Wild Card

   Beginning with Xenogears' fast-pased duels and evolving into FF VIII's and FF IX's deck-building minigames, Square's card fetish has become a defining feature of many of its recent games. Now, it's blossomed into a full title of its own: WildCard, a card-based adventure reminiscent of the venerable Super NES RPG Arcana.

Adventuring party
And beyond Door #1...

   As in Arcana, nearly every object in WildCard is represented as a card. Characters, monsters, items, spells, and even locations all appear as magical cards. New towns and dungeons are added to the map by playing map cards; once inside a dungeon, you advance by using action cards. There's no word yet on what kind of a plot will fit into all this, or even if one will -- though the "Role Playing Card Game" subtitle suggests a story of some sort.

   Battles, of course, are also conducted with cards. Unlike some of the more complicated card battle titles, WildCard will feature an easy to pick up and understand battle system. Attacks consist of simply a character card combined with a weapon or spell card. Defeating monsters earns you additional cards or Elemental Spirits that join your party.

Card battle on the plains

   While it might be easy to dismiss WildCard as yet another attempt to crank out a collecting-themed title, the game's lineage makes it worth another look. Akitoshi Kawazu, the producer of the SaGa series, is heading the game's development; indeed, Square is even describing WildCard as the next installment of the SaGa series. (What connection WildCard bears to the long-running series is still uncertain.) Akihiko Yoshida, most famous for his Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story character designs, is illustrating the colorful line of cards.

   Though its premise may be nothing creative, WildCard is backed by some big names. As Square's first original WonderSwan Color title, it should prove an interesting bellwether for the company's future portable efforts. Don't expect to be seeing the title in English any time soon, however; a Japanese release date has yet to be seen, let alone a North American one.

Preview by Clifford Chao, GIA.
Developer Square
Publisher Square
Genre Trading Card RPG
Medium Cartridge (16 mb)
Platform WonderSwan Color
Release Date  03.29.01
New WildCard details
12 new screenshots
9 character portraits