Today’s issue of Weekly Famitsu included a large spread about Relayer, the upcoming mecha strategy simulation JRPG by Kadokawa Games.
The game was formerly code-named “Project Stella” and has been teased for a long time as a spin-off of Kadokawa Games’ mobile game Starly Girls, but it seems to have acquired independence from the original game. It’s developed for PS5 and PS4 by the same development behind God Wars: Future Past under the direction of the company’s own president Yoshimi Yasuda. It’ll launch in Japan in 2021.
The story begins in the Star Calendar year 2049 when mankind discovers that it isn’t alone in the universe and meets the mysterious extraterrestrial life form named “Relayer.”
At the same time the archaeological discovery of the remains of an ancient galactic civilization triggered the raise of the “Star Child” with special abilities. The story and fate of the Star Child are set inb motion by the encounter between two ladies on the Artemis colony on the moon.
The Star Child are mutant humans whose abilities have been awakened by the “will of the stars.” They have the power to control gravity and to pilot the robots named “Stella Gear.” There are also artificially-created soldiers defined Satellites who have abilities similar to the original Star Child.
There are various organizations at play in the universe of the game. GT Labo is a research institute that discovered the mysterious humanoid weapon named “Original One” in Antartica and started the practical study and use of supergravity technology. In addition to developing the Stella Gear, they’re also secretly seeking and training the Star Child.
They have built Asterism, a supergravity spaceship that is the mothership of the Star Child and Stella Gear. Since the existence of the hostile Relayer is top-secret, it’s formally a “supergravity navigation test ship.”
Isaac is GT Labo’s defense director and neil is its intelligence director, dispatched in support of Asterism.
The Earth Alliance Government Army is responsible for the defense of Earth. At the helm is the hawkish secretary of state Greyson, who is hostile to the Star Child. He plans to take control of the supergravity technology and promotes experiments to create the Satellite. He is also in control of the special Satellite forces.
Observer is an overseer dispatched by the government to observe the operations of Asterism. He always wears a mask to hide a disfiguring scar on his face. He appears to be related not only to the government, but also to the Star Child and even the Relayer.
Further organizations are ATLAS, Milky Way Shipyards, and Xoth. They are competing for supremacy over manufacturing and development of the tech behind the Stella Gear. Milky Way Shipyard built Asterism is an investor and sponsor of GT Labo and aims to shift from passenger shipbuilding to the military industry.
The Relayer are an alien intelligent lifeform that controls dark energy that plans to dominate the universe. Their army is organized in multiple tiers. Zeus is the King of the God Relayers. Below him are the 11 God Relayers, followed by the 12 Master Relayers, and then the other Relayers. At the behest of Zeus, they are planning to release a God Relayer sealed on the Moon.
The Stella Gear is a mobile weapon developed to fight against the Relayer by GT Labo and operated under the jurisdiction of the Earth Alliance Government.
The Star Child can control them and there are four main types, Assault, Tank, Snipers, and Souts. Each type has a different roles.
The two mecha in the key art are the GSO-00 “Original One” (the red mecha) that has a key role in the story. It was discovered in Antarctica and served as a base for the development of the rest of the Stella Gear.
The white mecha is the GSX-01 Astraea, named after the Greek goddess of Justice. It had crashed on Earth and has remained hidden until the heroine of the game Tera found it during a Relayer attack. Since then Astraea has become her personal mecha.
We then take a look at the game flow of the Main Story mode, which is based on clearing turn-based strategy battles on the map. You can select those battles in the central command room of the Asterism.
Each stage can be cleared by achieving the victory conditions and you can also select the “Play Back” mode to replay completed battles to earn experience points.
When you select each battle you are also informed about the rewards and the recommended level to play it.
At the beginning of each battle, allied and enemy units are placed on the map and the order of actions is determined by the speed parameter of each unit. When an action is performed, it’s displayed in a cinematic way to make it more enjoyable and spectacular. Those scenes change depending on the weapons equipped by the units involved. There are also special scenes that are particularly spectacular for specific combinations, like a clash between swords.
There are also team attacks that also trigger gorgeous scenes. There are two types of team attacks that can be activated when the conditions are met. Link Attacks can be activated when an enemy is in range of two friendly units, while Backstabs happen when an enemy is sandwiched between two allies one of which equips a sword or a greatsword.
“Big Bangs” are special moves that vary depending on the Stella Gear used . Some of them have support and recovery effects as well as attack. That being said, their effects are always powerful and they can be used when their gauge is filled up. The gauge builds up by hitting enemies and being hit by them.
Victory conditions for each stage vary, for instance you may have to defeat the boss or reach a certain location.
You can check out all the relevant images below, including the large cast of playable and supporting characters. Incidentally, while most Star Child appear to be women, there are at least two males among them.