King’s Knight may not carry the name recognition of Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, but the game nevertheless has an important place in Square Enix’s history. The unusual scrolling shooter/RPG hybrid was actually the first title Squaresoft released as an independent company, arriving for the NES and MSX in Japan in 1986 (with a US release following in 1989). It also has a reputation for not being very good, a fact Square Enix would knowingly poke fun at in Final Fantasy XV. In that title, King’s Knight isn’t a forgotten curio but a worldwide success, and Noctis and his friends are often heard referencing the game and seen playing it on their phones in their downtime.
Wrath of the Dark Dragon, Square Enix’s new real-world King’s Knight game for mobile, is heavily inspired by the original, though it isn’t a remake. According to producer Daisuke Motohashi, Wrath of the Dark Dragon is an original adventure that builds upon the first King’s Knight. The game takes places approximately 50 years after the previous title and features revamped visuals and a number of new characters, including the four heroes from the original. Along with the new story quests, the game places a heavier emphasis on RPG elements, with different gear to equip across five different job classes. It also includes a multiplayer mode that allows up to four players to tackle stages together.
One of the unique gameplay hooks in the first King’s Knight was its “formation” mechanic; toward the end of the game, players could control all four characters simultaneously in a diamond formation. Wrath of the Dark Dragon retains this element and expands it to play a more crucial role. This time around, players will unlock different kinds of formations after completing quests in the game’s multiplayer mode; when each player fits into these formations, you’ll perform summons and unleash special attacks.
King’s Knight: Wrath of the Dark Dragon is coming to iOS and Android devices later this year. Like other mobile releases, the game will be free to download and includes optional microtransactions such as new characters and equipment. Wrath of the Dark Dragon is one of two games from the Final Fantasy XV universe releasing this year; the other, Monster of the Deep, is a VR fishing game set to launch in September.