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Have you ever played Dungeon Fighter Online?
GK: I haven't heard of that one. Is it recent?
Two or three years old. It's a Korean MMO similar to Capcom's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons from the arcade. It's very popular in Korea and it's getting launched in America now. It's a side-scrolling 2D MMO.
GK: Oh! You mean Arad Senki [the title in Japan]! Oh, yeah, I've played that. It's pretty safe to say that if we did a net game, it might look something like that.
It seems very natural for Vanillaware.
GK: Definitely. If I had a chance, I'd love to make something that surpassed that game.
What other MMOs are an inspiration for you?
GK: I don't know if I'd call it inspiration, but I love playing Warcraft and StarCraft online. A lot of the core Odin Sphere staff were really into StarCraft, sticking around the office to play it after work and everything. We wanted to put some RTS components into Fantasy Earth, even, but it didn't work out in the end with that project. That's a field I'd definitely like to revisit at some point.
Did StarCraft play any role in your creating [PS2 RTS title] GrimGrimoire?
GK: Well, GrimGrimoire got its start when we all said "Hey, let's make StarCraft" to each other. (laughs)
You should try to release it in Korea, then.
GK: We did, actually. Sony published it. I think it sold like 500 copies. (laughs) Odin Sphere did about the same. The ad copy went on about how popular it was, though!
I bet many times that number of people played it over there, though.
GK: Yeah. It's hard to say.
I can tell you that I've seen it available to buy on just a disc in Yongsan, the electronics district of Seoul, so -- Sorry! (laughs)
GK: Aw, you're making me cry here!
If you do some kind of net game, do you feel it has to be an MMO with community, or more like a StarCraft type of game, where it's one-on-one, or a party against another party?
GK: I've been involved in projects that took both approaches, so it's hard to say, but it's the RTS genre I'm interested in, so it'd likely be a competitive sort of online game. MMO makes for a better business plan, though. I have an interest in both styles, really.
I always have a lot of ideas buzzing around in my mind, but publishing another online game's definitely one of my goals -- and from a business perspective right now, it's one of the more feasible goals to reach.
You know, if you do that, then you have to grow a lot as a company. You need customer support, the servers, and constant community management. You may have to grow, like, five or ten times as large.
GK: Yeah. Dreams are faraway things, after all.
You can bring it closer!
Personally, just to tell you what I'd like to see from Vanillaware in the future -- I'd like to see a pure action game of some sort.
GK: That's one of my favorite genres, too. I've been involved almost entirely with RPGs or action RPGs up to this point, but action is where my real wealth of knowledge lies. You can definitely expect an action game from me.
The action in Muramasa is quite good...
GK: Thank you very much.
Tell me more about those dreams of yours.
GK: Do you mean Vanillaware's dream? My own dream -- well, I wouldn't call it a dream, really, but all I want is to keep on making games until the day I die. I kind of wonder sometimes how many of my ideas I'll be able to put out.
What, then, is the ultimate game that you personally want to make?
GK: The ultimate game, huh? Hmm. I don't know if I have an ultimate game in mind. I have a bunch of ideas buzzing around in my head, and I know I'm never going to have the time to make all of them a reality. I'd like to get to as many as I can, though, constantly upping the quality as we did from Odin to Muramasa. Vanillaware may be a pretty poor company, but I'm happy with it because it gives me a chance to create what I want to create. The staff complains at me sometimes, though. (laughs)
Treasure has kind of a similar idea going. "We don't make much money, but at least we get to make what we want to make," sort of philosophy.
What is the feeling that you really want to get across with your games? Because they seem to be building in a certain direction. Do you have some kind of personal goal that you want to reach, aside from continuing to make games?
GK: Well, my definition of the ultimate goal would be a game that implements everything I like about video games -- a little RTS, a little action, a decent story. If I can find the perfect mix of every aspect I like and be happy with it all, that would be my ultimate title.
It could be quite difficult to integrate all of that without confusing the player, so good luck.
GK: Oh, definitely.