Twenty years ago, a burdened game company by the name of Squaresoft was on the verge of extinction. All of their games were failures, and bankruptcy was knocking at their front door. Unless luck threw a big smile their way, Squaresoft would be no more. Then Squaresoft president Hironobu Sakaguchi and his team created a game that they dubbed Final Fantasy; because for them, it was their final game. However, Japan went wild over the game and it instantly became a hit title, then a hit series, and today it stands as an RPG legend. In 2001 Squaresoft released a movie, FF: The Spirits Within. This movie was so horrible, it lost the company billions and the president, Hironobu Sakaguchi, resigned and fell off the face of the planet… until now.
Sakaguchi is back in the gaming studios working on two big RPGs, and none of them are Final Fantasy. Actually, none of them are for Squaresoft either. These RPGs are being made by his new company, Mistwalker; a company forged by a team of ex-Squaresoft employees and Microsoft. Mistwalker’s most touting title is Lost Odyssey, a unique game that breaks away from the traditional Japanese RPG fundamentals.
Lost Odyssey begins its story with a man named Kaim, who’s been sentenced to live for one thousand years. The tale follows Kaim through his ever-going life as he relives generations. He gets his heart broken numerous times and looses his friends over and over. He must live in solitaire. Meanwhile, the world around him is in an age of mystical industrial conversion. Mankind now holds dark and evil powers; furthermore his world is falling apart.
Sakaguchi has recruited the best of the best to help with this project, including a writer that he admires, award-winning Japanese author Kiyoshi Shigematsu. Those of you that have feeble emotions may want to keep a Kleenex nearby when playing Lost Odyssey. Shigematsu says that he originally wanted the emotional power in his writing to be preserved in the game. He says that the game has surpassed his expectations and he assures us that we will cry. Yes, you may barrow our Kleenexes.
Also recruited was Takehiro Inoue, known best for his work on comic series Slam Dunk and Vagabond. The popular artist was excited to see how his characters would grow as the game progresses, but a little worried about how his style would apply to the game. For the musical parts of the game, Sakaguchi asked his friend and celebrated composer, Nobuo Uematsu, to lend a hand. Those of you who know how great Uematsu’s work is can already imagine how fantastic the musical aspect of the game will turn out.
I saw a trailer for the game that starts out with the clicking of a clock. Then it shows Kaim, the main character, walking on a barren plateau and wielding mystical staff. Then it shifts to a young lady walking on a grassy field. She looks up at the sky, noticing golden flakes falling and her hard face lightens. Afterward, the camera shows empty streets of a beautiful white city, then drums fade into the music and a battle scene is shown, where thousands of soldiers are clashing. Next, it shows a warrior in golden plate armor and a mask, and then a furious beast roaring. To complete everything, it shows a glimpse of Kaim defeating the beast on the barren plateau, spreading the golden flakes into the sky.
Sakaguchi mentioned trying a number of new things to flow with the characters lengthy life. The game will be trying to put you in Kaim’s shoes, viewing the rest of the world as being more alive than he is, due to his curse, and the story will follow his daily events. With four very talented men, and some ex-Squaresoft workers working on Lost Odyssey, this game can’t go wrong. The man who brought Squaresoft from zero to hero is going to prove he can do it again with Mistwalker — using Lost Odyssey. 360Monster.com will be providing every bit of detail we can until its release.