15 Things to Know About I Am Setsuna, Out July 19 on PS4

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15 Things to Know About I Am Setsuna, Out July 19 on PS4

One year ago, we announced I am Setsuna at our E3 press conference. This year, on July 19, it comes to the west on PlayStation Store.

I Am Setsuna’s gameplay is reminiscent of an old school JRPG. The subtle way the characters move, the music, and the battles evoke the games some of us grew up playing, but with a splash of novelty once you pick up the controller.

I am Setsuna tells the tale of a land that has maintained peace with a fiend – once every decade, a sacrifice is offered to a fiend on the island. However, one year, the fiend grows violent before the next sacrifice is due. Those living on the island are afraid and try to calm the fiend by offering a sacrifice — Setsuna — chosen because of her powers of enchantment. Setsuna must leave with her safeguards for the farthest land, where the ceremony of sacrifice will be held.

Below is a list of interesting facts about I Am Setsuna that community manager Dan Seto and I have learned through the year. The creation of the game and the story behind its developer, Tokyo RPG Factory, was a discovery in it of itself!

  1. I am Setsuna is known as “Ikenie To Yuki No Setsuna” in Japan. In Japanese Ikenie means sacrifice, Yuki means snow and Setsuna means sorrow. The team felt that the word “Setsunai” feeling sorrow was a very heartfelt term in Japan, and it is one of the key themes of the game but obviously that word doesn’t have any meaning outside of Japan so the name of the game in the west was changed to I am Setsuna because of the character Setsuna’s role in the story.
  2. The word “Setsuna” also means “a moment in time” in Japanese. This ties into the momentum system in the game where you gain SP (Setsuna Points) by letting the momentum gauge fill once the ATB bar is full. SP points can be used to add various bonus effects to a character’s attacks and techs.
  3. The characters leave trails in the snow as they run which slowly fill up again over time, covering their tracks. You can try to write your name in the snow!
  4. The game development studio behind I am Setsuna is called Tokyo RPG Factory and their goal is to carefully create RPG’s of yesteryear, merging the nostalgic elements from the 90’s with today’s technology.
  5. When hiring staff for Tokyo RPG Factory, applicants were not told that the studio was part of Square Enix. Yosuke Matsuda (CEO of Square Enix) wanted to hire people who were passionate about RPGs, rather than people who wanted to work for Square Enix.
  6. Tokyo RPG Factory is a micro studio of ten dedicated staff. A further 20 freelance staff make up the rest of the studio so it’s a small team like how games were created back in the day!
  7. Coincidentally, the director of I Am Setsuna (Atsushi Hashimoto) previously worked at Racjin and worked with Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi on a RPG called ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat.
  8. Atsushi Hashimoto stated in an interview that he wants people to reflect back on the game and remember the game as “An RPG of Snow”. He really wants to create a game that people can reflect back on that is impactful.
  9. Remembering the PlayStation and Super Nintendo era, the team crafted I am Setsuna by bringing rich story, music, simple turn based controls and gameplay mechanisms that include dungeon crawling, shopping in the cities and carefully upgrading your party, I am Setsuna allows those who grew up loving these elements to enjoy what they loved. This is a game that will strike deep emotion.
  10. The concept of I am Setsuna was written in September 2014, development began the following month and, by August 2015, an alpha version (in Japanese) was complete.
  11. In the story, the main character Endir protects Setsuna as she journeys through the environments of snow and ice. There are also other characters that Setsuna will travel with and their names are Keel, Kuon, Yomi and Julion.
  12. The character design was done by toi8 — the team knew they wanted this character designer from the get go. Not only is he known by the current generation, his art style matches up nicely reflecting a melancholy spirit and heroic defeat that is visually striking. Previously he has worked on popular anime series Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Attack on Titan.
  13. The original soundtrack for the game features 2 discs, packed with over 70 tracks that solely utilizes the piano. The music was created by Tomoki Miyoshi who had his debut project on Soul Calibur V when he was 16 years old (he is now 22)! The melodies are soft and reminiscent of a yearning for calmness except during battle.
  14. The soundtrack includes the piano performance by Randy Kerber, who has worked as a studio keyboardist on many Hollywood films including Forrest Gump and Titanic.
  15. Unless you have an item in the game called Mistone, you cannot escape from battles.

We hope that you were able to learn something new about I am Setsuna — the game comes out July 19th!

“Countless adventures captivated us when we were kids. Now, it’s time for us to return the favour with adventures of our own.” – Tokyo RPG Factory.

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  • This needs a Vita release and a physical copy at least on the PS4. At what point did Square Enix stop caring about their fans? Many people are disappointed about how this game is handled and how you spit in the face of your Vita fans.

    • iriihutoR84 the Vita version has load time issues so that might be a factor. SE also said they would consider a Vita localization as well if there were enough demand, so I’d expect they didn’t hear from that many people on Twitter or FB about it.

    • ^Pfft, people fussed up a storm about the lack of Vita as they always do with SE’s games that are already on there but SE don’t bring over for reasons. It’s not fan’s fault for not complaining, it’s SE just giving the finger to them.

    • Yes bring the Vita version

    • This seems like a funny and somewhat contradicting statement. You can argue that Square should be commended for bringing the game here at all. Yeah, Vita has been getting the shaft more often than not, but I wouldn’t say that Square doesn’t care about its fans.

    • Here’s their idea behind not bringing it to Vita here btw:

      “I think the focus was leaning more toward that sense of immersion, being able to jump into the world on a larger screen. That’s one of the bigger elements that sort of drove that decision for the no Vita plan.

      Of course, there is the technical market aspect as well. Unfortunately the Vita market isn’t as large as the console and the PC-based [market]… that’s the sort of direction the team decided that they wanted to take for the US release, was to rely on the players that are on the Steam platform as well.”

      – Game Director Atsushi Hashimoto

      Which is funny in comparison Square Enix RPG titles always sell the worst on PC (theoretically, all the numbers I got are from SteamSpy). The Vita has a healthy RPG market.

    • Really hope this ends up getting released on Vita.

    • With remote play, all PS4 games are on Vita. ;)

    • Adding into the Vita push. I barely have time to game at home and if I do have time, I will spend it on games like Uncharted 4. I don’t even know if I can get 1 hours of gaming at home in a week, but I know that my transit to work every days will give me at least 5 hours of gaming a week and thus my Vita has become my most played gaming platform. As much as I am interested in the game, if it isn’t on Vita, I will not purchase it. I got enough incomplete AAA games to worry about at home.

      Also, remote play is pointless for me when most of my gaming is done in the subway tunnels.

    • Well part of the problem is Final Fantasy X/X-2 hasn’t sold even a million copies.

      Of that a LOT more people bought X stand-alone digitally than the X/X-2 Bundled.

      Army Corps did like 100k.

      Those aren’t numbers that scream “Yeah let’s do a physical, we do well enough in the U.S. on Vita to justify the manufacturing costs. I’m sure if they did a kickstarter for it, everyone would attack them for not wanting to take a risk and there would be outrage, but as vocal as Vita fans are if they aren’t hitting 50-300k physical copies sold that’s not a justification to do more of them.

      So when Final Fantasy Worlds comes out you people better buy the crap out of it physically or else everything you say to them about the Vita version is just whiny.

    • I would also buy it if it comes to the Vita. Rainbow Moon was a game I wouldn’t have ever had the time with at home but was perfect on the Vita. I also have too many AAA games that I haven’t completed so this game would just get pushed behind them at home.

    • I believe you missed the memo. Sony and pretty much everyone else thinks the Vita is a smelly dud, and now hardly anything of quality is made for it. Before you go crazy and strike out at me…I own a Vita and absolutely love it. I wished people had loved it more.

    • It didn’t even need to be released outside of Japan. You just want things.
      How did SE stop caring about their fans when they keep releasing games people want to play? So one platform gets left out sometimes. There seems to be a whole lot of attention being paid on SE’s part to the non greedy/needy fans. Sorry if my hyperbole train is stuck in the mud

    • @Thermopyle2 I’m demanding right now a PSVita version in the WEST! Do u think SE cares? They don’t see it as a profitable system. Demanding or not, the chances are 0 to see a Vita ver.

    • In 2016, almost no one needs discs anymore. I haven’t bought a disc since the X1/PS4 launched, and surely no carts on Vita/3DS. Play through remote play – you obviously have both a Vita and a PS4.

    • I read the post from square if they received enough requests about it on social media they would consider it. When I look on their Twitter feeds about anything they post there are many bring #iamsetsuna #psvita hash tags. I just think they don’t care

  • Seemed interesting at first when I heard it was going to be on the PS4 and Vita in Japan. Then of course it just comes to the PS4, a system of which I don’t have (lots of others do though, so I’m a minority). So I don’t much care anymore. Hope the rest of you enjoy it, I just wanted to speak my opinion. Congrats on the new game Kaori/Tokyo RPG Factory/Square Enix.

  • Disappointed that Square is skipping Vita in NA (Canada) and the $39.99 ($49.99 CND) for a digital only release isn’t helping much either. There is no way I’ll pay that much for a digital only release. If it was a physical release I would have no problem paying that price, especially if it it was on PlayStation Vita. I would rather have a game like this on a handheld and will most likely be skipping this title. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to it.

    • Honestly, given new releases usually cost c$79.99 lately, I am fine with c$49.99, even as a digital only release. Really wish there was a physical release though.

    • 49.99 for a JRPG? That sounds like a great price. :)

    • @Resolute45
      You’re comparing a game that could be considered an indie title to AAA full priced games. It’s not the same.

      I said I would be happy to pay that price for a physical copy. $50 for a digital only, 20-25 hour JRPG isn’t that great.

    • @Zilas I make no distinction between digital and physical. I judge a game on the quality of its gameplay, not its length and certainly not whether the ‘package’ is on a disc or a download.

    • @Seluhir
      You judged the game on the fact it’s a JRPG. It’s a “great price” at $50, insinuating it should cost more because it’s a JRPG.
      That comment has nothing to do with quality or gameplay.
      When I think JRPG, the first thing that comes to mind is a lengthy game.

      I don’t care if digital or physical doesn’t matter to you because it matters to me and many, many others.

  • Retail for PS4 and at least bring the Vita over digitally. Come on. Step it up SE.

    • No the fans need to step it up. If 1 million X/X-2 copies had sold physically we’d probably have gotten this. But they haven’t even sold that many digitally and physically combined, there’s tons of copies sitting around in stores and online, and people skipped buying both in order to get X digitally solo.

    • Girl bye. The minimum production of a Vita cartridge is not a million. Shoo with your terrible argument.

  • Wish I was able to get this on vita. I’ll be finishing trails in the sky sc soon and would have loved to have played this on my vita before starting trails of cold steel.

    Surprised that we’re not getting a physical collectors edition to celebrate this title. I can’t wait to get this on ps4. Hopefully the passion for this game and its vita counter part will get square to remember the vita in the future.

  • Who cares about load times most PS4 games take forever to load up. I would appreciate the Vita version. Good job making the game studio.

  • Obligatory Vita version request. The game looks great.

  • Clicking on images asks me to login to yahoo?!?

    Been looking forward to this game for awhile. Sooner than I expected even. :)

  • Spiritual succesor to Cronotrigger !!!! Count me super in!!

    Day zero !!!

    Thanks for bringing this game to the West! Cant wait!

  • madmanwithabox12

    This post can only go well hahaha. Practically taunting the Vita crowd in their own turf.

    I’m not even gonna say anything, just wait for the Vita people to once again preach to a Square who doesn’t listen.

    • Well for some reason this blog seems to have near 100% Vita users haha. We just come out of the woodwork sometimes ^_^

      And yes, we know they won’t listen to us.

    • SE would listen better if people would go and buy the physical copy of Final Fantasy X/X-2 right now while it’s $10.

      If you want SE to listen they have to see it in their bank account. Not just empty promises.

    • Did SE not pay attention with DQ Builders as well? This isn’t Vita’s “turf” since this is in the PS4 section, not the Vita.
      It’s very telling when you can see all the Vita users outside of their “turf” complaining but haven’t made any positive comments on actual Vita games.

  • No Vita, no buy.

  • I really hope you guys will eventually give a definitive answer on the Vita version. Vita fans were passionately looking forward to Setsuna since the day it was announced to be available on Vita in Japan, and this region based snub is really garbage. In the light of Romancing SaGa 2 and Dragon Quest Builders coming westward on Vita (after much fan outcry for the former title), I would like to hope that Square-Enix is open to the idea that Vita is worthwhile in the west.

  • Vita version please! Vita!

    • If you don’t have the Vita version of X-X2 buy it physically while it’s on sale for $10.

      If you won’t do that, then… SE’s not going to hear you loud and clear. Money speaks.

    • Buying digital speaks louder.

  • This sounds great! How can we get the soundtrack ?

  • Looks good…also Vita version please!

  • I’d buy this… for my Vita. Not really something I’m gonna play on my PS4. C’mon Square, throw us Vita owners a bone!

  • Vita.

    That is all.

  • Fact #16: There’s a Vita version. You won’t be seeing it.

  • Vita! Please? I know it’s not in the plans but it would still be awesome

  • This looks great! Would have loved to see a retail release though.

  • I’d really like to play this game on my Vita. Is there any chance of that ever happening?

  • Only will purchase if on a Vita.

  • “… RPG’s of yesteryear, merging the nostalgic elements from the 90’s with today’s technology”
    YES. More of this, please.

  • Aw man…I was wanting this on Vita…that’s so disappointing. I mean, I’m glad it’s coming here to PS4 at least, but I love these games on Vita.

  • Please bring the Vita version. JPN has the vita version…at least bring it digitally.

    JRPG is best on Handhelds…rarely have any big screen JRPG games bar the Tales games.

    The only I managed to finished out of them is Tales of Hearts R on the Vita.

    Vita is perfect for JRPG and Indie.

  • Please bring this to the Vita!

  • This is definitely on my list. I can’t wait for this.

    I wish the Japanese title had stuck… it’d translate to what… sacrifice of sorrow to the snow? Japanese names for games are always so pretty.

  • No physical version -> No buy!

  • Physical version? I’ll get it probably if it’s digital but I’ll probably wait till its cheap since I can’t justify pre ordering digital or paying full price for it since I’m just renting it at full cost. Also the Japanese version for import is reasonable right now.

  • I will only buy the game if it comes to PS Vita. I have a PS4, but I won’t buy the PS4 version.

    • That’s your loss I guess.

      I think it’s the wrong message to send though. I mean, if nobody bought JRPGs just ’cause they didn’t come to Vita, the end result would just be ‘well, it’s not worth the money of localizing them’… and nobody would get ANY JRPGs at all. But I mean, it’s your choice, absolutely.

    • @Seluhir: As someone who doesn’t get much time to play at home, I know that if I buy it for PS4 I will hardly have enough time to play it, which wouldn’t be the case of the PS Vita version.

      Also, I find your comment of having me buy a version I don’t want, and which probably I won’t be able to play, to support SE decision to ignore the PS Vita on the west rather insulting.

      I have stopped buying games from SE, including their PS4 games, due to this situation, and will only consider buying again from them after they start localizing PS Vita games again.

      I was also looking forward to Nights of Azure, but decided to skip on it after they didn’t localize the PSV version. Right now I expect at most to buy a used copy of the game from the bargain bin at some point of the future.

      And in the case of I Am Setsuna, if it only releases for PS4 I can only imagine getting if we’re became a free PS Plus game.

    • @Seluhir are you for real? You want people to support a system they don’t own? Under your pretense, then go and buy all Wii U games so we can show third party companies that there’s a market for them on the Wii U. What kind of backwards logic is that? The message people are sending is: don’t exclude a system just because of random reasons. Respect your userbase or get a middle finger~.

    • @juan I believe you misread something

      he said he had a ps4…. so no, I don’t want people to buy stuff for a platform they don’t own, but I think that trying to send a message that you want more games by NOT buying games is a mistake.

      Let’s take a look at the reality here:

      SE doesn’t feel there’s enough of a market to debug/localize Vita games. This we can say with confidence. So they release PS4 games. If PS4 owners don’t buy these, what do you think the end result is going to be? As a business, they’re going to come to the conclusion that PS4 owners in NA don’t want JRPGs… so they just won’t localize any JRPGs at all.

      Obviously it’d be stupid to buy for a platform you don’t own. That’s absurd. But if you’re interested in the game and own the platform… not buying the game because you want them to release it for a DIFFERENT platform sends totally the wrong message.

  • The game looks fantastic. Especially for a new, small studio! Definitely will be picking this one up :)

    I’m real happy to see Square doing this kind of thing with games like I Am Setsuna and the Bravely series; lose the AAA budget and refocus on the storytelling. LOVE that.

    • Not that I’m anti-AAA productions from Square Enix like FFXV or Sleeping Dogs. I’m just saying, it’s cool to see you balance both approaches with multiple types of projects. There are tons of lessons you can learn (or relearn) from working under different conditions and smaller budgets :)

  • Vita this please.

  • Can’t wait. It’s about time a classic styled jrpg came to the west/east. There are lots of games that get only Japan/America releases over here in Europe we don’t see the same games. I just happy that we are getting this one. On the subject of the vita I like it and do get games for it but I would like to see more ps3 game re-released for it not just playstation now stuff as there were so.many good tales games for ps3.

  • Any chance for a physical release?

  • I am excited for the game, thanks. Looking forward to more fromthe new studio.

  • Call me when you reconsider bringing the PSV version over. I also like how the majority of comments are of people asking for the PSV version to brought over when Squeenix is like: “Maybe if there’s demand…”. Uh, hello? What do you think this is? It’s interest and demand for your game, numbnuts~.

    • Not meaning any offense. I have a vita, I love it. I’ve written articles about how much I love using my Vita..

      But a dozen or two people on a blog are not enough to justify a company debugging/localizing a version of a game for a platform… Square Enix’s previous Vita releases have not sold as well as they’d hoped, and thus they have decided it’s not worth it… If their previous Vita/PSP games had sold better we might not be in this situation.

  • please please please please please bring it to vita. day one buy from me if you do.

  • Vita version, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease1

  • So no Vita !? No buy ……

  • Surprising to me to see people still asking for Vita versions of games. Seems less and less likely to me.

  • Would buy for Vita at full price, would buy for PS4 at $10, would buy for PC if it came in a humble bundle for a few dollars.

    As to people saying things like SE previous Vita games sold like **** physically they only really have themselves to blame. Army Corps of Hell was crap, and nobody bought FFX physical because FFX-2 came digital either way. Why buy physical when one of the games is going to be digital anyways? I bought that first day btw, and I own most of SE’s PSP games.

    I just think this game fits nicely on Vita, yet instead they blow money on a PC port. PC is like the least JRPGy system ever.

    Whatever. I’ll save my money for something else.

  • Man, if every person who port begged for a Vita title actually bought Vita games, the Vita would be selling like the PS4.

    Anyway, I’m really anxious to play this on PS4, but I do wish there was a retail release, since I know a lot of people will pass up on a great game if it is digital only.

    • What? Why would people buying more Vita games = more Vitas being sold? Are they buying an extra Vita every time they purchased a few games?

      Vitas owners do buy games. A lot of them. It had an attach rate of 10:1 and that was a few years back. I’m sure it’s even higher now. Even devs who released games on Vita were surprised at how well the games sold and urged other devs to release on Vita as well.

      Square Enix told fans they would consider a Vita release if there was enough demand for it, so that’s why we continue to show that demand. And it’s not port-begging when the game already exists on the platform.


  • Dear Sony, please bring this to the Vita. I am a new father and can no longer game on the couch in my apartment. This would be a day 1 buy for me. Thank you. -38-yr old dedicated gamer

  • WE want VITA version! The demand is damn high. C’mon SE, do a good job and bring this title to Vita players!

  • EmeraldLeviathan

    This needs to be on Vita. At the very least a physical version for the PS4 should happen, even if only in limited quantities. I am very very tired of digital only crap and then they expect full retail price! Do a small print run, sell it as a LE on your store. Collectors are customers too. You should not ignore the wants of the biggest supporters of your games. Also, a Vita version needs to happen. (Important enough to say twice)

  • Japan got a physical release for PS4. If the US got one, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Heck, after getting the digital, I’d still consider a physical copy in a heartbeat.

  • I would love this on the #psvita because it doesn’t look like it was made for the ps4 or ps3.

  • Playing a game on a handheld offers a different experience than playing on a console. The game director feels this one will be more immersive on a large screen; looking at the screenshots on my computer vs my phone, I completely disagree.

    “I Am Setsuna’s gameplay is reminiscent of an old school JRPG. The subtle way the characters move, the music, and the battles evoke the games some of us grew up playing …”

    For me, this is both the appeal of the game and the reason I won’t be buying it. If SE would like to appeal to gamer’s sense of nostalgia as a selling point, they should understand that many of us grew up playing games like this on our Gameboys, so the small-screen experience will be what some of us are looking for or expect (especially when it is in fact on the Vita in Japan). This just doesn’t work for me as a PS4 game.

    I never bother saying anything when a game that could’ve been on Vita isn’t – it rarely matters to me when I have all of Sony’s consoles and a huge backlog already – but in this case, I Am Setsuna seems pretty good so I want to add my voice in support of those asking for a Vita release, especially since many gamers asking don’t own or can’t afford a PS4.

  • Since Sony gave up on first party development for the Vita isn’t that one of the games they could easily port over or help porting or help releasing the port (It’s not like it isn’t already made). That could be an easy win for them and make a lot of fans happy…

  • How come no one is reporting on this game getting dropped from PS4 release? Apparently, it’s only coming out on steam now.

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