During E3, we had the opportunity to speak briefly with producer Keisuke Kikuchi (best known for creating Fatal Frame) and director Naoki Morita (known for his work on Sega's Sakura Taisen series, which is finally coming to North America) about the inspiration behind the fanciful Nintendo DS RPG, and about life after the Tecmo-Koei merger.
Nostalgia has kind of an older RPG feel, a lighter, more humorous tone. Do you think there are too many "dark" RPGs now? Are there not enough Dragon Quest-toned RPGs?
Keisuke Kikuchi, producer: Recently, we've been saturated with dark RPGs. The trend is for very complex systems, and very hardcore maniac kinds of systems. We wanted to do something that can give dreams and hope to the children, so we wanted to make it lighter and positive.
This idea has been in the works for a long time, but didn't come out until after the DS release. What was it about the DS that made this possible?
Naoki Morita, director: Firstly, a very big reason is that DS users span very wide generations, from children to adults. One of our goals was that we wanted our game to be played by parents and kids together, as if they're reading books together. We wanted to convey that kind of feeling to the users. The hardware matched the objective of the game.
How has the response been to the game in Japan?
KK: We believe that our objective has succeeded in the way that it's been received very well by the users who are not hardcore, who haven't been familiar with games -- light users. It's easy to understand, because it's located in real cities. You can kind of get into the game very easily. You can feel like you're a part of it very easily.
Could you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind using real-world locations for a fantasy game?
NM: Just having fantasy aspects in fantasy locations, it's very normal. We wanted to put the fantasy aspects in a real location so that the users can feel that there are many mysteries and unknown things in the actual world that they live in. In that way, they can feel more excited, both in the game and in their lives.
How has the Tecmo-Koei merger affected life at the company for the two of you?
KK: The stocks are held by one company, but they have different development studios. Each of them have different cultures, different philosophies. For example, Tecmo is good in American markets. Koei is good in Japan and Asia. They keep the differences that should be kept, and still, they are able to collaborate in aspects that need collaborate. And actually, they are inspiring each other, and they are good stimulation for each other.