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Did you experience any periods of difficulty when making this game?
TT: From my experience, this time is a lot better than my previous titles. I think part of that is due to the fact that if you have a large amount of data, there's more of a chance of bugs. So maybe it's a little bit better. But in the end, it depends on how well the team is run, and it depends on the scope of the game. Even if you don't have a big enough team, you can still have a lot of functionality.
JP: Could you maybe explain a little about the gameplay? You talked about how you went through four revisions of the battle system, and eventually came up with the final product. Does it actually have a battle system at all? From what I can tell based on the screens, it's really more like at the end of the day, you're given a list of the results of the assignments that you make, and there's no actual fighting that takes place within the game.
FS: I'll just go through quickly with what the game is about. You start out in an empty field, and start building houses and stores. By populating the cities, you have heroes that come out, and they go out and explore, and when they beat a boss, they get items, and they unlock buildings which you can then build and grow your city more.
You don't actually see the battle on your own. You just see the city that you're building. The battles actually happen in real-time, so you'll have little pop-up windows that tell you, "John's party is fighting the boss." And then fifteen seconds later, "John's party was destroyed." They'll tell you in real-time what's happening.
At the end of the day, you'll be able to read what exactly happened: things like who cast magic, and what kind of items they got. In terms of the battle system, we have a battle system. It's pretty much everything you'd expect from older RPGs. It's all in there. Heroes can form parties, they have abilities, they have jobs, and they have equipment. Enemies have special abilities. They have strong magic.
All the stuff you'd expect from all the Final Fantasy games are pretty much in there, and it's all happening in real-time, but you can't actually see it.
BS: That sounds really interesting. So it's not a character-driven game, then. It's more of a God game-type thing?
TT: The game design is more of a God game, I suppose. You see things on more of a macro level. But at the same time, we wanted for you to be able to get closer to the heroes in some of the villages. All of the heroes have personalities, names, and a family. We tried to incorporate the God game with some of the things that we're better at, which is character-driven games.
BS: What was the main inspiration for the design on this?
FS: When Nintendo talked downloadable games, I wrote down a bunch of ideas that we could make for this game. The one that I wanted to do at the time was a simple action role-playing game. It was kind of a tried-and-true formula. But I thought that we had to make several games to make it profitable, maybe. I was pulling numbers out of my head at that point.
So one of the games... based on the action role-playing game, I came up with a lot of other game ideas that would use the same resources and the same source code. One of those was this inverted game, as you would call it. [Tsuchida] hated the action role-playing game idea, but he liked this idea, so we ran with this.
BS: So it wasn't the overarching game, but it was still one of the games within that design set. Do you think you'll be able to build out that universe as you use those resources and things?
FS: He and I have different plans. We're definitely throwing ideas around. It introduces new ways to think about games and come up with ideas. I think that's one of the approaches we're taking, but we're just throwing ideas around at this point.