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Ignition Unveils El Shaddai

An original fantasy action title for the PS3 and Xbox 360. First details here.

 

This week's Famitsu takes the veil off an all new fantasy action title from Ignition Entertainment's Japanese studio. Titled El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, the PS3 and Xbox 360 title features an eye catching visual style, a story themed around the flood depicted in the Book of Enoch, and a simple-yet-complex combat system.

The main character in El Shaddai is a white-clad, blonde-haired young man named Enoch. Although human, the gods have summoned him up to heaven where he serves as a clerk.

The story begins long in the past as God commands the angels to watch over the world below. The angels carry out their duties for a long time, but some become filled with admiration for man and commit the great sin of descending to the ground below.

The heavens become filled with anger, and a plan is hatched to wipe out the world below with a great flood. Enoch steps in and convinces the angels to hold off on their plan if he goes about capturing the fallen angels. This serves as the start of Enoch's great journey.

Enoch will be joined in his quest to pursue fallen angels by Lucifer, a red-eyed angel with power so great that he can freely travel through time. He looks out on the world as protector. Under the orders of God, he works with other guardian angels to support Enoch. Lucifer is very cooperative, as it seems he's taken a personal liking to Enoch.

Playing as Enoch, you'll enter a large "living world." The game's stages of play promise variety, from common stage elements like platforms that can be jumped between to more uncommon gimmicks. Players will have to match their movements with stage formations and situations of great variety.

The game attempts to pursue simplicity with its battle system. You'll be able to perform combo attacks using few buttons. However, there will be variety of your actions. You'll be able to combine button inputs to create a number of combo attacks. This will allow players who are familiar with action games to stage strategic fights.

In order to immerse the player, the game does away with an on-screen interface. It's unclear if this means Enoch won't have any sort of life gauge. However, the magazine is clear that the only way you'll be able to determine enemy state is by its visual representation -- armor falling off, for instance. A series of screenshots show Enoch performing attacks that break an enemy down from full armor to underwear.

El Shaddai is being directed by and features character designs from Sawaki Takeyasu, who previously worked on art and character design elements for Devil May Cry and Okami at Capcom and Clover Studio. He went independent and formed his own studio.

(I'm not sure of the spelling, but the studio's name may be "Krym." The Japanese is "クリム," and it's a publicly traded company so you may be able to find more details with a bit of research).

Based off screens and art in the Famitsu article, one of the most standout features of El Shaddai is its visual design. The most important thing about the design, Takeyasu told Famitsu, is the impression it leaves on the player the moment they see it. He feels that showing things that look like what you've seen before would be uninteresting, but at the same time showing things that are at the opposite extreme would be difficult to understand. He wanted something in the middle, which he describes as "Visual design that is agreeable and pleasant."

He highlighted two points about the game's world: "It does away with complexity, and makes it clear what you should do next" and "You intuitively understand, but it's not dull and monotonous, and the form is continually changing."

Speaking about the gameplay, Takeyasu said that creating a pleasant feel was important. Additionally, the staff has aimed for two things: "a direct control scheme that requires no instruction manual" and "the player himself getting more skilled rather than the character getting stronger."

El Shaddai is currently 60% complete. A release is set for 2010.

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