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Destiny of Spirits gamifies real-life travel into a fantasy RPG

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Sony Japan Studios' free-to-play title Destiny of Spirits tracks players' real-life steps and gamifies them into a role-playing game stuffed with fantasy battles and folklore references.

Associate producer Kumi Yuasa told Polygon the "destination-based RPG" tasks players with collecting spirits by traveling to real world locations; as players go to different regions, including different countries, they will encounter new spirits in-game that are unique to that area. These spirits can be captured and battled in the wild using the game's classic-style active time battle system, or obtained by swapping with your PlayStation Network friends.

Yuasa explained the game was designed so players would want to take their Vita with them when they travel, in order to take advantage of each day's unique content.

"Everyone you go, the game will go with you," she explained. "And everywhere you go, you'll have a different experience."

Destiny of Spirits was built around the Destiny Engine, a program that calculates players' lucky and unlucky times using their zodiac and elements of eastern mythology. At the beginning of the game, players will enter their birthday, and the game will create special fortunes tailored to the mythology and lore surrounding players' astrological sign.

Every day the game will use this data to determine whether the day is lucky or unlucky, which real-life direction they should travel in and which spirit elements will be the strongest in battle. Players will also be given a daily fortune that will affect their gameplay for the duration of the day.

"Everywhere you go, you'll have a different experience."

"The engine is based on lore like energies from nature and eastern mythology, and we rolled it all together to create the engine," said Yuasa. "This engine tailors that day's content to its users."

As for these spirits, players will build them into armies and level them up in battle against other evil spirits. These spirits can be found on the game's world map, which is a digital overlay of the players' real environment. Using each spirit in battle will cost a certain amount of Spirit Points, in-game currency earned in battle, and players can also rent spirits from other players by paying a small Spirit Points fee.

These spirits are based on the local lore of each area players travel to in real life and can only be found in their unique area. These include specters based on Native American legends, Greek myths and historical figures of the Wild West, like gunslingers, animal gods and sprites. Europe, Japan, North America — all regions have their own unique spirits with abilities that keep with their mythological theme.

Yuasa said the idea for the Destiny Engine came first, and the game was built around it from there.

"There are a lot of ways today on social media to connect people," she explained. "The developer wanted to come up with something totally new to connect people, and the Destiny Engine was a great way to start."

Yuasa said the game will follow a freemium model; all content in the game will be completely free to play, but players will have the option to pay to speed up progress.

Destiny of Spirits will launch on PlayStation Vita last this year.