Square Enix already have enough on their plate at the moment. Between the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts franchises, they are juggling their time and effort between many games, some releasing sooner than others. However, there is one little game that they have on their belt that hasn’t seen any kind of action for a while now. It is one RPG that stood out from anything else Square Enix had done in the past and it created such a cult following that fans are still begging for it to receive some kind of follow up, one way or another. No ports, no character cameos but a full-fledged sequel that lives up to what the original had to offer. That game is a little title known as The World Ends With You.
The Worlds Ends With You (commonly referred to as TWEWY) was a quirky DS title that debuted in 2007 in Japan and reached the West in 2008. This game was born for the DS at the time, making use of both screens in its combat style, as well as utilizing the touch screen in an innovative way that made the stylus commands feel fluid instead of a tacked on gimmick at the time.
At first glance it seemed like a throw away title, some spin-off project that wouldn’t make its mark in the vast library of games under Square Enix’s belt. However, stepping into the world of The World Ends With You, you are treated to something special. First off is the story, one of the most important aspects of the RPG. It focused on the anti-social loner Neku, who wakes up in the middle of Shibuya, with no memories of his own and no one else able to see him. Through messages on his phone he discovers that he is forced to play a game in order to determine their right to existence, with only a week to make it to the end.
The game is split into three different chapters comprising of three different weeks. The players control Neku as he tries to unravel the mysteries behind the game and what caused his spot of amnesia. Along the way, he is joined by what seem to be a cast of stereotypical characters (the punk, the happy girl, the shy mature girl) but delving into these character’s backstories shows the complexities behind each human face. You get to the heart of their insecurities and issues, as well as being privy to seeing the consequences of each of their heart-breaking decisions.
The common theme of The World Ends With You, the conflict surrounding the Reaper’s Game, is something that can be easily applied to any modern setting. Shibuya worked perfectly as a starting point, a bustling city with all it’s youth obsessed with their cell phones. With the way technology works nowadays, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the same sort of scenario taking place in New York, London and beyond. Depending on where a future title is set, you could delve into the nature of the country, how the culture affects the players of the Reaper’s Game, and what unique issues they are trying to conquer while also attempting to make it out on top. Not only that, but it would also be a chance to explore a new cast of characters, built from the ground up to suit their home town.
The cast of The World Ends With You is incredibly memorable and while it may be hard to adapt to a new cast, other popular RPG titles have managed to pull off a changing cast for years. Most notably, the Persona and Fire Emblem series have had different characters for each title, and yet audiences still manage to fall in love with them regardless. That’s not to say that the cast needs to be entirely new; it would be neat to see a wink or a nod towards the original game, maybe including some returning characters. To not spoil the plot of the original, some characters may be needed for the story to make sense, but there is still a huge amount of room for development for the story.
The fresh combat style of The World Ends With You is also something that needs to be enjoyed on the 3DS. While the game is in a 2D, flat style almost lifted straight from a comic book or manga novel, the funky art style would be perfect for 3DS viewing. The combat was perfectly made for the dual screens of the DS, utilizing the touch screen in attacking and moving, breaking away from the standard turn-based RPGs that most gamers are used to. A return to this style would be enjoyable, perhaps with a few tweaks to ensure that each slash across the screen or swirling of the stylus feels satisfying when attacking the main enemy of the game, The Noise. A sequel would also have the chance to introduce new methods of attack, as the original game made use of different ‘pins’ which each corresponded with a different attack. These pins were based on the fashion of Shibuya, so maybe a new game would take some influence from it’s setting – phone charms or even different types of jewelry could hold the power needed to fight the enemy. Fashion also affected the combat in The World Ends With You, as wearing different brands in certain areas gave you a boost in battle. The various famous locations all have different fashion styles that could be incorporated for a familiar, yet refreshing take on this boosting system.
At the end of the day, not every beloved title will in fact get a sequel. Sometimes a series won’t even kick off and you are left with a brilliant standalone title with only thoughts and hopes of what a sequel could bring. Several times Square Enix has teased the possibility of a sequel, but fans were met with red herrings. Instead of a sequel they received a mobile port, or a new way to download the game’s impressive soundtrack. With Square Enix being pretty busy with their home console game development right now, it looks pretty unlikely that they will turn their eyes to the 3DS for a handheld sequel to a game released years ago. Still, some would insist that you should never say never, and in this instance, we are shouting to the rooftops – “Please Square Enix, we want a sequel!” It may not be a game we need, but it’s a game we deserve.