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Lost Odyssey, firm foundation

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Mistwalker's second outing for the XBox 360 is entitled Lost Odyssey, and follows the tribulations of a thousand year-old man cursed with perpetual youth. The mature role-playing entry has started out with a firm foundation, with producer Hironobu Sakaguchi having recruited several veterans of Squaresoft along with some renowned outside collaborators. By the year's end, players should have the chance to decide whether the finished title delivers on its promises.
Kaim Argonar has been sentenced to live for a thousand years and engage in increasingly bloody and merciless battles with warring empires. Lost Odyssey follows his progress through multiple generations, as the stoic warrior bears witness to the deaths of his closest friends. Against the background of this tragic story, humankind has acquired the use of corrupt magical powers, and civilization is swiftly approaching "a mystical industrial revolution." While endowing immortality and godlike powers on those who master its arts, the desire for magic has corrupted the voracious multitudes and kindled an unending war.

The tragic hero Kaim will be joined by a blue-haired woman named Sesu and a staff-wielding warrior with a top-knot called Yansen. Upon encountering enemies on the battlefields of Lost Odyssey, the trio will employ traditional turn-based battle mechanics, with familiar command options like attack, magic, and flee. Running on the Unreal Engine 3, the in-game visuals sport some enthralling effects, like running water, billowing smoke, and lengthening shadows. Producer Hironobu Sakaguchi intends for greater interactivity to be experienced with the virtual world; that whenever something in the physical environment is encountered, it will react organically. The story detail of Kaim's immortality is also being integrated into playable portion of the game. Since Kaim can never die, players will never get a Game Over screen. How the quest will remain challenging will likely take some work of ingenuity on the part of the designers.

Cinema stills from the upcoming Mistwalker PRG

Lost Odyssey is the second outing for Mistwalker, and will consciously center upon more mature themes than its predecessor, Blue Dragon. To ensure the epic quality of the XBox 360 role-playing game meets high literary standards, the development team sought out novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu, who the producer believed would be capable of lending emotional resonance to Kaim's thousand years of memories. The game's scenario writer won the Naoki Prize in 2000 for his book Vitamin F, a prestigious annual award given to writers of popular fiction.

Art is being overseen by Takamasa Ohsawa of the Shadow Hearts series. A current Mistwalker resident, Final Fantasy XII's Hideo Minaba is contributing concept art, while also in charge of character design for the Nintendo DS title Archaic Sealed Heat. Conceptual designer Christian Lorenz Scheurer, having worked on diverse Square projects in the past, is among the art staff. An illustrator for big-budget films like The Matrix and The Fifth Element, he was instrumental in the design of Final Fantasy IX and The Spirits Within, while providing matte art for Square's entry in The Animetrix. Characters for the game have been designed by famous manga illustrator Takehiko Inoue, known for Slam Dunk and Vagabond. On the aural side, Nobuo Uematsu will be following up his irreverent Blue Dragon soundtrack with a soberer foray into orchestral and electronic compositions.

Mistwalker is working with Feeling Plus on the game's development, a company formed by Microsoft with the raison detre of developing a killer app for the XBox 360. In an interview with, Sakaguchi explained that Hiroshi Kawai had a hand in determining the XBox 360 as the rightful destination for the game. Kawai is the current lead developer of the Xbox 360 games division in Japan, but his background is in coding--he served as main programmer on Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy IX. Mistwalker's staff is hoping to have Lost Odyssey completed by October of 2007. If localization goes swiftly, as planned, the title will share a North American and European release date with Japan. If the circumstances sound familiar, the strategy is also being employed by the title's lost cousin, The Last Remnant.

Lost Odyssey E3 trailer

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Forums / News / Lost Odyssey, firm foundation

This game is starting to shape up pretty well. It looks to contain a very interesting storyline (albeit not very unique) and I like the return of a traditional RPG battle rather than the new systems placed in FF12.

If I can afford a 360 by the time this is out I will definitely be purchasing one for this game (if not GTA4 hehe)
Oh man, that trailer is an action junkie's dream come true... Reminded me a lot of 300, actually. My Mistwalker bias tells me that it looks awesome, but I fear the gameplay will get boring after some time (especially if Kaim can't die).
This is next gen and I would like to think that we've evolved past the substitutive conventions of the NES. Why are there still random encounters?
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