How Radiant Historia's Time System Works
Save the world by traveling through time in this new original DS RPG from Atlus.
Atlus has until now been a bit vague on how the time travel system in Radiant Historia works. Today, we got some specifics via Famitsu.com and its print counterpart.
As previously detailed, Historia begins when main character Stok, an officer in the somewhat-unofficial intelligence agency of the nation of Alicetel, heads off with a couple of his subordinates to enemy Gran org territory on a rescue mission to bring back a lost secret operative. They retrieve the operative, but find themselves surrounded by the Gran org army. Stok's subordinates Rainey and Marco are killed. Stok himself suffers major injuries and is tossed in a violently flowing river.
When Stok comes to, he finds himself in the world of Historia, a world of twisted time and space, created by a magic known as "Souma" ("操魔"). There, Stok meets the twin siblings Riptee and Tio. They give him a special item, the Byakushiroku book (I'm not sure how to translate the name, but the Japanese is "白示録"). With this item, Stok will be able to change the past.
The twins tell Stok that if things continue to follow their current path, the world will end. "We want you to create a past which will not lead to the end of the world," they tell him.
With his powerful book in hand, Stok‘s first order of business it to travel back into the past and successfully complete the rescue mission that got him into the mess in the first place. He also makes sure Rainey and Marco aren't killed.
After his first visit, Stok can directly access Historia from the world map. When out and about on the fields of play, he can warp to Historia via special "Time Seals."
Once in Historia, Stok can use the Byakushiroku book to move between times. One can think of Historia as Stok's base of operations in Radiant Historia. When he visits Historia, Tio and Riptee will recover his HP and MP.
The Byakushiroku book houses a special magic for controlling time. Only its possessor can travel back and forth through time and change history.
Initially, the book is blank. As Stok advances through the story and experiences various points of history, his experiences will be recorded in the book as Time Seals. You can select these seals when you want to travel to a point in time and change the timeline.
Stok's world is actually split into two times, a "seiden" (proper history) and an "iden" (different history). The timeline split into these two branches based off an important decision Stok made about remaining with the intelligence forces or joining the Alicetel army.
The two timelines aren't mutually exclusive. The events of one timeline effects the other timeline. To create the proper history, Stok will have to change the past in both timelines.
Atlus has detailed the prologue sequences of both timelines, showing some of the differences that emerge following Stok's choice. Playing a key role in both prologues are two newly revealed characters: Rosche and Sonia. Rosche is a powerful officer in the Alicetel army. Sonia is a doctor in the Alicetel army. She also conducts research into "Mana," the source of life. Sonia, Rosche and Stok are all friends, although there seems to be a particularly strong bond between Sonia and Rosche.
Here's a recap of the happenings in both prologues. Both prologues lead to a decision point for Stok -- presumably the second such point after Stok's choice of joining the army or staying as an intelligence officer.
Seiden (proper history)
Stok has been asked by Rosche to move from the intelligence agency to the army and become his second-in-command. Stok refuses and remains with the intelligence agency. He's sent off on a mission to arrest Brad, a person who appears to be starting up a rebellion against Alicetel. The rebel force plans on stealing explosives that are being sent to the Alma Mines, which the territory of the enemy Gran org state.
Stok successfully captures Brad. However, the explosives that were supposed to have been delivered to the Alma Mines do not arrive. Stok and crew are sent out to investigate, but they must first meet an informant who will be sharing details with them that are needed for their next mission, an dangerous invasion of a Gran org base.
Stok, Rainey and Marco arrive at the point where they are supposed to meet the informant, but the informant does not show up. You have to choose here to wait for the informant or continue on to Alma Mines without waiting.
Iden (different history)
Stok accepts Rosche's invitation and moves to the army along with Rainey and Marco. Stok becomes second-in-command of a new division. Their first mission is to dispel a Gran org enemy force that is attempting to invade Alma Mines.
Stok and his crew head out to Alma Mines, but find that the entrance is sealed off. Also, the merchant who's supposed to deliver explosives to them has not made any contact. You have to decide to send some troops out to search for the merchant or just wait there for the Gran org army to come
In both the Seiden and Iden versions of history, Stok has a major decision to make. The game lets you choose one of two selections. These are the points where the game's timelines branch off.
No worries about making the wrong choice, though. By heading to Historia, you can travel back in the timeline of either version of history and change history. Because the two timelines are connected, this may also change the path of the other timeline.
There are still a few holes in how the time travel system and overall game progression work, but Radiant Historia is clearly shaping up to be more than just your standard RPG. Atlus hasn't even shared full details on the game's combat system, so there should be plenty more to cover leading up to the November 3 release.
Visit Famitsu.com for more screens.