Wilds Arms & Shadow Hearts Creators Reveal Spiritual Successor Projects

Armed Fantasia and Penny Blood are new projects from creators Akifumi Kaneko and Matsuzo Machida.

Wild Arms and Shadow Hearts live on through new projects from their original creators. Spiritual successors Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness and Penny Blood are the next games from the classic RPG directors, and the pair will seek funding on Kickstarter tomorrow, August 29.

Announced as a “double Kickstarter,” Wild Arms creator Akifumi Kaneko and Shadow Hearts creator Matsuzo Machida begin their fundraising campaign this week with a $750,000 goal. While the games do not directly have anything to do with their influences, neither Kaneko nor Machida seems shy about revisiting those roots.

Speaking to Gematsu, Kaneko noted Armed Fantasia shares its classic predecessor’s story themes in a “mix of Western and Fantasy.” He also explains similarities between the classic RPG’s Drifter protagonist and the Pathfinder in Armed Fantasia. Apparently, those names come down to translation differences; they’re both supposed to evoke a sense of freedom. In Japanese, Wild Arms and Armed Fantasia share the term “wataridori” to draw similarities to migratory birds. Never knew that about Wild Arms, but kinda neat — the Gematsu piece is certainly worth a read for classic JRPG fans.

In developers Wild Bunch Productions’ Armed Fantasia, Ingram — the game’s Pathfinder protagonist — uses ARM weaponry to explore dungeons and protect the world of Londenium. He’s joined by party members Euclid and Alicia, all adopting that “westernpunk” aesthetic. The RPG’s Kickstarter trailer is already out, and if you’ve ever played the older series, it shares some similar shots.

As for Penny Blood, there’s no footage just yet for my Shadow Hearts torch-carrying soul. But, the first looks from developer Yukikaze share those same gothy edges we were all so smitten by in the era. Shadow Hearts composer Hirota Yoshitaka returns with Machida, giving me reason enough to prioritize some time with Penny Blood.

On a few tracks (like Blue Castle), Yoshitaka collaborated with Chrono Trigger and Xenogears composer Yasunori Mitsuda — also known by his other title, “The Man Responsible for All of My Favorite Songs.” Kidding, but Xenosaga‘s OST was out shortly after, and it shows.

Penny Blood key art, a spiritual successor to Shadow Hearts.

Anyway, Penny Blood‘s description sets it in the 1920s, following a New York private detective, Matthew. He roams the world with a cursed power inherited from his father and transforms to fight cosmic horror monstrosities. In his Gematsu interview, Machida notes the RPG shares its “modern times” setting and “horror aspects such as black magic and creepy creatures” with Shadow Hearts. He says it’s sad, tragic, and represents his “own thoughts on life and the world,” instead of just taking all of its inspirations from its predecessor.

Both Penny Blood and Armed Fantasia sport a team of returning veterans from their influencing titles, and while the Kickstarter model always gives me pause, I’m hopeful. Perhaps that’s all nostalgia on my end; I’m admittedly a sucker for the era, but the talent credited has me crossing my fingers and praying this isn’t another bizarre Kickstarter saga and that something comes of it.