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Summoner Preview

publisher: THQ
developer: Volition, Inc.
genre: Action Adventure

PII-400, 64MB RAM, 800MB HDD, 8MB 3D accelerator
ESRB rating: T

release date: Mar 19, 01
» All About Summoner on ActionTrip

If any of you FRP fans remember, not many years ago only a few decent RPG's could be found on the gaming market. In the past two years, or so, fantasy role-playing became one the most popular game genres, not just because it brings inspiring stories and characters, but it also shows how far human imagination can go. MMORPG's also became increasingly popular these last couple of years. Many different forms of fantasy computer games came along, issuing various stories, characters, and game features. Summoner is a third-person RPG that mixes action and adventure game elements. The long awaited PC version is entering the final stages of development (the PS2 was released recently). The established game developer Volition, which was bought by THQ last year, has agreed to end the development of Red Faction and Summoner (PC version) with THQ as their chief publisher.

First, Summoner has an interesting storyline, which is not your ordinary clich' type of RPG story telling. The scenario is laid out in chapters. Prior to each chapter, a cutscene will be introduced that further reveals the storyline. The scriptwriter that lurks behind the Summoner story is Jason Scott; the man we know formerly worked on Free Space 2. Anyway, here's the tale without further ado:

A Summoner's inheritance is a power greater than magic. With rings of channeling, Summoners call forth demons and golems, supernatural servants and elemental creatures. Summoners have toppled empires and challenged gods. They are venerated as saviors and feared as destroyers. The chosen are born with a mark on one hand, but the origins of this gift were forgotten long ago.

Joseph fears his power more than death itself. As a child, Joseph tried to save his village from attackers, but the demon he summoned slaughtered the villagers while Joseph watched in horror, his misguided heroics causing the deaths of those he loved. Exiled and ostracized, Joseph vowed never to summon again.

Over the years, the enigmatic Yago counsels and guides the youth, preparing Joseph to fulfill his prophecy. As the invading armies of Orenia march across the Medevan plain, Yago urges Joseph to quest for the ancient rings. Reluctantly, Joseph agrees. On his journey, Joseph meets three young adventurers who become his companions-Flece, Jekhar, and Rosalind. Flece is a cunning thief and cynical rogue who grew up on the streets of Lenele. Jekhar's family perished when Joseph summoned a demon long ago, and now the warrior seeks revenge. Begrudgingly, he helps Joseph on his quest. Rosalind is novice of the Order of Iona and yearns to become a mage-priest and guardian of Iona's divine scrolls. The daughter of Yago, Rosalind is jealous of Joseph's power and hates her father for devoting his life to the Summoner's cause. Their quest takes them across the world-to the sunken empire of Ikaemos and the rugged wilds of Liangshan, from the stronghold of the Khosani to the Jade River that flows from Heaven as they search for the Summoners' rings in the ruins of lost civilizations and the temples of Orenia.

Mixing the flow of the gameplay with unfolding of an RPG legend is sufficient an inspiration for any player. Attempting to establish this in their upcoming game, Volition also generated an excellent base for a single-player character scenario. In relation, they intend to bring a wide array of NPC's (non-player characters) that will enhance the epic sensation of the game's plot and create a more realistic atmosphere. However, it was decided that conversation with the NPC's would be reduced, so that the player can focus on the gameplay.

Locations in Summoner are also an important ingredient for the story and plot: Wolong, Liangshan, Iona and Lenele. Wolong is a village built on a limestone pinnacle on the Lake of Sorrows, where a dragon wept a sea of tears. The people of Wolong offer sacrifices and festivals to keep the dragon happy. Positioned in a forest of evil spirits The Temple of Liangshan is a sanctuary devoted to Dai, Dragon of the Forest. Iona is an island monastery off the eastern coast of Medeva. An esoteric order of mage-priests guards the divine tomes of the Great Library. And finally there's Lenele, built on the ruins of the City of Gods, is capital of the Kingdom of Medeva. The Palace of King Bellias VI and the High Temple of Urath are located here. An interesting thing about the locations is that they might change in relation to the story, meaning a prosperous town can become a desolate place while you're out venturing through the countryside.

Obviously, the developers wish to create a story that's not only original in its fundamentals, but it also has to look genuine from the perspective of gameplay, which is why these changes have been introduced. The cities have their own characteristics that make the atmosphere seem more convincing. They'll have their specific architecture, and many indoor as well as outdoor locations. The whole game will have over 50 levels. All characters will have many distinctive features, in addition to a thorough background story. Flece, for example is a character that can learn the skill of thieving, which will prove useful in many missions. Next to playing with four different characters, the game will allow you to summon entities that can aid you in battles. Joseph's summoning ability depends on the magic rings he collects during the game, which can be used for harnessing the summoning power. AP's (ability points) are vital for Joseph's summoning skill, which improves as he goes along. Summoned creatures have many significant characteristics and abilities; some of the summoned will be totally unexpected and can even present danger to your characters.

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