Image Source: Bandai Namco Entertainment, via YouTube
Way back in July 2018, Bandai Namco Entertainment unveiled a teaser trailer for their new Digimon game line, Digimon Survive.
Over the last nearly two years, information about the gameplay, story, characters, and Digimon have all been drip-fed to fans, while the release date has been reshuffled.
Being released to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Digimon anime, here’s everything we know about Digimon Survive so far.
What is Digimon Survive?
Digimon Survive is the start of a brand new line of video games being developed by Witchcraft and published by Bandai Namco.
Having experienced increased success in Europe and North America with the Digimon Story line, the franchise aims to expand its footprint outside of its native market of Japan.
As described by the game’s producer, Kazumasa Habu, the team felt that, to extend Digimon’s reach, they needed to pivot another of their game lines: Digimon World.
Digimon World boasts unique game mechanics which many Digimon fans around the world point to as the factor that makes the franchise stand out in the gaming scene.
However, these specialised mechanics have also been seen as limiting the franchise’s reach as they can be difficult for newcomers to grasp as they are so different.
Wanting to keep aspects of the unique gameplay style with the feel of a new game within the Digimon universe, the team came up with Digimon Survive.
The mechanics utilise features from older game genres, like tactical RPGs and adventure games, while also bringing in elements from the Digimon Adventure anime series.
Digimon Survive boasts incredible anime-style graphics, tactical RPG battles, and it follows a group of characters as they encounter over 100 Digimon and work their way through a dark tale of survival.
What are the Digimon Survive gameplay mechanics?
Digimon Survive is billed as a survival-tactical RPG. The gameplay is split into two key parts: the drama part and the battle part.
In the drama part, the game’s story is unravelled in a text adventure style. The drama parts also come in two forms.
In the ‘free action’ situations, the group will explore the area independently, giving the player the chance to go to those areas of the map, talk to the group members, strengthen bonds with friends, and learn valuable information.
During ‘free action,’ you can also choose where to go on the map, collect items, and train your Digimon in a mode called ‘free battle.’
The other situation that can spawn from the drama part is called the ‘search action,’ during which, you’re put into a crisis and need to find a way to survive.
The battle part plays out over a grid-based battlefield, with each Digimon taking turns to move and initiate attacks. The player controls their Digimon in these battles.
In Digimon Survive battles, the player uses energy to digivolve their Digimon during the combat. Keeping a Digimon in their superior form costs energy, but energy can be regained at the end of turns, by defeating foes, and by exploiting their weaknesses.
Digimon management and tactical decision-making are key to winning battles in the game.
Kazumasa Habu says that even though the gameplay is of an older style, the team has focussed on making it as enjoyable and high-quality as possible, giving it universality.
A core feature of the Digimon Survive gameplay is decision-making. The choices that you make impact the digivolution path of your Digimon and the storylines that you follow.
There are also hidden forces at work in the game which cannot be seen by the naked eye. So, players need to use their digital devices to take pictures to uncover these secrets – which could be invisible Digimon or Digimon-enhancing items.
What’s the story of Digimon Survive?
As you can see in the Digimon Survive opening movie, the story centres around a group of teenagers who are away on an extracurricular camp for the summer.
During the camp, Takuma and his friends, Aoi and Minoru, seek to uncover the legend of Kemonogami by exploring an enigma-shrouded and forbidden local shrine. It is here that the protagonist meets Koromon.
All of a sudden, the other students are attacked by a group of Digimon, with Takuma rushing in to try to help. To defend Takuma, Koromon transforms into Agumon to scare off the aggressors.
It is then that you realise that you have entered the Digimon World – a favoured trope of Digimon franchise stories.
Digimon Survive gameplay footage
The trailers and Dev Diary videos released by Bandai Namco all reveal some gameplay footage (see above). Still, NinEverything has uploaded one of the best looks at the game in action, as you can see below.
All characters announced for Digimon Survive
It appears as though the main cast of protagonists for Digimon Survive has been revealed in this long run to release.
The human characters detailed so far are:
- Takuma Momotsuka: The leader of the group, Takuma is the character who leads them all to the mysterious shrine before discovering that they’ve fallen into a strange new world.
- Aoi Shibuya: Not one to talk much, Aoi finds herself in charge of food and base management in the new world.
- Minoru Hinata: He is a close friend of Takuma, and while he’s an easygoing guy, his antics can cause the group some trouble.
- Ryou Tominaga: Unfortunately for Ryou, he isn’t fond of suddenly being in a new world, and is particularly afraid of the Digimon Kunemon.
- Saki Kimijima: Always speaking her mind, Saki can create some friction within the group, but is always optimistic – even when she finds herself in this strange place surrounded by monsters.
- Shuuji Kayama: In the real world, Shuuji can be a strong leader who is both kind and knowledgeable, but in the world of Digimon, his education does little to help, and he blames others for their predicament.
- Kaito Shinonome: Unlike the others, Kaito lives in the area. He ventures to the shrine with the others to stop his sister from doing so, getting pulled into the new world with the others. Kaito’s driven by his sense of duty, but as he’s also quick to act – often doing so without consulting the rest of the group first.
- Miu Shinonome: The younger sister of Kaito, Miu is eccentric and is the one who tells the group about the shrine on the forbidden grounds. Miu also gets pulled into the new world with the others.
Each of the human characters finds themselves embarking on this adventure of survival alongside a Digimon partner, who they battle alongside and develop a bond with:
- Agumon: Joins Takuma
- Labramon: Joins Aoi
- Falcomon: Joins Minoru
- Kunemon: Joins Ryou
- Floramon: Joins Saki
- Lopmon: Joins Shuuji
- Dracmon: Joins Kaito
- Skyakomon: Joins Miu
In the image below, you can see all of the characters with their partner Digimon for the story of Digimon Survive.
Across the several clips of gameplay, we’ve seen many other Digimon too, including MetalGreymon, Garurumon, Meramon, Shellmon, Nunemon, and Okuwamon.
In total, there will be over 100 Digimon in Digimon Survive, featuring a selection across several generations of the digital monsters.
As discovered by Gematsu, Digimon Survive will also feature at least one of the four Digimon Sovereign, Ebonwumon (Xuanwumon).
What is the Digimon Survive release date? [Updated, August 2021]
The Digimon Survive release date is March 2022 at the latest, as detailed below.
While a firm Digimon Survive release date is yet to be revealed, at the time of writing, the game is still pencilled in for a 2020 launch on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
It was originally scheduled for a July 2019 release, but that was given a nudge close to the time of release – altering to a 2020 window.
In April of this year, Bandai Namco was forced to correct a typographical error which changed the release date from 2020 to TBA.
This was corrected, with the publishers reaffirming that Digimon Survive is on track for a 2020 release.
Just a few months later, however, Toei Animation showed a January 2021 release date before taking down the information.
After all of the confusion, in October 2020, the game’s producer, Kazumasa Habu, announced that the Digimon Survive release date has officially been delayed to 2021. The statement also detailed that more information will be on the way next year.
*Following on from the above, once again, Digimon Survive was pushed back. While not an official announcement from Bandai Namco, a similar series of events has unfolded. Toei Animation now lists the Digimon Survive release date as fiscal year 2022 Q3 and beyond, per Gematsu. This would seemingly peg its latest release date as the end of March next year.
When we find out more information about Digimon Survive, this article will be updated.