• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Stirring Up Mysteries with Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE Creator Kazutaka Kodaka

by Lynzee Loveridge,

ANN's coverage of Anime Expo 2023 sponsored by Yen Press!

Kazutaka Kodaka at Anime Expo 2023

Game creator Kazutaka Kodaka is well known for his specific brand of "strange," from the conniving murder-teddy of Danganronpa to the wild criminals of Akudama Drive. His latest title is Master Detective Archives: RAIN CODE, a dystopic mystery game set inside a city of ceaseless rain, corporate maneuvering, and murder. RAIN CODE topped Japan video game sales charts during its debut release, edging ahead of Final Fantasy XVI. Building off its success, we asked Kodaka about writing Shinigami, how he names his characters, and if he plans to create more games in the series.

Anime News Network: Several mysteries in RAIN CODE have more than one culprit. Is it more difficult to plan a mystery when more than one person is responsible for the crime? 

Kazutaka KODAKA: When creating mysteries first, I would first decide briefly about the timespan of a case and stuff like that. And from there, when I find that there is not enough time for just one culprit, I increase the perpetrators and accentuate it with some twists. That's how I create my cases. I don't really think it's very different from my usual way of going about it. culprits. In that sense, that was not very difficult. I did the same thing for Danganronpa.


Do you have a favorite locked room mystery from fiction? And if so, which one? 

KODAKA: In Japan, there are many mystery books and media that have strange murder cases, like what happens in Danganronpa and RAIN CODE, then, the case will be solved. I really like to read those—especially Sherlock Holmes and Detective Conan. I love Detective Conan.

What was your approach to writing Shinigami? She's physically very attractive, but then her personality is somewhat contentious. 

KODAKA: Many users might be annoyed since she sometimes teases and toys with Yuma, but I made sure to balance that with her cute appearance, facial expressions, and voice. I tried to depict her as not too sweet and not too cool.

What three elements does a story need to have to be "Kodaka" work? What would you consider your signature? 

KODAKA: First, the story has a lot of details and elements. The second thing is it has my two powerful partners, character designer Rui Komatsuzaki and composer Masafumi Takada. The third is it the story has many attractive characters.


Speaking of the characters, a lot of the RAIN CODE characters have very interesting names. The main character is Yuma Kokohead, and there's Yomi Hellsmile. But then there's also Makoto Kagutsuchi, who has a unique design but a normal-sounding name. I was just curious how you develop names for the characters. 

KODAKA: When I created Kanai Ward, I first thought of creating their original language. But if we did that, it might become too fantastical. So instead, I added many different languages, such as Russian, Hindi, Japanese-like, and English-like, or some multi-nationalistic elements, by showing the signboards around the town. Then, it naturally made me feel like giving them names with multinational impressions. I assigned the names to make the characters fit the names. At the same time, rather than the typical names, I chose some completely unusual names, such as Hellsmile, and Nightmare, which you may have heard before but may not as names given to anybody. I picked names that are unique but should be easy to remember.

I noticed Russian, I believe. 

KODAKA: There's Russian, Indian... there are many languages. Naturally, when I create the names, some are unique, but others are somewhat familiar, like the Japanese "Makoto" name. So I balanced it out with names that don't exist. 

Is there any meaning behind Makoto's surname that English players may not be familiar with? 

KODAKA: Kagutsuchi and the Amaterasu Corporation's names are gods' names from Japanese mythology. I looked it up and found Kagutsuchi is the "fire god". Kagutsuchi and Amaterasu are names regular Japanese people won't have. The way you may feel strange about the names such as Hellsmile and Nightmare, I think Japanese players may also feel uncomfortable hearing names like Amaterasu and Kagutsuchi.

There are side quests in RAIN CODE that players can access at certain points. One I was very interested in seemed to involve a sort of eerie cult. So what was up with those guys? 

KODAKA: A different writer wrote this story. I only edited the text, so I didn't expect that kind of story to be included, but since it was too much work to fix it, I just let it go as it was, but it's a mystery to me, too. laughs.

It was very creepy, very scary. 

KODAKA: I thought the story really fit Kanai Ward. I like it. It is mysterious. For the Gumshoe Gab and How to Be a Master Detective: A Yakou Furio Case digital novel, Tookyo Games' Yoichiro Koizumi wrote the scenario for those two.


The neon color palette, like pink blood, returns in RAIN CODE. What is it about this color palette that appeals to you?

KODAKA: Our games aren't realism-oriented triple-A titles, so it's crucial for us to have uniqueness so that we stand out. I tend to choose vivid, neon colors for that reason. The neon colors blurred by rain characterize it as a RAIN CODE game. I also like it. When I created Kanai Ward, I created hundreds of image boards.

When it comes to the setting of RAIN CODE, it's tied closely with the political situation in Kanai Ward. Were there any real-life events or history that influenced the creation of the setting?

KODAKA: When playing RAIN CODE, I didn't want players to feel like it's referenced from something from the real world. So instead of the government being a dictatorship, we deliberately set in a fictional story that had one company take over the city. 


Similar to Danganronpa, do you want to create more games within the world of RAIN CODE? 

KODAKA: Since we went through many trials and errors, such as creating the Mystery Labyrinths, it took six years to create RAIN CODE, and I worked really hard on it. Now I'm confident I know what's good and effective within the game itself. So I hope by using those experiences, I can develop the continuation of RAIN CODE. It won't take six years this time. laughs.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

Interview homepage / archives