Infinite Undiscovery

Infinite Undiscovery? It's a cool name for a game, no doubt, but it also just about sums up our meeting with its creator, Yoshiharu Gotanda, CEO of the developer tri-Ace. With a Microsoft PR rep watching him like a hawk for any info that shouldn't be disclosed just yet... well, let's just say that there wasn't a lot we could do. Shame, too - that screen down there looks great, and we know this guy can make good games: his development house's pedigree includes the Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile series.

Well, as if you couldn't figure it out from the (yes, "the", as there's only one) screenshot, the game's world is one of fantasy. And if you've played either of the games we've just mentioned, you won't be shocked to learn that like them, Infinite Undiscovery will feature realtime action battles. The form the game takes will be based on the "standard Japanese RPG," according to Gotanda, but later on in our time together - during which we didn't see the game running at all - he slipped in some interesting, if vague, tidbits about how he might be tweaking things to be a little different.

In fact, Gotanda didn't seem entirely sure about exactly how the gameplay will shake out in the end of things. The action elements will be there, but he mused about whether it will be taken as far as the company's previous games - it is likely to be less. In fact, he flat-out suggested that the game will be different from the games tri-Ace has made before - but that "doesn't mean it does not contain elements" that those games did.

As far as the story or characters... nope. The only element they're willing to reveal right now is that the game centers around a tower - which might mean it's a dungeon crawler (it better not be) or might just mean that, well... crap. We have no idea.

We became more interested when Gotanda talked about how he wants to change the gameplay elements - the way the entire game flows, really - over previous RPGs. He talked about how most RPGs are simply cyclical: you explore and battle, explore and battle. Though he doesn't expect it to affect the story, he does want you to be able to make decisions on the fly - for example, checking out an enemy from afar before deciding how to take it on, blurring the lines between exploration and fighting gameplay. If that's just a tiny taste of the sort of ideas going into Infinite Undiscovery, then there truly might be something to get interested in after all.

Gotanda implied the entire game will be realtime, and suggested that this will open up more choices for the player... he explained that Infinite Undiscovery is about enjoying yourself in a fantasy world. As far as he sees it, current RPGs are just task lists that must be completed; clearly, Gotanda isn't satisfied with that and wants to move things forward. If it weren't for the pedigree of his developer, we'd be more skeptical. Right now there isn't anything to be truly excited or cynical about, so we're just waiting to see the fruits of his labor. We're getting that little tingly feeling that this one will be worth worrying about... we just don't know when.