As part of their 15th anniversary celebrations, Level-5 announced three new smartphone games in this week's edition of Famitsu magazine, all RPGs, and all due out before the end of the year in Japan.
The first announced game is Wonder Flick, a title directed by Level-5 head Akihiro Hino and featuring a soundtrack by Nobuo Uematsu. Famitsu and Hino didn't talk gameplay details, instead showing off some concept art that was more than a little reminiscent of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles' art style.
"Wonder Flick is a game where the theme is searching for treasure," Hino commented. "You go on the hunt, find rare items, and trade in your equipment for stronger items. It's a game that tries to pursue what makes traditional RPGs fun. We're going to keep adjusting the content with the times after that, with new lands, monsters, items and so on. We've got something in mind that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of apps, something that will surprise you."
The second game, called Majin Station, is headed up by Jiro Ishii, best known in Japan for producing adventure games like 428 and 2012's Time Travelers. Visuals are being handled by Yusuke Kozaki, who did character designs on Fire Emblem: Awakening.
What is Majin Station about? Hino explains: "To put it simply, it's a simulation RPG where you fight over territory in the form of Japan's rail stations. Ishii's first concept line was 'something is lurking under the Yamanote line [Tokyo's main loop line], and my response to that was 'Let's get all of Japan's station in there'. I didn't think there'd be a point unless we went through with that."
Not much of the game was shown, but judging by the character art in Famitsu, Level-5's going for a sort of occult, Shin Megami Tensei-ish feel to go with their game. "You can choose your starting station freely," Ishii said, "whether it's your home station or the one you grew up near. I'd like to get all the local lines and subways in here, too, not just Japan Rail lines. As you're piloting your demon train around the country, you may run into a powerful demon in X number of stations, or maybe a local celebrity will show up in demon form when you visit certain cities. It's a command-based RPG that you can control with one hand and enjoy in short periods of time."
The final title announced, called Chikyu Kaimetsu teki B-kyu Kanojo, is probably the most traditional "Japan-made smartphone RPG" in style. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where most of the men have died and the land's full of beautiful, powerful female mercenaries (of course), you must gather together a team of crack ladies and have them fight against monsters and invaders. Battles are fought using an in-game slot machine where the more you win, the more damage you deal foes.
B-kyu Kanojo is coming out next month for iOS and August for Android devices in Japan. The other two games only have general 2013 release dates for the time being.