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Astria Ascending is a new RPG made by an indie team with help from Final Fantasy veterans

A large fantasy world comes to life in hand-drawn 2D artwork

Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Astria Ascending, a gorgeous fantasy Japanese role-playing game from Artisan Studios, was announced Friday during the ID@Xbox showcase. The beautifully drawn game with turn-based combat is scheduled to be released in 2021, Artisan said in a news release.

While Astria Ascending is being developed by Artisan, which is based in Quebec, Canada, and Montpellier, France, it features an array of contributions from reputable names in the JRPG genre — most notably, a score by Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy 12, Vagrant Story) and writing from Kazushige Nojima (Final Fantasy 10, Final Fantasy 7 Remake). Along with the game’s reveal trailer, publisher Dear Villagers posted a video interview with Nojima and Sakimoto on its YouTube channel on Friday:

Astria Ascending boasts an expansive fantasy environment in a hand-drawn 2D art style. The announcement trailer is lore-heavy and goes over the basics of the world. Players will get to explore a land called Orcanon, where various mythical races and cultures live in harmony. The world will offer a “fully animated 2D landscape with five cities and a dynamic weather system,” according to Artisan.

Players will take control of the Demigods, whose mission is to fight the Noises — floating ghostlike sphere creatures that threaten the balance of the world. In the game, you’ll “pick from eight customizable player characters spanning a range of fantastical races and skills” as you assemble a team of heroes.

“In Astria Ascending we wanted to explore how people cope in extraordinary times,” said Julien Bourgeois, game director at Artisan Studios, in the news release. “Each hero has their own perspective, but it’s the relationships they form with one another that truly brings the story to life.”

Astria Ascending is in development on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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