The Roots is an upcoming PC role-playing game that's inspired by Japanese role-playing games such as Final Fantasy. With that said, expect Polish developer Tannhauser Gate to infuse some European flavor into the game. We had the opportunity to check the game out during the London Games Week festivities.
You star the game as Yan, a spiky-haired orphan, brought up by the guardian of the Tree of Life. When the tree begins to die, your foster father gives you the job of finding out what's going on, which makes your foster brother more than a bit unhappy that his own father has passed him over on such an important quest. As you can probably guess, that little factoid will play a bigger role further into the game.
As you adventure through the game, you'll have the opportunity to increase the size of your party to four characters, including female characters. Of course, this will set up plenty of romance options for Yan, but it wouldn't be a Japanese-inspired role-playing game without at least one romantic triangle.
The game's turn-based battle system is heavily inspired by Japanese role-playing games, though there are a few twists. While your characters travel along the main world, you'll be able to see enemies in your vicinity, so you won't end up getting thrown into an unexpected battle after taking only a few steps, like in other console games you might have played. By being able to identify potential battles, you can try to avoid conflict entirely.
When you do drop into a battle, both sides will line up facing each other, and combat is resolved on a per-turn basis. Interestingly, when you issue a command to a character, such as attack or cast a spell, you'll also have the opportunity to choose the direction you want the character to move after executing the command. That way, you can spread your party out over the battlefield and try to isolate certain enemy units.
The Roots is being developed for the PC, and a version of the game is being readied for the N-Gage. The game is still a bit of a ways out, however, so we can expect The Roots to ship sometime in 2005.