Koudelka is a gothic horror RPG for the Playstation, with more than a passing resemblance to Parasite Eve and the Resident Evil series. It is not talked about much, which is a shame, because it such a beautiful game and shows great promise.
Koudelka is being developed by Sacnoth. Sacnoth is made up of ex-Square employees, so they definitely have experience in creating RPGs. The game features pre-rendered backgrounds with polygonal characters, again like PE or RE, but in an 1800s setting. You control a party of 3 characters as you explore the ruined Nemeton Monastery. The entire game takes place inside of here as you fight monsters, avoid traps, rescue people, and solve puzzles. The following is the game's premise, compliments of Sacnoth's website:
On the cliffs of Aberystwyth, overlooking the sea, lies the deserted Nemeton Monastery. The prayers that once echoed through the halls are gone, and the place is silent, except for the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below. The chapel and living quarters are empty, with no trace of the lives that once inhabited them.
The buildings that became the monk's living quarters were built in the Romanesque style in the 9th century. The main sanctuary was not added until much later, in the 13th century. With its flying buttress, the church is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Wales. A second, smaller chapel is connected to the library, where the monks once spent long hours studying the ancient scriptures of their faith. This building, along with the belfry, kitchen, arbor, and a second, more recently built living quarters, are located around the perimeter of the monastery and collectively form a wall.
The site fell into ruin when monasticism was prohibited during the 16th century. In the 17th century, the site was used to incarcerate political criminals and captives. The arbor became an executioner's block, and rumors began to be heard of an underground prison where unspeakable atrocities were committed.
Gradually, the site fell into disuse and was abandoned. It was later bought by a wealthy man who was curious about the monastery's history. The man lived there for awhile, and then disappeared mysteriously. Wild stories and conjecture, however, lived on.
Some people say that unimaginable treasures are hidden within the walls of the monastery, while others whisper that its halls are roamed by demons. The monastery has once again fallen into ruin, and its only visitors are outcasts or penniless wanderers that dream of making an easy fortune.
Our story begins on Monday, October 31, 1898, when a young girl pushes open the rusty gates of the Nemeton monastery...
The 3 main characters which you control are Koudelka Iasant, 19, a streetwise girl who has spent most of her life alone, Edward Plunkett, a 20-year-old man who came from a wealthy but loveless family, and James 'O Flaherty, 53, a religious man who worked as a Bishop in the Vatican for several years. Each of them have their own reasons for coming to the monastery: Koudelka felt the call of a spirit summoning her, Edward is investigating a rumor he has heard, and Father O'Flaherty is visiting to retrieve something that was stolen. The characters portraits and polygonal models can be seen here.
To see the other 30+ pictures of Koudelka, go here.
We've also got what appears to be the Japanese ad here.
This highly promising RPG is due out in Japan on October 31, not by coincidence I'm sure. It will be published by SNK. A U.S. release has been rumored, with Electronic Arts (?) releasing it here. With all of Koudelka's speech (and it seems that all interaction with other characters is done through speech instead of text) already being in English, a translation shouldn't be too much to handle. Keep your fingers crossed!