After a year of Bleach on Adult Swim, Sega is bringing out a set of games next month. Bleach: The Blade of Fate (aka Bleach DS: Souten ni Kakeru Unmei) probably doesn’t need much of an introduction since it is a popular import. However, Treasure went back and made a few tweaks to the system for North America. To find out what they changed, what stayed the same and where Bleach: Shattered Blade fits into the timeline we spoke to Keith Dwyer, the producer of the two Bleach games.
When did Sega decide it's time to bring our Bleach games outside of Japan?
KD: Right at the beginning of this year, though there had been a movement to bring them over well before that. It’s never a quick process to develop or localize a game and there are a lot of hoops to jump through.
Levi (fellow Siliconera writer): We heard about gameplay changes in Bleach: The Blade of Fate compared to the Japanese version, like not being able to change planes in 1 on 1 matches. Are there any other gameplay changes besides this?
KD: Changes made to the game were done to improve the game and there were several tweaks that Treasure made based upon what they saw with the Japanese version and that they had wanted to implement into the Japanese version but were unable to for various reasons. The changes to one-on-one matches for example removed the ability to of players to continually run away by changing battlelines (get in there and fight!). Another change is that ground-based blocks will no longer block aerial attacks (no single defense against all attacks). Several characters who were unable use their special movement (Flash Step) while jumping can now do so; Ganju and Orihime for example.
Levi: In Bleach: The Blade of Fate, is Wi-Fi going to be restricted to US players only? Or will US players be able to connect to and play against Japanese and European players as well?
KD: Wi-Fi play is restricted by geographic region; US players can only play with other US players (even if they happen to be in Japan). There are technical reasons for this but for the players, the Japanese and US versions are now balanced slightly different. For example, in the US version players are restricted to one battle line in one-on-one while Japanese players are not.
Is Bleach: Shattered Blade getting any noticeable tweaks to the battle system?
KD: There are no major changes.
Which Bleach game was more of a challenge to localize?
KD: As both games were done concurrently, it was often hard to distinguish between one or the other. Whatever was being done for one game often applied to the other, however, the Blade of Fate was far more complex. It contains the entire first season storyline (which had to be kept in sync with the series) and it contains Spirit Cards and other features not found in Shattered Blade.
Can you share a bit about the story in Bleach: The Blade of Fate?
KD: The Blade of Fate follows the first season of the anime. More specifically it follows the Soul Society story arc wherein Ichigo and his friends infiltrate the Seireitei in hope of rescuing Rukia Kuchiki. It mirrors all the major events up through the story arcs climax, allowing you to play through each of the pivotal battles. Unlockable episodes in Story Mode give several character-specific sub-stories, several of which take place before the anime story line.
And Bleach: Shattered Blade?
KD: Chronologically, the Shattered Blade storyline takes place between anime seasons one and two; just after the climactic events in the Blade of Fate but before Ichigo and crew are able to return to Karakura Town. Ichigo has been informed that recent events have forced the closure of the gate to Karakura Town for 100 years. Those events have also lead to the scattering of powerful shards of the Sokyoku all over the Seireitei. Ichigo plans to use the power of those shards to force the gate open but he’s going to have to fight off all the Soul Reapers who are already fighting over them. To make matters worse, there’s someone else lurking in the shadows hoping to take them all.
Levi: More anime games are beginning to keep the original language track. Does Bleach: Shattered Blade have a Japanese language option?
KD: Neither Shattered Blade nor the Blade of Fate contains Japanese dialogue. Both of these games follow the American version of the show and we’ve attempted to keep true to that.
But we are getting all the characters in both games right?
Yes, all of the characters in the Japanese version are found in the US version.