Even without any personal nostalgia to draw from, there’s always something enchanting about rural Japanese settings in games. From Persona 4 to Root Letter, Boku no Natsuyasumi to The Kids We Were, it’s not an uncommon backdrop, but one that always comes with its own unique magic. It’s that same trend that Marvelous’ latest taps into: Loop8: Summer of Gods, a time-loop JRPG that’s heading to Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC next (southern) autumn.
Loop8 takes place in Ashihara, a quaint seaside town… and one of the last remaining sanctuaries for a humanity on the brink of extinction. As demonic beings threaten to overwhelm humankind entirely, Nini, a kid with a special connection to the gods—and the power to reset the world if things go awry—returns to Ashihar. With a month left until the end of the world, Nini and his classmates will need to relive a summer holiday to try find a way to save the day, battling demons and getting to know the local townsfolk along the way.
With that premise, Loop8: Summer of Gods sets up a blend of JRPG and life sim, with an “emotion-driven AI system” that sees players’ choices influencing characters’ emotions, narrative outcomes, and the state of the world. The bonds formed with the Ashihara townspeople, set within “a nostalgic and beautifully recreated snapshot of rural Japan circa 1983”, impact battles in the Underworld, and by repeatedly returning to the start of August and making different decisions, players can “turn the tides of destiny across multiple endings.”
“Persona 4 meets Boku no Natsuyasumi” might be a little reductionist, but even from the initial announcement and trailer, you can see their influence. Loop8 has an all-star creative team behind it, too, including producer Yoichi Miyaji (Lunar series, Grandia series), game designer Yuri Shibamura (Gunparade March, Touken Ranbu), character designers Shingo Adachi (Sword Art Online) and En Morikura (Kizuna Ai), concept artist Kitsuneiro (Amatsu Kitsune), mascot character designer Ryudai Murayama (Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin), and composer Noriyuki Iwadare (Ace Attorney series).
Loop8: Summer of Gods is being published by XSEED Games in North America and by Marvelous Europe in Europe and Australasia. It’s set for release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in southern autumn / northern spring 2023.