Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE
|Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE|
Japanese cover art.
|Series||Shin Megami Tensei
Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE (幻影異聞録シャープエフイー Gen'ei Ibunroku Shāpu Efuī?, lit. "Illusory Revelations ♯FE") is an upcoming crossover role-playing video game in development by Atlus and published by Nintendo for the Wii U, based on the two companies' Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem franchises, respectively. The game is slated for release in Japan on December 26, 2015, and sometime in 2016 in the west. The gameplay uses a turn-based battle system in which the characters merge with beings known as Mirages to fight enemies, employing a variety of attacks and abilities, including creating combined attacks with multiple characters. The story focuses on a group of young people associated with the Fortuna Entertainment talent agency, who ally with beings from an alternate dimension to protect their own from invasion.
Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE was first proposed in 2009 by Nintendo producer Kaori Ando, who wanted to see Atlus develop a game featuring elements from both Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem. Although seemingly reluctant, Atlus agreed to the collaboration, and much of the early work went into deciding what genre of game it was going to be, and how best to incorporate both series while creating an original game. The game began full production in 2013. Modern-day Tokyo was used as the game's setting, with real-life locations such as Shibuya and Harajuku being featured. Originally announced in 2013 as one of many third-party collaborations for the Wii U, it was first shown off on April 1, 2015 during a Nintendo Direct presentation
Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE is a role-playing game which combines elements of both the Shin Megami Tensei RPG series and the Fire Emblem tactics series. This largely lends itself to the main characters, who merge themselves with Mirages based on Fire Emblem characters during battle. For example, the main protagonist, Itsuki, merges with Chrom from Fire Emblem Awakening. Outside of battle, players can interact with characters, visit shops, and access a texting system. When exploring dungeons, players can attack on-field enemies to stun them, allowing them to have an advantage in battle or avoid them altogether. Battles in the game incorporates systems from both games, including Fire Emblem rock-paper-scissors mechanic of melee weapons and Shin Megami Tensei elemental properties. In additions to the various skills each party member possesses, some skills trigger Session Attacks where all party members attack in a combination. During these sessions, sub-characters can be called in to attack, and pairs of characters can activate combined techniques.
The game takes place in Tokyo, following the lives of the young members of the Fortuna Entertainment talent agency. These youths become "Mirage Masters", who have the power to merge with Mirages, souls of warriors from another world, such as Chrom. While some Mirages are kind-hearted and help out the Mirage Masters, others seek to cause chaos and draw power from the emotions of innocent people, and it is up to the Mirage Masters to stop them.
Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE was the brainchild of Nintendo producer Kaori Ando, who voiced his wish to make a crossover between Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem to fellow producer Hitoshi Yamagami. Atlus, the developer of the Shin Megami Tensei, had developed a game titled Itsumo Purikura ☆ Kuradeko Puremium for the Nintendo DSi and 3DS. When the project was originally pitched to Atlus, it was assumed that they were not interested after their unenthusiastic response and later said they were too busy to undertake the collaboration. Over a year later, Atlus inquired as to whether the subject was still open for discussion, and it transpired that they had been highly enthusiastic while still being too busy with other projects. Shinjiro Takada, who was also working on Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2, was appointed as producer. While he had viewed Fire Emblem as a rival and quality goal for his own work, he was honored to be given the chance to develop a title related to Fire Emblem. The game's directors were Mitsuru Hirata, who was supporting director on Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, and Eiji Ishida, who worked on both Strange Journey and Shin Megami Tensei IV. Hirata was originally the project's sole director, but seven months after the game's public announcement, Ishida was brought on to co-direct so the amount of work needed for the title could be managed. According to Ishida, it was the company's first original high-definition console project. Full development began in 2013.
During the early production, what type of game it would be became crucial to whether Atlus or Fire Emblem developer Intelligent Systems would develop it. One of the problems that needed to be overcome was the form of the initial proposal, which was for a simulation game similar to Fire Emblem developed by Atlus. Atlus, who were better known for making traditional role-playing games, were unsure which series to emulate. The decision was eventually made to create something along the lines of a traditional role-playing game (RPG), so Atlus took on primary development. The game was finalized as a game it was felt only Atlus could make, incorporating elements from both series which standing as its own original title that could be enjoyed by fans of both Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem. Aesthetically, the game used Fire Emblem elements as motifs, but took its setting and premise of a clash between worlds from Shin Megami Tensei. The battle system was originally going to be similar to a Fire Emblem game, but while it did incorporate elements such as the Weapon Triangle, it ultimately became a turn-based RPG battle system. After Atlus was made primary developer, the story was set in modern-day Tokyo and written around a group of young people facing challenges together. The general infusion of pop culture and the performing arts into the title was Atlus' take on traditions within Japanese Shamanism where the dancing of priestesses brought them closer to the gods they worshiped: through their performances, the main characters drew the attention of the Mirages, bringing them into their world. The game takes place in multiple locations around Tokyo, including Shibuya and Harajuku. The modern setting provided challenges for incorporating Fire Emblem characters, as characters in medieval armor just dropping into a modern setting would have looked strange. Among the considered possibilities were introducing Fire Emblem characters as human party members. In the end, it was decided to make them summoned helpers similar to the demons of Shin Megami Tensei, drawn into the real world from their Idolosphere dimension.
The game's art director was Fumitaka Yano of Atlus. The main characters were designed by toi8, a Japanese artist noted for his work on .hack//The Movie. When he was approached, he was finishing work on the cover of a light novel and wondering what he would be doing next. While his previous work used a low color saturation, but for Genei Ibun Roku he used high color saturation suited to its setting. According to Takada, the team asked toi8 to design the world in this way to create "a feeling of both friendliness and splendor". The bright colors were designed to emulate the focus on the entertainment industry, with various shades and effects portraying a colorful world. In contrast, the dungeons were designed around fantasy motifs and designed to embody the Mirages having been robbed of "expression". The dungeons were also based on real-world locations, and had a gimmick inspired by this: for instance, on dungeon inspired by the Shibuya 109 department store was themed around fashion. The Mirage characters were designed by Hideo Minaba of Japanese design company CyDesignation, and were based on characters from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem Awakening. Characters from other games feature as allies and enemies. They were designed to contrast with toi8's character designs with the deliberate exception of Tiki, having a machine-like appearance. This was due to the long battle the characters had been facing: their armor reflected the dark events they had faced, and parts of themselves unneeded for survival have degenerated. Minaba had been a fan of the Fire Emblem series, and encountered difficulties designing the characters. His main aim was to remain true to the original characters while emulating the sharp and dark character style of Atlus games. The inclusion of a sharp symbol in the title, which represents a semitone high note, denoted the game's status as a unique hybrid of the two series. The inclination of the logo was also designed to represent the game's altered perspective on the Fire Emblem series. The game's cutscenes were crated by Studio Anima and Studio 4°C.
The game's music was composed by Yoshiaki Fujisawa, who was famous for his work on Love Live!. Fujisawa was contacted in late 2013 by George Aburai, an in-house composer. Fujisawa found the composition difficult as he was more used to composing for television series rather than video games. To help him, Atlus' sound team gave him advice about aspects such as the timing, feel and emotive elements of tracks. Ultimately, he found working in the environment fun, and was pleased when he first saw a test video featuring one of his songs. As a central story theme was the entertainment industry, the soundtrack was filled with vocal tunes and "groovy" tracks. The game features stage performances involving the main characters, which were produced by Avex Group, and choreographed by Aburai. The performances made use of full motion capture, and the 3D animation for the choreographed performances was handled by Studio Anima. Due to the performing aspect of the game, the team needed to find voice actors and actresses in both the original and localized versions who could both act and sing.
Release and promotion
The game was officially announced on January 23, 2013 as part of a Nintendo Direct presentation under the title Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, announced as one of many collaboration projects with third-party developers for the Wii U. The trailer featured artwork of characters from the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series, and concluded with the message "Development in Progress". There was much initial speculation by journalists as to the game's genre due to the trailer's vague nature. Atlus confirmed the following day that the game was an RPG, and that it would be developed by Atlus and produced by Nintendo. At the time of its announcement, many parts of the game had yet to be developed and finalized, as it had only been two months since the project was agreed upon.
The lack of reports after the initial announcement raised concerns that the game had been cancelled. During an interview at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) concerning Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and whether its development was affecting Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE, Yamagami confirmed that the game was still in development and on schedule. In April 2015, an official gameplay trailer was released during a Nintendo Direct broadcast, which also confirmed the game's Japanese title and release window. Its official western year of release was announced at E3 of that year. First-print runs of the Japanese release includes codes for special costumes inspired by other Atlus games. In addition, Atlus produced a "Fortissimo Edition", containing a special box, an original artbook, a six-track CD release including Yoshino Nanjō's song "Reincarnation", and DLC outfits for the playable characters. A Wii U bundle was also created, featuring similar content in addition to special stickers and special lyric cards.
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