RPGamer Feature - The Road to E3 - Nostalgia Interview
Developer: Matrix Software
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
Release Date: 09.2009

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In the first of a two part interview with Ignition Entertainment, RPGamer speaks with Shane Bettenhausen, Director of Business Development. For now we'll just whet your appetite with some brief talk of Nostalgia as we await part two's focus on Muramasa: The Demon Blade as well as some general Ignition Q&A. Oh, and we also have some brand new screens from Nostalgia you can find here.

How detailed are the real world areas found within Nostalgia? Will players be visiting places like New York's Statue of Liberty?
Ignition Entertainment: Although Nostalgia unfolds in an alternate-reality version of our own 19th-century Earth, players shouldn't necessarily come to the game expecting to hoof it through accurately emulated cityscapes. Prepare yourself instead for a fanciful take on the world's greatest locales—you're not exploring the grimy and gritty real life London of 1858, but rather a funky, fun version as seen through the warped lens of classic Japanese RPG design. The game's creators sought to capture the unique flavors of each land so you would already recognize them before even taking landmarks into account. That said, various famous landmarks are present, such as the massive Moai heads on Easter Island, Mt. Fuji in Japan, Big Ben in London,and the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building in New York City.

What are some of the customization options for characters? Do playable characters have a mandatory class or can they be customized as you wish?
Ignition: In Nostalgia, each of the game's primary party members has a predetermined class (Warrior, Thief, Wizard, Healer), and it's up to you to customize their abilities with a Skill Tree. How you choose to allocate points will determine which physical and magical special attacks they learn, so even though the class system initially appears limiting you have a good amount of freedom to customize as you progress—it's a bit like Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid, really. Also, the usual gear customization applies: You outfit your characters with weapons, three different pieces of armor, as well as two slots for stat-boosting trinkets.

Sup Dawg? We heard you like airships. So what options do we have for pimping our airship?
Ignition: If this question is meant to appeal to some low, street-thug mentality that encourages the "pimping" of airships, we cannot stand idly by and allow you to sully the timeless and respected art of zeppelin design and manufacture with such low language!

Airships are absolutely integral to the Nostalgia experience—all travel across the field map takes place from the helm of your trusty armored blimp, and you'll see plenty of combat while blazing through the skies. Your airship's weapons and armor plating can be fully customized, and the ship's model visibly reflects all changes. There are four different weapons on the ship that can be upgraded; the cannon, machine gun turrets, laser and the prow (a massive blade made for midair zeppelin jousting).

How massive are the airship battles? How do they differ from normal character combat?
Ignition: In terms of pure scale, airship battles easily dwarf the normal party combat you'll encounter in dungeons. In the air, it's common to simultaneously take on multiple ships that can be over twice your size. And in airship combat, it's important to take your enemy's position into account, as you have different attack options available from the front, left, or right side of your ship. You'll notice a subtle paper-rock-scissors attack hierarchy at work here, so you'll want to master repositioning your craft for maximum effectiveness. Plus, you'll have different special abilities at your disposal depending upon which character you've assigned to each battle station.

Overall, the airship battles are a lot more challenging than your average on-foot battles, largely because of the risk factor involved. Your ship can fly at multiple heights to clear large obstacles…but the higher you fly, the harder the enemies you encounter.

The Japanese release feature a beautiful art book for those who pre-ordered. Any plans in the works about possible bonuses?
Ignition: We're big fans of that art-book/CD soundtrack bundle from Japan, and we'd love to bring something like that to U.S. audiences as well. We're still currently finalizing our plans for possible bonus items here in the States, and we'd love to hear from the fans here to find out what they'd like to see.

RPGamer would like to thank Shane Bettenhausen and the team at Ignition for taking the time to help put together this interview. Nostalgia will be released in September for the Nintendo DS.

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