If it hasn’t become more and more obvious over the last year or so, a game series can be thought of as a rough framework with a thick coat of thematic paint covering its walls. That’s why Mighty No. 9 is really Mega Man, Red Ash is Mega Man Legends, and BioShock is System Shock with a lobotomy. Castlevania is now Bloodstained, Tempest should be TxK if Atari was less heavy-handed with the lawyers, etc. When a creator wants to make a new game in a series but the IP is owned by a company that doesn’t have any interest in moving forward, there’s no reason not to strip the idea down to its bones and slap fresh skin and organs on there. Today’s candidate earning a not-a-sequel is Valkyrie Profile, which is getting an all-new game set in an all-new world with a non-Square-Enix publisher.
Exist Archive: The Other Side is a 2.5D side-scrolling RPG set in two worlds. Home is in modern-day Japan while away is the planet Protolexa. The main characters are a group of twelve gods collecting souls to send back to Earth, and who gets sent back when effects the ending of the game. Most of the game time will be spent in side-view dungeons, and monster encounters play out with a set of four heroes each controlled by one of the face buttons. The trick to combo-ing is to get a group that works well together, with one attack segueing into another, and large combs reward more money and better items. Different characters also have different skills to get past dungeon obstacles in the side-scrolling sections, too.
Basically, Exist Archive is a new Valkyrie Profile in all but name and setting. It’s being developed by the original people in charge of the the PlayStation 1 game, with co-development and publishing help from Spike Chunsoft, and fans of the earlier games should find something to make them very happy to see Exist Archive on the way. It’s being released on PS4 and Vita in Japan this year, and while there’s no word yet on a US release, the official word from NISA is “We do not have any comments about this title at this time.” That beats a no any day of the week, so with any luck actual localization information will be coming along in the months ahead.