Unless you live in Europe, Record of Agarest War might be an unfamiliar game to RPGamers. This quirky SRPG ask players to forge relationships with their female companions through the process of soul breeding. Soul breeding? That sounds diiiiiiirty.
*cough* I mean, yeah... awesome!
Anyway, Aksys Games has our perverted, inner-otaku fantasies covered, as they are bringing Record of Agarest War to both the PlayStation Network and the Xbox 360. Do you love boobs? Do you love boobs in your SRPG? This interview is full of them! Man breasts included. For more information on how to retrieve your boobie mousepad—I mean, to learn more about Record of Agarest War, check out the official website.
Greeting Aksys! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions on your upcoming PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 RPG, Record of Agarest War. For those who are unfamiliar with the game we were hoping to get a little more insight.
First, can you tell us a bit about the story of Record of Agarest War?
Michael Manzanares, Project Lead: Sure. Record of Agarest War starts you off as Leonhardt, a general in the Gridamas army. He eventually questions his country when one of his peers tries to kill an innocent girl; Leo goes AWOL to protect her. It ultimately gets him killed, causing him to sell his soul—and the souls of his descendants—in exchange for power to change the world. The entity he promised his soul to has other objectives though.
What makes Record of Agarest War different from other tactical RPGs? How does it compare with other TRPGs on the market?
MM: Extended Areas allow you to link with other members during your current character's turn, if they're in the right formation. It can open up a lot more strategic options, such as having a slower character act sooner or allowing a party member who's out of range to join in the attack. Because of this mechanic, you'll often find yourself deciding between a defensive layout of your troops or an offensive battle formation, trying to link as many characters as you can for a focused attack.
The Soul Breeding system is something you don't see too often here in the States. Most JRPGs are very linear in their story, usually having one, set heroine or love interest. Agarest gives you more control over that and gives you a choice.
As for how Agarest compares to others in the genre, I'll leave that for the gamers to decide. I will say that it has a lot of things that are expected of it: 80+ hours of gameplay for a single playthrough, multiple story paths, multiple endings, monster collection, a gallery, and a new game+.
Could you explain to us in detail the Soul Breeding System? What are some of the "benefits" in forging better relationships with the women of Agarest War?
MM: It's more or less a dating-sim mechanic—branching dialogue where your choices influence the events of the story and your female party members. It directly affects your descendants, namely their appearance and preferred weapon. The...uh...benefits come in the form of increased stats. That, and an extended wedding sequence at the end of each generation where your bride is clothed in nothing but white bed sheets. Yeah.
How many boo—I mean women in total can players expect to forge relationships with? How is the courtship process managed and how difficult can it be to woo that perfect mate? I imagine some of the girls are there just to serve as fall backs, right?
MM: Hmm... I don't know the total off the top of my head, but it's three women per generation, except for the last one, which has nine. As for the process, it goes back to the Soul Breeding system; there's a nice little gauge during conversations that keeps track for you. And it's not too difficult to woo the girl of your choice; you just gotta keep 'em happy. Having the other girls as fall backs though is a little more difficult, since keeping one girl happy might adversely affect another. Kinda like real life, haha.
Since this game focuses on generations, how much does the gameplay change as the generations transform? How are generational changes handled in game?
MM: The gameplay mechanics don't change as much as you think, aside from the usual increase in the variety of items, spells, monsters, and Extended Areas. The most drastic change comes with the characters, setting, and plot. Each generation is pretty much a self-contained story, though there is an overarching goal linking all of them together.
This hit Europe first, so did you have to retranslate the game completely or just borrow some from Ghostlight's version?
MM: We actually used Ghostlight's translation as the base, then our localization team went to town. For fans that imported the European release, I recommend taking a look at what we've done. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
What when into the decision to make the PlayStation 3 version a downloadable only title and the Xbox 360 version a retail release? I doubt we'll see a PS3 boxed release, but what about a digital download for Xbox 360?
MM: Ooh, we get this question a lot. Unfortunately, we can't answer it—or rather, give an answer that everyone would like to hear due to NDA, haha. I will say though that it's never our intention to shun one platform over another; we love 'em all. Sometimes though, we just gotta deal with the hand we're dealt and make the most of it. Same with a digital release for the Xbox 360. Sorry, guys.
Okay, so I have to ask, but what made you guys decide to create the "Naughty Edition" premium packaging for the Xbox 360 version? What made you guys decide on sexy pillows and mousepads as a bonus? I admit lots of our staff members are fans of the mousepad.
MM: I think Cherie or Gail can answer that better than me, haha. I know a couple of us really wanted to include a wedding garter for sh*ts and giggles, but we had to throw that idea out, haha.
Gail Salamanca, Director of Marketing: We were kicking around A LOT of ideas when we were trying to come up with a Limited Edition for Agarest War, like the garter that Mike mentioned. We had stuff like a steelcase box, posters, artbooks, you know the usual, but we wanted to put together a Limited Edition that was really unique that hadn't been done in the US and something that spoke to the inner otaku and pervert in all of us. So, that's why we came up with the booby mouse pad (as it is affectionately called in the office) and pillowcase.
Of all the potential bachelorettes in Agarest War, which one is your favorite?
MM: Hmm... I'm more partial to Vira-Lorr and the grown-up Ellis...and the fact that they’re on the mouse pad and pillow case had nothing to do with that...
GS: Mike likes Vira-Lorr purely in the hope that her breasts come in threes as well. As for me, I'm actually partial to Ryuryu, since I have a thing for women with short-purple hair. That's pretty much the main reason why she's featured on the cover of the LE box.
Cherie Baker, PR Specialist: If I was a dude, I'd do Ellis. I like pink hair and the fact that she's one of the few girls with a modicum of modesty. Plus, you know what they say about the quiet ones.
Also, what's the deal with the girl with the sausage on the Agarest War website? How big is that sausage really?
GS: Everyone loves big sausages.
CB: That's what she said.
Finally, I'd like to ask if you would please sum up the Record of Agarest War experience in one awesome, tell-all summary.
MM: Awesome. So awesome.
GS: I think what Mike meant to say is Record of Agarest War is pretty damn awesome.
CB: 100+ hours of gameplay, entertaining dialogue, item creation, monster breeding, and baby making! Oh yea, did we mention this game is awesome?
RPGamer would like to thank Michael Manzanares, Gail Salamanca, and Cherie Baker at Aksys Games for taking the time to answer our questions. Once again check out Record of Agarest Wars' official website! Record of Boob-arest War hits shelves April 27 on Xbox 360, and April 29 on the PlayStation Network.