Secret of Mana games revealed

Details emerge on upcoming PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS entries in long-running Square Enix role-playing series.

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Square Enix is planning a few more installments in its Seiken Densetsu series, first introduced to US gamers with Secret of Mana on the Super Nintendo. While American gamers look forward to this fall's release of Children of Mana on the Nintendo DS, over in Japan Mana fans are awaiting Seiken Densetsu 4 on the PlayStation 2, and the DS follow-up to Children, Seiken Densetsu: Heroes of Mana.

Seiken Densetsu 4, which will be called Dawn of Mana in English, marks the first numbered sequel in the series since Seiken Densetsu 3, which appeared way back in 1995. According to the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu, it is also the first truly 3D title in the franchise and will incorporate the Havok physics engine. The story takes place 10 years prior to Children of Mana, and follows the adventures of Eldy and Ritzia.

As for the new DS game, Heroes of Mana will be a hybrid role-playing and real-time strategy game. The protagonist's name is Roger, a natural leader and excellent swordsman. The player will gather resources, summon monsters, and engage the enemy, with combat occurring in real time, as in previous Mana titles. Needless to say, all this will be facilitated by use of the stylus.

Dawn of Man is expected to hit shelves in Japan before the year is out, while Square Enix has not given any time frame for Heroes of Mana's release date. Both titles are being produced by Koichi Ishii.

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