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I want to talk about Guilty Gear 2 Overture, because it was such a surprise. It's completely different as it's a 3D adventure game. I wanted to find out where the idea came from originally. I heard that it was something you'd been wanting to do, but I wanted to hear a little bit more about it.
DI: Well, we were involved directly with the series up through Guilty Gear XX #Reload, which were the 2D fighting games we'd been wanting to make. At that point we felt like we'd done what we'd set out to, and were wondering what step the series should take next.
Until that time, I'd been playing games at the arcade and on my PS2, but when I started playing games on the PC, I discovered how fascinating FPS and RTS games could be.
For me it was like "Wow. There are these entirely other venues for making competitive games that are really interesting." So when it came time to move forward, we thought we should try to take a totally new approach and move in a new direction.
This is a tough question, I don't know if you can answer it, but there have been some rumors on the net about Guilty Gear and Sega getting the rights, which is why [Arc System Works' Dynasty Warriors-style action title] Guilty Gear 2: Overture didn't feature too many older characters -- and stuff that I don't really understand. Though you might not be able to provide any answers...
DI: Right, I might not be able to provide answers there.
You know, rumors... on the Internet...
DI: Yeah, I can't really talk about it much... except to say that they're basically true. (laughs)
Arc System Works' Guilty Gear 2: Overture
I don't know if Battle Fantasia will have a sequel or not, but was your intention to start multiple series within the same company, because they could expand your audience? I think of the Guilty Gear audience as an existing number of people who like Guilty Gear. I would assume most of them would be interested in BlazBlue and Battle Fantasia, but I don't know if that's your intention, or if it's to develop multiple games with their own style and audience. Could you talk about that?
DI: Our company basically functions in a way that allows people to make the games they want, and these two [Iwasaki and Mori] are prime examples of that.
JM: It's not like we had a grand plan for doing all the different series, but their respective creators said, "Hey, I want to do this," and they just pushed the development forward with all their energy. Some of the ideas don't end up making it, and some do. As for making games into a series, it just depends on how well the title does.
When you were making Battle Fantasia for example, did you think, "Guilty Gear fans will probably like this," or did you try to make a game that could stand totally on its own?
EI: Well, we were asked to make certain aspects of the game keeping Guilty Gear fans in mind.
TM: Yeah, but they did want you to pursue your own vision.
EI: I know, but they still asked me to consider that sort of thing.
TM: With BlazBlue, we're basically begging the Guilty Gear fans to play it. I'd be lying if I said we didn't have them in mind when we were working on the game. We wanted it to be something Guilty Gear fans would be comfortable with both visually, and in terms of controls. But we also wanted it to be something people would want to play if it was their first experience with one of our games.
JM: Yeah, BlazBlue was made more explicitly with fans of Guilty Gear in mind, but Battle Fantasia was more of an attempt at expanding our audience. It has a different type of game world, and the controls are a little simpler.
Yeah, could you explain about what went into designing Battle Fantasia? That was really the first game outside the Guilty Gear series in the genre from Arc, so I want to talk about where the idea came from, and how you decided on the audience and the gameplay style, as it is a little bit simpler.
EI: We were interested in bringing in people new to fighting games, and also female players.
If the target was female players, was it just the art style that changed, or was it gameplay? Because ultimately, it's still an arcade fighting game, and as far as I'm aware, that audience isn't as involved in that. What changed in making this game, different from say, Guilty Gear or BlazBlue to appeal to that audience?
EI: Well, I go to game centers... (laughs)
Mainly, we tried to make things a little simpler. For example, the instruction card on the machine is easier to understand. Also, with the characters and the game atmosphere, because RPGs are so popular in Japan we took some cues from that genre.
As for gameplay, if you're faced with a ton of confusing moves and combos right off the bat it can be frustrating, so we simplified that a bit as well. But, in making it easier to get started, we didn't want the game itself to be shallow, so we tried to strike a balance between a game that looks easy on the surface, but also really draws you in the more you play it, and has some depth to it as well.