At an event in Tokyo, Keiji Inafune recently showed off his upcoming PlayStation Vita title, Soul Sacrifice, being developed in collaboration with Sony’s Japan Studio and Marvelous AQL. Inafune describes Soul Sacrifice as “true fantasy”.
By “true fantasy” Inafune says he means to show the reality of sacrifice and the cost of casting magic. Soul Sacrifice transforms your organs into… weapons. In a trailer, the sorcerer players control reaches inside his mouth and pulls out his spine. This creates a grotesque Excalibur, which the sorcerer can use to rend his foes. Using this powerful spell has a price—your life.
At the start of Soul Sacrifice, players will be able to create and customize their characters. Your form can change during the game resulting in a monster-like character if you continue to use powerful spells. Soul Sacrifice has other magic that requires items instead of your limbs. The monsters in Soul Sacrifice were once humans, but after repeatedly using magic, they turned into freakish creatures. Inafune hopes that these human-like qualities will strike a chord in the player’s heart.
Inafune played Soul Sacrifice on stage and explained spells can be set to three buttons: square, triangle, and circle. By pressing one of the shoulder buttons, you can use a different set of attacks, so you can have up to six spells on one character. After you defeat a monster you can either sacrifice it or give it salvation. The kinds of things you get depends on the choice you make.
Soul Sacrifice has four player co-op via an ad-hoc mode. A video shown to attendees had four sorcerers fighting a Cerberus. The battle started out with the party casting fire and lightning spells. While three players chanted away, one player hacked at the beast using a sword. So, even though you are a sorcerer you apparently aren’t restricted to magic wands and spine swords. During the battle, the screen flashed red and players briefly saw the monster when it was a human.
This message gives players a hint on how to defeat the monster. This group of players decided on sacrifice and a wounded sorcerer set himself on fire to cast the spell Salamander. The other three players decided to sacrifice Cerberus and claim the reward. Inafune wants players to think about and discuss what to do with monster carcasses after defeating an enemy. Each player picks their own option and it’s possible to disagree with the other players. There is a system that keeps this in check, but Inafune didn’t explain how this works.
Inafune wants to release Soul Sacrifice in Japan sometime this year. Sony Computer Entertainment Japan set “winter” as the game’s release window, which could carry over to 2013. Inafune also said that he selected PlayStation Vita as the platform for Soul Sacrifice because multiplayer is a key factor. When asked about online play, he said he thinks like a global producer and online play is important for bringing a title overseas.
However, Soul Sacrifice has not been confirmed for any regions, other than Japan, Inafune said. Right now, he’s considering to add online play and voice chat. Other details like how Soul Sacrifice makes use of Vita specific hardware features will be explained at a later date. Additionally, it was also confirmed that Soul Sacrifice will have downloadable content.