Killer & Dragons: The GungHo and Grasshopper Interview
May 17, 2013 Page 3 of 3
Do you have ambitions to grow into a big publisher in the U.S., and would you consider releasing games from other companies that are not under the GungHo umbrella in Japan?
KM: In terms of GungHo U.S., definitely. One of the biggest reasons that GungHo America needed to happen is because GungHo's development style makes scheduling nonexistent, when we come up with new ideas and new concepts. We do not go by a strict schedule. In terms of just running the business ourselves, we are going to need cash flow.
In terms of how we do schedule things on the development phase -- we do have a schedule. It's just that there could be feature changes, or whatnot, and in my head, I have a guesstimate of how long it'll take. It's not that we don't have a schedule -- we do have a basic schedule, it's just not set in stone, exactly.
I think that Japanese games need a booster right now in the West -- someone needs to put them forward more and give them the attention they deserve. But over the course of this generation, Japanese developers' reputations suffered with gamers.
KM: Let's say that Japanese games are in their darkest times right now. There's no way to go but up, if that's the case. In terms of making games, I think Japanese developers need to go back to basics about why they make games in the first place, which is to make good games. At GungHo, that's what we do. We think about games and come up with good ideas and do our best to make it as best as possible, and all we'll do is keep doing that. Sooner or later, that'll pay off.
We also take on outsourcing as well, and awhile back we worked on a Nintendo title, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Which as you know sold 10 million worldwide, and it was a big hit. When we were able to work with Nintendo, that's when we realized what Nintendo does best is make good games as well, and that's something we'd like to do as well, with GungHo's titles.
A lot of companies in the social or mobile space, if they had a hit like Puzzle & Dragons, they'd be dropping everything and chasing the next hit, and you can see the effect this has on companies, where they just stumble repeatedly.
I know you must have in mind that you could do this again, but it doesn't seem like you're going to just chase that single-mindedly. Can you tell me why? It doesn't seem like it's your top priority to make the next Puzzle & Dragons.
KM: I don't want to make the same thing twice. If an idea popped into somebody's head that could be Puzzle & Dragons 2, well, definitely we'd work with it if it were a good concept. But until then, it doesn't make sense to just pursue that brand name because it's a big hit, if we don't have any good ideas.
In terms of the game itself, we always try to be innovative, and come up with something new. So Puzzle & Dragons has already been released and people know about it, so it doesn't make any sense to make something that's only slightly different. I'd like to make a game that a lot of people haven't seen before, a new concept with new ideas.
Exactly as I mentioned, if an idea does come for Puzzle & Dragons 2, and we love it, and we all think it's a good idea, and that people will enjoy it, then we'll work on that too.
The producer, Daisuke Yamamoto, actually already mentioned, "I'm sick of Puzzle & Dragons. I want to work on something new." I said, "Yeah, sure, if you want."
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