From the people that brought you games such as Code Vein and the Tales series comes Bandai Namco’s newest fast-paced action-JRPG, Scarlet Nexus. Filled with flashy action sequences and a futuristic dystopian aesthetic, this title is wrapped in a science-fiction story to guarantee you a good time when gaming.
A game that is five years in the making, Scarlet Nexus markets itself as a ‘brainpunk’ JRPG, with the brain being an integral part of the game. It is set in the distant future, in a city known as New Himuka, and a world where a ‘psionic hormone’ has been discovered in the human brain, granting these humans extra-sensory powers and thus changing the world as we know it.
In a keynote presentation of the game, Scarlet Nexus’ Game Director Kenji Anabuki and Producer Keita Izuka were present to help showcase more on the game’s story, mechanics, and artwork.
“Scarlet Nexus takes place in a world where the power of the brain is highly developed,” explains Anabuki. “Currently, in our world, people will use their fingers and voices to interact with various technological devices like their smartphones. However, in Scarlet Nexus people use their brains to control them. For example, the hologram-like advertisements and banners appearing on the streets are actually information that is directly transferred and projected into people’s brains.”
Scarlet Nexus is being developed by Bandai Namco Studios, with the team wanting to create a completely new game that is both innovative and fresh to gamers. Where other games often use ‘magic’ in battle, the team at Bandai Namco wanted to develop a game that focuses on the use of ‘superpowers’, hence the creation of Scarlet Nexus.
The citizens of New Himuka are truly living in the game developers’ ultimate vision of an Internet of Things (IOT), where everyone’s brain is connected to a network called ‘Psynet’, which helps connect them to services such as infrastructures and medical facilities.
Among these ‘Psionics’, we follow young Yuito Sumeragi throughout the course of Scarlet Nexus as he navigates through the world of New Himuka as a newly recruited member of the Other Suppression Force (OSF), a task force set up to combat the wave of mutants, dubbed Others, that descended upon mankind one day, hungry for human brains.
Anabuki states that over the course of the game, as more of the story comes to light, we’ll see Yuito increasingly start to question the organisation he fights for.
“Is the OSF I have been trusting really acting for justice?” and “Is it really a good thing to have your brain constantly connected to your fellow teammates in the OSF?” are just some of the questions Yuito will have to answer as he traverses through New Himuka.
A Psionic himself, Yuito has a talent for psychokinesis, or the ability to move objects with the power of his mind, which lends to some truly interesting fight scenes, with Yuito able to perform not only melee attacks using his sword, but also hurl objects such as cars and buses onto Others he is fighting against.
The ability to turn your environment into your weapon, where everyday objects such as telephone poles and such can be wielded to perform sick combos with your melee attacks, is perhaps what truly sets Scarlet Nexus aside from other recent JRPG that has been released by Bandai Namco, such as Code Vein.
“In battles, the psychokinesis ability Yuito possesses can be easily controlled by hitting simple button sequences. By interacting with objects in your environment, you can control them to not just hit your target, but also to experience a new action style of swinging things at enemies or crushing them with objects,” says Anabuki.
Also as mentioned, Yuito is mentally connected to his teammates and will thus be able to harness their powers periodically during battle, this helps to keep the fast-paced and cool action sequences even more interesting.
Another fascinating aspect of Scarlet Nexus will have to be the Others, who are as mentioned, supernatural beings who descended from the skies one day, with a thirst for human brains. According to the developers, these monsters have no consciousness and attack purely based on instinct. They also pop up fairly regularly and can be likened to earthquakes in Japan, a fairly common occurrence that humankind has learned to deal with overtime.
The Others also feature a very unique aesthetic, with a blend of grotesque elements added to familiar everyday objects. Such as the vase Other who has the top half of a vase and the bottom half of a high heel-wearing satyr. This was purposefully done on the part of the game’s art director Ochiai Kouta as he wanted to evoke a “feeling of foreignness” from the Others, making them feel foreign and alien to players.
Speaking of aesthetics, Scarlet Nexus features a heavy cyberpunk-dystopian aesthetic with washed out buildings in shambles, empty streets with overgrown weeds, while having the characters in the game perform flashy, colourful attacks using their psionic superpowers.
Scarlet Nexus has yet to receive a release date from Bandai Namco but we do know that the game will be released on the PS4, Xbox One, PC, as well as the PS5 and Xbox Series X.