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As live-service games become the ever-popular choice for millions of players to play together, the next fantasy is being able to join them in a fully expansive world full of bountiful things to do.
Tower of Fantasy could be the game to offer just that, taking the live-service framework of an open world RPG and adding unparalleled customisation as well as a huge world teeming with other unique wanderers.
Developed by China-based Hotta Studio, the project was initially from a team of like-minded MMO and anime fans with a passion for sci-fi and an open world they could all play in together.
After three years of development, Tower of Fantasy launched in China in December 2021, while it will launch globally on August 11 (at 2:00 AM CEST / 0:00 AM UTC) across PC and mobile platforms with cross-platform and cross-progression support, with pre-loading beginning August 9 for EU players.
Update - Tower of Fantasy launches
Tower of Fantasy is now live and available to play in North America and Europe.
Level Infinite this week released two new videos for Tower of Fantasy, to make the launch of the MMORPG.
A “Creative Gameplay” video shows off character personalization and a wide range of options players will have to make their character unique. It also shows off some of the modes of transport available that players can use to get across the world.
Set in a dystopian sci-fi future on the planet of Aida where prototowers have been built to harvest Omnium, a resource that’s both precious but also responsible for transforming animals into monsters, it’s a central conflict as two factions have formed, one that is continuing the harvesting, and one that opposes it.
But before players draw themselves into the lore, or the world itself, which at launch includes six regions with different kinds of terrain, for any anime-inspired game it’s the characters that take paramount importance.
From the game’s opening, you’ll be able to select your protagonist based on their gender, but it doesn’t stop there. Players will, in fact, have full customisation over their character’s appearance, from a range of hairstyles to shaping their face, tweaking the size, shape and colour of their eyes, as well as individual pieces of clothing, with plenty of options available at the start.
You can essentially create your own anime character, or perhaps design one based on any of your own favourite anime characters. You’ll also be able to make changes at any time, so you’re not tied down to their appearance, though you will be able to save your designs and then share them with other players.
Of course, that customisation isn’t just on the surface but also in how you play this action RPG. While Tower of Fantasy may be described as an MMO, you have much more flexibility than typically rigid classes.
You’ll be able to equip your character with a range of weapon types, from melee weapons like swords and sickles to ranged weapons like bows and guns, and as each has its strengths and weaknesses for any situation, you can also easily adapt since you equip three at any time. This versatility is what makes it possible for your character to solo the challenges you may find in Aida, which include fearsome world bosses.
That being said, most players will find teaming up with other wanderers is the core way of experiencing Tower of Fantasy’s shared world, where in a server you may encounter up to 150 people roaming the map, and it won’t be a surprise to find a huge group joining forces to take down a large event boss together. Depending on who you find yourself teaming up with, you’ll then also be able to adjust your equipment and abilities accordingly to have a balanced party.
Each weapon also has its own unique ‘Discharge Skill’ which can be activated after it’s been charged up from using regular attacks. You can also charge that gauge from performing perfect dodges, which also slows down time Bayonetta-style, giving you time to maximise your damage output. Discharge Skills can also inflict statuses on enemies, and Shatter is especially important when you’re looking to break through enemy shields and armour quickly.
There are also ‘Resonance Effects’ which provide buffs that will aid the rest of the party, whether that’s increasing the damage output of attacks, drawing aggro while increasing your defence, or healing party members, essentially emphasising DPS, tank, and support roles MMO players are familiar with.
“In a server you may encounter up to 150 people roaming the map, and it won’t be a surprise to find a huge group joining forces to take down a large event boss together”
Besides this customisation, Tower of Fantasy also offers a roster of unique bespoke characters you’ll be able to unlock called Simulacrums, who also have their own set abilities and weapons, some of which may be unique to them, so players will also have the choice of playing as these characters rather than their own protagonist.
However, combating and strengthening your weapons and abilities isn’t the only place you’ll find variety. When exploring Aida’s vast regions, which looks all the more impressive when you’re looking down on it from the floating Cetus Island, there’s more to traversal than just established mechanics like climbing on any surface or being able to double-jump.
You’ll also have access to various modes of transport, such as a jetpack that acts as your glider in the air, surfing across the water, and most befitting of its sci-fi aesthetic, racing around on a motorcycle or even riding on bipedal robot legs. Besides exploration, these vehicles will also allow players to compete against each other in races.
You can also expect many other mini-games, including gathering recipes to cook delicious meals that can help you in combat. Cetus Island, meanwhile, is also home to an amusement park where players can get together to ride the roller coaster or the carousel, watch fireworks and, of course, take photos and then share with others.
Since Tower of Fantasy has been available in China since last year, new and eager players can be assured that there will be an abundance of content from launch that will include all the latest updates. That said, the developer is also making content that will be specific to certain regions so there’s likely to be more new exclusive content too, not to mention a long and healthy roadmap of updates that we should expect of any live service game, including even more regions of Aida to explore in future.
With already 3 million players pre-registered worldwide, Tower of Fantasy is one of the hotly anticipated releases of the summer. With its fascinating sci-fi world and flexible approach to character customisation and play style, MMORPG fans with a love for anime may find it to be their new obsession.
Tower of Fantasy will launch globally on August 11 (at 8am BST / 3am ET) across PC and mobile platforms with cross-platform and cross-progression support, with pre-loading beginning August 9 for EU players.