This morning, debates exploded over the headlines that the next Trails game would feature action combat instead of its current turn-based combat system.
But is that actually what Falcom said?
The news came by way of a Weekly Famitsu interview with Falcom president Toshihiro Kondo, in which he discusses how the next game is not Hajimari 2, will feature new lead characters, etc., and then talks about the combat system.
Trails games currently use an Active Time Battle system in which turn order is displayed on a bar known as the AT Bar. The next Trails game will not feature the ATB system or the AT Bar.
As translated by Gematsu, Kondo described the battles in the next Trails game as “command battles with action elements and greater real-time nature.” Similarly, the translation from Siliconera calls the new combat system “a Command Battle with Action features and a lot of real-time elements added.” Both mention that it’s an entirely new type of system.
While most people are focusing on the “action” and “real-time” aspects, it’s also important to highlight the “command” description.
Not everyone agrees on what makes a JRPG turn-based. To some people, ATB combat is already not turn-based, while people like me group the two together. Using the term “command battles” for the next Trails game’s combat system says to me you’ll still be choosing attacks from a menu.
What then will the real-time elements be like? Will it have action commands like the Mario RPGs or Shadow Hearts? Is it something closer to Classic Mode in the Final Fantasy VII Remake? Is it a pause-and-play combat system?
Right now it’s too early to say what combat in the next Trails game will be like, but the specific description used for it says to me that it’s certainly not a pure action RPG like Ys and it might still be a new form of what I’d consider turn-based combat.
What are you expecting from the next game in the Trails series based on this interview?---
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