At a Sony Japan press conference earlier this month, Kadokawa Games, known recently for its publishing efforts on Grasshopper titles Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer is Dead, announced Natural Doctrine for PS3, PS Vita, and PS4.
In the latest Weekly Famitsu, Kadokawa president Yoshimi Yasuda noted, "the need to create and nurture a flagship title" and "the need to build a team that has all the collected know-how needed to help the company set and meet their loftier goals." That's where the idea to make a SRPG came from. Producer Kensuke Tanaka noted, "With this genre, you tend to see someone build up a gameplay system, then use the same one for many years to come.... The legacy of these well-made systems has created what's considered the standards for the genre. I thought that, if I ever tackled this genre, then even if I didn't come near all these great titles, I wanted to try creating a new standard."
I'm more confident in Natural Doctrine's chances after a Gematsu report that Patapon director Atsushi Ii would be directing this game. Patapon was a fantastic, wildly original and inventive strategy game. Natural Doctrine makes its home in a seemingly typical fantasy world wherein different races live tenuously side by side. You play as protagonist Jeff and party members Vasilisa and Anca.
Early explanations of the turn-based system read a bit like Valkyria Chronicles, eschewing a grid. Tanaka emphasized the "size of the areas" you do battle in, noting "you can move around anywhere you like within the area, which makes positioning important." There also appears to be unit-specific skill trees.
Still no word on a Western release, but Natural Doctrine will come to PS3, PS Vita, and PS4 when the latter releases in Japan, February 22. Here's hoping it comes over. Sounds promising.