|Developer(s)||Tokyo RPG Factory|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows|
Lost Sphear is a Japanese role-playing video game developed by Tokyo RPG Factory and published by Square Enix. The game is the second to be developed by Tokyo RPG Factory, and considered a spiritual successor to their first title, I Am Setsuna. It was released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows in Japan in October 2017, and worldwide in January 2018.
Lost Sphear plays as a spiritual successor to I Am Setsuna, which in itself was created to emulate the style of 1990's JRPGs. The game features a retooled variant of the Active Time Battle system found in I Am Setsuna, Chrono Trigger, and older Final Fantasy titles.
The game begins with an unnamed man watching in despair as his kingdom collapses. The story then shifts to a young man called Kanata, who performs errands at the village of Elgarthe with his friends, Lumina and Locke until one day they discover that the entire town has disappeared, engulfed by a white mist. Once seeking refuge with the others, Kanata has a dream with the same man from the beginning who claims that Kanata has the power to restore things lost to the mist using memories of them, and Kanata uses this power to restore the king's corporeal form. Once awakening, Kanata, Lumina and Locke encounter a man called Van, who joins the party. On a nearby ruin, Kanata gathers the memories of villagers who prayed on its altar and use them to restore Elgarthe. Witnessing his power, Commander Galdra from the Gigante Empire asks for Kanata's help to restore several other places and people who disappeared in the same fashion. After restoring some places, the party is tasked by the Empire to investigate some ruins, where Locke is critically injured.
Leaving Locke behind to be treated, the party continues their quest to restore the lost areas, coming across the man from Kanata's dream, who introduces himself as Oboro, the king of the long lost Plated People, who joins them. Upon learning from the Empire that the lost phenomena is related to the Twilighter people, the party assists the imperial forces in capturing the Twilighters including their war maiden, Shera. However, the incident makes Kanata doubtful of the Twilighters being the culprits and the party breaks into the prison where Shera and the others are being kept to help them escape, with Shera joining the party afterwards. After learning that the Empire is preparing a massive scale attack on the village of Salny to get rid of the monsters there, the party attempts to stop them, as the memories residing in the monsters are needed for Kanata to restore the lost. Kanata and the others fail to stop the conflict which leads to the destruction of Salny, but befriend Dianto, a sentient monster who joins them. Branded as traitors by the Empire, the party then sets for the Kingdom of Graccia by Van's suggestion, but on the way they are continuously chased by the imperial forces, including Galdra and a cyborg developed by the Empire called Gears.
After failing to capture the party, Galdra confirms their good intentions and decides to join them, also revealing that contrary to the party's assumptions, she is a woman. Soon after, the party is attacked once more by Gears, whom they discover to be Locke turned into a combat machine by the Empire, and after the control chip on his body is disabled, he rejoins them. However, once arriving at the Royal Capital Marche, which was also lost, Kanata fails to use his power to restore it. Van in response betrays Kanata by critically injurying him before he flees. Confirming that Kanata is still alive, but unable to figure out how to save him, the rest of the party chases after Van seeking answers, just to discover that he was being deceived by a mysterious being called Krom, who was impersonating his father, the King of Graccia, to make him do his bidding. Determined to help restore Kanata to make amends, Van rejoins the party, who seeks help from Emperor Neodeus to project their memories into Kanata's body to help restore him. In the occasion, they discover that Krom is an ancient researcher who intends to take control of the power of the Moon to become all powerful and recreate the world in his fashion.
With Kanata restored, the party departs to confront Krom in his flying fortress, the Dhaka Venu, but Krom easily defeats them, killing Neodeus in the occasion. After retreating, they learn of a powerful ancient weapon called the "Lunaripper", which was deemed so dangerous that its blueprints were split in two between Gigante and Graccia. To retrieve Graccia's half of the blueprint, the party embarks on a quest to bring Kanata's powers to their full potential, allowing him to finally restore Marche. After the Lunaripper is completed, the party launches a second attack on the Dhaka Venu, apparently destroying Krom, but sometime later, Kanata awakens in a mysterious place, where he rejoins with the rest of his party, except for Lumina. Once they reach Lumina, Krom reveals himself and attempts to steal the Spiritnite Core, a part of the moon's power residing in Lumina's body but Kanata stops him.
Discovering that they are trapped in the same place where people are sent after being lost, the party looks for a way to return home when they meet Memoria, a little girl who used to live with Kanata's mother, Eiche, before she passed away. With Memoria's help, Kanata brefily restores his mother and learns from her that he was given to her by the moon, who answered her wish to have a child, which is the origin of his powers. After Eiche passes away again, the party takes Memoria with them, but once they find a way to get back to their world, Krom appears to interfere, and Memoria sacrifices herself by staying behind to help the others return safely. Back to the real world, the party learns that Krom's monsters are overrunning the population, and assisted by their allies, come with a way to go all the way to the moon to fight him one last time.
Once Krom is finally defeated, he threatens to destroy the moon should he be killed, but he is slain by Kanata nonetheless. As the moon begins to collapse, Kanata and Lumina instructs the rest of the party to flee to safety while they stay behind and attempt to restore the moon with their powers combined, but fail. Lumina then chooses to sacrifice herself to restore the moon. The player than has two choices: Allow Lumina to fuse herself with the moon's core or preventing her from doing so. If Kanata does not stop Lumina, the moon is fully restored and he returns alone to the others. If he stops her, the moon's destruction is halted, but it is unknown how long it will hold before it collapses, eventually destroying the world, while Kanata and Lumina reunite with their friends. Despite his choice, Kanata then starts traveling the world to restore the rest of the lost, accompanied by Lumina should she return with him, while the others follow their separate ways.
Development and release
In 2014, Square Enix formed a new development studio named "Tokyo Dream Factory". Square Enix appointed Atsushi Hashimoto to lead the company due to his views aligning with their goal for the company, namely creating modern JRPGs similar to those developed in the 1990s, such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy. The company's first game, I Am Setsuna, was released in 2016, and was successful enough to warrant developing a second title. The follow up, Lost Sphear, was officially revealed on May 30, 2017, being announced for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows platforms, dropping Setsuna's PlayStation Vita platform. A demo of the game was made playable at PAX West, and was made downloadable in Japan a month before its release. The game was released in Japan on October 12, 2017, and worldwide on January 23, 2018.
The game had a physical release in a limited capacity outside of Japan for the PlayStation 4 and Switch. The game's soundtrack was written by Tomoki Miyoshi, who previously worked on the music for I Am Setsuna.
Reception and sales
The game's initial Japanese release far undersold the numbers of its predecessor I Am Setsuna; while I Am Setsuna sold a combined 61,263 copies between 33,629 on PS4 and 27,994 on Vita, while Lost Sphear sold only 7,363 on PS4, and 5,770 on Switch. Dengeki stated that the game only sold about 20% of its initial shipment, indicating that Square Enix likely expected it to sell more as well.
Both the PS4 and Switch versions of Lost Sphear received 32/40 review scores from Famitsu. PCGamesN praised the game for being similar to Chrono Trigger, concluding "It is so familiar, and so well executed, it can’t help but bring you joy...But it is not all nostalgia, and in fact, when it comes down to the brass tacks of gameplay, it is the freshest RPG I have played in some time."
- Matulef, Jeffrey (25 July 2017). "I Am Setsuna dev's follow-up Lost Sphear sets January release date". Archived from the original on 26 October 2017.
- Good, Owen S. (30 May 2017). "Lost Sphear is the next JRPG from Square Enix". Polygon. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
- "How Lost Sphear continues the surprise revival of classic Japanese RPGs". Archived from the original on 2017-10-24.
- O'Connor, Alice (30 May 2017). "I Am Setsuna devs announce Lost Sphear". Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
- "Lost Sphear 'World Introduction' trailer - Gematsu". 30 August 2017. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
- "Lost Sphear Demo Now Available In Japan For PS4 And Nintendo Switch - Siliconera". 25 September 2017. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
- "Lost Sphear Japanese pre-launch trailer - Gematsu". 13 September 2017. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
- Gilyadov, Alex (25 July 2017). "Lost Sphear Release Date Announced". Archived from the original on 9 August 2017.
- Knezevic, Kevin (25 July 2017). "Switch/PS4/PC RPG Lost Sphear Release Date And New Details Announced". Archived from the original on 24 October 2017.
- Sato. "Lost Sphear Adds More Traditional RPG Elements, Teases An Unrevealed New Feature". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Lost Sphear for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- "Lost Sphear for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 25, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- "Lost Sphear for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- McClusky, Kevin (January 24, 2018). "Review: Lost Sphear". Destructoid. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Romano, Sal (2016-02-09). "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1419". Gematsu. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 2016-02-28. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
- Juba, Joe (January 23, 2018). "Misplaced Nostalgia - Lost Sphear - PlayStation 4". Game Informer. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Perez, Cody (January 30, 2018). "Lost Sphear Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on February 1, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- O'Connor, James (January 29, 2018). "Lost Sphear Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Parish, Jeremy (January 22, 2018). "Lost Sphear Review". IGN. Archived from the original on February 2, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Hawkins, Janine (January 23, 2018). "Lost Sphear review". Polygon. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Vogel, Mitch (January 28, 2018). "Lost Sphear review". Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Central, Game (January 29, 2018). "Lost Sphear review". Metro. Archived from the original on January 29, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Johnson, Leif. "Lost Sphear review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
- "This Week In Sales: Debuts For Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Lost Sphear, And No Heroes Allowed! VR - Siliconera". 18 October 2017. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017.
- 電撃オンライン. "【週間ソフト販売ランキング TOP50】PS4『シャドウ・オブ・ウォー』が2.2万本で1位（10月9日～15日）". Archived from the original on 2017-10-24.
- "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1505 - Gematsu". 3 October 2017. Archived from the original on 12 December 2017.
- "Lost Sphear is the Chrono Trigger remake I've been waiting for". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on 2017-11-11.