Crafting a new IP is serious business, a challenge that is no stranger to the development team behind the new futuristic action RPG Scarlet Nexus!
Bandai Namco assembled a veteran team to lead this ambitious project, tapping their firsthand experience in launching original IP. With Code Vein Producer Keita Iizuka at the helm, Director Kenji Anabuki bringing years of experience from his work on Tales of, and Art Director Kouta Ochiai rounding out the leadership team with his unique design style, together they led a four-year journey to build the world of Scarlet Nexus.
Scarlet Nexus takes place deep into the far future, one greatly influenced by Tokyo and Japan of the ‘90s. Heavy inspiration was taken from not only the look and design of the time, but also in how it was described in pop culture. Often, technological excess was a common theme and used in many designs and framings in both Western sci-fi and Japanese anime at the time.
Scarlet Nexus imagines a world that evolved directly from that era. To push that worldview, the team looked to capitalize on some key images to amplify their vision. For example, you can see the landscape of New Himuka littered with an excess of visions, holographic imagery that is projected to citizens minds via government-maintained infrastructures. The holograms celebrate a ‘90s design trope for cutting-edge futuristic technology that can be somewhat nostalgic.
When applying the characters to the world environment, the team looked to create a believable aesthetic with the character anime look and feel. To best set them against realistic background imagery, they leaned into cel-shading techniques that built a layer between the characters and the environments, achieving a unique juxtaposition of design sensibilities.
Additionally, this duality of styles was especially complementary to the design of the Others, deranged mutants that descend to Earth from outer space. Comprised of various animate and inanimate objects, these monstrous amalgamations were designed specifically to evoke feeling of familiarity and foreignness. Utilizing different types of motion capture styles, they aimed to amplify that feeling of uneasiness in a way completely unique Scarlet Nexus.
But duality doesn’t stop there! The story of Scarlet Nexus is a tale told through the eye of two separate heroes, Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall. Though it is one story, each character follows their own path with shared and individual moments to be experienced. Either story path can be selected from the start and each play will reveal a greater portion of the story, with a deeper view into the minds and hearts of our heroes. Their differences can also be felt in their combat as well, each specializing in different combat styles and weaponry.
A weapon can only get you so far in a fight against the Others. Often, you will need to lean on your allies for support. That’s where SAS — Struggle Arms System — comes into play. Connecting to your party members, you can borrow their abilities via SAS. This connection is represented by giant red cables that connect to your back as you tap in their powers.
Aside from specific scenario missions, you are often able to select your party members before you head out to battle. Considering the challenges before you, it is worth balancing your squad with the right members before you ready up and head out. Some abilities can be combined with your own psychokinesis to add extra oomph or simply function all on its own. Part of the fun is learning your team’s strengths and building closer bonds with them to make your team ups even more powerful.
Digging deeper into your power reserves, you can enter a Brain Field — a state where the player experiences heightened senses and immense power. This transformation, if you will, is signified by the player donning their hood and revealing a color mask flurry.
Combining fashion into gameplay mechanics is something we have seen with Keita Iizuka’s previous work Code Vein, where garments played a big role in gameplay. Probably one of the reasons Scarlet Nexus has an extensive customization system of both costumes and accessories for your character and cast of teammates.
Growth is also a very necessary element in building a well-rounded JRPG. The player should feel there is a clear path of progression and reward that awaits them for their efforts. Along the way, both Yuito and Kasane have their own unique Brain Maps that they unlock as they progress through their individual campaign.
Each map adjusted to accommodate each character’s playstyle. For example, Yuito’s Brain Map path matches his close-quarters playstyle by opening faster knock-down recovery traits. Kasane, however, unlocks many dexterity traits early on to accommodate her mid-range attack style. Best of all, players can choose which items they wish to build up in their order of choice, letting them cater to their own play habits and style.
All these elements working in harmony with the power of Xbox Series X|S — delivering these visuals in a crisp 4k resolution and smooth 60 FPS — is a sight to behold and truly brings Scarlet Nexus’ debut to the next level. We can’t wait for you to experience the wonder that is Scarlet Nexus when it releases on June 25, 2021. And don’t forget: with Smart Delivery, Xbox has you covered. Buy Scarlet Nexus once and play on either on Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S!
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BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.