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dept

Dept. Heaven

Dept. Heaven is the name given to a series of video games developed by Sting's Product Team A, headed by Shinichi Itou. Currently there are four known episodes, with two having been released and a third having been officially announced. Episode III is the cause of some controversy, as it seems to have been skipped, at least for now.

Games

Currently there are two episodes released and one announced in the Dept. Heaven series, but there are no direct correlations revealed between them aside from the fact that they occur within the same universe.

Episode I: Riviera

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.

Episode II: Yggdra Union

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

No information is present regarding Episode III, yet Sting made special note in the initial explanation of the Dept. Heaven series of there not yet being an Episode III.

Episode IV: Knights in the Nightmare

Knights in the Nightmare takes place in Avenheim, 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.

Connections

In the unveiling article for Knights in the Nightmare, it was explained that the worlds share a common Asgard, but no further details on their relations were explicitly given. In a later Dengeki Maoh article it was revealed how each game interacted in the Universe, each initially taking place on the overworld and being connected in some way to either Asgard or the Underworld.

Regardless, many connections can be drawn between Yggdra Union and Riviera, with Grim Angels, the World Tree, Fanelia and Heaven's Gate appearing in both.

Product Team A

While not expressly tied to the series very often, the development team seems to remain relatively consistent between games. Artist Sunaho Tobe and lead designer Shinichi Itou have both been involved in all three currently revealed episodes. Other artists involved with more than one episode in the series include Etsunori Iwanaga and Satoko Kiyuduki. Minako Adachi and Shigeki Hayashi composed the music for at least two of the released games.

External links

STING Official Site

References

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