Sega has revealed SolSeraph, an upcoming game from ACE Team, the developers of Zeno Clash and Rock of Ages. Not only does the reveal come at an unexpected time, close on the heels of E3, but SolSeraph apparently releases in just a couple short weeks. On top of that, the game appears to be aiming to resurrect the niche genre of god-like strategy and action-platforming that distinguished the 90s classic ActRaiser
Back in 1990, a weird hybrid strategy-platformer called ActRaiser released for the Super Nintendo. It was developed by Quintet and published by Enix (before it merged with Square). The plot told the story of a powerful supernatural entity fighting against a being called Tanzra - in the Japanese version the game was literally about a war between God and Satan. ActRaiser tasked players with leading the people of the world in a successful campaign against Tanzra by fighting through side-scrolling action segments and building up the cities of humanity. From the beginning, the game fell into niche status due to its subject matter and the off-beat combination of city building and platforming. The title received a sequel in 1993, but the hybrid gameplay they brought into being largely sat by the wayside gathering dust... until now.
After the creation of the world, Sky Father and Earth Mother left it to its own devices, departing for parts unknown. The young gods who they left behind to watch over their creation began to torment the people of the earth with calamities, monsters, and demons. SolSeraph tells the story of Helios, Knight of Dawn, as he embarks on a mission to save the scattered remnants of humanity from the capricious acts of the cruel gods. To do so, Helios must rebuild their cities and defend the new refuges from the onslaught of malevolent forces.
SolSeraph is divided into two gameplay modes. The first acts very much like a strategic city-builder. Players will order the creation of structures and explore the lands from above to uncover the lairs of encroaching monsters. Once those have been discovered, Helios will descend from the heavens to do battle in side-scrolling action segments. These have Helios fighting against all manner of fantasy creatures with sword, shield, and bow in his quest to reach the god who has been giving them orders. Each defeated god will grant Helios new powers to use in the difficult struggles still to come.
In case it was still sketchy as to whether or not SolSeraph was an intentional spiritual incarnation of ActRaiser, ACE Team brought on Yuzo Koshiro, the original composer behind the 90s classic, to create the opening theme of their game.
Narrative has always been an important part of ActRaiser's legacy. To that end, ACE Team has brought on Jonas Kyrazes, the writer behind The Talos Principle's compelling story, to give SolSeraph some serious storytelling chops. On his journey, Helios will encounter many different tribes of humans populated by colorful characters with interesting goals. How all of this will tie together in the final product remains to be seen, but anyone remotely familiar with the 90s game or intrigued by the unique genre mashup should definitely keep their eyes peeled for this title.
SolSeraph will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on July 10.
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