Square Enix wasn't kidding when it said that Fullmetal Alchemist was going to be one of its headline franchises in future. With sales of the manga (graphic novels) rapidly heading for the ten million mark and the Fullmetal Alchemist animated TV series easily the hottest show in Japan right now, it's just announced that two new games are going to be based on the property.
One of the games, an action RPG from Square Enix itself called Aki Ki Elixir no Akuma ("Demon of the Red Soul Elixir," which is presumably a reference to the "red water" which is somehow bound up with human souls and the Philosopher's Stone in the plot), will follow on directly from the first FMA game, which was released in Japan late last year and is due to arrive in North America next Spring.
The second is a 3D tag-team beat 'em up title, called Fullmetal Alchemist: Dream Carnival and being published not by Square Enix, but by Bandai - who also published the other previous FMA title, a GBA game which came out early this year.
As yet we've got no confirmation that Fullmetal Alchemist will ever make it to Europe, but with the games confirmed for US launch and the TV show set to start running on US TV next autumn, combined with Squeenix's stated intent of launching all of its businesses globally (with an emphasis on Europe), the prospects for it look good.
For those who haven't come across the franchise before, Fullmetal Alchemist tells the story of brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who lost (in Ed's case) an arm and a leg and (in Al's case) an entire body when trying to use forbidden alchemy to resurrect their dead mother. Ed, dubbed the Fullmetal Alchemist when he joins the corrupt military in an attempt to find the Philosopher's Stone to help his brother regain his body, has a mechanical arm and leg; Al has had his soul affixed to a giant suit of armour.
It's hardly your average kids show fare, and Fullmetal Alchemist belies its colourful, cartoony look by being surprisingly dark and twisted in terms of its storyline and some of its characters. It's perfect videogame material, in other words, and Square Enix is determined to make it into a huge hit abroad as well as in Japan. Here's hoping we don't have to wait too long for a European launch, eh?