Just a few minutes ago, one of the most anticipated games of Tokyo Game Show was formally unveiled to the media: White Knight Chronicles (called Shirokishi here in Japan). I sat in on the session and, um, chronicled it for you here:
Kentaro Motomura, Producer of White Knight Chronicles, first runs down some key points – Level-5 created this RPG especially for the PLAYSTATION 3, with a key differentiating element of a transforming hero. They’re trying to do something new with this mechanic. You can play solo, or in a group of up to 4 online (more on that later).
Motomura-san gives a quick rundown of the story and then plays a trailer detailing these scenes: During the princess of Balandor’s coming of age ceremony, a group known as the “Wizard” raids the kingdom looking for the power of “Knight.”
A young man named Leonard escapes into a cellar and finds a mysterious set of armor, which transforms him into the White Knight, and he defeates the Wizard’s enormous monster. However, the princess was kidnapped during the battle. Leonard sets off with his newfound power to find the kidnapped princess.
The trailer also reveals a number of other characters, huge beastly monsters, even larger armored creatures, and Leonard’s transformation into the titular White Knight (who is clearly a bad ass). The trailer concludes with a bat-winged airship flapping off into the stratosphere.
Motomura-san now describes the concept of the world – an authentic fantasy world created on an enormous scale. One of the characteristics is that there are lot of enormous creatures in the game, such as a monster so large, it has a town on its back.
More details on who these powerful characters are *before* they transform: Leonard is a young man who works for a wine merchant before being drawn into the events detailed above. Cisna is the aforementioned princess. Yulie and Eldore provide support to Leonard. Yulie is a childhood friend of Leonard, while Eldore is a mysterious warrior lending advice to Leonard.
There are many more major foes shown as well.
OK, now what you were really pining for: the Battle System. Players can freely register commands into the “function palettes”. You can create and name your own combos to be used in an active-time battle using simple controls. Many, many combinations are possible.
Motomura-san talks more about the Knights for which the game is named. Sometimes you (and your friends) are going to come face-to-face with incredibly large enemies, impervious to most of your attacks. But you’ll likely want to transform into one of the huge Knight characters. But it’s possible to fight successfully with a mix of small and transformed warriors.
There will be significant character customization in WKC as well. The created avatar will take part in the epic story Leonard’s companion
Online vs offline mode: When offline, Leonard is the main character and plays through the story. When online, up to 4 players cooperate to battle as their created character. A video demonstrates a number of characters traveling together through the countryside, the customization options. Male and female characters are shown, with vastly different looks. The type of character (warrior, magic user, etc) is customizable as well. Players can invite others from within the game, and another joins.
The group is then shown taking on a huge troll with a giant club. More areas are then shown, countryside, towns and castles, and other vistas and landscapes.
Now Motomura-san explains the fusion of offline and online modes. Players share money, items, and levels that are earned in one mode into the other. Motomura-san mentions that there are many more new elements to this that will be revealed later.
Shirokishi hits Japan on Christmas Day. There’s not yet a set release date for North America or Europe, but you can be sure we’ll announce that information on the PlayStation.Blog when it happens. Look for more on White Knight Chronicles throughout TGS – we’ll be sure to link out to the best coverage. In the meantime, we’ve got lots of screens here.