Attack on Titan: What We Know So Far
If you’re a fan of the hit anime series Attack on Titan, rejoice! The new Playstation exclusive game based on the anime is being released this year, and if the news coming out after the Japanese release is any indication, you’re in for a lot of fun.
The new action game shares the same name as the manga and anime - Shingeki no Kyojin, or literally translated, ”Advancing Giants.” The paraphrase translation which has been widely adopted for English is, of course, “Attack on Titan.”
Released in Japan on February 18 simultaneously with its official website, NA and Europe to be released sometime in 2016, probably in Spring. Its development may have possibly been delayed due to promotion of Koei Tecmo’s producer, Hisashi Koinuma.
The game has already sold well over 200,000 copies in Japan and seems to be well-received. The first trailer and Collector’s Edition information were released November 6 of last year. Attack on Titan has been licensed by Funimation in the United States, Manga Entertainment in the United Kingdom, and Madman Entertainment in Australia.
The First Game
The previous Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains for 3DS didn’t do so hot, and only scored a 46 on Metacritic. Gamers said it had great combat but was way too grindy, with unsatisfying side missions. The whole thing was a bit hard to follow for those who don’t already know the story. Spike Chunsoft’s effort was rated M for graphic violence and an overall disturbing feel. It had sweet attack chaining and a co-op mode available, yet was visually unimpressive. When released there wasn’t yet a second analogue stick, heavily limiting the movement abilities the show/manga rely on.
Attack On Titan
Attack on Titan comes to us from the Omega Force (Dynasty Warriors) production team, a subsidiary of Koei Tecmo, the game’s publisher. It is a collaboration with Koei Tecmo’s producer, Hisashi Koinuma (Kessen, Samurai Warriors), and director, Tomoyuki Kitamura (Samurai Warriors, as well as a host of anime series).
The game is based on the original manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama (Heart Break One, Orz) for Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shonen Magazine, made into a hit TV show that’s done well in its first season, with Attack on Titan season 2 currently in development.
A parody spinoff manga and subsequent anime began in 2012 in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine, featuring young chibi versions of characters from the original story. A Nintendo 3DS game, arcade game, and two live action movies have also been based on Attack on Titan.
While Attack on Titan will be a Playstation exclusive, it will allow cross platforming on PS3, PS4, and PSVita.
Attack on Titan has a wide range of characters. It starts out with a focus on three core refugees - Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert. A century before the beginning of the story, ginormous monster-humans called Titans appeared out of nowhere and nearly wiped out the human race. So far as it’s known, all the remaining survivors are huddled together in a strictly organized settlement, and most of them are quite ignorant about the world outside. Some brave scouts range outside the walls in order to collect resources, establish bases, and keep an eye on the Titans, but a third of them are killed doing so.
Titans are somewhat of mystery to mankind. No one knows their origin, or much of their nature. The humans aren’t even sure if they foster any real intelligence. They appear as giant, naked humans with eerily spacey faces and no genitalia. Humans are their only apparent food source, and no one is sure how they reproduce. They exist in various sizes, but none were big enough to threaten the settlement’s walls. At least, not until now.
The human megacity is comprised of three sections, each walled off, with the interior being considered the safest. That’s where the royalty and nobility live, and where the elite warriors get to serve. A few smaller cities are placed as lures for titans just outside the main walls, with walls of their own. One of these is the first to suffer attack from an abnormally giant titan, who busts the walls in order to let the rest of the titans in. An “armored” titan does an Atlas pose and charges city gates to further break down defenses. While titans generally appear to lumber around on pure animal instinct, the giant titan acts as if he has some intelligence and leads the others. Once he’s done his damage to the walls he disappears into thin air.
This initial attack leaves 20 percent of the human population dead and 30 percent of its land, necessary for food production, inaccessible. This attack also kicks the action off and displaces our three main characters, now effectively orphans. After reaching safety, they decide to join the military to help protect mankind against the titans. A 5-year skip lands us with trained cadets and an impending return to war. Pretty soon it all hits the fan, but you will have to check out the story yourself to know more!
What To Expect From The Game
The new Playstation title, Attack on Titan will be based on the first season of the show (Attack on Titan, 2013, available on Blu Ray, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and others), with the art style closely resembling that of the anime. The game revolves, unsurprisingly, around the Battle of Trost, and while it will be based on the show, there will be enough story included that someone who hasn’t seen the show won’t be lost. Hurray for cut scenes! Moreover, there will be bonus content that focuses on characters such as Eren, Mikasa, Sasha, Levi, and Pixis.
What Players Can Do
Players will be able to have conversations with other characters and collect combat information while at camp. While inside city walls, players can meander around freely and upgrade gear. The same combat training dummies seen in the manga and show, complete with creepy grins, can be utilized in-game to hone skills and get acclimated to the combat and maneuvering style.
Attack on Titan will feature a story mode and training ground tutorial mode, as well as a mode called, “Investigation Outside the Walls.” Once the story mode has been beaten, a free mode will allow replay through stages with different characters. Players will be able to switch back and forth between movement and combat modes using R1. 3D Maneuver Gear, an iconic feature of the show, will be utilized, as well as the grappling wires and anchors. The tutorial will help players get acquainted with how these work.
Perhaps the most important element in the game will be combat in the style of the show, with huge swinging 3D maneuvers around the city, horseback riding, and fights against single and multiple titans. Different Titans will display different combat abilities, and will therefore require varying tactics, which should keep the combat from getting too repetitive.
This unique combat style will be key to making the game fun and exciting. Like in the anime and manga, titans can be weakened temporarily by chopping off limbs and heads, but must be slashed at the nape of the neck for a kill. Taking limbs will make getting to the neck easier, but won’t be necessary for all players.
But if it’s all just fun and games, it will get boring too fast. To combat the risk of tedious repetition, realistic features from the source material will be added, such as weapon stability and gas supply, which should help maintain the tension evident in the show. Players will need to spend their resources with care, or they may find themselves in a no-win situation. Every time 3D Maneuver Gear is used gas will be used from the player’s current supply. Blade sharpness will likewise deteriorate with use, though resupply will be available for both.
Gear customization will include weapon stability and wire shot distance, and more. Original weapons will be included, as well as loot from combat and “Investigation Outside the Walls” mode. The trailers show us a variety of combat moves via blades, 3D Maneuver Gear, and grappling wires. We can see tumbling, running up walls, and anchoring to both buildings and titans themselves. Alternative weapons, not featured in the original story, will also be available in game.
Ten playable characters will be available in the game, including Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, Armin Arlert, Annie Leonhart, Ymir, Levi Ackerman, Reiner Braun, Dot Pixis, Jean Kirstein, Connie Springer, Krista Lenz, Sasha Blouse, Hanji Zoe, Bertolt Hoover, Keith Shadis, Marco Bott, Ian Dietrich, and Rico Brzenska . Even if there aren’t distinct abilities and stats for each character, just being able to step into your favorite soldier should help keep things fresh.
As far as the environment goes, titans can be seen rampaging the city and terrorizing citizens. A variety of landscapes can be seen on the trailers which could allow for unique combat situations. In addition, the titans themselves exhibit a variety of appearances and include the special variant titans (armored titan, anyone?). Screenshots have also been seen of a female titan, which is nice since they so rarely make an appearance in the anime.
Exact titans from the show will also be featured, as well as many more unique ones with their own characteristics and personalities. I have lovingly dubbed several, my favorites being Santa, Geoffrey Chaucer, South Beach Snape, and Mr. Lumberjack. No worries, the prancing titan (aka Monsieur Ballerina) will also make an appearance.
A free update to the new game has already been announced and will include a Survey Corps online co-op mode for up to 4 players, with cross-platform support for PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. No date has been released at this time.
While trailers have been in Japanese, with or without English subtitles, I’ve yet to hear for sure that there will be both English subtitles and dub options. While the English subtitles on the show weren’t too bad, most people have firm preferences about subs or dubs. For those considering purchasing the currently available Japanese version of the game, it will work in your Playstation but offers no English language options in menus or dialogue.
Extensive information can be tough to find on the game. Unfortunately, to date, there is no English version of the official game site, and for those of us not fluent in Japanese this is somewhat of a disappointment.
Treasure Box Edition
Limited Edition gear will be included in new copies of the game, which looks to be housecleaning outfits and hataki feather duster blades for Eren and Levi. The Treasure Box edition will include an art book, muffler, sound track, 6 badges of Eren, Mikasa, and Levi, costume code for Armin’s Middle High Costume, and a graphic microfiber towel. Additional in-game costumes and weapons are already available for the Japanese version of the game.
Game Director Tomoyuki Kitamura considers it a game with easy enough controls that it can be enjoyed by a wide audience, while faithfully maintaining the feel of the show for fans. Tactics will be important, but newcomers to the Attack on Titan universe and action games in general should be able to enjoy the game. While the game wasn’t playable at Games Con 2015, Koei and Omega Force representatives gave a long demonstration of the game in action.
If anything, it’s clear that there’s a lot of excitement about the franchise, which means plenty of pressure to make a great game. And given the names behind it, here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint. We all know the story is great already, so allowing players to be part of that developing narrative is crucial through the use of dynamic combat.
Keeping a balance between high energy action and resource management will ensure that the gameplay is both fun and rewarding. Given how well the anime shows off the action without beating it into a tedious death march (I’m looking at you, Bleach), I’m hoping the game creators can effect a similar feel.
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