At Tokyo Game Show 2022, we had the opportunity to catch up with Armed Fantasy: To the End of the Desert [5 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/games/armed-fantasia-to-the-end-of-the-wilderness”>Armed Fantasia: To the End of the Wilderness lead game designer Akifumi Kaneko for a follow-up interview after the wild arms the success of the successor’s Kickstarter campaign.
Armed Fantasy: To the End of the Desert is a western themed JRPG [553 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/rpg/jrpg”>Japanese role-playing game from the creators of wild arms. It was announced late last month along with shadow hearts spiritual successor blood penny [3 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/games/penny-blood”>Penny Blood, with the two games launching a “Double Kickstarter” campaign to fund development. Initially seeking 100 million yen, the campaign has since amassed more than 215 million yen in support.
If you missed our first interview with Kaneko, which was just before the Kickstarter campaign launched, be sure to check it out here. Read more about the game itself here.
Get our latest interview below.
First, I want to say congratulations. Looks like you’ve already exceeded your Kickstarter goals by far, that’s really exciting! Also thank you for having an interview with us again.
Akifumi Kaneko, Lead Game Designer: “Thank you very much!”
I’m not as good an interviewer as Alice is in the game. official twitter accountbut I’ll do my best.
Kaneko: “(Laughs.) That’s not true. You know, the person who answers questions on Twitter like Alicia is this guy. (Points to Toshiki Kubota.)”
Toshiki Kubota, Alicia: “I’m Alice!”
So how has the experience of developing a crowdfunded game been compared to having a publisher?
Kaneko: “For a publisher, making a fun and interesting game is of course the most important thing. Publishers will do research to see what people want or if what they’re creating is good or not, whereas with Kickstarter, without going through another company, we can ask customers directly “What kind of game do you want us to make?” and ‘What do you think of this?’”
This game is often heralded as a spiritual successor to wild armsbut for the people who like me who haven’t played yet wild armscan you explain what makes this game special and stand out from other RPGs? [14,497 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/rpg”>RPG?
Kaneko: “First of all, armed fantasy It’s a completely different game wild arms. There will be a compelling story as usual, but the story, characters, and so on will be different from wild arms so anyone who hasn’t played wild arms you will enjoy this game. In addition to that, it will be an Open-World. [109 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/open-world”>open world experience where you explore the whole place. Also, if you are an anime fan, you will find fun in that too.”
I read that western themes and things like trigun influenced his design wild arms. Have there been any new or other influences for armed fantasy?
Kaneko: “We are doing a double Kickstarter with Machida-san, who is doing blood penny. We both did 90s JRPGs so we thought we wanted to do another 90s style JRPG. Machida-san has more than one Horror [140 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/horror”>horror flavor, and I like western. Also, working on wild arms for 15 years and working on anime for 10 years inspired me to want to use aspects of anime like storytelling and the way it’s depicted in armed fantasy.”
In the video announcing the Double Kickstarter with you and Machida-san, everyone suggests that JRPGs aren’t as popular as they once were. Why do you think it is?
Kaneko: “Of course, there are still very popular JRPGs like person 5 [148 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/games/persona-5″>Persona 5but with person 5 that’s the fifth installment. If it’s part of a series that already has a first game, that’s fine, but when it comes to making a new JRPG, Japanese publishers just won’t take any chances. In my case, I went to Sony again and again, but nothing came of it. It’s not so much that JRPGs aren’t popular, it’s that publishers won’t let us make them.”
What do you think it would take to convince publishers to make more JRPGs?
Kaneko: “(In English) Money! (Laughter). Of course, if a game becomes a hit and performs well, no problem. Sequels to a pre-existing series make a lot of money, so it’s hard for them to lend money for a new title since it won’t make as much. For a Japanese publisher to make a new game…it’s really about money. Money! (Laughter)”.
To talk more specifically about armed fantasythe Kickstarter page mentions six main characters, but we’ve only seen three so far.
Kaneko: “We’ve only shown three characters so far, but we plan to reveal them over time, so everyone look forward to their reveals!”
The Kickstarter campaign and much of the promotional materials have been translated into English, but have you thought about who will localize the game itself?
Kaneko: “Our foreign staff helped create the Kickstarter page and worked on the campaign to market it to foreign markets, so as far as localizing the actual game, we think they can help again.”
He recently released a field test video of the main character running and jumping. Will armed fantasy present a lot of platform challenge?
Kaneko: “What you can see is running and jumping, since we are still thinking about what kind of Action [675 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/action”>actions there will be. You can switch between characters as each will have certain actions that only they can do to help you solve puzzles and navigate. It might be bad say so, but there won’t be as much freedom as something like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildsince it’s more of a story-based game.”
In our initial interview you mentioned that you wanted to make a big map of the world, since you couldn’t savage weapons 4. Is there anything else you want to put into Armed Fantasia that you haven’t been able to do in the past?
Kaneko: “The main thing is to have a bigger world map and people can explore it by doing different actions like jumping, using gadgets, solving puzzles, etc. In the past, it was more about going from point A to point B, so we want players to be able to interact with the world more.”
Speaking of the large world map, one thing that is a common complaint is asset reuse. How do you plan to avoid this?
Kaneko: “It may be a boring answer, but it takes time and money. To prevent players from getting bored, we have implemented a more interesting battle system with different types of monsters to fight, as well as various actions to solve puzzles. You always find something new to solve.”
On the subject of monsters, do you, or perhaps your enemy designer, have any specific inspiration or influence for enemy designs?
Kaneko: “Regarding enemy design, the chief director of this game, Ishii (Hiroki), is in charge of designing monsters. we work together on wild arms where he also made monsters. Speaking for myself, when I was a kid I was really into kaiju like Godzilla and Mothra. Around the world there are many myths and legends with different types of monsters. When I was a child in Japan, when I think of monsters, I think of kaiju.”
What affects the order of turns in battle?
Kaneko: “There is a basic turn order based on speed and if you take actions before the enemy. Order Chain allows you to make more powerful attacks by consecutively attacking with characters, which the enemy can also do. You can of course use Force Chains to interrupt a possible Order Chain.”
What is your decision process like when it comes to choosing game options? For example, do you get a “Game Over” when the whole party disappears or when only the main character dies?
Kaneko: “I start by talking to the staff about my image for the game. I will have my opinion and then I will see what others think, and they may have different opinions. There is no one way we make decisions, but we usually decide by talking and thinking together about the best option.”
Our time is about to end. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans before I let you go?
Kaneko: “It’s been a long time since I’ve developed a game, about 15 years. Even though 15 years have passed, seeing fans excited about the announcement and not forgetting me makes me very happy. Everyone’s passion is to give us 120 percent energy to keep going. We just want the opportunity to work hard, so we look forward to your continued support.”
Armed Fantasy: To the End of the Desert is in development for PS5 [3,497 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/platforms/playstation/ps5″>PlayStation 5, Xbox Series [2,740 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/platforms/xbox/xbox-series”>Xbox and PC series [16,040 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/platforms/pc”>PC Users interested in supporting the game’s Kickstarter campaign can do so here.