Belle Isle Details Announced
01.23.05 - 10:54 PM

Belle Isle is a new PC-based MMORPG from Headlock. Instead of a standard level-based system, a character's growth in the game centers around him or her upgrading his or her skills. Character classes are non-existent in Belle Isle. Players can customize their virtual alter egos by upgrading more than 60 different types of skills. Using magic is a more complex venture in this game than in other MMORPGs. Players will need to collect a pen, magic spell book, a magic catalytic paper as well as a spell scroll. Once they have acquired all four, they have to equip the magic spell book and the pen. Then they have to transcribe the spells written on the scrolls into the book. Scrolls can easily be transcribed into a book, by using a drag-and-drop menu. A piece of catalytic paper is required for every spell you choose to use. Using magic spells in battle takes a certain amount of time, similar to summoning Guardian Forces in Final Fantasy VIII. Depending on how frequently you use a certain magic spell, it will take more or less time until it connects. Provided the necessary recipe, tools and raw materials are at their disposal, users can also produce their own items.

Belle Isle's background story goes as follows: Long ago, the land of mankind was invaded by the residents of Hell, known as Demonica. Man lost this epic battle, and the lucky survivors had to escape from earth. Eventually they found refuge on Belle Isle a floating continent protected by the Gods. As time passed by, humans built a new civilization on Belle Isle and began to forget the horrors of the war. However, at some point, certain areas turned into deserts and beautiful lake shores into dirty mud. Once again, the mysterious Demonica are preparing to attack mankind. Can humans win this time around?

The development team has implemented a time system, extending from parents to kids and from kids to grandchildren. Equally, spring will turn into summer, summer into fall and fall into winter. Major events will also be tied to this time cycle. Depending on the way players spend their money, they can also raise their character's status in an economic cycle. All these elements liken Belle Isle to an endless cycle of rebirth. As players fight, travel, marry, raise their kids and help to advance the stance of their country, they all become part of the game's history.

Headlock recommends the following PC configuration for Belle Isle: A Pentium IV (or higher) CPU, 1 GB of main memory, a broadband internet connection, a GeforceFX video card, 6 GB for free harddisk space, a Direct Sound-compatible sound card, Direct X8.1 or higher and a Japanese version of either Windows 2000 or XP.

Belle Isle is currently undergoing its first closed beta testing phase. No official release has been announced at this point.

Chris Winkler