Square Enix moves into MOBAs with Lord of Vermillion Arena

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Square Enix is getting ready to leap into the MOBA milieu with Lord of Vermillion Arena, a two-player PvP throwdown based on a collectible card game that is, as the saying goes, big in Japan.

Lord of Vermillion is "pretty much unknown in the West," according to Siliconera, but it's a "strong series" for Square Enix elsewhere. Players battle one another with cards played on an arcade machine—this photo on Wikipedia makes the concept clearer—as they seek to eliminate their opponents' servants and destroy their Arcane Stones. The cards represent various sorts of fantasy monsters, as well as some characters from more familiar Square Enix franchises, including Persona, BlazBlue and Final Fantasy.

The MOBA twist on the game will offer seven-on-seven fights between monsters summoned from five unique groups including beasts, demons and undead. Decks and avatars will be customizable, and maps will feature "fodder monsters" as well as summoned creatures as a source of experience.

Lord of Vermillion Arena is expected to launch in 2015, but a brief alpha test is slated to run from October 17 to 19 for those who want an early peek at what's in store. Square Enix is apparently looking for 2000 testers and has a sign-up page at lova.jp, which also contains more information about the test and the game's minimum system requirements; unfortunately, one of those requirements, for now at least, is the ability to read Japanese. There's no word on when, or even if, an English version of the game will be released.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.