If you’ve been following gaming news lately, you’ve probably heard Live Live. You probably also fall into one of two camps: Someone who knows what Live A Live is and can’t tell it apart from all the other HD-2D Square Enix games, e.g. Triangle strategy and Octopath Traveler.
Well, whether you’re the type of person who knows about Live A Live or not, you can learn something from us as we teach you everything we know and everything you need to know. And there are probably some things you don’t have.
All Your Live Live Questions Answered
What is this?
Live A Live is a 1994 Super Famicom RPG that was previously only released in Japan and is coming to Nintendo Switch on July 22, 2022. The remake will be in Square Enix’s now iconic HD-2D style. Triangle strategy and Octopath Traveler.
Who created it?
Square eventually became Square Enix (the Final Fantasy people). They published it too, which means that Square Enix is publishing a 2022 version – but only in Japan. Nintendo Live broadcasts A Live everywhere.
“Live A Live” or “Live A Live”? Or “Live A Live”?
This is not a good question for the written form, but if you read the original katakana, it is “Live A Live”. As in live music.
What is the plot?
Live A Live is a story divided into seven chapters, eight main characters and nine scenarios, all set in a different time period. There is an evil force called Odio in each time period that you must kill to complete the chapter (some version). Although you can play the chapters in any order, they range from prehistoric times to the distant future, each with its own protagonist from the era in question.
What game is this?
It’s a role-playing game with turn-based combat like other JRPGs of the era like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. Each of the time periods and scenarios also has different mechanics – sometimes you’ll focus on dungeon crawling, while other times you’ll need to use stealth to get through.
How does combat work?
Well, it’s turn-based and plays like a typical JRPG: two sides, one you control and the other you fight against. You have many moves to choose from, including attacks and skills, some of which can give special effects such as healing or defense for a single tile when you stand in them. You can also move around the tile grid with different moves that require different distances and positions.
Enemies also have a movement meter above their head that indicates how much they are ready to move. If you are not in range when their activity counter expires, the counter will reset. A good strategy to stay out of danger!
It’s worth noting that some characters’ stories will favor combat, others will discourage it, and some won’t have it at all.
Who are all the characters?
Note: These names may change in the remake.
Pogo (Prehistoric times)
A caveman hoping to save his lover from becoming a human sacrifice.
Kung Fu Master and Student (Imperial China)
Xin Shan Guan is an old master of Kung Fu and his best student who hopes to succeed him, who must avenge the death of his fellow students.
Oboro-maru (Feudal Japan)
A ninja on a mission to rescue a prisoner.
Sunset Kid (Wild West)
An outlaw about to feud with his rival Mad Dog in an American old west town.
Masaru Takahara (Current Japan)
A fighter who hopes to become the strongest in the world.
Akira Tadokoro (Near Future, Japan)
A psychic orphan who learns about a kidnapping ring run by bikers.
Cube (Far future, outer space)
A spherical robot on a spaceship called Cogito Ergosum.
Why is it coming out now?
Square Enix has been reviving much of its old catalog with great success – check out the brilliant remake. Final Fantasy VIIthe recently announced Front mission remake, HD-2D remake Dragon Quest 3, and even the nostalgia-adjacent HD-2D style of their new games. Square knows they have some gold in their archives, and they’re happy to splash it all along with their new IP.
It turns out that Takashi Tokita, the original director of Live A Live, worked on the team that developed Octopath Traveler and was inspired to use the HD-2D style to bring his game to life.
Is Live A Live a big deal?
Yes and no. It didn’t sell very well in 1994 – only 270,000 copies, According to Wikipediadoesn’t name its sources on this figure – but it’s an important historical game artifact.
This was Takashi Tokita’s first game as a director, and his next would be one… Chrono Trigger. So it’s basically a precursor to Chrono Trigger, which isn’t surprising given the time travel involved.
One of the game’s designers, Nobuyuki Inoue, would later become its director Mother 3.
And of course, despite its low sales, Live A Live is a beloved early RPG with quite a cult following. fan translated by Aeon Genesis In 2001, they described it as:
Live A Live is truly unique when it comes to RPGs. Instead of having one long continuous story line, LAL throws you many short (but good) stories. Each chapter is set in a different time period and each has its own unique gameplay aspects… The story is fairly generic but very well told and a few chapters throw you some real curveballs. Suffice it to say, the game is truly worth your time. Just don’t spoil it for yourself with a ride!
Is it really good?
Yes! While not Chrono Trigger, it has its fans and its place in the JRPG canon. It received a 29/40 in Famitsu upon release, which hasn’t aged well, and while a few reviews criticized its brevity and final chapters, the general consensus seems to be that the game is unique, interesting, and well-written. .
Is the music good?
With Kingdom Hearts composer Yoko Shimomura at the helm, GET ONE it’s good. Looks like Shimomura is back to orchestrate and arrange the soundtrack as well!
Expect epic battle themes, epic organ tracks and Megalomania, The theme from Toby Fox’s Megalomania.
Any new stuff for the remake?
- Voice acting for major and important characters
- Re-recorded soundtrack
- The physical and collector’s edition of the game
- UI updates
- Sound effects have been updated
- Rebalanced gameplay
- Added radars and maps
- Redrawn character designs (by Naoki Ikushima)
Why did it take so long to come to the West?
Tokita Famitsu said that he tried many times but failed. After joining the team behind Octopath Traveler, he realized that the HD-2D style would work perfectly. In particular, he said it was difficult to finish the Edo and prehistoric chapters because the team had a higher bar for the remake than the original!
How long is it?
About 30-40 hours according to Tokita. How Long To Beat says anywhere from 18 to 30 hours, depending on whether you’re a completist or a casual gamer, as well as how you choose to play certain chapters.
Does this have anything to do with Chrono Trigger?
In a sense, yes. Director Takashi Tokita went on to direct Chrono Trigger. You can see from the original designs that it looks very similar to Chrono Trigger!
Will I enjoy it?
Do you like JRPGs? Did you like Chrono Trigger? Want to experience an old, cult favorite on the Super Famicom without having to play it in Japanese? Want to listen to some absolute bops? Do you have about 18-30 hours to spare? Then yes, probably.
A demo is available on the Switch eShop, and you can check out our hands-on preview for some early impressions ahead of our upcoming review.
Can I switch between old and new graphics/music?
We don’t know! That would be nice though.
When does it come out?
July 22, 2022.
Is it on other consoles/PC?
No! Well, it’s on the Super Famicom, so technically yes. But it won’t be on PC, Xbox or PlayStation.
Any other details?
- It is 4.6 GB
- It costs $64.99 / £34.99
- You can pre-download it now if you want
- Tomokazu Sugita (aka Joseph Joestar JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Chrom in Fire Emblem) will appear in multiple voice roles
- “Cube” is probably a reference to Stanley Kubrick (he’s not a cube either)
- It varies between effects 2001: A Space Odyssey for SaGa and Final Fantasy games
- Various manga artists have drawn each of the main characters:
- Yoshihide Fujiwara
- Yoshinori Kobayashi
- Osamu Ishiwata
- Yumi Tamura
- Ryoji Minagawa
- Gosho Aoyama
- Kazuhiko Shimamoto
There’s a lot to know about Live A Live! Let us know if you have more questions in the comments below!