Breath of Fire 6: Guardians of the White Dragon was first announced in August 2013 during Capcom’s Network Game Conference in Japan and subsequently released in Japan on February 24, 2016 for computers and Android devices, with an iOS release following on July 12, 2016.
It is the first installment in the series to not debut on a home console, opting to focus on the large market that is known as Japanese smart devices. While also being a long await sequel from a series that has been in slumber for many years (Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter released in 2002).
The Western audience waited patiently for the game to be released worldwide and localized, but Capcom soon found the game to be unworthy. Breath of Fire 6 received phenomenally low scores on Japan’s Google Play store, holding a 1.7 out of 5 (as of June 2017). With such a poor reception, Capcom announced that it will end the game’s services come September 27th, 2017.
For those unfamiliar, Breath of Fire is a role-playing video game series developed by Capcom, originating on the SNES. The series main notable feature is its recurring main characters, Ryu and Nina, as well as returning themes such as dragons, anthropomorphized animals, kingdoms under siege, and an evil god lurking in the shadows. While each and every game can be a standalone title, all share some an ambiguous continuity of the narrative.
With the ever growing mobile population in Japan, the creator of the series opted to design the next entry for the game, Breath of Fire 6: Guardians of the White Dragon, for mobile devices. I’ve been a long time fan (since the very first game), and I’ll be the first to say that Capcom has gone way off course with this game. They attempted to capture a new market with a new product, but in the process, they forsook their core fans hoping for a traditional entry.
Aside of abandoning the traditional themes (which Breath of Fire V also did) of series, they seemed to have completely altered what made Breath of Fire, Breath of Fire. The style, art, and music were all indicative of many Eastern MMO games, being a strange amalgamation of Secret of Mana and Maple Story. It sadly, was a Breath of Fire game in title alone, outside of a few hints like names and returning voice actors. It felt so foreign to the series, that the weak attempts at reviving it (like borrowing the plot from the original Breath of Fire) fell flat on its face.
What does it say about the future of the series as a whole? The hopeful side of me wants to believe that they will halt the process, for now, allowing time to rethink their new direction with the series. There have been few attempts to buy the IP from outsiders which the company refused to do, hopefully meaning they still have plans for it, but at the same time it can also mean that the final veil has been put on the series for good.
Only time will tell, I guess.