At Tokyo Game 2022, we had the opportunity to sit down with former ATLUS [1,880 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/companies/atlus”>ATLUS Composer Shoji Meguro [3 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/people/shoji-meguro”>Shoji Meguro will talk about his first independent game Firearms [3 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/games/guns-undarkness”>Dark Gunswhich was recently successfully funded on Kickstarter.
Firearms it’s a sigil [24 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/stealth”>Sci-fi stealth-based RPG [14,497 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/rpg”>RPG in which you try to defeat the enemy before engaging in turn-based combat. As Meguro’s first attempt at creating his own game, he applied to Kodansha [6 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/companies/kodansha”>Kodansha’s Game Creators Lab, an independent game developer support organization. Although it was not selected, it received 500,000 yen and raised the rest of the funds game development via Kickstarter.
Despite leaving ATLUS, he still plans to work with the company as a freelance composer. We ask for details below.
Now that you no longer work at ATLUS, does that mean you could work with other companies?
Shōji Meguro: “I have a good relationship with ATLUS, so I don’t think I will be working with other companies for a while. That’s not to say I can’t do a collaboration on a song or two with other people, but in terms of doing a full soundtrack, I’d only do it with ATLUS at the moment. But that’s also not a promise that I’ll be the composer in the future. Person [8 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/series/persona”>Persona games.”
How was your original concept for Firearms what you came up with in 2005 changed until now?
Meguro: “It changed almost completely. All that remained the same was that she knew that she wanted to make a JRPG. [553 articles]” href=”https://www.gematsu.com/genres/rpg/jrpg”>JRPG with weapons in a science fiction setting.”
The outline of the story mentions that there was a division between rich and poor. Does this game have a political message?
Meguro: “No, I don’t like to think about politics, so it doesn’t focus on any political issues. In this world, the division between rich and poor leads to a war in which the world is destroyed and we have to see what humanity does after such a big reset.
Silly question, but when choosing the year 2045 for the scenario, was that year chosen at random or is there a particular reason?
Meguro: “I try to look at the real-world timeline of events and technological development and come to the conclusion that, in this or that year, the technology could be at a certain point. So when I laid out all of that, I came up with 2045.”
In screenshots and videos, the main character’s name is simply “Protagonist”. Does this imply that you can name the character?
Meguro: “Ah yes, the player will decide his name. This is a bit of a spoiler, but there’s a scene where Will says something like, ‘Hey, register your name.’”
Characters are also often shown with a particular weapon. Is everyone limited to one type of weapon, like Naomi with guns, or can you switch between them?
Meguro: “Good question. For the main character, you can choose any weapon you want, while the secondary characters specialize in one type of weapon, like pistols with Naomi, but they also have a secondary weapon that you can choose for them.”
Can you talk a bit about the stealth system?
Meguro: “You don’t avoid encounters completely like in some games. Instead, you try to sneak up on an enemy and hide your characters to try and get the best position for a sneak attack.”
“When aiming at enemies, you can see a percentage of accuracy. The longer you stare at an enemy, the more your accuracy will increase, leading to more damage at the start of battle as well as not missing. However, it is a risk. The longer you hold down, the higher the accuracy, but the chance of the enemy turning around and seeing you also increases. Then you’ll be in a situation where you’re pointing and thinking ‘come on, just a little bit more 100 per cent…please don’t turn around.’”
that sounds a bit like XCOM.
Meguro: “Oh, I love it. XCOM. He (points to Yuki Katayama, Kodansha) showed it to me saying ‘Hey, try this game!’ and I got so hooked that I fell behind on my work (laughs).”
I see that there is a relationship system. Is similar to Person? What are the benefits of developing your relationships?
Meguro: Yes, it is very similar to Person. You can talk to your teammates to improve your relationship with them, leading to unlocking team combo attacks in battle.”
Now that you are developing a complete game instead of just music, you have to consider a lot of things like modeling, animation, level design, etc. What has been the most fun and the most challenging?
Meguro: “It’s all very difficult. (Laughter.) It’s hard to choose one thing because I get tired quickly. I do one thing for a month or two, and then I get tired and I do something different for a month or two until I get tired and so on.
When making music for games, is it done knowing it’s for a specific level or scene, or do you just make a bunch of tracks and apply them later?
Meguro: “80 percent of the time I make a track for a specific scene or level, and about 20 percent are songs that I made and put in after the fact.”
For video game music, do you have to consider anything related to the game, like matching the beat to the speed of the character, or timing a chorus when an event occurs?
Meguro: “Of course, we considered the speed of the track, making sure that the song from one scene to the next isn’t too jarring or different; there are many components involved. Timing isn’t really something I consider, I just do a different track for a different scene.”
Before we let you go, is there anything you want to say to the fans?
Meguro: “We are very excited to meet our goals and make the game for everyone. Seeing everyone’s enthusiasm has given us 120 percent energy to work even harder. I hope the fans will look forward to the music and also support us to make our first game. As a designer, I’m like a first grader with no experience. I will keep working hard to improve the game. To those who supported us on Kickstarter and those who did not, we thank you for your support. Please look forward to it.”
Thank you for your time, Mr. Meguro!