Just a few months after Shining Force Feather's release in Japan for the DS, Sega is already planning to add another entry to its 18-year-old fantasy franchise, Shining Force Cross. The upcoming title won't follow the console strategy role-playing game formula that most gamers associate with the Shining moniker, and instead will be an action RPG (think Shining Force Exa) released to arcades -- given the state of the U.S. arcade industry, don't expect this to hit your local Dave & Buster’s!

Shining Force Cross won't at all resemble the arcade RPGs that usually come to mind in the West, Capcom's 2D Dungeons & Dragons beat'em-up hybrids; the game looks more like Monster Hunter or Phantasy Star Online. The ARPG will have a single-player mode, but up to four gamers across Japan can form a party locally or online, cooperating to fight enemies and bosses together. Players can also save their stats and equipment onto arcade IC cards.

An internal group at Sega AM2 (Virtua Fighter, Shenmue), specifically the team behind Japan-only arcade dungeon crawler Quest of D, is working on Shining Force Cross, expecting to have the game out by Winter 2009. So far, the only revealed details behind the game's story is that players will take on the role of a treasure hunter on Eden, a floating continent. The prosperous but now lost Istria civilization once occupied the continent, and have left their treasures behind.

Famitsu has artwork and screenshots of the game's Sora-esque hero and massive end-level bosses:

Sega will hold location tests for Shining Force Cross from May 2nd to May 4th at three Tokyo arcades (Club Sega Akihabara, Ikebukero GIGO, and Club Sega Nishi-Shinjuku), according to arcade gaming news blog Versus City. Perhaps one day, we'll hear news for a console port coming stateside!