Visions of Mana reveals summer release date in surprise Xbox Direct appearance, shooting right up my JRPG wishlist

 Visions of Mana hero points their sword to the sky.
Visions of Mana hero points their sword to the sky.

Visions of Mana is set to release this summer, marking the first time we've got a new mainline entry in the Mana series for close to 16 years.

Square Enix has shown up at Xbox Developer Direct in a surprise appearance to show off the new game in the beloved action-RPG series, giving us a peep at silky smooth gameplay and some new tidbits of information.

We found out that the original creator, Koichi Ishii, is supervising the art transformation, that we're getting new designs of classic Mana creatures from series illustrator Airi Yoshioka, and, most importantly, that the game will be released this summer.

Initially revealed at The Game Awards in December, the upcoming action-RPG puts you in the shoes of Val, a man free of care and skilled with a blade. Things take a turn, though, when a childhood friend is chosen as an Alm, which basically means they must journey to the Mana Tree to rejuvenate the flow of mana power. It wouldn't be proper to send them alone, though, so you're joining as a guard.

While we've seen plenty of Mana ports and remakes over the past few years - hello, Secret of Mana - this is the first full-fat mainline entry we've got in 16 years. In a blog post on Xbox's official site, Mana series producer Masaru Oyamada explains why those ports and remakes helped usher in a new entry.

"It's been around 10 years since I took over as Mana series producer, but one of my ambitions from the beginning was to put out a completely new game on consoles," he says.

"However, there had already been quite a gap since the previous entry when I took the reins of the series, so I was a little unsure as to how many fans actually wanted to see a new Mana game.

"So first, we decided to release various remakes and remasters to both renew interest among past fans of the series and give newcomers a chance to experience the series. Following the good reputation for the Trials of Mana remake, it became clear that we could realistically make the kind of game we'd long been imagining. Visions of Mana is that game."

Visions of Mana launches this Summer for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Here's all our Xbox Developer Direct 2024 live coverage, as it happens.