Wait, so it's a massively multiplayer online action role-playing game (MMOARPG)? What a mouthful!
Steeped heavily in Japanese folklore, Akaneiro: Demon Hunters puts players into the shoes of - you guessed it - a demon hunter, roaming the countryside and battling the demonic Yokai in defense of the village of Yomi. "When Yomi falls, the Underworld will rise" is how the Akaneiro promotional trailer puts it, and the rise of the Underworld, in Japan or anywhere else, is never a good thing.
The Ainu people, overwhelmed by the encroaching Yokai, have enlisted the aid of the Order of Akane, an ancient group of elite demon hunters. As one of the famed "Red Hunters," players will be able to control the development of their character to create a unique hunter with abilities, specializations and stats that suit their own personal style of play. A wide range of weapons and combat techniques are available to master, and "Karma Shards," formed from the crystallized blood of fallen Yokai, grants hunters the "inhuman combat techniques" they'll need to stand against the demonic onslaught. Players will use ranged and melee combat plus "tricks and traps" to battle their foes, including some impressively huge "Demon King" boss monsters.
The gameplay has a definite Diablo vibe, complete with the central hub village of Yomi, where players can train their skills and buy and sell equipment and treasures. But the muted, hand-painted visual style is something else entirely, unusual but still very attractive.
The Order of Akane, which will include different factions, will "form the foundation for the social structure" of the game, but how exactly that will work remains to be revealed. One thing the studio did state, however, is that while Akaneiro: Demon Hunters will be a free-to-play game, it won't be "the naggy, spammy, unbalancing kind."
The closed beta has just begun but Akaneiro: Demon Hunters already looks impressive. If you'd like to sign up to take part, you may do so at angry-red.com.