There are certain games whose beloved status one does not question. Towering like mute colossi over the gaming landscape, these pillars of their respective eras leave people misty-eyed, reminiscing fondly; they're the games that tie people to the medium itself. Each of them, in their own way, is a pinnacle of artistry and game design craft, a perfect expression of the feats that the gaming medium was capable of at a certain moment in time.
Back in the SNES era, Squaresoft had something of a knack for developing those games. Employing unquestionably some of the finest 2D pixel artists of the day to work alongside designers who were mixing conventional statistic-based combat up with action and adventure elements in new and exciting ways, the studio was on a roll. There were the glorious SNES-era Final Fantasies, which some would argue are still the series' high point. There was the magnificent Chrono Trigger... There was Secret of Mana.
Many greats of the era have now adopted a certain, "oh, I guess you just had to be there," air about them, having been largely overtaken in every way by modern games which know all their tricks and far more besides. Not so Secret of Mana, however; the 2D artwork is almost timeless, and the core of the game, a beautifully crafted action RPG system, remains just as entertaining, challenging and downright fun as it ever has been. It's a beautiful game whose place in the annals of all-time greats is richly deserved, and which remains worthwhile even for gaming's habitual Retroskeptics (a group among whom I number myself).
You know, I was going to do an analogy about how taking charge of a new Mana game, with unrealistic expectations borne of age-old devotion poorly reflected in recent efforts, is a bit like taking charge of Newcastle United football club. But then I thought: if my 12-year-old self could see me now, talking about football at a time like this, my 12-year-old self would probably jump up and down on my head. Or strangle me with a multitap lead. My 12-year-old self was pretty tough, you know. He could totally have me.
Japanese retail sources reckon that Children of Mana will be released in February over there on Nintendo DS.
Hurrah for lying websites! According to reports, the Square Enix one for DS RPG Children of Mana - the first fruit of the World of Mana tree - was wrong when it claimed the game was due out in Japan next winter. It's out this winter.
World of Mana encompasses a pair of new RPGs – one for the DS, and one for what appears to be a current generation console. That's according to Japanese Jump Magazine, which has finally finally finally unveiled the games after literally months of Square Enix's teasing the c[an't say that here, numpty – Ed].
Square Enix showed off a trailer from its forthcoming World of Mana title at its big fancy Square Enix Party this weekend.
The company presented a short 30-second trailer, showing off a luscious forest before focusing on one of the series' archetypes, the Mana tree. While very little is known about the title, Square Enix announced that the project will span across a variety of media as well as games, including film, manga, novels and film.
Promotion material to accompany the trailer boasts the game will feature "unique characters, and environments drawn with a soft and smooth touch," although no format as been specified. However, Square Enix has expressed the desire to create the game across multiple platforms. As long as we get something that rivals Super Nintendo classic, Secret of Mana, we'll be happy.
A senior source close to Square Enix believes that World of Mana is the previously confirmed Mana title for Nintendo DS, with full confirmation anticipated at the Square Enix Party 2005 event that takes place in Japan at the end of this month.
Square Enix has registered "The World of Mana" with the US Patent & Trademark Office, sparking rumours that the renowned developer plans to revisit its Mana line of action-oriented RPGs.