The Square Enix team behind I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear have announced their next RPG project, Oninaki. This upcoming action-RPG will be released for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PC sometime this summer.
As you might imagine given this game’s pedigree, Oninaki‘s premise is a bit strange. It takes place in a land where people are not able to properly honor the dead due to a belief that it’s our grief which binds the spirits of the dead to our world and prevents them from moving on to the next. However, it seems that some souls get lost in the transition between worlds. You play a Watcher who is responsible for helping shepherd the dead to “The Beyond.”
While there’s quite a bit about this story that hasn’t been revealed yet, we’re going to go ahead and guess that this is not a normal day for the Watcher the player controls. Indeed, we already see the player battle monsters who are supposedly lost souls who did not properly transition into the next world. This would tend to suggest the entire process is a delicate one that can go horribly wrong.
Gameplay-wise, this RPG will utilize real-time combat, a variety of magic, and what appears to be some kind of companion system tied to the souls that you are guiding. On top of that, it seems like there’s going to be some kind of “Two Worlds” feature that allows you to travel between the living world and the world of the dead. It’s not entirely clear how deep this mechanic is, but we’d imagine it will be used for combat, puzzle, and storytelling purposes.
While the Oninaki team are remaining quiet regarding most of Oninaki‘s specifics, their previous work would tend to suggest that this game is going to defy the conventions of the JRPG genre that we so often associate Square Enix with. The game’s premise certainly suggests a departure from what is normal, but it remains to be seen just how different this game is from the team’s own projects like I Am Setsuna.
We expect to hear much more about this game in the future.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.