Japanese publisher Level-5 has announced Crimson Shroud, a Nintendo 3DS game that actually simulates the features of pen and paper RPGs: rolling dice, moving miniatures, and paper maps.
"Now, the die is cast," reads the Japanese website. "Experience a new sort of roleplaying in a tabletop-style RPG."
Screenshots and concept art show dungeons built out of Dwarven Forge style terrain pieces. Characters can be seen standing on pedestals like tabletop miniatures. We also see a map in a hand-drawn style.
"As illustrated here, dice will be an essential key item," reads the caption to a screenshot showing the polyhedral dice familiar to any D&D player: 20, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 4-sided dice. For many Japanese roleplayers, this will be their first encounter with polyhedral dice, which are less common in Japan’s tabletop RPGs (Sword World RPG and Maid RPG both use only six-sided dice, for example). It seems inspired quite directly from modern Dungeons & Dragons, which did see a Japanese release.
Crimson Shroud’s creator is Yasumi Matsuno, famous for his work on video game RPGs including Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre and Vagrant Story. Matsuno says he’s influenced by western games, and joined publisher Level-5 to work on a small-scale project like this where he is able to have complete control over the finished product.
(Thanks to Nintendo DS blog TinyCartridge for the story.)