Familiar faces return and some new ones appear in the new artwork that Compile Heart released today for their upcoming sequel Hyperdimension Neptunia MK-2. This time around the game focuses on the portable system wars instead of the big console wars. Along with a new protagonist and new enemies, some familiar faces abound. Hit the break to check out the new artwork, as well as some info and my own commentary on the characters.
The five heroines that accompany our main character on her journey are below. Most have returned from the previous title and are designed very similarly to what we’re familiar with.
This is 5pb. She’s newly playable in MK-2, but she did make some appearances in the first title if you were observant enough. She’s also my favorite character design, with the combination of headphones and the treble clef “tattoo” on her torso.
NISA is next, with a familiar color pattern we should all be familiar with by now. She represents NIS America (or just Nippon Ichi in general) and, of course, being one of my favorite localization studios, I’m a big fan. The scarf makes her design work, don’t you think?
Compa is the personification of the game’s developer, Compile Heart, showing their logo fairly prominently on her belt and headband. The hearts plastered around her belt and necklace are a dead giveaway, too. She was both the most annoying and the most hilarious character from the first game, at the same time. I hope her voice actress tones things down again this time around, although…maybe then it just won’t be the same?
This innocent-looking girl is Gust, armed with a pouch full of alchemy ingredients and a weird hat, she certainly embodies what that developer is known for. Alchemy-based titles like the Atelier franchise come to mind with just one glance of her character art. The nuances like the frilly sleeves and, of course, the hat, are something that appear on many Gust character models.
I saved my favorite heroine for last. This is IF, based on the developer Idea Factory. I affectionately call her Iffy, as does Nep Nep in the first title. Her dialog, deadpan jokes and sarcastic musings were one of my favorite parts of the first game, and I really hope to see that continue here.
Now, let’s move on to the new set of villains that make their appearance here. They’re all based off concepts that spring from the real world game industry, and tend to embody those within their character designs. They are also all named with “the Hard”, and I’m not sure if that’s as close as the translation can come or what, but it still sounds awkward nonetheless.
This is Judge the Hard, and his design and concept is based off the feelings that game developers may have after pouring so much heart and soul into a title, only to have it either not received or not sell well. I would certainly feel like a huge, metal giant with an axe that could beat the stuffing out of anyone just by looking at them, too, if I was in that circumstance.
This interesting fella’ is Trick the Hard, who embodies all the frustrations gamers feel when they attempt to conquer a game like Demon’s Souls, which tries the patience of even the most hardened players. He apparently also likes cheaters and young girls (again, awkward translation issue?).
This is Magic the Hard, who is the head of all these dudes. That’s fitting, because her design embodies the idea of fanboys within the gaming space. It is true that, at times, it feels like fanboys are the leaders behind many pointless movements, such as the console wars, which is a focal point of this Neptunia franchise.
Finally we have Brave the Hard, which looks like a Voltron knock-off. He represents the feelings some gamers may have when they’re too poor to buy the newest game or console that they so much desire.
All these villains are part of an evil organization called Magicon. I’m not sure if that is also a play on something or not, but it is almost a given that these four interesting-looking characters will stop at nothing to hinder our heroine’s progress through the game.
Hyperdimension Neptunia MK-2 hits store shelves in Japan exclusively for the PS3 on August 18, 2011.