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Another Century's Episode Sequel Set for PS3

Namco Bandai kicks off a new series in a new world. First details on summer's big robot game.

Artwork from the original ACE.

That unexpected collaboration between Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker and Monster Hunter is on the cover of this week's Famitsu. But the exclusive scoop the magazine was teasing last week (see last week's flying get column) was most likely Another Century Episode R.

The Another Century Episode series, also known as ACE, was first developed as a collaborative PlayStation 2 project between Banpresto, publisher of the Super Robot Wars series, and From Software, developer and publisher of the Armored Core series. The series offers fast-paced combat action using robots from a variety of anime franchises. In all, three installments were released through Banpresto on the PS2, the last arriving in September 2007.

ACE R is in development for PlayStation 3, to be released by Namco Bandai Games this summer. The same players are all in place -- From Software heading up development with the Super Robot Taisen production team leading the planning and scenario side. Super Robot Taisen series producer Takenobu Terada is serving as producer.

As one might expect of a robot game covered in Famitsu, much of the five page spread on Another Century's Episode R is devoted to showing off all the franchises that will be appearing in the game. The following franchises are confirmed:

  • Super Dimension Century Orguss (new)
  • Z Gundam
  • Gundam: Char's Counterattack
  • Crossbone Gundam (new)
  • Gundam Seed Destiny
  • Overman King Gainer
  • Full Metal Panic (new)
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (new)
  • Genesis of Aquarion (new)
  • Macross Zero (new)
  • Macross F (new)

Items marked with a "new" are appearing for the first time in the series. Famitsu notes that Macross F and Code Geass R2 are not featured in the Super Robot Wars series, meaning great attention will likely be placed on them.

Outside of the mech info, the magazine has first details on the scenario and world, both of which are completely new for ACE R. The game is set on the planet Eria, an original creation for the game. It looks similar to Earth, and the magazine speculates that there may be some connection between the Earth's civilization and the civilization found on Eria.

The scenario begins when the game's characters move to Eria for some currently unspecified reason. There, they end up encountering a mysterious enemy.

The magazine also got first details on the game's theme song. Acid Black Cherry, a solo band from Janne Da Arc vocalist Yasu, is heading up work on the theme song. It's titled "Re:brth." Details will follow in a subsequent report.

There are no gameplay details in the main part of the Famitsu feature. However, Terada, who's listed as being a part of a company called "Banpresoft," did give a few hints in a short commentary paragraph. Explained Terada, the systems that were established in the "previous series" (this wording seems to suggest that R is the start of a new series) will be inherited here, but brushed up. They'll also be adding new systems.

Terada also gave a few additional hints about the scenario. He noted that, different from the past ACE games and the Super Robot Taisen series, the setting is an original world. While the scenarios begin in the worlds of the original works, you'll end up moving to Planet Eria during the prologue.

Plans to revive the ACE series appeared internally within the company (Banpresoft?) years ago, explained Terada. For ACE R, the Super Robot Wars production team is working directly with From Software on development.

Development on Another Century's Episode R is currently 70% complete. It does look pretty far along in the magazine's array of screenshots, which includes both real gameplay (complete with icons and gauges) and some CG, the CG being from the opening movie which will mix together robots from the various franchises.

We can hopefully expect Famitsu.com to share direct feed versions of the images later this week.

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