What is Live A Live? Everything you need to know (and possibly more)

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Picture: Famitsu / Square Enix

If you’ve been following recent game news, you’ve certainly heard about Live A Live. You’re probably on one of two camps, too: One who knows what Live A Live is, and one who doesn’t really distinguish it from all the other Square Enix HD-2D games, like Triangle Strategy and Octopath Tourists.

Well, whether you’re the type to know about Live A Live or not, hopefully you can learn something from us, as we walk you through everything we know and everything you need to know. And perhaps there are also some things you don’t.

All your Live A Live questions, answered

What is it?

Live A Live is a 1994 Super Famicom RPG, previously released only in Japan, coming to Nintendo Switch on July 22, 2022. The remake will follow the iconic HD-2D style by Square Enix, like Triangle Strategy and Octopath Tourists.

Who made it?

Square, eventually becoming Square Enix ( Final Fantasy folks). They published it too, and that means Square Enix is ​​publishing the 2022 version – but only in Japan. Nintendo is releasing Live A Live everywhere else.

Is it “Live A Live” or “Live A Live”? Or “Live A Live”?

This isn’t a good question for the written form, but if you read the original katakana, it’s “Live A Live”. As in, live music.

What is the plot?

Live A Live is a story divided into seven chapters, eight main characters, and nine scenarios, all located in a different time period. There is an evil force called (some version of) Odio in each time period, whom you will have to kill to complete the chapter. While you can play the chapters in any order, they span from prehistoric times to the distant future, each with its own protagonist from the period in question.

What kind of game is that?

It’s a role-playing game with turn-based combat, like other JRPGs of the era like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. Each time period and scenario also has different mechanics – sometimes you’ll focus on crawling the dungeon, other times you’ll have to use stealth to get through.

How does combat work?

Well, it’s turn-based, and it’s presented like a typical JRPG: two sides, one controlled by you and the other you fight, standing facing each other. You have a wide range of moves to choose from, including attacks and skills, some of which can give special effects like healing or defense to a single tile while you’re standing in it. . You can also move around the grid, with different moves requiring different distances and stances.

Enemies also have an action meter on their heads, letting you know how ready they are to strike. If you are not in range when their activity meter reaches the end, the meter will reset. A good strategy to avoid danger!

It’s worth noting that some characters’ stories will prioritize combat, others will discourage it, and some won’t at all.

Who are all the characters?

Note: These names are subject to change in the remake.

Pogo (prehistoric)
A caveman hopes to save his beloved from being sacrificed to humans.

Master and Practitioner of Kung Fu (Chinese Empire)
A former master of Xin Shan Quan Kung Fu, and his best student, whom he hopes to follow in his footsteps, who must avenge the deaths of their fellow students.

Oboro-maru (Feudal Japan)
A ninja on a mission to rescue a prisoner.

The Sundown Kid (Wild West)
An outlaw is about to have a duel with his rival, Mad Dog, in an old town in the western United States.

Masaru Takahara (present-day Japan)
A warrior hoping to become the strongest person in the world.

Akira Tadokoro (Near Future, Japan)
A psychic orphan learns of a kidnapping ring run by cyclists.

Cube (Far future, space)
A spherical robot aboard the spaceship called Cogito Ergosum.

Why is it coming out now?

Square Enix seems to be resurrecting a lot of their old catalogs, with great success – consider the slick remake of Final Fantasy VIIthe recently announced Mission ahead remake, HD-2D remake of Dragon Quest 3, and even just the nostalgic contiguous HD-2D style of their newer games. Square knows they have some gold in their storage, and they’re happy to spend it all along with their newer IPs.

It turns out that Takashi Tokita, the original director of Live A Live, was working on the Octopath Traveler development team, and he was inspired to use the HD-2D style to revive his own game.

Is Live A Live a big deal?

Yes and no. It didn’t sell very well in 1994 – only 270,000 copies, according to Wikipediadoesn’t name its source on that figure – but it’s an important historical game piece.

This is the first game that Takashi Tokita is directing, and next one would be… Chrono Activator. So it’s basically a precursor to Chrono Trigger, which isn’t surprising, given its time travel plot.

One of the game’s designers, Nobuyuki Inoue, will continue to be the director of Mother 3.

Composer, Yoko Shimomura, will eventually compose for Legend of Mana, Super Mario RPGthe Mario & Luigi series, and Heart Kingdom Game. She is a big deal!

And, of course, despite its low grossing, Live A Live is a beloved early RPG with all sorts of hits after. fan translation done by Aeon Genesis in 2001, who described it thus:

Live A Live is truly unique when it comes to RPGs. Instead of having a continuous long storyline, LAL throws a series of rather short (but good) stories at you. Each chapter is set in a different time period, and each chapter has its unique gameplay aspects… The story is quite general, but well told, and a few chapters will give you a bit of a twist. actual number of balls. Suffice to say, the game is really worth your time. Just don’t spoil it for yourself with a tutorial!

Is it really that good?

YES! While it doesn’t have a Chrono Trigger, it does have its fans and its place in the JRPG classics. It received a 29/40 in Famitsu when it came out, not too shabby, and although some reviews seem to criticize its brevity and final chapters, the general consensus seems to be unique, fun and well written game.

Is the music good or not?

With the composer of Kingdom Hearts, Yoko Shimomura, you will find it good. Looks like Shimomura is back to staging and arranging the soundtrack too!

Expect melodramatic combat themes, epic organ tracks, and Megalomania, the theme for which Toby Fox’s “Megalovania” is named.

Is there new content for the remake?


  • Voiceover for main and important characters
  • Recorded soundtrack
  • A physical and collector’s version of the game
  • User interface update
  • Updated sound effects
  • Gameplay rebalanced
  • Added radar and map
  • Redrawn character design (by Naoki Ikushima)

Why did it take so long to get to the West?

Tokita said to Famitsu which he tried many times, but failed. It wasn’t until he joined the team behind Octopath Traveler that he realized that the HD-2D style would work perfectly. In particular, he said, the Edo and prehistoric chapters were difficult to complete, because the team set a much higher standard for the remake than the original!

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Picture: Famitsu / Square Enix

How long is it?

About 30-40 hours, according to Tokita. How Long To Beat says anywhere between 18-30 hours, depending on whether you’re a finisher or you game leisurely, as well as how you choose to play some chapters.

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Picture: Famitsu / Square Enix

In a sense, yes. Director Takashi Tokita continues to direct Chrono Trigger. You can see from the early designs that it is also quite similar to Chrono Trigger!

Will I like it?

Do you like JRPGs? Do you like Chrono Trigger? Do you want to experience an older, most beloved game without having to play in Japanese on the Super Famicom? Do you want to hear some absolute bops? Do you have about 18-30 hours to spare? Then yes, maybe.

There’s a demo available on the Switch eShop, and you can check out our hands-on preview for some first impressions before our review will arrive in due course.

Can I switch between old and new graphics/music?

We do not know! That would be great, though.

When is it out?

July 22, 2022.

Is it on another console/PC?

No! Yes, it was on the Super Famicom, so technically yes. But it won’t be on PC, Xbox or PlayStation.

Any other details?

  • It is 4.6 GB
  • It costs $64.99 / £34.99
  • You can preload it now, if you want
  • Tomokazu Sugita (AKA Joseph Joestar in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Chromium in Fire Emblem) will appear in various voiceover roles
  • “The Cube” is clearly a reference to Stanley Kubrick (who is also not a cube)
  • Influence from 2001: A Space Odyssey arrive Saga and Final Fantasy Game
  • Various manga artists designed each main character:
    • Yoshihide Fujiwara
    • Yoshinori Kobayashi
    • Osamu Ishiwata
    • Yumi Tamura
    • Ryoji Minagawa
    • Gosho Aoyama
    • Kazuhiko Shimamoto

That’s a lot to know about Live A Live! Let us know if you have any more questions in the comments section below!

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