|Developer(s)||SCE Japan Studio
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Director(s)||Takashi Tsukamoto (Dimps)|
|Producer(s)||Junichi Yoshizawa (SCE)|
|Designer(s)||Toshiyuki Yasui (Shift)|
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game|
|Distribution||PlayStation Vita card, download|
Freedom Wars (フリーダムウォーズ Furīdamuuŏ̄zu?) is an action role-playing video game developed by SCE Japan Studio exclusively for the PlayStation Vita. It was released on 26 June 2014 in Japan and will be released within August 2014 in Asia. A North American and European release is planned for 2014.
The game is a battle action game, and will feature online and offline multiplayer functionality, both co-operative and competitive, for up to eight players. The game will also make use of the Vita's built-in GPS functionality, near. The game features a grappling whip called the "thorn" that the player can use to zip across the battlefield and pull giant monsters to the ground. Different classes of thorns also grant various special techniques, such as traps, healing, and shields. Players fight alongside androids known as Accessories which provide combat support during missions; the player gives a set of commands to their Accessory that they execute, which include holding a position, collecting materials, or rescuing civilians.
The game features a system known as the City-State War Mode, where players are separated into 47 Panopticons, with each representing one of Japan's 47 prefectures. Each Panopticon competes with the others in development, where players set out to seek natural resources and invade other Panopticons. Developed Panopticons have the capability to place other ones under their control, and leaderboards will be used to compare each City-State. Within this mode, criminals fight amongst themselves.
Missions involve players fighting against giant mechanized weapons known as Abductors, and rescuing civilians captured by them. Accessories can be abducted by enemy Abductors once they have fallen, and in such cases the player is required to rescue them. In addition to hunting and rescue type missions, item collection and capture the flag missions also exist. In some missions, players will need to fight off against other teams of fighters from other Panopticons who will compete against the player's team, and attempt to rescue civilians for their own side. Players collect resources known as abductor parts which fall from enemies. Those who contribute to their Panopticon are rewarded with accessory customisation. Voices triggered during the game can be customised. The game will feature text-to-speech functionality for communication between players in multiplayer games. At the end of each mission, players can choose to give the collected materials to the Panopticon as a "contribution" which reduces their sentence and adds GDPP points to their Panopticon on the leaderboards, or they can keep the material for personal use later on; however, refusal to hand over certain prohibited material will result in the player being penalized with additional years in their sentence. The top few Panopticons with the highest total GDPP score are granted special rewards and bonuses during competitive events.
Weapons are categorised into six groups, namely small swords, large swords, spears, personal firearms, multipurpose firearms, and squad support firearms. Hammer-type weapons and longswords also fall within the large sword category, whilst the squad support firearm category includes weapons such as gatling guns, laser guns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, flamethrowers and net guns. Weapons feature varying degrees of rarity, and players are able to equip two simultaneously, whilst Accessories are able to equip one. Weapons can be collected off the field, or they can be crafted and enhanced. Consumable items vary from healing and booster items to combat types such as grenades and land mines. Production, modification and strengthening of weapons and consumable items takes place at the weapons plant, medical supply plant, and auxiliary arms plant; resource accumulation and management is an important aspect of the game.
The game offers a selection of five different control schemes that cater to different players' suitabilities; the default and dash types are suited to general players of third-person action games, the hunter type is suited to players who prefer the control layout of games such as Monster Hunter and Gods Eater Burst on the PlayStation Portable, which allows the player to control the camera via "finger hooking" the directional pad as an alternative to the right analog stick, the shooter type is suited to players of third-person shooting games, and the technical type binds the grappling thorn to the right shoulder key. All control schemes are compatible with DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers, for players using a PlayStation Vita TV.
At the beginning of the game, the player has no rights, and is required to "buy" back their rights to do certain things using points, such as lying down or walking more than five steps in their prison cell, customising their appearance, or having access to certain weapons; violating any restrictions results in a penalty of years being added to the player's sentence.
Freedom Wars takes place on Earth, in the year 102013. The world surface lies in ruins and is no longer capable of supporting life. As such, humans live in underground cities called "Panopticons", where they struggle to research how to be able to live on the surface once more. A Panopticon functions as an artificial nation in the form of a city state that provides security for its inhabitants, in exchange for contributions each inhabitant is obligated to make towards the state. This system forms the overall societal structure of each separate Panopticon, which were created following the disintegration and demise of countries. Due to lack of resources, each Panopticon has developed conflicts with others, and large portions of the populace are forced into serving sentences in order for these cities to maintain effective control. All inhabitants of a Panopticon are constantly watched by the state to ensure they abide by the draconian laws put into place, essentially forming a collective of dystopian surveillance societies at war with one another.
Criminals serving sentences are forced into providing labor for the state, in the form of participation in war as "volunteers", in order to regain their freedom. Overpopulation has become such an issue that the Panopticons have implemented a drastic measure: anyone arrested for any crime is found guilty, regardless of whether or not they actually are. Based on the philosophy that newborns waste resources, the very existence of a person is a crime; more than 100 million people serve as criminals throughout the world. Criminals are forced to battle giant monsters called "Abductors" as punishment. Defeating the Abductors, which are known to capture civilians, reduces the Criminals' sentences, which start at 1,000,000 years. Criminals are placed under constant surveillance and have their rights stripped; personal rights can only be gradually regained through labor. Surveillance of criminals occurs in the form of dual-purpose androids known as Accessories, which watch over criminals whilst serving as partners to them during combat.
- Protagonist - A young man/woman customizable by the player, who received a prison sentence of 1,000,000 years for "the crime of living" upon his/her birth.
- Beatrice "Lily" Anastasi - A mysterious woman with a checkered fate, who was rescued by the protagonist. Voiced by Eriko Nakamura.
- Uwe "Sakamoto" Cabrera - Described as a valiant veteran who constantly fights to contribute to the Panopticon, guiding other criminals alongside him towards their freedom. Voiced by Jōji Nakata.
- Mattias "Leo" Bruno - A new criminal with a bad history, however is a friend and rival of the protagonist. Voiced by Akira Ishida.
- Natalia "9" Woo - Captain of the 35th Social Security Group of the Investigation Committee, who strictly adheres to the ideology of the state and upholds the law. Voiced by Yuu Asakawa.
- Elfride “Sakamoto” Cabrera - A young maiden and a criminal, with brown skin and short green hair. Voiced by Nao Tōyama.
- Carlos “Theodosius” Jinnah - A criminal associated with the Nog Panopticon. A rival of Uwe, Carlos is a hedonist who focuses on what he enjoys, and cares little about sentences. Voiced by Keiji Fujiwara.
- Aries M - A mysterious young lady who leads and helps the main player character. Voiced by Yumi Hara.
- Julian Sadato E - A civilian with a delicate personality who gets along with the protagonist following his rescue from an Abductor. Voiced by Kenji Akabane.
- Sylvia Anastasi - Sister of Beatrice, Sylvia is a female captain who is usually quiet, however becomes warlike in battle. Voiced by Marina Inoue.
- Abel "Shutorafe" Balt - An ace criminal from a hostile Panopticon, and one of the world's most powerful criminals. Voiced by Junichi Suwabe.
- Marie "Alma" Milan - Voiced by Natsukawa Shiina.
- Hal "Babe" Vito - A bespectacled intellectual. Voiced by Takuya Eguchi.
- Anne "Charm" Vito - 16 year old sister of Hal. Voiced by Asakura Momo.
- Billy "Leopard" Correll - Voiced by Yamashita Seiichirō.
- Nina "Elizabeth" Diaz - Voiced by Nakagami Ikumi.
- Shizuka "Fake" Laurent - Voiced by Sora Amamiya.
- Kai "Wolf" Silva - Voiced by Eiji Miyashita.
- Sergio "Hellgate" Cocteau - Voiced by Hiroki Gotō.
- Panna, Opti and Connie - Three female singers known as the "Propaganda Idols" who perform songs as a girl group to spread propaganda and keep the population under control. The group isn't actually made of real humans; rather, the idols are high-grade Accessories created by the government through voice sampling of Panopticon citizens. Unlike regular Accessories, the idols display some degree of emotion and personality. They are voiced by Natsukawa Shiina, Sora Amamiya and Asakura Momo.
- Propa-kun - Official mascot of the Panopticon, used by the authorities to deliver propaganda in a softer and cheerful tone.
A teaser trailer for the game was released on 16 May 2013, which led to the assumption that the game would be named Panopticon. On 21 May 2013, the game was revealed to actually be named Freedom Wars. Another trailer was also released, largely identical to the teaser, but with some comparisons between life on Earth (or, more specifically, London) in 2013, and life 100 years later in areas including surveillance, criminal population, gender divide, and birth rate.
During the SCE Worldwide Studios keynote speech at the 2014 Taipei Game Show, producer Junichi Yoshizawa announced that the game would have a simultaneous release in Japan and Asia, and would also be localised in both Japanese and Traditional Chinese. Sony Computer Entertainment later announced in April 2014 that the game would be localized for a western release. A Korean language localization has also been announced. Development for the game began in March 2011, two years before it was first announced to the public in 2013. According to Junichi Yoshizawa, development was distributed amongst the various studios involved; Shift was allocated the task of game and character design, in addition to storywriting, whilst Dimps was responsible for programming, graphics and direction. On June 12, 2014, the first public playable demo of the game was released on the Japanese PlayStation Network.
Two music videos were released on Niconico to promote the game prior to its release, featuring the original songs "Let's Contribute: Imprisonment of Love for 1,000,000 years" (Let's貢献 ～恋の懲役は1,000,000年～?) performed by Natsukawa Shiina, Sora Amamiya and Asakura Momo, and "Panopticon Songs of Labor No.1" (パノプティコン労働歌 第一?) performed by Asakura Momo. The songs are sung by a fictional in-universe Japanese idol girl group aimed at spreading government propaganda to the masses. A third promotional song, a cover of the Kagamine Rin song "Nananana" (ナナナナ?) performed by Natsukawa Shiina and arranged by Kemmei Adachi alongside Oppiroge P, surfaced on the day the game was released in Japan, with another in-character solo track by Sora Amamiya set to be released in the future.
At launch, the game will feature the story, free volunteer, four-player ad-hoc co-operative play, and City-State War modes; an update planned for release after launch will add infrastructure online play, new volunteer missions, support for eight players, and player-versus-player mode. A subsequent planned update following after will add the Ideology War game mode. Whilst the Japanese version of the game will feature a map of Japan's 47 prefectures for its competitive multiplayer mode, the Chinese-localization Asian version will have players select Panopticons from regions such as Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. According to Nick Accordino who is in charge of the western localisation, the English release will feature 50 Panopticons based on cities located around the world.
The 1.04 update patch released in mid-July 2014 adds changes to game difficulty, including enemy spawning times in certain missions and allowing the thorn to be used whilst dashing. In addition, new control schemes are introduced.
The game sold 188,888 physical retail copies within the first week of release in Japan, taking first place within the Japanese software sales rankings for that particular week, and maintaining the top charting position for the first two weeks in a row due to continued high sales during the following week immediately after. During its opening week, the game sold through approximately 80-100% of its initial shipment. Freedom Wars marks one of the highest openings of a new first-party Sony Computer Entertainment intellectual property in Japan, and is the second highest opening PS Vita title behind God Eater 2 and ahead of both Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA f and Toukiden. According to Media Create, Japanese retailers state that the primary demographic of customers purchasing the game were students, and that platform penetration of the Vita slightly increased amongst that particular audience. Freedom Wars was also the most purchased digital download game from the Japanese region PlayStation Store within the first two weeks following release.
Famitsu gave Freedom Wars a review score of 35/40. 4gamer notes in their play trial that the game provides tightly packed content with plenty of customisation options. A review by Inside from Japan praised the game for its graphical and overall performance, in addition to the amount of detail placed into the game, however did find that enemy infantry often seemed overpowered during higher missions, raising the difficulty level of the game during these later stages.
Addressing the concerns of a specific set of Japanese players who find the the later sections of the game too difficult, Toshiyuki Yasui explained on the official Freedom Wars blog that the difficulty level of the game is not necessarily unreasonable, and suggests that players should strive to get good at the game and learn how to effectively play, however also mentions that the developers intend on making modifications to the game mechanics based on player feedback as well. Inside also notes that while Freedom Wars is a third-person co-operative action game, it is not a hunting game akin to Monster Hunter, and therefore it is unfeasible for players of hunting games to rely on tactics intended for those types of games.
- 2013-11-19, God Eater And Street Fighter IV Developers Are Making Freedom Wars, Siliconera
- 2014-04-29, Freedom Wars Game's English-Subtitled Story Promo Streamed, Anime News Network
- 2013-11-20, Freedom Wars being developed by three teams as DIMPS and God Eater studio join project, vg247
- 2014-03-18, Freedom Wars Hits Japan This June, Will Not Have Online Multiplayer At Launch, Siliconera
- 2014-05-22, PlayStation®Vita專用“奪還”多人遊玩動作遊戲『FREEDOM WARS（自由戰爭）』 日文版將於6月26日發售 繁體中文版預定於8月發售, PlayStation Taiwan
- 2014-07-09, ‘프리덤 워즈(FREEDOM WARS)’ 한글판 8월 7일 발매, RuliWeb
- 2014-04-14, Freedom Wars, Soul Sacrifice Delta, and Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines coming to North America and Europe, Gematsu
- 2014-01-26, 【速報】『フリーダムウォーズ』2014年夏発売決定！ 期間限定体験版の配信や、ポータルサイトの立ち上げも決定, Famitsu
- 2014-05-26, PlayStation®Vita Exclusive “Recapture” Multi-play Action Title “FREEDOM WARS” Japanese Version to be Released on 26th June Chinese version out in this August, Sony Computer Entertainment Asia
- 2013-05-21, In Freedom Wars, You Play As Criminals Trying To Earn Their Freedom, Siliconera
- 2014-06-10, E3 2014: Freedom Wars: Vita’s Most Promising New Exclusive, IGN
- 2014-06-27, オリジナルの性能を持つ武器を生産！治癒＆防壁サポートも可能な「荊」アクションも堪能できた「フリーダムウォーズ」プレイインプレッション, Gamer
- 2014-03-18, Freedom Wars introduces new characters and systems, Gematsu
- 2014-06-10, Freedom Wars: Eight-person action-RPG multiplayer goodness for PS Vita, Destructoid
- 2014-03-04, Freedom Wars Makes It Easier To Talk To Other Hunters With Text To Speech, Siliconera
- 2014-03-31, 《自由戰爭》6 月 26 日發售 揭曉「艾露芙莉妲」「卡爾洛斯」等角色情報, 巴哈姆特
- 2014-06-30, PSV共斗新作《自由战争》有爱评测, 网易游戏
- 2014-04-24, Freedom Wars trailer introduces weapon categories, Gematsu
- 2014-06-26, PSV 最期待作！自由戰爭 FREEDOM WARS 詳玩後感, Yahoo! News Hong Kong
- 操作タイプ - SYSTEM - フリーダムウォーズ, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
- 2014-06-04, 『フリーダムウォーズ』体験会の要望を受け、操作やレーダーなどの改善点を発表, インサイド
- フリーダムウォーズ, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
- 2014-01-26, Freedom Wars due out in Japan this summer, Gematsu
- 2013-05-21, Monster Hunting in Dystopian London: Freedom Wars Hits Vita in 2014, Kotaku
- 2014-01-23, Freedom Wars Will Have A Simultaneous Release In Japan And Asia Regions, Siliconera
- 2014.04.20, 탈환 멀티 플레이 액션, 프리덤 워즈 한글판, RuliWeb
- 2014-03-03, Freedom Wars Has Been In Development For Three Years, Siliconera
- 2014-06-30, Freedom Wars: New Details on PS Vita’s Upcoming Action RPG, Sony Computer Entertainment America
- 2014-05-22, 『フリーダムウォーズ』体験版は6月12日より、アドホック通信とセーブデータの引継ぎには非対応, インサイド
- 2014-04-29, AKB48 Eat Your Heart Out, Freedom Wars Has Idols, Too, Siliconera
- 2014-06-02, 『フリーダムウォーズ』のプロパガンダ アイドル（声：夏川椎菜さん、雨宮天さん、麻倉ももさん）のソロ楽曲開発プロジェクトが始動！？, Famitsu
- 2014-06-12, 『フリーダムウォーズ』のプロパガンダ アイドルのユニット名決定！ 脳内ループが止まらない、コニー（声：麻倉ももさん）のソロ楽曲も公開！, Famitsu
- 2014-06-26, 『フリーダムウォーズ』プロパガンダ アイドル“貢献Girls”オプティ（声：雨宮天さん）のソロ曲は、鏡音リン楽曲のカバー曲！？, Famitsu
- 2014-03-27, Freedom Wars details and screenshots: City-State War mode, Elfriede and Carolus, first-run bonuses, Gematsu
- 2014-07-01, Vita action game Freedom Wars offers Japanese audio only, Joystiq
- 2014-07-08, 『フリーダムウォーズ』難易度調整パッチの詳細判明。パッチの配信は来週を予定！ さらに新追加コンテンツも！, Famitsu
- 2014-07-02, Media Create Sales: 6/23/14 – 6/29/14, Gematsu
- 2014-07-02, 「フリーダムウォーズ」18万8000本，「ウォッチドッグス」合計9万4000本，「仮面ライダー バトライド・ウォーII」合計約7万本の「週間販売ランキング＋」, 4gamer
- 2014-07-09, Media Create Sales: 6/30/14 – 7/6/14, Gematsu
- 2014-07-02, Business Famitsu Weekly Sales Rankings TOP30 for the week 2014年6月23日～2014年6月29日, Famitsu. (WebCite archive; Wayback archive)
- 2014-07-03, 【週間ソフト販売ランキング TOP50】共闘アクション『フリーダムウォーズ』が推定18.7万本を売り上げ1位を獲得！（6月23日～29日）, Dengeki Online
- 2014-07-04, Freedom Wars Sold Mainly To Students In Japan, Siliconera
- 2014-07-05, 【PS Vitaダウンロード販売ランキング】『フリーダムウォーズ』が1位獲得、『ガールズ＆パンツァー 戦車道、極めます！』は5位ランクイン(7/4), インサイド
- 2014-06-17, Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1332, Gematsu
- 2014-06-25, びっくりするほどディストピア。懲役100万年の主人公が自由のために戦う「フリーダムウォーズ」をプレイムービーで紹介, 4gamer
- 2014-07-01, 気がついたら30時間？！思わず夢中になる『フリーダムウォーズ』レビュー&中盤攻略アドバイス, インサイド
- 2014-07-04, 『フリーダムウォーズ』高知の治安、急速回復！そして“理不尽”と“難しい”の違いを保井氏が語る, インサイド
- 2014-07-06, PS Vitaの躍進に「レッツ貢献」なるか？ 『フリーダムウォーズ』悲喜こもごも, インサイド