You're also working with GREE on a version of Ys called Ys Nexus.
TK: Yes. A bunch of young people are creating this game. I was surprised -- the fan base is GREE Ys fans; it's not the same as the original Ys fans. Of course there are original Ys fans that are there, too, but there are also GREE Ys fans -- so we're a bit surprised by the different fan base that's playing this game.
Does the social games space, such as GREE operates in, interest you? It's so far removed from the kind of games that you usually make.
TK: Once I played a social game, I was surprised -- it was actually fun. I played a game that's really popular here in Japan, Kaito Royale. [Ed. note: Kaito Royale is one of the most popular social games in Japan and is published by Ngmoco parent DeNA.]
It was so much fun I was able to play it for six months. Online games are a little bit of a pain in the ass, but still, these social games are able to create something that captures your attention, so much that you'll forget about that and just play the game. That's an amazing thing to do.
People who are not game creators came up with these things, so that is another surprise. I feels like we, the people who have been in the game industry for so long, and who were creating games, might have been just lacking a little, maybe have been a little lazy, to have these other people come in and just try something and make a huge success.
I have been seriously thinking about this situation a lot. I also thought about Falcom as a company -- do we need to join this social business as well? But I thought that just because the market is getting big, doesn't mean a company like us joining it would lead to success.
So I was thinking, "Okay, so where should Falcom go? What should we do?" and I realized that what we've always been concentrating on is to create something really good, so the players can pick it up and feel happy that they bought the game, feel happy that they were able to get that experience. That was the thing that we valued the most.
So taking a look at the success of the social games market really gave me an opportunity to think again about our values. And after thinking about all of that again, the conclusion I came to is that I, and Falcom, need to keep on doing we've been doing. And so I was really happy to have another opportunity to think these things over again, and really notice what's going on.
Between what you just said about social games giving you a chance to think, and also what you said about seeing how Ys is received in the U.S., it sounds like you've been doing a lot of thinking about the direction the company should go.
TK: Yes, I've been been thinking about the future a lot. I love games, and I love creating games. The reason I've been thinking about those things is because I want to keep on creating games. I love creating games, and I want to keep on doing that, and so my thinking is like, "Okay, I want to keep on creating games, so what do I need to do to keep being able to do that?"
And that's the motivation in thinking about the social market, and thinking about the Western market. What I want to be able to do is keep creating games, and also increase the size of their fan base. As a person who's heading a company, that might not be the right motivation, but that's my motivation in running the company.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
I think it's a pretty good motivation for running a game company. If you look at some of the most successful game companies in the West, they're really motivated by a desire to keep making games, to keep pushing forward.
TK: So after releasing Zero no Kiseki, we haven't made a huge change in the style of how we create games. We've been evolving the way we create games, but we haven't been changing the company's whole direction. But still, a lot of people are going back to the series, and there are new people that are acknowledging the series, too, and appreciating the games.
So I feel like, throughout the whole time we've been concentrating on creating these games, being a detail-oriented developer, and creating a perfect game. I feel like the game players are also realizing once again that's where a good game exists -- and that might be the reason why they're appreciating Zero no Kiseki.
You can tell when a company is just making a sequel because they have to make a sequel, not because the people who work there want to make a sequel.
TK: Everybody here is creating games because they want to create games and because of that, I feel like nobody in the company feels like they're forced to create something. The marketing side might come up with an idea, saying, "Oh, we need a sequel for this title," but when that happens, everybody has a positive vibe for it. They're like, "Oh, okay. In that case, why don't we do this for the game? Why don't we try this, this time, so as to improve the game?" They always have like a positive attitude about it, and so that's probably why they are able to like create something really good.
Falcom doesn't have any creators with big names in the company, but we have staff who have ability a little higher than average -- everybody has some skill that's a little higher than average. And people like that, when they gather, this is the kind of game that comes out of it.