Kadokawa Games held an event for the upcoming mecha S-RPG Relayer in Akihabara on 18th December 2021, consisting of test play sessions which made a demo available to the general public for the first time, and a talk show with Kadokawa Games president and Relayer director and producer Yasuda Yoshimi, and voice actresses Akesaka Satomi and Honda Mariko who play Terra and Mercury in the game, respectively.
Official website (JP): https://www.relayer.jp/
Though Relayer previously had a playable demo available at Tokyo Game Show 2021, anti-COVID measures meant that it was a closed-door event, and so this event was the first time the general public got a chance to try the game out for themselves.
We covered the basic gameplay of Relayer in our TGS gameplay demo report – Read about it here.
Unlike the TGS demo which took place in space, the event’s demo took place on the surface of an ice planet, with ice wall obstructions and item pickups. Obstructions on the map impede movement, and also block most long-ranged attacks. The Bit-type weapons available to Scout mechs, however, are able to circumvent such obstructions and attack enemies on the other side.
Item pickups are simple enough: They are placed on certain squares on the map, and if the player moves a unit there, they receive money, perishables such as healing items, or new equipment. And of course, the player might have to consider if aiming for an item is worth the risk depending on its location.
A new feature that was not in the TGS demo is the Hate List. By pressing the L3 button, the player can display a list of all units and their current Hate (aggro) points, which makes managing Hate far easier. This is an extremely useful function, given how crucial the Hate system is to the game.
Various panels and such were also on display at the event, showing off art and providing details on the characters and the world.
The talk show was held after the demo event wrapped up, and spanned two one-hour sessions. The two voice actresses talked about their characters, and Yasuda discussed numerous details about the game itself.
The game’s protagonist Terra’s age was revealed to be 22. After getting caught up in a “Gravity Loss” disaster, she loses her memories, with the only thing remaining being the memory of her letting go of her younger sister Luna’s hand and losing her as a result. She now wanders the world aimlessly with her assistant robot Yodaka.
Akesaka describes Terra’s character as pure but strong: Someone else put in her shoes might give up and draw inwards, but Terra remains an honest and straightforward person, who also devotes herself to others, She can sometimes also be stubborn, though.
In gameplay, Terra is a fighter who gets stronger when she has higher Hate levels, so the more attention she draws, the better.
Mercury (age 19) has a very serious personality, does not make friends, likes paper books and literature, and adores her older sister, who was the previous Mercury.
Honda describes Mercury as very proud and not liked by others much, and says that she is “tsundere” but only “tsun” for most of the early part of the game. She acts like a completely different person, however, when around people she has opened up to, like Sun.
In gameplay, Mercury is a healer. Yasuda pointed out that while many characters in the game can learn healing skills, Mercury is the best at it, and the only character in the entire game who can learn a skill that heals all allies at the same time.
Terra and Mercury’s first meeting
A video showing the story sequence in which Terra and Mercury meet for the first time was shown. Terra is sent on a patrol mission for the first time and Mercury is told to accompany her, and Mercury expresses discontent at having to babysit Terra. Sun tells Terra that Mercury has no friends and asks her to be one to her, and Terra agrees to do so, but though she initially seems not too dissatisfied with the prospect, Mercury’s pride gets the better of her and she says that she will only befriend someone who proves themself her equal.
The PS4 version
A demo for the PS4 version was available at the event, and Yasuda also talked about how it performs. Relayer was developed primarily for the PS5, and so they had to make a few cuts to the PS4, namely in the resolution and framerate. That being said, we felt that the PS4 version still looks great, and Yasuda confirmed that it also manages to have a variable framerate that steadily remains at over 30 FPS. Additionally, loading times are only encountered at the start of stages, meaning that transition to battle cutscenes in combat are seamless in both versions. Players who purchase the PS4 version will also be able to upgrade to the PS5 version for free.
Yasuda revealed that characters who have affinity with each other will gain stat bonuses in battle when deployed on the same map.
Route splits and secret characters
Yasuda was asked about whether the game would have route splits and secret characters. Regarding route splits, Yasuda says that the game will not have any, as they prioritized the story, which was a subject of criticism in God Wars. As for secret characters, Yasuda was ambiguous with the answer: We clarified with him after that while not really a “secret”, there is a single unit that can be unlocked only in the endgame content.
Yasuda talked about the endgame content in Relayer. Learning all available skills unlocks new secret skills, and there is secret equipment to be found, but the biggest piece of endgame content in the game is the Asterism Voyage Chronicles, story content taking place after the ending which expands the world and has the player unraveling the mysteries of the universe, with 35 stages. When including the Asterism Voyage Chronicles, the total playtime of the game reaches around 100 hours.
Yasuda was asked about when a downloadable demo would be made available, and he said that as they are getting frequent questions about when the game will be released outside of Japan, they plan on working on that first: A demo will be available after the worldwide release dates are set.
Though this was not in the event itself, we also talked directly to director and producer Yasuda Yoshimi for additional details on the game’s language settings and got confirmation that the voice and text languages can be changed independently of each other from main menu’s options screen.
(This article was edited on 19 Dec 1100 EST to clarify wording)