The reaction to Square Enix’s new role playing game I Am Setsuna has been mostly positive. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, after all if there’s one developer on Earth that knows how to make a JRPG, it’s Square Enix. They basically invented the genre. The increase in game budgets over the last decade has all but killed the middle tier of games. There’s very little room for anything other than a big budget “Triple A” title or an indie game created by a tiny group of people. I Am Setsuna managed to succeed because it had the backing of Square Enix and its resources, but also the freedom to be a small team passion project.
Cosmic Star Heroine is another one of those small studio projects that could turn into a giant success. The team at Zeboyd Games already has a few hits up their sleeve, with the Penny Arcade Adventures series as well as their JRPG-inspired titles Breathe of Death VII and Cthulu Saves the World. Cosmic Star Heroine looks primed to offer a modern take on the JRPG formula, but is there still a big enough fan base left to support it?
Japanese role playing games have always been a niche genre. Thankfully, it’s quite apparent that both major studios, as well as small independent teams, aim to keep the genre alive, even though its glory days are long in the past.