After spending years lending his talents to Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi is trying out new ground.
The long-time producer is hard at work on a new free-to-play mobile game, hoping to find his place in the same market where the likes of Puzzle & Dragons are really cleaning up on the cash.
The game, Terra Battle, is a production of Sakaguchi’s game studio, Mistwalker, and combines elements from classic puzzle games and strategy/role-playing games. In it, your character builds an army, then directs them onto a grid-like battlefield, attacking enemies from the side or rear where they’re most vulnerable. For the game, Sakaguchi took inspiration from the classic Japanese board game hasami-shogi, where surrounding your players is a vital part.
It’s a jarring move for Sakaguchi, who worked on such big-budget games as Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey for Microsoft on the Xbox 360, but one that could certainly play off, given the strategy of the title.
Interested players can take part in the game’s battles, and attempt to unlock more powerful characters through a randomized pay-to-play lottery system, which Sakaguchi dubs “gacha.” “In some games, it’s really hard to get the rare characters; the percentage [of rare characters in the gacha lottery] is really low,” he says about the system.
The more downloads that the game gets, the more Sakaguchi intends to add content to the game, including more characters, music and other items. “The console game business is more about make it, ship it, and forget it,” he says. “Mobile games are more like a festival: You keep adding and adding and adding. Just yesterday, I went on Facebook and asked someone, ‘Can you make me a character ‘ through Messenger.”
The overall goal for Sakaguchi “I want an MMORPG,” he said, hoping to gain at least two million downloads. “I want to keep the essence of what’s going on in (the mobile version of) Terra Battle.”
There’s no word on a release date, but we certainly wish Sakaguchi the best of luck in breaking in to the market. His talent won’t go unnoticed.