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Grandia Online Formally Announced

GungHo and Gamearts take the classic RPG franchise online.

 

"Do you remember the adventure from 12 years earlier?

Another Grandia starts now."

So opens the Grandia Online official site as a jazzed up version of the classic Grandia theme plays in the backdrop.

Following an odd teaser campaign, Gung Ho made formal announcement today of Grandia Online. Service is will kick off this Summer following the usual closed and open beta periods.

Based exclusively off the information at the official site, it's a bit tough to determine the game's basic setup. Gung Ho describes the title as a "Dramatic Battle Adventure Online RPG." You'll meet other players online, face off against enemies in battle, customize your characters with unique weapons, and do it all for free, as the game is free-to-play.

Some elements of past Grandia games carry over. The game makes use of the action-oriented IP Gauge battle system from past titles. Additionally, Noriyuki Iwadare is heading up the aural side of the game.

Gameplay systems detailed at the official site include the following:

[end_p text="Continue reading for more on Grandia Online" /]

Ultimate Action Battle System
The game retains the Ultimate Action Battle System from past titles. Making use of an IP Gauge which has been evolved for online play, players perform combo and chain attacks.
Spirit Stone System
For customization, the game makes use of the Spirit Stone System. Weapons and armor can be equipped with spirit stones which turn them into original items.
Special Maps
After you've fought on the game's standard maps, special maps appear at random. There are a variety of such maps, some offering greater experience and some offering a chance at fighting powerful monsters. If you're lucky, the special maps will appear over and over again, and you'll be able to play consecutively.
Partner System
From the moment you start play, you're given a partner who accompanies you wherever you go, fighting along side you and growing with you. The partner character will also, it seems, play a role in the story.
Title System
Based off your level, status and other parameters, you earn Titles. Each title gives you access to different skills and abilities, and combining these leads to a large number of possibilities.
Screenshots from the official site.

One of Grandia's primary attractions has always been its adventure-themed story. For Grandia Online, Gung Ho is promising a story at the scale previously unexperienced in online RPGs. In typical online RPG fashion, the world and characters will slowly be revealed through updates to the game, but as a basic plot line, the official site states that people, animals and plants in the player's peaceful village have suddenly started to turn to stone.

The official site introduces two types of characters: player characters and key characters. Player characters, which are classes you can choose from, include Human, Korta, and Rarga. Key characters -- presumably characters who play a role in the story or act as NPCs -- include the following two:

Riete
A young lady who's full of mystery. There's apparently an image that looks just like her in an ancient book that was unearthed in a ruins.
Moge Race
The Moge are said to be good salesmen who know the value of money. It appears that they care about nothing more than money, but this is just a discriminatory view. They actually have the quality of seeking the truth in everything. They're also known for their long life.
A key visual for the game.
Player characters.

Visit the official site for a basic introduction movie to the story and systems.

The game's release schedule, as detailed at today's announcement press conference (and passed along by 4Gamer) calls for technical tests to begin in early June, followed by a closed beta in July, an open beta in the summer, and the formal start of service also in the summer. As detailed earlier in the day, free registration kicked off today at 17:30.

Gung Ho already has an update schedule in place. Fall will see the addition of the above mentioned Rarga Race. Some time between Fall and Winter 2009, the game will get a big update that adds story and map elements. Spring 2010 will see another large-scale update.

The game was apparently playable at today's press conference, so hopefully Japanese sites will deliver detailed impressions. I'll post further info if I see anything worthwhile.

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