BS: Do you still play fan-made indie games?
RY: Ahh, for example I'm really interested in ABA Games. I like indie games, or more like free games available on the PC.
BS: Some games are only released and available at [fan convention] Comiket or at places like [fan-oriented Tokyo game shop] Messe Sanoh.
RY: In the end, I think our weapon or selling point is in music compatibility. If not for that, I think it would be extremely rude for us to tell everyone who works on the team to "work on the project and we'll pay you" or "it's pretty so we're releasing it".
There's no merit for either party in this scenario, don't you think? So the first thing is how the overall compatibility with music is. Yeah, as long as compatibility exists with the audio...
As for the game that's most likely to be announced in the near future, we hope, well, we talked about online stores and Live Arcade earlier, it's not an indie game but a so-called "package game", which includes games retailed on the PS3, PSP, and the DS.
Live Arcade and online stores still allow for shorter development cycles and less staff allocation. On the other hand, don't you think the great thing about indie games is if you have an idea you can make and release the game immediately? It would be great if a similar movement develops for Live Arcade.
BS: When we talked last year, I remember back then you never heard of ABA Games.
RY: Oh, I knew of ABA Games. Timing wise, the last time you came there was a lot of content I couldn't talk about, so... (laughs).
BS: I found out that in fact many indie game creators don't work in the actual game industry - like Kenta Cho from ABA Games works at Toshiba. Have you found that to be true with other indie game makers as well?
RY: Probably? Well, maybe not... Now that there's Live Arcade, online stores and the DS, developers in game companies don't have to go indie to create the games they want to create.
Do you know the game Archime-DS? There's (Skip's) Kenichi Nishi, right? The company behind Chibi-Robo? They recently came out with a DS game called Archime-DS that's selling for about 2000 yen. I don't know how many months it took them, but the staff created that game by getting together every Saturday like you would for any extracurricular activity.
They created and released the game entirely apart from their job. Ahhh, didn't Geometry Wars start out the same way?
BS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're right!
RY: I would say games like Archime-DS and Geometry Wars are products of indie activity initiated by existing industry members, don't you think? Right now I'm writing up a couple of games.
For my job, I'm working on that big undisclosed project I talked about earlier. Our usual staff team is on it and I'm constantly working on the scenario on top of other things for the game. With that alone, I get bored and drained, so as an indie activity I work on different projects on the side, and if those side projects become available on Live Arcade then it becomes indie in a way. They're alike.
BS: I think otaku and fan games, games made by people outside the game industry, define indie, though.
RY: People often take [free tools] and make shooting games. Several people have made those shooting games with single mother ships, and their methods are quite interesting. Yeah, that path is possible too.
We had a guy on our staff that did physics; he's a product manager, not a game creator, but he was interested. So he would play around using his mathematic skills. In other words, nowadays there's always the option of partnering up with someone who can draw or has some other skill set to create a game.
BS: Maybe you can't talk about Q's new game, but is it your idea?
RY: Yeah, I came up with the idea for both the undisclosed project we're working on right now and the other one.
BS: So they're Yonaga games.
RY: If we start moving into online stores and Live Arcade then the scale of each individual project would be small, so to bring out more personal style, for example, when I'm to show a game as "Reo Yonaga's game," I'd want to put more effort into introducing and presenting the game in a way that's different from what's been done so far.
Moving forward I'll do my best to bring out myself in games or create games that only I can create. I'm trying my best.