strategy game.
Although you'll appear onscreen as Lillet Blan in GrimGrimoire's numerous anime-style cutscenes, you'll be controlling a cursor that looks like a disembodied hand during battle sequences. The game has a unique fantasy twist, but many of its gameplay mechanics are tried-and-tested RTS conventions. Unit-creating barracks and war factories have been replaced with summoning circles, resource gatherers take the form of elves who can harvest mana from crystals, unexplored areas of the tower are shrouded in a fog of war, and there are a number of different ways for you to select individual or multiple units--including drawing a box around them. When selecting more than one unit, you'll only be able to select those of the same type because the commands available vary for each. The movement command is the only one that's available to all units, while other unit-specific instructions include attack, defend, patrol, heal, and gather.
The only units that we were able to control on this occasion were elves (resource gatherers) and fairies (soldiers), which are both products of the "glamour" school of magic. As you progress through the game, you'll learn to use necromancy, sorcery, and alchemy. Learning necromancy will give you the power to summon more powerful allies such as demons and dragons. Quite what you'll be able to do with sorcery and alchemy isn't clear at this time.
Based on what we've seen of GrimGrimoire, it looks to be an uncomplicated RTS game that controls well and instantly distinguishes itself from other games in the genre, with its sideways-on rather than top-down perspective. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.