At a roundtable discussion, Level 5 CEO Akihiro Hino revealed new details on True Fantasy Live Online, the upcoming massively multiplayer RPG for the Xbox. While the company is still keeping a good deal of information under wraps, Mr. Hino was able to offer some more information on what to expect from the ambitious game.
The game will start you out in one of four countries, each with its own unique background and story. Mr. Hino offered the example of the kingdom of Claria. If you start there, you'll come to discover that it's ruled by a smart king who is loved by all his subjects. However, the kingdom is also home to three malcontents that want to revolt against him. As you go about your business in the game, you'll receive updates on the ongoing story, which will even impact your own gameplay in some cases. Mr. Hino stated that Level 5 wants to differentiate True Fantasy Live Online from other massively multiplayer games by having a history in the game that can change as you play. He stated that players may even see a kingdom destroyed at some point in the game--an event that will affect the story from then on. The game won't be restricted to a chapter system, like some single-player role-playing games are, and like other online RPGs, True Fantasy Live online will let you go about your business as you please.
The game's job system seems like it would be one of the most important features for fans looking forward to the game, but Mr. Hino was unable to reveal many details about it, though he did provide a general example. In the game, you might choose to play as a weaponsmith or a carpenter, and when choosing a profession, you have the option to join the corresponding guild in your town. Joining the guild gives you a simple quest to perform that lets you start building your status within the guild--though you won't be obligated to join a guild if you don't want to. However, if you do raise your status within your guild high enough, you'll be able to join a special society that will offer you exclusive quests available only to members.
When asked about character interaction, Mr. Hino stated that characters from different worlds would be able to interact with each other, and that there will be more than the four initial worlds as you progress through the game. Players will be able to travel between areas on foot or with a variety of different modes of transportation such as riding on creatures, broomsticks and even troll-drawn carriages. However, you may have to fulfill certain requirements before you can use these alternate forms of transport.
Mr. Hino then went on to drop hints about the game's quest system and its player-versus-player (PvP) combat. On the subject of PvP, Mr. Hino simply stated that it's an aspect of the game that has not yet been revealed. On the subject of quests, Mr. Hino explained that the game will offer tasks that will range from single-player adventures to larger-scale tasks that require you to form an adventuring party. Interestingly, you may actually find yourself competing against other players to complete certain quests first.
The final element of character interaction that Mr. Hino discussed was communication. True Fantasy Live Onlie will support voice chat over Xbox Live using the headset for in-game communication, but the team is looking to offer a few more options to players once they start to find a good crowd to run with. The current plan is to include a way for players to communicate from long distances and find each other, much like Final fantasy XI's "linkshell" or Phantasy Star Online's guild card system.
Level 5 is also apparently planning to conduct beta tests for the game in the US and Japan at some point, though the exact details have not yet been finalized. The same holds true for the game's online pricing structure, assuming there is one. True Fantasy Live Online is scheduled to ship next spring in Japan with a US release to follow.