Gundam: True Odyssey details surface

New role-playing game, in departure from past, will feature an original setting and characters.

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Earlier in the week, Bandai opened a teaser Web site for its new Gundam game, titled Gundam: True Odyssey. Now, details on this first-ever Gundam role-playing game have surfaced in the latest issue of Famitsu. The PlayStation 2 game, which Bandai hopes to release this summer, may surprise fans of the series with its departure from the conventions of the popular Gundam anime, toy, and game series of the past.

True Odyssey will be an original RPG with new characters. It won't inherit any of the anime's settings, such as the Federation and Zeon, or any of the anime's characters. In fact, the only thing that True Odyssey has in common with the Gundam series from years past are the mobile suit mechs. The new characters piloting those suits are being designed by former Capcom illustrator Akira Yasuda, known by the pseudonym "Akiman."

According to Famitsu, Gundam: True Odyssey takes place in an alternate, near-future world. Mobile suit mechs have become a part of daily life because of the G-system, whereby anything can be built as long as there's a blueprint for it. Players take the role of Trush, who, along with his friends Eachie and Flitz, must go on a journey to stop a cult intent on taking over the world by using the G-system for evil.

True Odyssey producer Norihiko Ushimura and game designer Shinji Namikawa comment that they decided to go with an original setting for the game because Gundam fans are most likely "getting bored" with the existing storylines.

The game will feature approximately 200 mobile suit mechs, including enemy units. Ushimura says these mechs will be treated like weapons and armor in traditional RPGs. The player will start out with weak mobile suit mechs, such as the Zaku, and will discover new mobile suits and components as the game progresses. Ushimura added that there will be a customization system for the mobile suit mechs.

The development process of Gundam: True Odyssey, according to Famitsu, is currently 70 percent complete.

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