Threads of Fate
|Threads of Fate|
|Developer(s)||Square Product Development Division 3|
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, platformer|
Threads of Fate, known in Japan as Dewprism (デュープリズム, Dyūpurizumu), is a 1999 action platform video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation console. The game was released in Japan on October 14, 1999 and in North America on July 19, 2000, and was re-released on the PlayStation Network as a PSOne Classic in Japan on June 23, 2010 and in North America on April 19, 2011.
Threads of Fate revolves around two characters, Rue and Mint, and their quest for a mystical object known only as "the Relic" that has the power to profoundly alter their lives. The game received favorable reviews and was re-released as part of Square Enix's "Ultimate Hits" label.
Players choose from two different characters to control, each with a different story. The game environments are built in polygonal 3D, with a jump button and two action buttons which can trigger actions like an up or down sword slash. Any time that Rue destroys an enemy, a small token is left behind which the player can use to transform Rue into that creature. Mint fights enemies like a gymnast with a hoop weapon in each hand, and can also cast a variety of magic spells.
The two protagonists, Rue and Mint, both desire the Dewprism for different reasons; Rue wants to revive his dead partner Claire, while Mint, a princess, wanted to reclaim her right to the throne from her sister Maya. The stories take place in parallel, and players choose which of the two characters to play first.
Development and release
Game development began in March 1998. The title was hard to decide upon, and for a year the development team tried to find a word to add “prism” to the end of. On the directors 24th birthday on January 18, 1999, they decided on ‘’Dewprism’’. Executives at Square initially rejected the name, but over time they were convinced to use it.
The game was announced in March 1999 in Weekly Famitsu as ‘’Dewprism’’, and was to be developed by the teams that created ‘’Secret of Mana’’ and ‘’Xenogears’’. ’’Dewprism’’ was expected to launch in Japan in the summer of 1999 as a “packed-in demo” with ‘’Legend of Mana’’, with the games full release that fall.
This was Koji Sugimoto‘s first game that he directed. Sugimoto claims he was chosen because he is bad at action games, and the developer wanted to make a game that was easier than most. The focus was on a game that was for children, that were inspired by imagination and dreams. This came from working on ‘’Xenogears’’, with its vast story and gameplay complexity, Sugimoto was concerned the next generation of gamers would not have games to start with. And because of his programming background, he says he was excited to work on a game with fully 3D characters and world, since so few games were doing that at the time, opting for either 3D characters and 2D backgrounds, or 3D backgrounds and 2D characters.
The games design was rooted in the idea of playing two stories that take place in the same time and location, but playing with another character whose motivations and thoughts are unknown to you unless you play the other story. Mints character was not always intended to be as “carefree” as she is in the game, but the developers liked her that way, and the design stuck. Mint was originally intended to be the main character in order to target the game at a young female audience, but when the idea expanded to include a male character, the idea of two stories sharing the same world was conceived.
Sugimoto liked the illustrations of Usui and Terada from ‘’ Xenogears’’, and as a result he had them do game art illustrations for ‘’Dewprism’’. Many actions were also designed to be a simple button press to keep the game at an easy difficulty level. Sugimoto’s battle director had always wanted a games protagonist to be able to transform into a monster with a coin, and this became Rue’s battle style. Sugimoto also guided the team away from traditional fantasy tropes like dark dungeons and scary music and insisted on “brighter themes”.
The game utilized no pre-rendered movies; instead, the game was initially intended to feature full 3D polygon graphics, and this concept was looked at in test animations.
A manga based on the game was planned to be made by Ken Akamatsu of Love Hina fame, but the project was scrapped. Many of his character designs would later be redesigned and used in Akamatsu's Negima!: Magister Negi Magi.
The music of Threads of Fate is composed by Junya Nakano, who has worked on several other games for Square. Nakano described how he gained “great experience” working on the game, and how the music he composed for Final Fantasy X would have been very different without it. Hidenori Iwasaki did the score's synthesizer programming. A soundtrack was released in Japan (titled Dewprism OST) and was available via import for several years in other countries. The soundtrack, though discontinued and out of print, was recently given a re-print in August 2006.
The OST has two discs, Disc RUE and Disc MINT, featuring all of the tracks played throughout the game. The tracks are divided between the discs according to which character they fit best. Much of the mellower music is contained on Rue's disc, with a fairly small selection of 'happy' tracks or battle tracks, while Mint's disc contains almost all of the more intrusive tracks, the happier tracks, and several battle themes.
PlayStation Network re-release
On December 29, 2010 Square Enix announced Threads of Fate would also be released for the PlayStation Network in North America. It was released on April 19, 2011; however, this was one day before the PlayStation Network outage, and thus it was not widely available until June 2, 2011, when the network was restored.
Threads of Fate received "favorable" reviews according to video game review aggregator GameRankings. The game sold over 111,000 copies in Japan by the end of 1999. The game was re-released in 2007 under Square Enix's “Legendary Hits” label in Japan.
Samuel Bass reviewed the PlayStation version of the game for Next Generation, calling the game "Gorgeous, engaging and a whole lot of fun, but perhaps a little too action-oriented for more cerebral RPG fans." GameSpot described the graphics as “simple yet striking” as well as colorful possessing visual flair, though the game was called too short. Game Revolution said the game was “not a classic”, with the need for many precision jumps and an uninspiring plot. GamePro enjoyed the games platforming and RPG hybrid gameplay, but thought that the “levels were boring to look at and blandly designed“. AllGame liked the soundtrack, though noting it was not very memorable, and praised the sound effects as well done. IGN greatly praised the games graphics, cheerful charm, translations, and variety of gameplay options, though noting the game was not very complex.
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