Prepare yourself for the Reapers’ Game and dive into the game’s battle system with Director Hiroyuki Ito.
Transport yourself to Shibuya this week and get a taste of what awaits you in the Reapers’ Game —the Neo: The World Ends with You demo is coming to PS4 this Friday, June 25! You’ll be able to experience the first two days within the Game, playing as protagonist Rindo as you undertake missions, fight in stylish and groovy combat, and listen to some banging tunes in the dazzling streets of Tokyo. Your progress made in the demo can carry over to the full game when it releases on July 27, so get a head start on collecting pins and leveling up your party!
A new trailer was revealed ahead of the demo release showcasing a slice of what Shibuya and the Game has to offer: check it out below!
The “Noise” now occupy the streets of Shibuya, and you’ll need to fight smart to take them down as you attempt to uncover the mysteries of the Reaper’s Game. Worry not—we brought Hiyoruki Ito, Director of Neo: The World Ends with You, to talk about the new combat system for this title and how you can best prepare for the fight ahead.
Creating a unique battle system for a modern Shibuya
The original The World Ends with You’s combat system was unique and widely enjoyed by players. In reflecting back, Ito notes that, “the combat system in the original The World Ends with You provided players with a new experience. Each attack was activated independently depending on the input gesture, which was very unique back in 2005, which was a time when even smartphones didn’t exist.”
The team wanted to keep things fresh and exciting with Neo: The World Ends with You and have created a thrilling new system that keeps things action oriented, but with a stylish twist.
Ito and the development team tried different approaches to capture the spirit of the original’s gameplay using controllers. To that end, Ito remarked, “first, we tested a system that would limit button controls as much as possible, and instead, incorporated gestures to be picked up by the DualShock 4 controller’s gyro to activate attacks. However, we concluded that this would make the game difficult until players got used to the system and would not be suitable for everyone. We went back to analyze what made the original so addicting and we distilled it down to the instant feel of attack inputs striking enemies. As a way to adapt this to button controls, we decided to allocate one character to each button, which led to this new yet ‘TWEWY-esque’ edgy combat.”
It was also important to refine the core combat loop, as Ito says, in an effort to “make them addictive yet not something you would get bored of. We needed to make this element coexist with a fun ‘configuration’ system that allows players to customize their attack methods, while also incorporating a new element you don’t see anywhere else, which is always a difficult challenge.” The configuration element of course refers to NEO: The World Ends with You’s hundreds of collectible pins, each of which unlocks a unique psych ability.
Battling the Noise in Shibuya
As you progress through the game, a number of colorful cast members will join Rindo to form the group of misfits known as The Wicked Twisters—you’ll control multiple members of your party simultaneously (three in the demo!) and unleash psych attacks depending on which pins you have equipped on each character.
Getting into the groove of battle is easy—each party member’s attack is assigned to a button, and you can instantly perform attacks with one press. Time your button presses to attack consecutively or all at once. Ito adds, “most psych abilities will track targets automatically, so there is no need for you to be too conscious of your characters’ positions or movements. The simplicity of not having to be too conscious of the characters’ positions makes it possible to control multiple characters simultaneously. As a result, I believe we were able to realize a new experience in which anyone can control the whole party at a high speed, no matter who is playing.”
Once you get more comfortable with the controls, you will find that you can freely move around the battlefield with the character with who attacked last. This creates a greater skill ceiling for you to position yourself for your next attack, or dodge enemy attacks. The other party members will avoid attacks automatically!
Ito also notes that the game camera intelligently focuses and moves your viewpoint according to the type of attack it is. “In fact, a camera angle that gives the best view of the attack is prepared for each pin, and the camerawork connects these angles one after another to create a fast-paced effect.”
There is a lot of freedom to how you attack, so string together combos or perform simultaneous attacks any which way you like! Just don’t button mash too hard…each pin has a gauge, and once depleted it must recharge before you can use that character’s attack again!
Once you get into the swing of things, you can pull off some combos—hitting an enemy under the right conditions will bring up a circular Beatdrop gauge on the enemy. Strike while the gauge is shown to initiate a Beatdrop combo, and the Groove displayed at the top of the screen will increase. Once your Groove reaches 100% or more, you can unleash a Mashup—a super psych with impressive range and power—to erase your foes in one fell swoop!
The basics are simple, but there is a lot of room for customization and depth through the 300+ pins in the game!
Plentiful Psych possibilities with Pins
Pins also make a return in Neo: The World Ends with You, and with hundreds of pins to choose from, you can find endless combinations that fit your playstyle and deliver some wicked combos. On the variety of pins, Ito notes, “the important aspect of pins is to make all of them attractive so that you would want to swap between various kinds. We discontinued buff-only pins in this title, so with that, a wide variety of Psychs, with even more variety than the original, have been allocated to each of the 300+ total pins.”
There are many different attack types depending on the pin. Here are a few you can try out in the demo:
- Rapid-tap: Unleash an attack with each button press.
- Charge: Hold down the assigned button and release—the longer the charge the more powerful the attack.
- Hold: Hold down the assigned button to continuously attack—but watch the pin’s gauge before it depletes!
As you battle against the Noise, you can level up and even evolve your pins to gain new, powerful psychs. Try out and level up the various pins you net from monsters to find the pin combinations that work for you. Ito further guides that, “each pin has its set control button allocation and combo meter display timing, which are elements that tie in with combos between multiple characters.”
Give yourself a greater challenge
As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock various difficulty levels, which you can switch to at any time—give yourself an added challenge!
Ito notes that, “initially, our aim was to have the players enjoy the game freely at their preferred difficulty without being limited to just the level design that the creators prepared. We took this functionality and made it into a means for players to enjoy collecting pins. I hope players first enjoy the game up to the ending at the difficulty that suits them to appreciate the story. After completing the game, they can go back to collect powerful pins as they raise the difficulty and lower their level to increase item drop rates.”
In the demo, you’ll play on the standard difficulty, but in addition to difficulty settings, you can also lower your party’s level temporarily—your HP will drop, but you can increase the item drop rate for winning battles.
On top of that, you can also engage in a series of battles by touching multiple Noise before starting combat, which further increases drop rates—use these tactics to increase your chance for items or pins from enemies. However, enemies will grow stronger the higher the chain, so be careful!
Prep for The Reapers’ Game
NEO: The World Ends with you is available for pre-order now on PlayStation Store! Snag some cool in-game bonuses and PS Avatars if you order before launch on July 27!
We hope this helps get you prepped and excited for the Reapers’ Game! Let us know what you think of the demo after you give it a try, and to wrap things up, here are some final tips from Hiyoruki Ito:
“In the demo, you’ll be introduced to a few party members as well as a few pins, but I believe you’ll also be able to get a sense of the game’s unique control sensation, speediness, as well as the strategy of selecting pins. Aim to attack when Beatdrop is active and find combo patterns unique just to you. If possible, I hope you save the game right before the final boss battle of day 2, and fully explore the available area inside the demo. Furthermore, you can carry over the demo’s save data to the full game, so please give the demo a try if you are interested.”