Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'Project Happiness' Gets a Trailer

As I said a few days ago I was eagerly anticipating some information on 'Project Happiness', as it was being shown off during E3 and, welp, nothing like a reveal/teaser trailer to do just that!  If you would, give the trailer a minute and a half of your time if just for your old friend Mogs before we get into the nitty-gritty of it, since while there's not a lot to talk about for it, I think we all know how I can stretch.  And besides, it's a really charming trailer, one mistake notwithstanding that shows off what will obviously be a rather lovely little game.  And I'm going to 'blah blah' about it no matter what, so if you want your nightly Mogs post, this is what I got, take it or leave it.  Since, like I said, this is something that truly interests me if just because Yasuhiro Wada is behind it.

Now, first off, for a first impression, the video literally smacks you over the head with whimsy and something really beautiful, showing off different locales - a beach, a forest, a village, etc. - and getting this real almost fairy tale sort of vibe planted in your head.  And you can definitely tell by the way it is handled, just the way it looks, that it's going to be something more along the lines of Rune Factory in terms of world make-up at least.  It's got that real layer of fantasy covering it that sort of breathes a little bit of 'magic' into everything.  Of course, there's a bit of confirmation on that a bit into the video, but worry about that in a little bit.  Honestly, what the trailer's presentation gives me, is a sense of something resembling scale which I believe is a bit counter to what's shown in actual gameplay, but there's likely a reason for that.

Now, speaking of the gameplay, about forty-five seconds into the video or so, we finally see something a bit more concrete in terms of the actual game design, as it shows off our main character, or rather, our choices for one; both a Boy and a Girl are shown, looking absolutely like they were steeped in classic Harvest Moon design before they were unveiled.  It also shows off a that I believe it calls a "Sprite" that will likely be some sort of a companion creature for our main character, whomever it may be.  It also shows off what -appears- to be a, or even 'the', gameplay element of the game:  A Storefront to be manned.  As in, running your own store with things that you stock yourself.  That looks like it can definitely expand as you work at it, sort of reflecting the work you put into it.

Now, this wouldn't be the first game about owning and running a store to be released, but it would certainly be one to come out on a platform I can play it on (which I won't gripe about too much, considering Recettear was only made available to the West thanks to a two-man group who work themselves ragged, I'm sure) which I say with all knowledge that the game has not been announced to be on any platforms just yet.  Nor does it have a release date (other than '2013') or a proper title, which is all stuff to think about surely, but I think we can look at the game itself and just -guess- what it's going to come out on.  I mean come on, just guess.  Now, I'm going to work it out a little bit here.  There's a 2013 release window, which...I'm just suggesting that it means that it's not going to be for Phones and such devices.  I don't think you actually really need eight months or more to put out a game for an iPhone.  Maybe I'm just wrong on that, or whatever, but I'm just saying.

It certainly looks like a handheld game, however, which has me jump to 3DS.  I would love to say 3DS -and- Vita, and I hope it is just that (I doubt it would be Vita Exclusive, considering Natsume has always swung more towards Nintendo - even though they're just the publisher blah blah), but I can see this being yet another game that push me into finally buying a 3DS.  Of which there is now four, if this is one of those games.  And they're -all- games like this:  Animal Crossing, Rune Factory 4, and Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns, so needless to say, the 3DS will be my simulation fix device.  Anyways, I could also see this being a DD-only title up on XBLA/PSN/PC for about $10-20, but I still figure it more on sating that handheld hunger, especially being wholly Japanese in creation and design.

Of course, do I think the game is solely going to be about operating a storefront?  I have reason to doubt it, personally.  At the very least, the game is going to delve more into Recettear ideals and involve you scrounging and/or making items to be sold, but the dialogue of the teaser itself gives me a little room to wonder.  It asks, very bluntly, "What would you like to do?" after describing this lush, vibrant world, full of things to do.  So what I'm suggesting/envisioning is that maybe the storefront is just that:  A choice of something to do.  Imagine if the game had entirely different ways to go about it, to let you find what makes you happy, to find what you will 'choose at the end'.  I may just be grasping at straws here, but the narrator doesn't ever mention that you will be working in a store and the footage is only shown after asking what would you do, indicating that it may, just in fact, be only one option.

I could be wrong, of course, and that's not to say that if the game is just about managing and stocking a shop, I'll be disappointed, because I certainly won't.  I've yearned to play such a game, and that I'll get the chance to do so is a wonderful boon.  But I'm envisioning something a little more ambitious from the little bits of info the trailer offered and, considering that it's definitely early in development yet, I'm banking on the idea that further showings will either show other things you can dedicate your character to doing (the more ambitious route) or showing off the different facets of running and managing your shop, ala getting stock and such (what is probably the expected route).  Either way, I'll certainly be satisfied.  All I know is that I can't get my hands on the game fast enough.

Update!:  Well....I was -kind of- right.  It was sorta kinda leaked that Project Happiness will be a 3DS and Mobile title (So Android, iOS, etc) in an E3 hand-out magazine.  Then Natsume put that on their Facebook page confirming it outright.  So basically what this means is that they'll be making the 3DS version and then doing a quick port job for Mobile platforms.  Like I said, I'm certainly not surprised that it's a 3DS title, but I hope the intention of it being a Mobile title won't limit the scope of the game at all.  But....who am I kidding, I'm buying the game.  Also worth of note is that Wada went through the trouble of bringing together something of a "Dream Team" for this project in enlisting Atsuko Nishida (who you might know from being the illustrator of a little thing called Pokemon) for the art, and some guy named Nobuo Uematsu (I'm sure I don't have to enlighten you of his work) to score the game.  You know, just some random dudes.

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