While often seen as a mere shadow underneath the massive titan that is the Pokemon franchise, Digimon has evolved (or rather digivolved) into its own unique franchise worthy of standing side by side with the most popular monster collector series. Nowhere is this more true than with video games. Digimon titles have broken so far from what their contemporaries typically stick to but are also never set to adhering to a single genre or formula. Most games are unique and exciting adventures that just so happen to be set in the world of Digimon.
One game that this growing fanbase has been eagerly looking forward to for years is the upcoming Digimon Survive. This game will once again give the genre a shift by mixing new gameplay and narrative designs. First announced in the Japanese outlet V Jump in 2018, Digimon Survive has suffered quite a troubled development. However, it seems that we can finally expect it to hit store shelves sooner rather than later. If you’re ready to do battle with your favorite digital monsters, here’s everything we know so far about Digimon Survive.
Digimon Survive was first intended to come out in 2019, just a year after it was announced, but that obviously didn’t go to plan. Due to the worldwide pandemic and how it caused a massive impact on game development, let alone all aspects of work and life, producer Kazumasa Habu announced the delay by stating, “Regarding Survive, the planned release date has been changed to 2020 because of a reorganization of our game development structure. Once again, I feel deeply the hardships of game development … We will continue to develop the game in order to make it a good product, so please look forward to it.”
Again, we obviously know the 2020 plan didn’t work out either, and this time, Digimon Survive was delayed all the way into 2022. The latest news is promising, which is that the game has a release date … but only for Japan. This trend has been less and less common, but regional releases do still happen. Digimon Survive will come out on July 28 in Japan, and while we wait for word on a worldwide release, we’re confident that it won’t be too much longer that the rest of us will have to wait.
Digimon Survive is coming to just about every platform you could want. It will launch on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, PC, and even the Nintendo Switch on release.
The small teaser trailer showcases a lot of what Digimon Survive will be. It opens on simple text cut between shots of various outdoor locations and a classical piano melody stating, “They have yet to know the world upon them. They got lost when venturing into the wild and they ended up in a strangely nostalgic place. There they met mysterious monsters. Little do they know in this word death and danger await.” At this point, some Japanese vocals kick in as we cut very quickly across many human and Digimon characters talking. More text comes on the screen saying, “To stay alive, decisions have to be made. This is a story of them trying to get out of a bizarre dimension. This is a story of survival.”
While not a trailer exactly, we do get a bulk of the story details from the opening movie that was released as well. Digimon Survive will be focused on a new group of junior high students away at a summer camp. Takuma, Aoi, and Minaru are the main trio who want to discover the legend of Kemonogami at the nearby local shrine. This place is shrouded in mystery and off-limits, but of course, they go anyway, which is where Koromon is met. At this point, the group is attacked by more Digimon, and Takuma attempts to protect his friends. This prompts Koromon to digivolve into Agumon and intimidate the other Digimon into fleeing. However, it becomes clear that the group is no longer in the world they previously knew.
Other characters include Ryou, a somewhat cowardly character, Saki, the outspoken and brash one, Shuuji, a bookworm, Kaito, the local who attempted to stop the others from going to the shrine, and his sister Miu, the one who told the others about the forbidden shrine in the first place.
Each main character will also pair up with a Digimon, although there are plenty more Digimon shown off in the game:
- Agumon: Joins Takuma
- Labramon: Joins Aoi
- Falcomon: Joins Minoru
- Kunemon: Joins Ryou
- Floramon: Joins Saki
- Lopmon: Joins Shuuji
- Dracmon: Joins Kaito
- Skyakomon: Joins Miu
Beyond the setup, it seems like the goal will be for this team of teenagers to work together amongst themselves and their new Digimon companions to try and survive long enough to find a way back to their own world.
In terms of gameplay, Digimon Survive is taking an interesting turn on the usual formula by essentially splitting the game into two halves. The first half includes the story sequences, which look to be visual novel-style sequences. This part has also been shown to take two main forms: Free Action and Search Action. Free Action is when you will be able to explore the area, speak to the other characters, increase bonds, and generally gather information about what’s going on in that moment of the story before progressing. Search Action is when you need to make decisions to try and survive different dire situations.
Depending on your choices, there will be a Karma system that is influenced that will eventually dictate future story events, but also how your partner Digimon evolves. The story can apparently branch to the point where certain characters die.
The other main half is the battle portion, which has been called Free Battle. Here, Digimon Survive plays like a tactics-style RPG. The game is played from an isometric perspective and uses a grid-style map, just like most classic tactics games. You will be able to bring a roster of up to 10 Digimon into a single battle, during which you will have the chance to recruit or defeat enemy Digimon, just like in a Pokemon game. Beyond that, the actual mechanics of battle are still mostly a mystery. This is mainly because the only footage floating around is all in Japanese, making it hard to really know what’s going on.
What we can say is that Digimon Survive at least looks it will play as you would expect a tactics RPG to. Each monster has a turn, shown in a timeline in the upper-right, with Move, Attack, Evolve, Partner, and Talk options. Partner is a little unclear, but Talk appears to be how you recruit other Digimon, and the others are self-explanatory. When Attack is selected, you can choose from a list of attacks, see what squares on the grid they would affect, and confirm the attack. Every Digimon has HP and EP, which we assume stands for Evolution Points, as we see it is used for evolving.
It is said that Digimon Survive will have approximately 113 different Digimon in the full roster to collect, though Habu has stated that it won’t be possible to get every item, evolution, or Digimon in one playthrough, leading many to assume there will be a new game-plus mode to dive into after the story concludes.
According to the developers, the game will lean more heavily on the narrative, visual novel-style elements of the game compared to battles at a ratio of about 70% visual novel to 30% battles. They clock an average playtime to take around 40 hours, but more than twice that amount if you want to complete the game and see every possible route the story could go.
Digimon Survive is a solo experience as far as we can tell. There’s been no word either way on if there’s multiplayer, but considering the fact that the game is almost out in Japan and there’s been no mention of it, and looking at how the game is so narrative focused, there doesn’t seem like any place for a multiplayer mode to fit. It’s safe to assume this is a pure, single-player adventure.
Based on how tight of an experience Digimon Survive is claiming to be, we don’t predict any DLC incoming for this title. This is just our own speculation, but from everything they’ve said about the game, it feels like they put creating a branching, but complete, story first and foremost when making this game. Digimon games don’t tend to get DLC anyway, and this game doesn’t seem like a good fit for them to start with.
The sad news is that, unless you live in Japan, Digimon Survive still doesn’t have a real release date yet. So, by extension, pre-orders are not live as of yet. Since we expect the get that worldwide release date very soon after, if not before, the Japanese release on July 28, we will be sure to keep you up to date once you can reserve your copy.
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