|Publisher(s)||Sting Entertainment, Atlus USA, 505 Games|
Dept. Heaven is the name given to a series of video games developed by Sting Entertainment's Product Team A, headed by Shinichi Itou. Currently there are five known episodes, with three having been released as well as two spin-off games. JaJa explained in his blog that the numbering system is more of a goal in originality of game design, for example, with Episode II being more original than Episode I but not as much as Episode III. As of the release of Knights in the Nightmare all games in the Dept. Heaven series have been released on portable systems.
Artist Sunaho Tobe and lead designer Shinichi Itou have both been involved in all three currently revealed episodes of Dept. Heaven. Other artists involved with more than one episode in the series include Yoshinori Iwanaga and Satoko Kiyuduki. Minako Adachi and Shigeki Hayashi composed the music for at least two of the released games.
Currently there are three episodes released in the Dept. Heaven series.
Riviera: The Promised Land
|Riviera takes place on the floating continent of Riviera. The main character, Ein being a resident of Asgard, is sent by The Seven Magi to rid Riviera of demons and becomes tangled in a bid for the Gods' dormant power through The World Tree.
Riviera is played almost as a visual novel, with "triggers" on each screen that can be selected, rather than directly controlling the movement of Ein. In battle, Riviera plays out similarly to the RPG stereotype, however aiming and attacking requires much more careful control, due to the lack of an explicit ability to decide the target of an attack, and the fact that all but one item has a limited amount of uses.
Riviera focused very strongly on the story and character interaction, even going so far as providing the player with the opportunity to slightly effect the ending by developing stronger relationships through his actions with particular female members of the cast.
Yggdra Union: We'll Never Fight Alone
|Yggdra Union takes place on an unnamed continent. The game chronicles the Yggdra War, where the Bronquian army begins a brutal rampage throughout the world, conquering territory after territory until Princess Yggdra Yuril Artwaltz, of one of the conquered countries, rallies against them.
The game almost seems to play like Fire Emblem on a cursory glance, but the "Union" formation system, as well as the real time clashes that take place therein, distinguish the game, both in how battles progress and in the way a player must plan.
|Episode III||Little information has been revealed regarding Episode III, except that it is currently planned to be a PC MMORPG.|
Knights in the Nightmare
|Knights in the Nightmare takes place in Aventheim, a world recently interrupted by the invasion of a demonic army. The player leads the Wisp through the story, unraveling the past through the events of the present, in order to save Avenheim.
The game plays like an isometric SRPG infused with elements of a Shmup. The player moves the Wisp around using the touchscreen, activating attacks on allied characters and avoiding screen-covering shots from enemy characters. Episode IV was one of the more ambitious DHE games, having a much larger staff and cast than Riviera and Yggdra Union.
|Episode IX||Sketches for a new game began appearing on JaJa's blog, eventually being stated as belonging to DHE IX. Little information aside from the sketches has been released, but it will have geographical and day and night mechanics and be a fully 3D game, a first in the DHE series. The current goal is an end of 2010 release.|