We had a chance to check out a behind closed doors peek at Blue Dragon. The game is the first title from Mistwalker (Hironobu Sakaguchi’s studio) and a collaborative effort with Artoon (Blinx: The Time Sweeper). Microsoft has a lot of faith in Blue Dragon and the legendary talent behind it. Besides Sakaguchi-san who is the creator of Final Fantasy, Akira Toriyama (Dragonball / Chrono Trigger) is the character designer and Nobuo Uematsu who is famous for composing scores for the Final Fantasy games is handling the game’s music. Microsoft hopes that launching Blue Dragon will be a key piece in the console’s success in Japan. This title is a huge leap in the right direction. The trailer for Blue Dragon was phenomenal. It opened up with the main character Shu flying on an airship in a world that looked similar to Final Fantasy IX. In the movie each character is shown to have a blue shadow extend out of them. We’ve been told that this shadow will play a role in combat for magic spells and skills. However, Mistwalker wanted to keep combat mechanics quiet for now so no actual combat footage was displayed. The shadows are also representative of each character’s personality. Shu’s shadow is a blue dragon, which is where the game gets its name from, while his best friend Jiru has a minotaur shadow. Three more of the main characters were shown in today’s demo. Marumaro who is a cute non human character has a wolf -like beast shadow, Kurukku has a phoenix shadow and Zora who looks a lot like Ayla from Chrono Trigger has a bat-like demon for a shadow. Want to read more? Check below for what happened during the Blue Dragon live demo.
After we saw the trailer, a representative from Mistwalker took us through the game’s opening. Instead of a lavish CG sequence with flying credits, Blue Dragon was more interactive. Sure the title screen and Mistwalker’s name appeared, but players had to move Shu to the right place to continue the intro. The game also starts off peacefully with Shu on a quiet hill instead of an action sequence. Later we are introduced into Shu’s plight. Every year for the last ten years violet clouds arise and all of the village is destroyed. Shu is caught in the middle of this event. He gets lost and control switches over to his grandfather Fushida who is searching for him. The demo showed Fushida talking to about a dozen or so people before triggering an event where Shu is found. The story then switches back to Shu and a fearsome foe, the land shark. Next was a look at the game’s dungeon design which displayed the game’s style, realistic worlds and anime characters merged into one. Some special effects such as rippling water were shown in the cave. Then the demo switched over to Marumaro, Artoon’s favorite character. We saw a village here with round houses on a mountain top. Shu was the second member in the party here. Up to five different characters can be in a party at anytime.
Blue Dragon’s theme is the contrast between light and dark. Even in the art style Blue Dragon sticks to its concept. Light objects are very bright while dark items are dark. Japan is going to be able to play Blue Dragon first. It has a release date of winter 2006, while North America and the rest of the world are going to have to wait longer to try this game out. No official date has been announced, but Microsoft said the localization process won’t be as long as other RPGs.