There are likely many gamers who have never heard of the Shadow Hearts series. Serving as a spin-off follow-up to the PS1 RPG Koudelka, the first entry of the series gained a cult following, with its sequel Shadow Hearts: Covenant gaining more widespread popularity.
Unfortunately, the Shadow Hearts series has been largely inaccessible to new gamers and those who no longer own a PlayStation 2, as the RPG is stuck on the PS2. It hasn't been ported or remade, but now a trademark has been filed for the series, sparking hope that gamers will get a chance to play it.
In Japan, Universal Entertainment filed a trademark for Shadow Hearts on April 27, which just recently went public. There hasn't been an official statement from Universal Entertainment regarding the reason behind the new trademark. The original developer of the series, Nautilus, was eventually absorbed by Universal Entertainment and game development was shut down a few years after the release of the final series entry, Shadow Hearts: From the New World.
Although Universal previously stated that it had no intention of rebooting or remaking the franchise, anything is possible. Now that the PlayStation Plus service is preparing to bring back numerous games from the PS2 era via streaming, it's possible that Universal may have filed for the trademark so that the series could be offered on the service. However, players will have to wait and see once the PlayStation Plus service goes live to find out for sure.
In any case, it's a very exciting thing for fans of the series. Shadow Hearts has been dormant for an extremely long time without even rumors of a continuation of the series. It's a bit of a surprise, since Shadow Hearts: Covenant, the second series title, was a commercial success and saw considerable appreciation from players and critics alike at its release.
For those who never got to give Shadow Hearts or Koudelka a try, the series is based in the late 1800s to early 1900s in an alternate universe of the real world. Important historical events and figures often arise, like Rasputin and the last reigning Tsar family of Russia, but with an occult horror twist. The game also features a unique take on the RPG format, as players must manage their characters' sanity points as they battle against disturbing creatures that unnerve them. Shadow Hearts: Covenant introduced a unique turn-based RPG system relying heavily on positioning and team combos, and the series as a whole saw the creation of the Judgment Ring system, rewarding players for perfect timing of their attacks.
All in all, Shadow Hearts is still loved by many fans of early 2000s JRPGs, and any sign of life from the publisher is likely welcome news. With any luck, players will be able to revisit Yuri, Alice, Karin, and all the others while new players meet them for the first time.
The Shadow Hearts series is currently available on the PlayStation 2.
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Source: Chizai-Watch (via Gematsu)