Phantom Brave due from Nippon-ichi

Disgaea developer readies new RPG; targets '04 for release.

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TOKYO--According to the current Dengeki Playstation magazine, Disgaea developer Nippon-ichi Software will be releasing a new simulation RPG, to be titled Phantom Brave.

While the game will have graphics akin to Disgaea and will progress using similar stage-based scenarios, its player system will be fundamentally different.

Of note is news that Disgaea illustrator Takehito Harada will once again be handling the character designs for Phantom Brave.

Phantom Brave takes place on a deserted small island inhabited by phantoms. There, a 13-year-old girl named Marone lives with an 18-year-old phantom named Ash. Marone has the power to control phantoms, which she uses in order to solve cases and make a living. Afraid to go anywhere near the island, people who need Marone's help send off messages in bottles over the sea for Marone to pick up.

Each level in Phantom Brave begins after Marone picks up a job request in a demo scene. After the demo scene, Marone, on her island, makes preparations before going off to engage in battle.

The island where Marone lives is similar to the player's castle in Disgaea. All the civilians on the island are phantoms and can be used as battle members. Marone's movements on the island increase as civilians level up from battles.

After preparations, Marone and party members go off to battle. Phantom Brave's battle system is not turn-based in the traditional sense; instead, characters with greater agility can move first (either player or enemy).

In addition, the field map no longer consists of hexagon cells. While there is still a limit as to how far a character can move within a single turn, characters are no longer constrained to specific cells.

Another unique characteristic in Phantom Brave is that all characters in Marone's party, except for herself, are phantoms--without real bodies. In order to participate in battle, the phantoms must first channel their soul into an object in the battlefield (which range from stones to wooden boxes). Each obstacle on the map has unique parameters, and the ability of the phantom will change depending on the object.

The act of equipping items in Phantom Brave is a bit different from traditional simulations or RPGs. Equipable objects in Phantom Brave are scattered all over the map. Characters can equip objects by simply picking them up and carrying them above their head, Disgaea style. By carrying objects above their head, characters will be able to receive additional status and special command moves. Characters can pick up and equip any object on the map, such as swords, mushrooms, flowers, and even party members or enemies.

Phantom Brave is scheduled for release on the PlayStation 2. A release date is still unannounced but is hinted to be in early 2004. A trailer of the game is planned for release in the near future.

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