Arc System Works has just announced yet another BlazBlue. It's coming out this winter, only a few months after Arc's last fighting game, Persona 4 Arena came out. Spend more money on BlazBlue, guys! Spend more money!
Regardless of whether or not you think the release of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is ethical business practice, it is undeniably an evolution for the series. Unlike Continuum Shift EX, which was essentially a balance patch we were charged full price for, Chrono Phantasma brings massive changes to the game's roster and gameplay systems. So if you are the type of player who wants to keep up with the tournament scene, get those forty-to-sixty bucks ready. Everything you know is going to change.
Here is what we know so far based on the recently released teaser trailer and small bits of info released by Arc System Works themselves: First of all, every character is going to have redrawn art. Some will have brand new costumes, while others will simply have new battle poses. Each of the returning characters will have brand new moves as well. Ragna has a new bloody overhead sword slash, Tager has a body splash, Hazama has a new super that lets him curb-stomp your face, and more.
Three new characters will also be joining the cast, but oddly enough they aren't fan favorite characters like Jubei, Nine, Phantom, or Kokonoe. Instead, they are three total unknowns called Bullet, Amane Nishiki, and Azrael. In addition, Lambda-11, Nu-13, and Mu-12 are all removed from the roster, which is a pretty surprising choice.
So let's start speculating. At the end of BB:CS, the main characters were on their way to the city of Ikaruga, a place that was once the setting of a great war. Most likely, this is where Chrono Phantasma is set. We know that one of the new characters, Bullet, is a mercenary, who might have been hired to take out the protagonists. In fact, the trailer showed all three of these new characters beating on "good" BlazBlue characters, like Ragna the Bloodedge, so it's possible that they are all three new villains. Heck, the fact that one of them is an androgynous male that fights with a scarf fits the anime villain trope too much for him to be anything else.
In addition, the BlazBlue series may be working toward a more simplified gameplay system, more akin to Persona 4 Arena's system. Every character now has two styles, Technical and Stylish. While Technical mode seems to be the same as the BlazBlue control scheme we knew in the past, Stylish mode seems to be replacing beginner mode. The buttons in stylish mode are L, N, H, and S. L and H are probably Light and Heavy respectively. S is probably special or something like that but for now we have no idea what N means. One of the primary flaws of Continuum Shift's beginner mode was the fact that it cut off many options to any players that used it. Perhaps Chrono Phantasma will be more like Persona 4 Arena in that it has it's "beginner" mode built right into the gameplay engine.
Now, let's talk about what has happened to the other characters that were removed from the roster. Lambda-11 was killed at the end of BBCS, and Mu-12, as many of you may remember, is actually Noel. Noel's new character model now has Mu's long flowing hairstyle, so it's possible that she will get some of Mu's attacks. Arc System Works did say Noel was going to get a brand new weapon in Chrono Phantasma, though in the trailer she appears to still be using her magic guns. That being said, Arc probably won't let their previously drawn sprites and mechanics go to waste. I would be astounded if there wasn't a character in the game with Lambda or Mu's playstyle.