Penny Blood: Hellbound Revealed as an Early Access Roguelike Set in the Shadow Heart’s Spiritual Successor ‘Penny Blood’ Universe

Penny Blood: Hellbound Revealed as an Early Access Roguelike Set in the Shadow Heart’s Spiritual Successor ‘Penny Blood’ Universe

Natsume Atari revealed they are working with Yukikaze/Studio Wildrose to release a roguelike action game titled Penny Blood: Hellbound. This will be a companion adventure to introduce players to the universe and setting of Penny Blood.

Penny Blood: Hellbound’s Exclusive Backer Closed Beta Access launches on December 14, 2023, via Backerkit on Steam. This limited-access beta features around 10 hours of gameplay and includes an exclusive Team Emblem, available only to backers during the beta phase.

Penny Blood Hellbound

Following the successful Kickstarter of Penny Blood and Eiyuuden Chronicle, the Shadow Hearts spiritual successor will remain in development while Penny Blood: Hellbound releases in Early Access for players to shape the future roadmap of the game’s development. It should be noted that the Wild Arms spiritual successor, Eiyuuden Chronicles: Rising, was also released before the main game to introduce characters. In case you missed it, check out our review.

Matsuzo Machida shared, “We’ve had the idea for a Penny Blood companion game from the time when we first ran the Double Kickstarter campaign. Companion games are very meaningful products that allow us to answer the passion of all the fans waiting for the main game while preventing the excitement surrounding the IP from dwindling.

Around the end of last year, Natsume Atari contacted us and asked if we’d be interested in making a roguelike game set within the Penny Blood IP. The roguelike genre is one where the player goes through multiple runs in order to fully “clear” the game. While they’re different from JRPGs, they’re also popular around the world as well. It was possible for me to create a world and main characters that would fit that concept, so I gratefully accepted their offer.

I hope you’re all excited to experience Penny Blood: Hellbound, a roguelike game where we unleash the Hellhounders, the villains of Penny Blood.”

Also, Takanori Furukawa at Natsume Atari said, “I’m so happy to be able to announce PENNY BLOOD: HELLBOUND to you all today. This game is a companion game to PENNY BLOOD, and the entire team has worked very hard to make it a way for every player to enjoy the amazing world and charming characters of the PENNY BLOOD universe.”

“With Eiyuden Rising, we aimed to create a game that people who aren’t great at action games could still enjoy. Working on the development was a great learning experience, and I was also happy to see the finished product receive some praise. We also heavily focused on creating gameplay and action that feels good. I hope to use that experience to make this game embody the true fun of a roguelike action game as much as possible.

Natsume Atari has mainly focused on developing action games for some time, so we’ve always wanted to create a roguelike – a genre that’s popular all around the world. We’ve also been big fans of Machida-san for quite some time, so once the desire to create an exciting game with him grabbed our hearts, we took the liberty of contacting him.”

He continued, “Machida-san’s clear vision and burning passion serves as great stimulation for us, and the chemical reactions based on those things have caused lots of interesting ideas to pop into our heads. One of the most representative ideas would definitely be the “blood” motif which includes the bloodsurfing mechanic among several others. As of now, we’re convinced that we’ll be able to deliver new excitement, revolutionary elements, and a whole chain reaction of surprises to you in a “roguelike action” form. The entire team has poured our blood and hearts into this game, so we hope you’re excited for it, and we hope it moves you just as much as it’s moved us!”

Penny Blood: Hellbound, developed by the seasoned team at Natsume Atari Studios and featuring art by Miyako Kato, offers players a dark, immersive prequel experience to the upcoming RPG Penny Blood. The game is a brainchild of renowned JRPG creator Matsuzo Machida and is complemented by a new soundtrack from Yoshitaka Hirota and Noriyuki Iwadare. In this game, players step into the shoes of the Hellhounders, formidable antagonists to Matthew and his allies in the “Penny Blood” universe. The story navigates a side narrative filled with challenges, delving into the origins and motivations of this group of anarchists as they struggle to escape the supernatural confines of Mictlan.

Penny Blood: Hellbound introduces a roguelike gameplay style, offering a fast-paced, action-oriented side to the “Penny Blood” experience. Each playthrough contributes to unlocking a wide array of power-ups, new skills, and enhancements. Players will journey through dynamic action stages, battling exotic bosses and gearing up for the ultimate showdown in the Hellhounders’ lair. The game features an innovative Malice System, where the more blood spilled in combat, the greater the rewards. Players accumulate currency through this system, unlocking a host of upgrades and abilities that can be accessed at the Hellhounders’ hideout.

A unique element of gameplay is “bloodsurfing,” a mechanic where blood spilled on the ground becomes a tactical advantage. This allows players to glide across the battlefield, unleashing momentum-based attacks and skill upgrades, thus enhancing mobility and combat prowess. Strategic gameplay is central, with a choice of six distinct Hellhounder characters, each with unique attacks, weapons, and abilities. Players can switch between two characters in real time, creating powerful combo attacks. Additionally, there is an option for cooperative play when the full release launches in mid-2024.

Set in the 1920s, Penny Blood: Hellbound invites players to explore various locations within the Penny Blood world, encountering diverse challenges and enemies. Each character’s unique storyline enriches the atmosphere of the game, offering deeper engagement with the Penny Blood universe. The musical score, composed by Yoshitaka Hirota, the main composer of Penny Blood and the Shadow Hearts series, and guest composer Noriyuki Iwadare, known for his work on Lunar and Grandia, provides an enthralling auditory backdrop to this captivating RPG experience.

You can watch the trailer and check out the screenshots below:

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