Today’s issue of Weekly Famitsu included an extensive spread about the upcoming “School JRPG” that has been teased by a team spearheaded by veteran Shin Megami Tensei developers titled Monark.
First of all, we learn that Monark is not a code-name or a working title but it’s the actual title of the game, which is coming for PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. It’ll be released in Japan on October 14, and will be published by Furyu.
The story is set in a school that isolated from the outside world by a mysterious force field where the protagonist suddenly wakes up. There’s a mysterious fog that makes people go crazy and a mysterious telephone that connects to a different world. it’s an abnormal and violent situation.
To fight this craziness, the hero receives the “power of vanity” born from the demo that feeds on ego and madness.
We get to see plenty of characters including the hero, who is a second-year student in high school, and the inevitable mascot named Vanitas.
Other playable characters are Hinata Nozomi, associated with “Hope,” Shinya Yuda, associated with “Faith,” Ryotaro Datei, associated with “Greed,” and Kokoro Surugadai, associated wit “Sloth.”
For all of them we get to see their normal form and the one with their powers activated. We also take a look at some side characters.
They form the New Student Council, which was created to solve the abnormal situation of the school. The hero is chosen as it’s vice-president.
The main story has multiple endings, with a route associated to each of the four buddies mentioned above, allowing players yo enjoy the story with the character of their choice. After you clear it once, you can skip the common part at the beginning of the game, so you can replay it multiple time without going through the same content again.
Speaking of gameplay, the player has a series of seven parameters representing his EGO working on seven axis (similar to the social stats in Persona 5, but this is apparently the angry, dark version), Pride, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, and Sloth.
They change depending on how the player behaves during the story and affect the hero’s demon, which can be customized in appearance and voice and its equipment will also evolve with the power of ego.
The battle is turn-based but you can move your characters around freely, with the position of allies and enemies affecting the outcome of your moves. For instance, you can attack enemies from behind or aim for team attacks.
There is also a madness gauge and when it’s full you basically go berserk and attack several times in a row both friends and foes, becoming incapacitated afterward.
The world of the game is covered in fog that disturbs the human psyche, and within this fog, the player can receive phone calls from another world. The player will have to explore the area while fighting enemies and solving puzzles. There is a mystery-solving element in the game that will test the player’s intelligence on top of their courage,
Last, but not least, we learn more about the staff and their roles. Planning, production, and direction are handled by Fuyuki Hayashi (who recently directed Crystar) and Mitsuhiro Hoshino. The scenario is by Fuyuki Hayashi and Ryutaro Ito in cooperation with Kazunari Suzuki, Aya Nishitanii. So-bin is confirmed as the character designer, while the music is by Tsukasa Masuko, who many will remeber for his work on the Shin Megami Tensei (and recently on the Caligula series).
In just a few hours we’re going to see more about Monark, as the first trailer is going to be published tonight. For now, if you feel like this looks like a much darker Persona, I wouldn’t blame you.