In June of last year, Square Enix filed a trademark for "Rise of Mana", a title that called back to the company's adventurous Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu series. The franchise is categorized by a sense of experimentation; outside of the first three entries, it hasn't stuck with any particular style of gameplay. But most fans hear the "Mana" name and think back to the first Secret of Mana, a Zelda-style adventure by the studio that brought you Final Fantasy.
With Square Enix's current development strategies, it seemed like a new title for iOS or Android was coming. On the Japanese side of things, bringing older franchises back on mobile platforms is a smart move, leading to situations like Capcom's upcoming Breath of Fire VI coming to touch-based operating systems.
Which brings us to today. Square Enix has announced that Rise of Mana is a new free-to-play Mana title coming to iOS and Android.
Don't run away! Rise of Mana looks to be a full-fledged Mana title, with everything you'd expect from the older games. We're talking solid action-adventure, a variety of weapons, and big bosses. In the fact, the trailer ends with a boss that looks suspiciously like series's mainstay, Full Metal Haggar. The game even includes a real-time multiplayer mode that brings up to eight players together. It's probably the closest we've gotten to a real Mana game since 2006's rough attempt with Children of Mana.
Yes, there will be micro-transactions, but there were micro-transactions in the excellent Bravely Default, so the mere mention of them shouldn't be a problem anymore. It all comes down to how Square Enix implements them. The company's track record on its free-to-play mobile titles has been less than stellar.
The soundtrack is a powerhouse, featuring work from Tsuyoshi Sekito, Kenji ito, Hiroki Kikuta, and Yoko Shimomura. The song found at the end of the trailer is "Believe in the Spirit" by Kokia. All 28 tracks in the game will be on the full soundtrack releasing on April 23, 2014 in Japan.
The game itself will be available to iOS soon, with an Android release later this year. There's been no confirmed release date of the game for non-Japanese app stores.