Interview: FAIRY TAIL Game Producer Keisuke Kikuchiby Kim Morrissy,
Based on Hiro Mashima's hit manga series by the same name, the FAIRY TAIL RPG was recently released on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam in both Japan and the West in July. To discuss the offerings of this new game, we interviewed FAIRY TAIL producer and Gust associate head Keisuke Kikuchi.
How accessible is this game to people who have only a limited experience with the anime and manga?
The goal for this project was to make sure that fans of the FAIRY TAIL series would enjoy the game. With that being said, many aspects of the manga and anime work perfectly as a game, such as the unique characters who grow stronger throughout the story and a world that is overflowing with fantasy elements. Due to these aspects, I think that even players unfamiliar with the story can still enjoy the game. If this title is a player's first foray into the series, I hope that they can check out the anime as they play through the game in order to learn more about the story.
How difficult was it to create a combat system that both accurately reflects the worldview of the manga while also being satisfying to play?
While maintaining the essence of the manga and anime, we constantly considered how to best recreate all of this as a game. While some characters have a different amount of magic abilities and varying levels of strength in the story, we had to make sure to balance this as much as possible for the game. We also revised the game many times as we put in a lot of effort to decide what sections would be playable, what would be event scenes, and which parts would be shortened.
Was it important to encourage players to try out a variety of different characters, or do you feel like this is the kind of game where you can just focus on your favorites?
We made sure both were possible in the game. As the story progresses, there are areas which would be difficult without leveling up your characters, but we wanted to ensure the player could enjoy the game in their own unique way. For example, you can adventure with a party of 5 characters, or take on battles with just Erza, or have an adventure with just Gray and Juvia.
The game will feature Unison Raids that weren't portrayed in the original manga. Are there any new combinations you're particularly fond of?
The Unison Raid featuring Natsu and Lucy did not appear in the original manga, but we received advice from Mashima-sensei and added it into the game. We really put a lot of effort into creating it. Please also enjoy seeing Unison Raids from the original series such as Lucy and Juvia's, which has a fresh new feel once you see it in 3D.
The trailers so far have focused on the story and combat. Are there any other gameplay features that you're excited for players to experience?
What we couldn't convey in the trailers was just how fun it is to actually control the characters within the game. Being able to walk around Magnolia and Crocus, spending time leveling up your favorite character, and unleashing Magic Chain abilities and legendary magic attacks are all very fun. Enjoying the FAIRY TAIL world in this way can only be realized in a game. We really hope you try all of this out for yourself and experience the magic.
How much of the world of FAIRY TAIL is explorable outside of the guild?
Many areas throughout Fiore appear in the game such as Akane Beach and Crocus, along with several others that also appeared in the original manga. Please check out each location as we have made sure they have a lot of areas for the player to explore.
The game has a “Bond Dialogue” system where characters have unique conversations as their friendship increases. Will this extend to romance as well between certain characters?
There are no explicitly romantic developments in the game. We hope that players enjoy the events between various characters as they form stronger relationships and fantasize about these kinds of developments in their mind.
How did you decide on the costumes for the characters to include, especially for the female characters who wear a wide variety of costumes throughout the series?
We first worked on recreating costumes from the original manga and anime, such as the swimsuits, and then the development team produced several designs to choose from. We then chose from the costumes that would look great in 3D and that also fit the character's personality. Finally, we would confirm the designs with Mashima-sensei and then start on the 3D models.
Gust is famous for developing the Atelier series. What do you think Atelier fans will get out of this game?
While the characters and world of FAIRY TAIL are very different to the Atelier series, Atelier fans will feel right at home with the game cycle and battle system among other aspects of the gameplay that make the game easier to play.
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