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New Devil Summoner for Wii!

Posted by evans στο Παρασκευή, 1 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2006

The following interview was conducted with Kazuma Kaneko, lead designer and artist of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei series of games, back at this year’s E3. Once it became clear I couldn’t use this in the mag, I decided it was still way too interesting to waste! So here it is, L2G readers. If you love any of the MegaTen games or are just curious about the upcoming Devil Summoner title, you should give it a look! Hitoshura and myself (Lynxara) conducted this interview, if you’re wondering about that.

HGM: So could you tell us, in your own words, about your role in creating the games of the Shin Megami Tensei (MegaTen) series?
Kaneko: Aside from character design, which most people know me for, I oversee storytelling and gameplay design.
HGM: So what makes the Devil Summoner games distinct among the many MegaTen games?
Kaneko: Devil Summoner doesn’t use the turn-based system most people associate with the Shin Megami Tensei RPGs. It’s more of an interactive action game. Basically, «devil summoners» are people who act as detectives, while using demons to aid them. In a Devil Summoner title, the player takes on the role of a «devil summoner» for him or herself.
HGM: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne was sort of the «classic» MegaTen look. Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner was a surrealist take on the MegaTen aesthetic. What is the spin on the MegaTen visual sense we’ll see in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner?
Kaneko: Well, this Devil Summoner game is set in Japan in the early 1900’s. It was a shadowy period of transition from traditional culture to a more modern, Western-style culture we call «Westernization». The game designs dramatize this by trying to look as realistic as possible.
HGM: So we’ll see period technology, like guns and cars?
Kaneko: Yes, definitely.
HGM: What special system design elements did you come up with for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner?
Kaneko: Unlike most MegaTen games, you only have one demon at a time for your partner. The summoner, Raidou, never acts on his own. Instead, he does combination attacks with his partner. There’s a lot of interactivity, with the summoner and his demon.
HGM: Speaking of Raidou, could you tell us a little bit about him?
Kaneko: Raidou Kuzunoha is the game’s main character. His name has a special significance… in kabuki theater, there is a tradition where a great actor’s name may be carried on by other actors. This demonstrates the great one’s importance and honor. In Devil Summoner, the Kuzunoha clan is descended from great persons like that. The player character is a ‘chosen one’ who gets to inherit the name of a great man, Raidou Kuzunoha.
HGM: So what’s the significance of the original ‘Raidou Kuzunoha’, that the player character is named after?
Kaneko: The Kuzunoha clan was founded by a great man who taught five disciples. The original «Raidou Kuzunoha» was one of those disciples, and other people inherited their names to honor them. Future Devil Summoner games will talk about the other four great disciples.
HGM: So with Devil Summoner coming out this year and Persona 3 on the way, what’s next for the MegaTen series?
Kaneko: Probably the next Devil Summoner title.
HGM: What systems can fans expect to see MegaTen games on in the future?
Kaneko: Probably the PS3 and Wii. I would really love to bring MegaTen to Wii.
HGM: What would a Wii MegaTen game be like?
Kaneko: Well, if you play Nocturne or Digital Devil Saga, they’re typical modern RPGs. You see your characters act from a third-person view. But as you and your readers probably know, the original MegaTen games used a completely different first-person viewpoint. I would love to go back to basics with MegaTen on the Wii and bring back the first-person perspective, while using the controller to let players experience their environments directly.
HGM: Let’s end with some questions about you as a designer. Of all your many projects for Atlus, can you pick a personal favorite?
Kaneko: It’s Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner right now, but I’m the sort of person who always prefers my latest game over my older ones.
HGM: What was your first project with Atlus?
Kaneko: Oh, I really can’t remember… it was definitely a NES game. I know my first game was Kings of Kings, back when Atlus was a division of Namco.
HGM: Aside from your work for Atlus, you’ve contributed guest designs to other video game series like Zone of Enders and Super Robot Taisen. You’ve also provided designs for Japanese television series like Masked Rider Hibiki. Can your fans look forward to any more projects like that?
Kaneko: Oh yes. I’m friendly with many other Japanese game producers, so crossovers are a natural result. I’m also actively interested in working with mediums outside of video games. I’m working on illustrating some novels right now, for example. Some are based on Atlus properties, but some are original.
HGM: Can you name any of these «special projects» for us?
Kaneko: Not yet!




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