If you’ve been following gaming news lately, you’ve probably heard of Live A Live. You’re probably also in one of two camps: someone who knows what Live A Live is and someone who can’t really tell it apart from all the other Square Enix HD-2D games, like Triangle Strategy and Octopath Traveler.
Well, whether you’re the type of person who knows Live A Live or not, you can hopefully learn something from us as we explain everything we know and everything you need to know. And probably also some things you don’t know.
Answers to all your questions Live A Live
What is that?
Live A Live is a 1994 Super Famicom RPG, previously released only in Japan, coming to the Nintendo Switch on July 22, 2022. The remake will be in Square Enix’s now-iconic HD-2D style, like Triangle Strategy and Octopath Voyageur.
That he has done?
Square, which eventually became Square Enix (Final Fantasy folks). They also released it, which means Square Enix is releasing the 2022 version – but only in Japan. Nintendo releases Live A Live everywhere else.
Is it “Live A Live” or “Live A Live”? Or is it “Live A Live”?
Not a good question for written form, but if you read the original katakana, it’s “Live A Live”. As in, live music.
What’s the plot?
Live A Live is a story divided into seven chapters, eight protagonists and nine scenarios, all of which are set in a different time period. There is an evil force called (a version of) Odio in each period, which you will need to kill to complete the chapter. Although you can read the chapters in any order, they range from prehistoric times to the distant future, each with its own protagonist from that time period.
What kind of game is it?
It’s a role-playing game with turn-based combat, much like other JRPGs of the era like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. Each of the time periods and scenarios also have different mechanics – sometimes you’ll focus on dungeon crawling, other times you’ll have to use stealth to get by.
How does the fight work?
Well, it’s turn-based, and it’s laid out much like a typical JRPG: two groups, one you control and one you fight, standing face to face. There are several moves to choose from, including attacks and skills, some of which can give special effects like healing or defense to a single tile when you stand on it. You can also move around the tile grid, with different moves requiring different distances and positions.
Enemies also have an action meter above their heads, which tells you how ready they are to act. If you are not in range when their action counter reaches the end, the counter will reset. A good strategy to stay out of danger!
It should be noted that the stories of some characters will prioritize combat, others will discourage it, and some will not have any at all.
Who are all the characters?
Note: These names may change in the remake.
Pogo (prehistoric times)
A caveman who hopes to save his crush from being a human sacrifice.
Master and student of Kung Fu (Imperial China)
A former master of Xin Shan Quan Kung Fu, and his best student, whom he hopes to succeed him, who must avenge the deaths of their comrades.
Oboro-maru (feudal Japan)
A ninja on a mission to save a prisoner.
The Sunset Child (Wild West)
An outlaw about to have a showdown with his rival, Mad Dog, in an old town in the American West.
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 of a biker-run kidnapping ring.
Cube (far future, space)
A spherical robot on a spacecraft called Cogito Ergosum.
Why is it coming out now?
Square Enix seems to be reviving much of its old catalog, to great acclaim – think the brilliant Final Fantasy VII Remake, the recently announced Front Mission Remakes, the HD-2D Dragon Quest 3 Remake, and even just the nostalgia-adjacent HD-2D style of their newest games. Square knows they have gold in their records, and they’re happy to tell it all alongside their new IPs.
It turns out Takashi Tokita, the original director of Live A Live, was working on the Octopath Traveler development team, and he was inspired to use the HD-2D style to resurrect his own game.
Is Live A Live a big deal?
Yes and no. It didn’t sell particularly well in 1994 – only 270,000 copies, according to Wikipedia, which doesn’t name its sources on that figure – but it is an important historical relic of the game.
It was the first game that Takashi Tokita worked on as a director, and his Next one would be… Chrono Trigger. So it’s essentially the precursor to Chrono Trigger, which isn’t surprising given its time travel plot.
One of the game’s designers, Nobuyuki Inoue, would go on to become the director of Mother 3.
The composer, Yoko Shimomura, would ultimately be the composer for Legend of Mana, Super Mario RPG, Mario & Luigi series, and Kingdom Hearts games. She’s a big deal!
And, of course, despite its low sales, Live A Live is a beloved early RPG with enough cult following that a fan translation was made by Aeon Genesis in 2001, which describes it thus:
Live A Live is truly unique when it comes to RPGs. Rather than having one long, continuous storyline, LAL throws a whole bunch of rather short (but good) stories at you. Each chapter takes place in a different time period, and each has unique gameplay aspects… The story is pretty generic, but it’s very well told, and a few chapters throw real curve balls at you. Suffice to say that the game is definitely worth your time. Don’t spoil yourself with a walkthrough!
Is it really good?
Yeah! Although it’s not a Chrono Trigger, it has its fans and its place in the JRPG canon. It scored a 29/40 in Famitsu upon release, which isn’t too shabby, and while several reviewers apparently criticize its brevity and final chapters, the general consensus seems to be that the game was unique, interesting, and well written. .
Is the music good?
With Kingdom Hearts composer Yoko Shimomura at the helm, you BET it’s good. Looks like Shimomura is back to orchestrate and arrange the soundtrack too!
Expect explosive battle themes, epic organ parts and megalomania, the theme for which Toby Fox’s “Megalovania” was named.
Are there any new features for the remake?
- Voices of main and important characters
- Re-recorded soundtrack
- A physical and collector’s edition of the game
- User interface updates
- Updated sound effects
- Rebalanced gameplay
- Speed cameras and maps added
- Redesigned character designs (by Naoki Ikushima)
Why did it take so long to come to the West?
Tokita told Famitsu that he tried several times, but it just didn’t work. It wasn’t until he joined the team behind Octopath Traveler that he realized the HD-2D style would work perfectly. In particular, he said, the Edo and Prehistoric chapters were difficult to complete, as the team had a much higher bar for the remake than the original!
How long does it last?
About 30-40 hours, according to Tokita. How long to beat indicates between 18 and 30 hours, depending on whether you are a finalist or play games quietly, as well as how you choose to play some of the chapters.
Is it related to Chrono Trigger?
In a sense, yes. Director Takashi Tokita then helmed Chrono Trigger. You can see from the original designs that it looks a lot like Chrono Trigger too!
Will I take advantage of it?
Do you like JRPGs? Did you like Chrono Trigger? Do you want to discover an old cult game without having to play it in Japanese on a Super Famicom? Do you want to listen to absolute bops? Do you have around 18 to 30 hours to spare? So yes, probably.
A demo is available on the Switch eShop, and you can check out our hands-on preview for some first impressions ahead of our review which will arrive in due course.
Can I switch between old and new graphics/music?
We do not know ! It would be nice, though.
When did he come out?
July 22, 2022.
Is it on other consoles/PCs?
Nope! Well, it’s on the Super Famicom, so technically yes. But it won’t be on PC, Xbox or PlayStation.
- It’s 4.6 GB
- It costs $64.99 / £34.99
- You can pre-load it right now, if you want
- Tomokazu Sugita (aka Joseph Joestar in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Chrom in Fire Emblem) will appear in multiple voiceover roles
- “Cube” is apparently a reference to Stanley Kubrick (which is also not a cube)
- Influences range from 2001: A Space Odyssey at the SaGa and Final Fantasy Games
- Different manga artists designed each of the main characters:
- Yoshihide Fujiwara
- Yoshinori Kobayashi
- Osamu Ishiwata
- Yumi Tamura
- Ryoji Minagawa
- Gosho Aoyama
- Kazuhiko Shimamoto
That’s a lot to know about Live A Live! Let us know if you have any other questions in the comments below!