Square Enix has already shown this week it is willing to embrace new platforms by announcing Final Fantasy III will be a launch title for Ouya. But the company also looks to be developing a more wide-reaching game that doesn't rely on any one hardware platform or operating system.
The latest issue of Japanese video games magazine Famitsu has a number of RPG announcements this week, but the one that caught my eye is a comment from Square Enix's Ryutaro Ichimura.
The Dragon Quest VIII and Dragon Quest IX producer stated that he is currently working on a "hardware-free game" described as an action RPG. Hardware free to me means browser-based, as it's the only way you can really develop a game free of hardware constraints. He also mentioned playing on mobile devices, but switching to a "prettier" screen when you get home. Again, something that would be handled best in a web browser on different platforms and levels of performance.
Square Enix has already embraced browser-based gaming to some extent with the development of Facebook games. There's also been a collaboration with Bigpoint Games to develop the browser game creation destination Gameglobe. It doesn't seem too much of a leap then, for the developer to create a new action RPG that you play in the browser.
Free-to-play, microtransactions, and possibly even a tie-in to an existing game series could all be on the cards, although an "all new" action RPG suggests that's not the case. And with Japanese developers/publishers eager to attract Western gamers, it's unlikely to be limited by a Japan-only release.
Depending on how far along in development Ichimura's game is, we could be hearing a lot more about it before the year is over. I'd at least like to know what the name of this mysterious hardware-free game is.
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