Aruze, the company that formed Sacnoth with SNK, has announced the first game to be developed by former SNK staff. The game does not follow SNKís usual path of creating great arcade fighting games and shoot-em-ups, but tries to bolster its reputation as a developer of RPGs. The only RPGs to come from the boys over at SNK have been Koudelka and a rare Neo Geo CD version of Samurai Shodown.
The company has just announced that it will be releasing a PlayStation 2 RPG in the next three months called Shadow Hearts. The story is set in Paris in 1913 and begins with the nasty murder of a British tourist. The murder is horrific, and his body parts are scattered all around the scene. The man had been on holiday with his daughter but following the incident, she was nowhere to be seen. One month later, the apparently dead man is seen travelling on a train in China. Also travelling on the train is a platoon of Japanese soldiers. As the train goes into a tunnel, everything seems normal. When it emerges, every single soldier has been cut to ribbons. Itís a massacre of the BBFC 18 kind. The British man and his daughter can be seen in the background quietly smiling.
There will be three playable characters in Shadow Hearts, all of which are equipped with magic powers. The game also comes equipped with a new battle system called Judgement Ring. The system is turn-based with the emphasis on timing. As your character attacks, you must activate the desired move at the same time.