WILD BUNCH Productions, a company founded by the core team that created Wild Arms, and YUKIKAZE, a company founded by the core team that created Shadow Hearts, have collectively announced spiritual successors Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness and Penny Blood. A “Double Kickstarter” campaign to fund both of these “large-scale Japanese RPGs” will be launched on August 29.
Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness and Penny Blood will share a mutual funding goal of $750,000, which will secure a PC release for each game, while a nearby stretch goal will secure ports to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and the newest Nintendo hardware at the time. The “Early-Bird Combo” pledge level will allow early backers to pledge for both games at a highly discounted price.
The Kickstarter campaign will also integrate a “Combo Meter” that affects stretch goals across both games. A pledge for one game will not only add to that game’s stretch goal meter, it will also contribute to the shared Combo Meter that fills up with support from both games. The more the Combo Meter builds up, the more content that is unlocked across both games. By backing one or both games, backers will help build both titles and support other backers. Clearing goals will share content and talent across each game.
WILD BUNCH Productions and YUKIKAZE will also host a weekly community game in which one of the heroes from each game will face off against a monster. Campaign followers will see five different social media-based goals related to an attack, special move, or block, and each monster will have a set number of hits it takes to defeat them. Defeating a monster clears that community stretch goal and upgrades the rewards chosen during pledges. If one game’s team is not able to clear its goal by not hitting a monster enough times, any hits or cleared goals from the other game will carry over, allowing one community to help the other.
Here is an overview of each game:
Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness tells a dramatic story that unfolds in a world hurtling towards destruction. Players take the role of a group of Pathfinders and, with trusted ARMs in hand, embark on a perilous journey across a sprawling Westernpunk wilderness.
In a far flung corner of this world lies the land of Londenium, where a young man named Ingram loses his grandfather; the final tether binding him to his hometown. With no other reason to stay, and in hopes of reconnecting with his childhood friend, Ingram sets out on a new adventure as a Pathfinder, a branch of adventurers that utilize the powerful ARM (Aether Reaction Maximizer) weaponry to dispose of Anomalies that ravage the land.
Ingram’s journey will lead him to cross destinies with many a new friend and foe, and become embroiled in a monumental battle that’ll strike through Londenium’s past and its future.
Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness allows players to experience the spirit of a large-scale party-based Japanese RPG adventure—crossing the great expanse and using their wits to overcome any obstacle in their path.
Featuring a gigantic World Map, players will race, leap, solve puzzles, and feel the momentum of crossing the land, sea and air in high-speed vehicles as they explore and follow the story. The World Map of Armed Fantasia will be packed with things for players to do, rendered with a unique look not seen in other titles.
Dungeon exploration focuses on utilizing each party member’s unique Gadget. Players must switch between Gadgets to solve obstacles standing in their way, embracing the sense of victory when they finally open a particularly tricky path. Traps and treasures lie in wait across both the World Map and its dungeons, requiring both the characters’ skills and the player’s wits to solve and escape in one piece.
Battles in Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness will be turn-based but maintain a quick tempo, based on the Cross Order Tactics system. Successive character actions play a key role in the Chain Order, and disruptive Force Breaks interrupt enemy turn order, creating engagements filled with tension and suspense that will push players to carefully consider their battle strategy.
“I was charmed by the fact that something like a Double Kickstarter could be a new option for game development, so I decided to lead a new team. But in order for us to pave our way forward, we need everyone’s support!” says lead game designer Akifumi Kaneko.
With a team of veteran creators from the Wild Arms series, Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness aims for an expansive Westernpunk RPG experience with a modern look… and whistling!
■ Background Art
The Distant Land of Londenium
The majority of the ground is dried up and barren, and what little water or plant-life that is left is slowly fading away. That is the world of wilderness known as “Londenium.”
A millenium ago, civilization thrived all over Londenium. However, civilization collapsed and decayed and now humanity re-uses relics from previous ages and gathers in small settlements and villages to survive. Technology is still in its infancy.
The sole governing body that has led them is known as the “Order of the Sacred Key.” They want to take back the world for humanity. In order to achieve this goal, they develop
“We’ve got a saying in my family. ‘Get mixed up with the Order and you’ll die a miserable death.'”
At 17 years old, Ingram is an up-and-coming Pathfinder. He grew up in a town filled with people trying to make it rich which helped him develop street smarts, giving him an air of someone wise beyond their years.
Ingram specializes in gun-type ARMs, utilizing speed to confuse his opponents and gain the upper-hand. He has a propensity for flashiness, dealing rapid damage to individual or multiple targets.
“We must be the vanguard that absorbs the headwind. That is the role of the Order, and my duty.”
19 years old and daughter of the leader of the Knights of the Order, Alicia is steadfast in her duty as a knight to protect the peace. Her bright and cheerful personality gives her an air of , but in battle she is a force to be reckoned with–using tall spear-type ARMs and shields to deal serious damage.
“I figured that out a while back. There is no ‘end’ to the wilderness in this world.”
Ingram’s best friend who winds up moving because of family issues, leaving their childhood promise unfulfilled. In order to fulfill said promise, Euclid becomes a Pathfinder. 18 years old. He tries to handle everything intellectually if possible. He wields staff-type ARMs allowing him to fire magical energy and take advantage of enemy weak points.
An outbreak of bizarre creatures known as the
Though their origin is shrouded in mystery, Anomalies are believed to be a mutation of living creatures native to Londenium. However, some have since transcended their original nature, showing there is still much about them left to learn.
Not only is communication with them impossible, but their extremely hostile nature towards humans makes the Anomalies a menace that must be defeated at all costs.
With its four wings, the Gwiber slices through the arid skies. It has oppressive maneuverability, but even more dangerous is the poisonous stinger on its tail.
The number of victims of its high altitude hit-and-run tactics or succumbed to its excruciating venom are beyond count.
The Kongamoto is a ferocious predator of all living things, but with a particular predilection for human flesh. So rabid a creature it is that it’s even been rumored to feast on its own kind should starvation strike.
Records show occasions where the beats of its powerful wings have capsized merchant ships navigating the inland sea, making it deeply feared among sailors and seafaring folk.
In Armed Fantasia there are weapons constructed from corpses, created using prohibited magicks defiling the sanctity of life. Aptrganga is one of the strongest.
The Order once exposed a horrifying factory known as the Anomaly Cemetery where such impure creatures were being produced en masse and falling into the hands of evil men.
“ARMs” are a secret weapon used by humanity in their battle against the “Anomalies” that roam the wilderness and dwell in the darkness of ruins.
ARM is short for “Aether Reaction Maximizer,” and is the name most people use to refer to them.
ARMs are machines that react to Aether (the source of magic within all living things), amplifying that power in order to drastically strengthen the user.
Penny Blood presents a world twisted in gothic horror and nightmarish imagery rarely seen in Japanese RPGs. In Penny Blood, players follow the story of Matthew, an investigator who embarks on a dark international probe through the iconic Roaring Twenties, amassing allies and confronting trauma in a world twisted by cosmic horror, malice and mayhem.
Players will circumnavigate the globe, from the USA to Europe and Asia, and explore nations either recovering or basking in the wake of one of history’s bloodiest conflicts, oblivious to the turmoil that brews beneath the surface.
Penny Blood’s story begins with Matthew Farrell, a lone wolf private detective in New York working for the Bureau of Investigation. Despite hating the accursed powers he inherited from his father, he utilizes his fusion transformation abilities to hunt down monsters at the behest of the Bureau.
One day, Matthew is tasked with investigating a strange incident that occurred at a mental asylum in New York. After rushing to the asylum, he finds it teeming with grotesque, rampaging creatures. Utilizing his hidden power, Matthew manages to achieve a narrow victory.
In order to unearth the truth behind the bizarre incident, Matthew’s investigation will take him from America to the distant continent of Asia, including Japan and China, as well as to the far corners of Europe. Along the way, he will encounter those who fight for vengeance, those who seek to utilize the aberrant horrors for their own gain, and those who simply wish to destroy. Penny Blood tells the tale of a man who must become that which he seeks to vanquish.
Penny Blood’s overworld maps give a bird’s-eye view of cityscapes and towns that will teleport players to the 1920s, where they will experience the world as it was, unaware of the gruesome events soon to unfold.
From busy streets to haunting sanitariums, players will delve into carefully detailed field maps as they purchase items paramount to their quest, investigate supernatural happenings, and battle stygian monstrosities.
The easy to learn, difficult to master Psycho Sigil battle system combines traditional turn-based Japanese RPG strategy with twitch-trigger reaction time in order to maximize the potential of attacks, keeping players on their toes with every encounter. Players can embrace the darkness within by using Fusion to call upon the abyss and fight fire with fire, harnessing the power of the darkness to hurl demons back from whence they came.
Interactions with the demonic will affect the heroes’ Sanity Points. If players lose too many Sanity Points, their allies will succumb to madness, gaining strength and losing composure. However, that boost in power might be just what is needed to turn the tide in battle.
Returning to the helm as composer is Hirota Yoshitaka (of Shadows Hearts and Shadow Hearts: Covenant fame) to inject a sense of dread and eerie unease befitting of the atmosphere. And accompanying him is Akari Kaida of Breath of Fire 3, infusing a heavy dose of jazz into the Roaring Twenties setting.
“This is my second chance. Chances to make another game like this are rare, so please give me your support,” says lead game designer Matsuzo Machida.
With direction from Matsuzo Machida, character design by Miyako Kato and music and sound composed by Yoshitaka Hirota and Akari Kaida, Penny Blood promises to sink its claws into players as it revives the darker side of Japanese RPGs.
■ Background Art
The Unsettling Landscape of North Tarrytown
Located 30 miles north of New York, positioned right on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Some call this small village Sleepy Hollow due to a legend about a headless knight that roams the area.
In order to solve the mystery of the monster that appeared in Golgotha Asylum, Matthew visits Tarrytown to speak with Oswald Craig, the local innkeeper. But what awaits Matthew within Tarrytown’s eerily thick fog…?
The Imperial Capital of Tokyo – Asakusa Rokku and Ryounkaku (1923)
After achieving victory in both the Russo-Japanese War and World War I, Japan basked in glory as one of the Far East’s most formidable empires. This affluence also led Tokyo to build the Ryounkaku tower in Asakusa—the tallest structure in all of Asia, which Tokyo natives called the “Asakusa Twelve-Story.”
After an assault happens in Asakusa involving the American ambassador to Japan, Matthew rushes to Tokyo and catches a glimpse of a threat that aims to plunge the entire world into darkness.
An Irish-American born in 1895. Now 28, he lives in New York and works as a private detective. After serving in the great war, he returned to the US and traveled to various states to investigate a series of eerie incidents. One day, William J. Burns, the director of the Bureau of Investigation, tasks him with a top secret mission that takes him to Japan.
Normally, Matthew uses a sawed-off shotgun and martial arts to subdue his foes—but when in peril, he can transform into a fusion monster, allowing him to eviscerate his enemies in a variety of ways. Those who know this secret call him the knightwretch, but he doesn’t care.
As Matthew searches for Emilia, he’s gradually drawn deeper and deeper into a war against creatures from another plane.
Demna, the Crownless Knight
An element-less fusion monster, and a symbol of the loneliness and emptiness that lurks deep within Matthew’s heart.
Well-balanced in terms of attack and defense, Demna can prove useful in all manner of situations. Both its sword and shield are inscribed in ancient Goidelic. The sword’s text reads “The power to bestow endless slumber on the sinful,” while the shield reads “The power to accept any manner of hardship.”
Demna is the first fusion monster that Matthew transformed into after inheriting the ability from this father, and still hides further potential…
Born in London in 1898. Now 25, Emilia currently serves as a member of the UK Secret Service. After being lauded for her fierce passion and incredible skills, she was promoted to a special agent who specializes in foreign affairs.
In her last mission, she was made a bodyguard for Mr. Tubbs, the American ambassador to Japan. Shortly after, Mr. Tubbs died in an incident within the Tokyo district of Asakusa, while Emilia went missing.
One of her eyes and three of her limbs have been replaced with robotic implements, granting her superhuman abilities capable of mowing down all manner of monsters.
Born in Tokyo in 1906. Now 17, Suseri serves as an advisor priestess to Kamuzumi, the Japanese empire’s monster extermination force.
As her mother came from a family of spiritualists gifted in kidō magic arts, Suseri has the ability to sense otherworldy creatures as soon as they appear. She was to be the eyes of the Shinteigumi, Kamuzumi’s front line brigade, but she never hesitates to dispatch the monsters herself when the need arises, utilizing the great reserves of spiritual power that swirl within her.
After Matthew and Emilia save her in the imperial capital, she joins their cause in order to repay them. Suseri’s weapons of choice are her seimakyo magic mirrors.
The name given to the horrifying grotesquerie discovered within Golgotha Asylum.
The Motofuji discharged copious amounts of malice, a type of energy born from negative human emotions. This malice is allegedly the culprit behind the asylum patients’ monstrous transformations. The negative miasma that seeped out from every pore of the hideous Motofujis invaded the patients’ bodies and minds, awakening despicable desires within them.
After Matthew rushed into the asylum, he engaged in a furious battle with the creature and managed to destroy it… But it’s still anyone’s guess as to why the monster appeared there in the first place.
The malice released from the Motofuji has caused some patients of Golgotha Asylum to undergo monstrous transformations.
Long devoid of all intelligence and emotion, these zombies now have only one goal in mind: to devour as much living flesh and vital energy as they can get their rotting hands on. Spurned by the instinct to drown their bodies in malice, these patients shocked the NYPD with a brutal, bloody onslaught.
A manifestation of darkness that has taken roost within Matthew’s psyche. Unbeknownst to Matthew, Atam is the Lord of Death who commands the Seven Deadly Sins: demons that represent the sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.
Originally an inhabitant of the ‘other side’, or the root of the Tree of Life, as some call it, Atam has found sustenance on ‘our side’ through hiding itself within the souls of humans who possess divine blood. And so, after many long years of feeding off these souls, Atam gained a wealth of knowledge that steadily transformed it into something more akin to an omnipotent god.
Several years ago, Atam failed in its attempt to curse and murder its previous host and was instead beaten within inches of its own life. Now, Atam lies dormant within a new host, focused on nothing but regaining its power until it can one day be reborn anew.
For an even deeper dive into each game, check out our interview with Wild Arms creator and Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness lead game designer Akifumi Kaneko, and Shadow Hearts creator and Penny Blood lead game designer Matsuzo Machida.
Watch a short battle video of Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness below, via Famitsu.