The lights are on
Experiments with established Bandai Namco properties like Tekken in
the free-to-play world have proven successful for the company. In
response, it is taking a gamble with an expensive, brand-new IP. Rise of Incarnates is a completely new franchise, placed in a genre mostly
unknown to the United States, and it will be free-to-play on PC.
The first thing to notice about Rise of Incarnates is it doesn’t
look like a free-to-play game. The level of detail on display in both
the character models and environments exceeds a level of visual quality
seen by the most popular free-to-play games. I describe it as
expensive based not only on my own perception the game, but also because
of the way representatives from Bandai Namco spoke about the game at a
recent event. They hope for the franchise to be Avengers-caliber and are
building it up as such joking that the game’s CGI teaser trailer
cost the company $1 billion.
The game mechanics are based loosely on the extremely popular in Japan two
verses two action franchise, Gundam Versus. It’s a series Incarnates
executive producer Ryuichiro Baba had previously worked on for 10 years.
Several years of market research has convinced Bandai Namco the
free-to-play, two versus two action game model can be popular outside
of Japan, but rather than just bring over Gundam – which would only
appeal to a small group of fans – it decided to create a whole new franchise,
which is how Rise of Incarnates was born.
The game, which has been in development for three years, is based in a
near-future world where some humans have awakened abilities allowing them to
use the powers of gods and demons. Some characters transform into
super-powered gods and demons, while others can summon gods and demons
to help them fight. Then there are characters like the mad scientist Dr. Gasper Watteau – Grim
Reaper – who has the bizarre power to summon waves of corpses to use as
The characters are all based on established mythologies recognized
around the world. Revealed characters include Jedrek Tyler who can transform into Mephistopheles, Terrance Blake who can summon Ares, Mireia Vaentin who can transform into Lillith, and Dr. Gasper Watteau, the Grim
Reaper. Mephistopheles, a balanced character, has the ability to transform into a powerful god.
Ares, as in the Greek god of war Ares, is a strong and slow character with the ability to summon a god
to help him fight. Lilith, like Mephistopheles, is able to transform
into a powerful god, and favors speed over power. Finally, the mad
scientist Grim Reaper offered the most visually interesting powers with a
gigantic scythe, and the wave of attack corpses mentioned earlier. Rise of
Incarnates does have a story, but to discover it, you will have to
venture outside of the game to read a free web comic Bandai Namco is
planning to update frequently. According Bandai Namco, Marvel has shown
interest in publishing the comic, but that’s all it was willing to say.
The teaser for the game shows glimpses of London and Paris, but the
level on hand for us to play was a ravaged New York City street. A
remnant of the Statue of Liberty, specifically her decapitated head, is
wedged into a nearby building, resting there as though it has been
thrown. Combat is a mixture between lock-on shooting and close-up
melee attacks. All the characters are able to move around the level
quickly on the ground, and also have the ability to fly into the air and
fight. The closest game I can relate it to is Dragon
Ball Z: Battle of Z. The action is fast and spans the entire level.
There are options for defense, but during my few runs, I played all
offense. I fired off my long-range weapons at those in the distance, and
quickly closed gaps for the far more effective close-up combat with
I was able to spend time with Mephistopheles, Lillith, and the Grim
Reaper and the latter ended up offering the most memorable experience
because of his insane super-human corpse calling ability. In my short
time with the game, I struggled to get a grasp on strategy outside of
speeding up to my enemies and pressing the attack buttons as fast as I
could, but Bandai Namco assures time with the game opens up the
strategy. It is hoping it can enter into the world of
professional fighting games as its assorted developers have a history
with the genre with games like Tekken and Soulcalibur.
Other than the general popularity of the two versus two mechanic established in
Japan, Bandai Namco is hopeful the game will gain popularity for other
reasons. Teams of two players mean there is never any confusion over who
your teammate is, and two is a helpful number for welcoming newcomers. If you
lose a match, it’s easy to refocus blame on the only person you can –
your teammate. If you win however, since the team is only made of two
people, psychologically, it is easier to award yourself credit for
bringing your team to victory. Win or lose, Bandai Namco says a two
versus two game can be rewarding.
Bandai Namco has huge hopes for Rise of Incarnates. It wants the
game to represent a new sub-genre in the world of fighting games. With all the presentations, interview opportunities, and
hands-on time with the game offered by Bandai Namco, it's clear the publisher is excited about the project, but we'll have to wait and see if it generates the same excitement Gundam Versus has in Japan. I asked executive producer Baba if the
development team was looking at games like League of Legends and other
popular MOBAs for reference, and he said no. Its source of inspiration in terms of
action games comes from fighting games, which certainly sets it apart.
If only for its genre innovations in the world of free-to-play – a world
populated with shooters and MOBAs – it will be worth keeping an eye on.
The game’s alpha will begin late May, early June, and you can sign up for it by heading here.
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
Wow. There's alotta potential for this. I hope this turns out well.
was anyone else reminded a little of Gocha force?
When is Soul Calibur Lost Swords supposed to come out? That's the only fighting game I want.
Reminds me of J Stars victory vs. which isn't a bad thing.
The guy with that demon arm reminded me a lot of Prototype.
Looks interesting, free to play huh... We'll see how the reviews go, I guess.
Consider me interested.
So... PC only... Weak?
Hmm. Another take on Anarchy Reigns?