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A Closer Look At Child of Light, Ubisoft's Lovely New JRPG

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If you're anything like me—If you have a beating heart and like video games—you probably watched the debut trailer for Child of Light and thought, "I want to play this."

But what's the game itself all about; how does it work? I had a chance to play through an opening chapter last week at Ubisoft's press event. I also spoke quite a bit with the game's creative director Patrick Plourde and lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem, whose last collaboration, Far Cry 3, so impressed us last fall.


Ubisoft sent over some B-roll footage of the areas I played through, and I thought I'd edit it all together into the video above. I've also added commentary to help explain how everything works. For the most part it's a pretty straightforward game—2D puzzle/platforming mixed with JRPG combat.

The co-op mechanics, however, are really cool—a second player can take command of Aurora's glowing companion, helping her solve puzzles and gather power-ups in the overworld and healing her and blinding enemies in combat. Plourde said that he added co-op because as much as he wanted to play the lovely JRPG Ni no Kuni with his son, there wasn't a way for them to play together.


Also: I have seen a lot of spirited discussion under my initial post about the idea of whether non-Japanese developers can make a "JRPG." As far as I'm concerned, the signifier has transcended geography—it's a useful distinction, nothing more. As commenter Ultraviper so adroitly put it: "Can you call a taco Mexican food if it's not made in Mexico?"


But! The distinction is not lost on me. I actually spoke at length with Plourde and Yohalem about why they decided to make a JRPG (or "JRPG-style") game, and will have more on that soon. In the meantime, check out Child of Light in action. I think it looks pretty darn cool.