Project Setsuna Heads West, But Not on Vita

Square Enix announces I Am Setsuna for PlayStation 4 and Steam. Cue cries of anguish.

News by Mike Williams, .

Square Enix has announced that Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna, once known as Project Setsuna, is heading West this summer under a new title: I Am Setsuna. The title is getting a digital release on PlayStation 4 and Steam. First announced at E3 2015, Project Setsuna is Square Enix' return to developing classic JRPGs now that Final Fantasy is a sprawling AAA title of epic proportions.

The game is developed by Tokyo RPG Factory, a developer created by Square Enix to callback to older RPGs. The external team is led by game director Atsushi Hashimoto and I Am Setsuna itself was created to evoke the battle system found in Chrono Trigger.

"We started by thinking, 'Let's make a product that resurrects the passion and excitement of so-called Golden JRPGs.' We recruited creators who agreed with this proposal. These people would then make such a product. It was an odd project," explained Hashimoto in an interview with Dengeki Online. (Translated via a blog that is no longer active.)

"Setsuna is a game that can be enjoyed lightly, and it's different from a large-scale production. What that means is, I want the people who felt the excitement of old RPGs–they're a little bit older now––to have a rich experience without spending a lot of hours on the game. Of course, we're not actually making an old RPG, so I think it'd be great if we can use today's technology to create something new."

The surprising change in the Western announcement is that the Vita version that was released in Japan won't be making the transition. Instead, Square Enix is crafting a new Steam version of the title. This isn't the first Square Enix game that will have a Vita release in Japan and not on our shores; Final Fantasy Adventure remake Adventures of Mana came out on Vita and Mobile devices in Japan, but only on mobile platforms elsewhere. It probably didn't help that the Vita version of I Am Setsuna boasted much longer load times than its PlayStation 4 counterpart.

The Steam release shows that Japan is starting to take the PC far more seriously as a platform. Steam ports of older Japanese titles have done very well, finding a niche audience that Japanese developers seemingly didn't know existed. Companies like SNK Playmore, Spike Chunsoft, Sega, Ghostlight, and XSEED are all bringing over Japanese titles to Steam and seeing great success.

While the lack of Vita release stings, let's be happy that Western fans will be able to enjoy I Am Setsuna on one of its original platforms and Steam. This is a pretty small release for Square Enix, with the PlayStation 4 version selling around 40,000 copies before dropping out of the Top 20 on Japan's Media Create charts this week. The Vita version was only on the Top 20 for a week, selling 27,994 units. With the new Steam release, I Am Setsuna could become a legitimate success for Square Enix, potentially meaning more games from Tokyo RPG Factory.

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Comments 16

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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #1 cldmstrsn 2 years ago
    Im ok with it. I still get Trails of Cold Steel II on Vita so thats enough for me.Edited March 2016 by cldmstrsn
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  • Avatar for Sturat #2 Sturat 2 years ago
    An RPG made for busy people that's heavily inspired by Chrono Trigger? Count me in! I just wish there was a physical release...
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  • Avatar for SevenBones #3 SevenBones 2 years ago
    At first I was going to be disappointed, then I remembered that I haven't purchased a Square Enix published game in long while so no love lost. I still have plenty of other games to play and I don't really feel the need to play what will most likely be another lackluster SE title.
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  • Avatar for detten17 #4 detten17 2 years ago
    out cry!!!
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #5 TheWildCard 2 years ago
    Kinda sucks, but the Vita version was apparently inferior anyway so no big loss. Steam release is a nice surprise.
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #6 Vonlenska 2 years ago
    I've been looking forward to this, and the Steam release makes me super happy. The art direction and music are really beautiful, and it seems really unique, if a bit limited, maybe. I'd love to see more from Tokyo RPG Factory.

    Bummer about the Vita, but by now it's not surprising.
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #7 SuperShinobi 2 years ago
    Not every single Japanese Vita game makes it to the West, but plenty of those still do. North American Vita releases this very month include Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault (Retail, PSN), Samurai Warriors 4: Empires (PSN), Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (Retail, PSN) and Trillion: God of Destruction (Retail, PSN).Edited 2 times. Last edited March 2016 by SuperShinobi
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  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #8 benjaminlu86 2 years ago
    Wh-what? This already came out in Japan?
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #9 SatelliteOfLove 2 years ago
    We ain't out of the woods yet, folks, this is more evidence that we're doing the heavy lifting more and more.
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  • Avatar for camchow #10 camchow 2 years ago
    The fact that they are actually bringing it out on Steam is fantastic. Really amazed by that actually! I'll definitely keep an eye out for this now. I don't own a current gen console so the more games Japanese developers port to steam the more I'll be able to play.
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  • Avatar for himuradrew #11 himuradrew 2 years ago

    Really disappointed by this. I normally prefer to play my RPGs on the go.

    Oh well, at least there's the PS4 version.
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  • Avatar for naazimeaala75 #12 naazimeaala75 2 years ago
    I dunno! I was looking forward of playing this game on the Vita! While I have a ps4 I got so upset yesterday that I may have swore myself off playing the game when it comes out!

    And now I am worried that World of Final Fantasy doesn't come on the Vita in the West!!
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  • Avatar for naazimeaala75 #13 naazimeaala75 2 years ago
    Deleted March 2016 by naazimeaala75
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  • Avatar for mr-faramir #14 mr-faramir 2 years ago
    @naazimeaala75 they still dont give any info about chaos ring trilogy and rise of mana even though many vita owner beg for it. SE next game was dragon quest builder, world of final fantasy, dragon quest heroes 2, and probably (just guessing) FFXII remaster. who knows if they will skip vita port too :( I wish Falcom, Bamco, Spike chunsoft and Vanillaware still keep giving their games to Vita owner on the west...
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #15 Frosty840 2 years ago
    Honestly, having experienced games with fairly catastrophic load times on the Vita, I'm almost glad that a loading-time-heavy game isn't being released, to save potential damage to the platform...
    That said, it's obviously sad to lose another high-quality release.

    Can't say I'm thrilled about the name of the thing, though. "Project Setsuna", "Setsuna", even whatever "Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna" translates out as would all likely sell better to the bored-and-curious market than "I am Setsuna".
    I'd look at a title like that and assume I was looking at an indie game about someone who thinks they're a small citrus fruit...
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  • Avatar for naazimeaala75 #16 naazimeaala75 2 years ago
    @mr-faramir Namco, Xseed and Falcom has made Vita really awesome! Too bad SE has missed that boat! And to think I was a huge SE fan!
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  • Avatar for TernBird #17 TernBird 2 years ago
    Didn't Square already try appeasing to nostalgia with Bravely Default? I mean, troubled as it is, it's not that bad.

    Regardless, I'm not crying over the lack of a Vita release. The Vita is a good console, and I respect it, but I only know one person who has one, and it's not me. Steam's way too convenient.
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