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Imageepoch Announces New RPGs

Developer of Luminous Arc and 7th Dragon makes the move into publishing through some high profile projects.

 
Imageepoch CEO Ryoei Mikage (second from left) is joined by representatives from Sega, NHN and Good Smile Company at Imageepoch's JRPG press conference in Tokyo today.

Luminous Arc, 7th Dragon and Last Ranker developer Imageepoch took its first steps into the world of publishing today as it gathered the press and business partners in Tokyo for a press conference outlining the first batch of games that will bear Imageepoch branding.

FINAL PROMISE STORY

The studio's publishing efforts will kick off early next year on the PSP with "Saigo no Yakusoku no Monogatari," or "Final Promise Story." This "dark juvenile fantasy" is officially listed as a "dungeon RPG." It promises a highly strategic command-based battle system and a serious story.

Official artwork for Final Promise Story.

Final Promise Story is being produced by Yousuke Uda (who previously did promotional work on 7th Dragon, Etrian Odyssey and Persona 3) and features character designs from Chinatsu Kurahana and music composition from GainGauge. The game also has a large cast of professional voice actors, including Eri Kitamura, who plays Rizetto, a character who serves as your navigator.

Imageepoch CEO Ryoei Mikage is the game's executive producer, but he's also credited with the game's original idea. Speaking at the press conference today, he said the concept of the game was "Lost Game," meaning your characters can be lost for good after dying in battle. The story will change if you lose a character.

A teaser official site for the game was opened today. The next update is set for November 29.

A promotional video that was shown at the press conference can be seen here:

Final Promise Story is due for April 28 release, priced ¥6,279.

BLACK ROCK SHOOTER THE GAME

A video game conversion of the Black Rock Shooter franchise was formally announced last week, but Imageepoch kept us waiting on the platform. The company's second title as a publisher will also be on PSP as Black Rock Story The Game sees release on the platform next Summer.

Good Smile Company CEO Aki Takanori takes the stage to introduce Black Rock Shooter.

Black Rock Shooter The Game is set in the year 2051, 19 years after the breakout of war with invading aliens. Mankind has been reduced to just 12 people, who rise to face off against seven apostles and countless mechs.

Kazuya Niinou is directing the new title, which will have scenario work from Kazushige Nojima. Animation is being done by UFOTABLE.

Joining a standard ¥6,279 version of the game, Imageepoch is planning a ¥10,479 limited edition with a special visual box featuring artwork from huke, a Black Rock Shooter (white) Figma figure, an art book and a soundtrack.

Similar to Final Promise Story, Black Rock Shooter currently has a teaser site that's low on information. The site will get actual content on November 29.

An English-subbed trailer that was shown at the press conference can be streamed here:

Chevalier Saga Tactics

Chevalier Saga Tactics was mentioned in Famitsu this week as a downloadable PlayStation 3 title. It's actually a multiplatform title that will debut on PCs as a free-to-play browser game on NHN's Han Game service. PS3 and Smartphone releases will follow.

NHN Japan president Akira Morikawa.

Famitsu described the game as an "orthodox" strategy game set in Medieval times. The game will offer a strategy mode, where you command individual units, and a "large scale battle mode," where you command large armies in online play.

Imageepoch is handling the design aspects of the game. NHN is handling the network technology.

Speaking at the press conference today, NHN Japan president Akira Morikawa promised a next generation browser game with console level visuals and social elements. Morikawa's comments also appeared to suggest the possibility of cross platform play between the three platforms.

An official site for the PC version can be accessed here. Gameplay and story details will be shared at the site on the 26th. A movie is promised for the 29th, but it's presumably the same movie from the press conference, which you can see here.

The PC version will go into beta between March and Spring.

APPLI

Imageepoch is also working on apps, both for Android and other Smartphones, and for Nico Nico Douga's upcoming social gaming platform.

Development on Android and Smartphone titles will begin in January. A JRPG app is scheduled for summer, with an SNS-style JRPG app scheduled for fall. Mikage did not share specific beyond this.

For Nico Nico Douga's gaming platform, which hits in December and will allow site visitors to play games while they watch videos, Imageepoch is working on "Puchi Rock Shooter," an free-to-play RPG that seems to feature character elements from the Black Rock Shooter franchise. A release is planned for Spring.

FUTURE TITLES

Imageepoch's upcoming business plan.

Imageepoch also has some long term projects in the works. Four projects were given brief mention at the event:

Type-Moon x Imageepoch
Imageepoch previously worked with Type-Moon and Marvelous Entertainment on Fate/Extra, a PSP RPG that was released earlier this year. The new game will not be a followup to that. It will be a completely new game that's published by Imageepoch. At the press conference, Mikage said that he expects development to take three years and told attendees that they should consider this when speculating on the target platform.
Ark Project
This is an original simulation RPG. Mikage said it will take less development time than the Type-Moon project.
Mars Project
A collaboration with a JRPG creator. Mikage teased that the creator was in the audience.
Remus Project
A JRPG conversion of an old PC game.

Development has already started on all four titles. Details will be shared next year.

SEGA COLLABORATION

Sega domestic consumer business head Akira Nomoto was in attendance at the event to announce that Sega would be serving as distributor on Imageepoch's titles.

But Sega and Imageepoch's ties run deeper than this. Closing off the press conference, Mikage announced that Imageepoch will still be doing work as a developer, and they're teaming up with Sega for a title to be released some time next year. Following a live musical number by a string quartet, he shared one teaser image of the project.

Further details on the new game will come from Sega, said Mikage.

RPG fans who want to keep up with all Imageepoch offerings can turn to the company's newly opened JRPG portal site. The site provides links to Imageepoch's games and a developer blog. For Japanese readers, Mikage has made his first post at the blog.

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