In Part 1 of our fan-powered Trinity Universe Q&A, NISA localization editor NickyD attempts to explain just what the game is about, how all the NIS characters fit in, and the game’s concept of dungeons and battles.
Since Trinity Universe was just announced in North America, can you get everyone up to speed on the story?
Nick Doerr, Localization Editor: Sure. The story of Trinity Universe revolves around a distant part of the universe called the ‘Netheruniverse,’ where the kingdom of Empyria resides. The Netheruniverse has an unfortunate cosmic location: the universe’s lost or discarded items tend to wind up there – and we’re not talking just about little stuff, but entire chunks of planets tend to find their way to this place. Empyria, meanwhile, has long held a ritual where one from the Demon God lineage goes through a ritual where they are transmogrified into a gigantic gemstone called the Demon God Gem. It acts as a sort of repellent – it keeps too many drifting objects from coming towards Empyria and threatening its civilians’ safety.
Enter Kanata –- the latest in the line of Demon Gods sent to perform this ritual. He, however, refused and ran away with his most loyal vassal, Tsubaki. His escape was not entirely successful; the ritual failed and instead of turning into a Demon God Gem, his Demon God lineage took a dive, and he became a Demon Dog… a much lesser deity on the totem pole. His actions have put Empyria in danger, but he plans to go on adventures and save Empyria with his own two hands -– without relying on an archaic ritual that took his father away.
Enter Rizelea –- a Valkyrie in the Goddess Union, which is sort of like a galactic peace-keeping corps. During her patrol, she notices an increase in activity in the Netheruniverse. More and more drifting objects seem to be gravitating towards it, but why? When she stops in to question the ruler of the Netheruniverse, the current Demon God Gem Shuten, she gets flustered and seals him away.
Thus, the Netheruniverse and Empyria are now defenseless. Both Kanata and Rizelea independently decide to search out ways to save this land they both inadvertently put in great peril. That’s where you come in!
Can you explain Trinity Universe’s combo-licious battle system? I’ve heard it described as Xenogears-like in execution.
This is only partially true. You do use the face buttons to bring out different attacks (Strong, Fast, or Wide-Range) and certain button sequences will activate special combos. But that’s where Xenogears comparisons end and Legend of Legaia comparisons should begin, as you can link your special combos together – efficient linking will save you AP (Action Points that determine how many actions you can take) and let you dish out more pain to your opponent.
It would also do us well to mention the Skill Link system –- by pressing R1, you can link attacks with another member of your battle party, accumulating the hit and damage count in the process. As those rise, your strength and accuracy will, also. Sometimes in a Skill Link, you’ll have an opportunity to unleash a special combo attack with another party member (it actually stacks if you pull it off consecutively -– 2, 3, and then all 4 party members will combine!).
The Circle button is used for abilities – healing, item usage, stat buff/debuff… all that business!
How do dungeons work in the game, they’re a bit different from other RPGs right?
Define “different.” Dungeons in Trinity Universe will drift in and out of Empyria’s orbit based on the passage of time in the game -– wait too long and you might miss your chance to explore a dungeon until it comes into orbit again. Once you enter a dungeon, you have effectively shifted its precarious balance and it will begin its descent towards Empyria. Inside, you must seek out the dungeon’s Gravity Core and destroy it to send it far, far away.
In a sense, the dungeons are non-linear because you can choose to explore any dungeon you want, or pass on it until later. Of course, this way of playing may affect the ultimate fate of Empyria…
What role do the NIS guests play in Trinity Universe?
In Trinity Universe, you’ll find three charming staples -– Flonne (Fallen Angel version!), Etna, and members of the Prinny Squad. Etna has taken the Prinny Squad out into the vast universe in an effort to find a new legendary sweet that’ll top anything else she’s tried thus far. To do this, she had to “acquire” a spaceship from a certain Fallen Angel’s secret armada. Flonne is trying to get Etna to return her vessel and go back to the Netherworld… but certain circumstances arise and they find themselves caught up in more Netheruniverse drama than they bargained for.
It seems like Trinity Universe is coming out really fast. How come?
Well, a few reasons. First, a lot of localization scheduling isn’t just based on us – we cooperate with the Japanese developers and work when they can work, also. If a developer is busy developing a new game, the time they have to focus on a localization project is decreased. Idea Factory is very busy, but they have been gracious enough to work with us on Trinity Universe despite that. Needless to say, they don’t have all the time in the world, and neither do we – thus the release date target being what it is.
Second, the project coordinator and I really wanted to push our limits. We wanted to bring a high-quality title with excellent localization and voice-over work, but we also wanted to show it’s possible to do this in a shorter timespan than is usual. We have worked very hard and I believe we have succeeded!
Was it difficult to work with Violet since her Atelier game was never released outside of Japan? How did you work with her character?
Not really. Since she was never brought out of Japan, I chose to treat her the same as any other new character: build on her personality based on what was present in the Japanese translation of Trinity Universe. As it turns out, her role is the level-headed one of the bunch. She is very honest, very kind, and is a good representation of “normalcy” compared to the other characters. Oh, and she really, really loves carrots.
How is your relationship with Gust? Do you think we’ll see more crossovers?
Gust is great. Idea Factory is great. Compile Heart is great. In Japan, they all seem to get along really well with NIS -– thus all the joint projects we’ve seen over the past few years. Will we see more crossovers? Probably. Localized? I’m not telling. =)
Look forward to reading Part 2 in the days ahead, where NISA discuss localization changes, special editions and DLC!