Level-5 was talking up White Knight Chronicles for European and American release today at the Tokyo Game Show, showing new features and demonstrating how far the game's online features have come since the original Japanese release at the end of last year - just as well, as we felt the game's multiplayer needed some work when we reviewed it.
In addition to the co-op hunting and gathering submissions that featured in the original release, White Knight Chronicles will launch with the Georama mode that was added to the Japanese title in February in a patch.
Reminiscent of Level-5's earlier title Dark Cloud 2, Georama mode allows you to create your own, completely customisable town to use as an online lobby and base of operations. Using a huge selection of landscaping and building tools, you can create something unique – there are even tiny coloured blocks that Japanese users have been using to create imaginative pixel art.
NPCs from the single-player game can be recruited to live in your online town, and will affect the resources you can gather there as well as your town's stats. NPCs also allow you to launch online co-op missions from your town rather than selecting them from a menu.
American and European players will be able to visit each others' towns, but the Japanese servers are being kept separate for now. (They'd only confuse us with their moon language and reverse griefing anyway).
Yoshiaki Kusuda, the game's director, also announced that voice chat was being added specifically for European and American audiences, and would be added to the Japanese release via a patch.
Also new for the international release is the 'live talk' system from Rogue Galaxy. NPC characters in your party will partake in context-sensitive banter and conversation as you wander around.
Disappointingly, Kusuda confirmed that the single-player Japanese voice-overs won't be available in the Western release. Happily, though, a final trailer demonstrated that the English version is well up to standard.
No firm Western date was announced, but Kusuda thanked us for our understanding: “We're trying our very best to bring White Knight Chronicles to Western audiences – please be patient for just a little longer!”