Last month, I was given the chance to interview Keisuke Kikuchi, Producer of FAIRY TAIL, thanks to Koei Tecmo! There’s a lot of cool insight into the development and thoughts behind certain decisions that were made in the game, so enjoy!
Zac – Rice Digital: This is the first FAIRY TAIL game on traditional home consoles, how are you taking advantage of them to give a true FAIRY TAIL experience to fans?
Keisuke Kikuchi: During the development process, we carefully recreated the Kingdom of Fiore so that players could really enjoy the atmosphere of the FAIRY TAIL world. In addition, we wanted everyone to experience the liveliness of the characters, so we made sure players could control Natsu, his group and also a variety of different mages. When creating the CG for FAIRY TAIL, our team worked hard to incorporate the charm of the anime and the sensation of truly being a part of the world into the 3D models and environments.
This is an experience that players can only find in this game. While it’s difficult to display a large number of the mages on a portable system or smartphone, in this title I think we were successful in conveying the sensation of a packed guild filled with a variety of characters.
Z: How do you make sure the game feels balanced with such a vast span of power levels between characters?
K: By increasing the number of magic and assigning support/healing roles, we made sure to balance the game so that any character could play an active role in the party. Expanding upon this, players can power up their favourite character by increasing their rank, unlocking new skills, strengthening their bonds with other team members and equipping strong Lacrima.
Z: Why did you decide on a turn-based gameplay style?
K: When creating FAIRY TAIL, we wanted players to enjoy utilising the many available characters and levelling up their guild. While we considered the option of making this an action game, as there are most likely FAIRY TAIL fans that are not as accustomed to this genre, we wanted to ensure that anyone could wield all of the impressive magic we’ve incorporated into this title.
Z: How long has the game been in development for now?
K: 2 years from the official start of development, and 4 years from when we started the initial planning process.
Z: Who has been the hardest character to implement so far?
K: We experienced a variety of different challenges when developing the characters. Initially, it took us a while to create Natsu, who would become our standard for 3D model, motion and production quality moving forward. For example, Lucy’s Celestial Spirit Magic and Erza’s large amount of armour were two components we took into consideration during the selection process of who would make it into the game. We really had trouble deciding!
Nevertheless, one evening I noticed that the characters were really coming together well and upon seeing their skills in action in full 3D during a demo, I instantly thought “this is it!”
Z: Why did you decide to start the game’s story where you did (after the time skip)?
K: First off, in regards to the structure of the story, the Tenrou Island section only features the battle with Hades, which acts as the initial tutorial battle for the game. After that, the player works to rebuild their once abandoned guild, which leads to the Grand Magic Games and Tartaros arcs.
When we were deciding which sections to include in the game from FAIRY TAIL’s lengthy story, we wanted to showcase the charm of the guilds and characters outside of the main FAIRY TAIL guild. On top of this we also wanted to focus on rebuilding the guild from its initial state after the Tenrou Island arc as a component of a video game. This fit perfectly with the concept of having fun expanding and developing your guild.
Z: What are you most excited for players to experience when they get their hands on the game?
K: I am really looking forward to players setting foot in the world of FAIRY TAIL, enjoying the atmosphere of the Kingdom of Fiore, and creating a team of their favourite characters and taking them on a grand adventure. I also really look forward to players finding their own unique way of having fun with this title! To ensure that players can achieve this, we’ve included many different features including guild updates, party member episodes, requests, activities players can enjoy in Lucy’s House, and costumes.
Z: Do you have any hints as to what to expect in future updates to the game?
K: While we achieved a comprehensive game adaptation of FAIRY TAIL featuring many characters from the series, there are many other things we want to bring to the players. We are preparing new content that will be available after the game is released so that players can continue to enjoy the world of FAIRY TAIL.
FAIRY TAIL releases on 30 July on PS4, Switch and Steam – you can find out more on the official website.
We recently got to see 25 minutes of gameplay, which you can watch here, or you can watch a trailer below!
Thanks again to Koei Tecmo and Keisuke Kikuchi for taking the time out for this interview. You can get the game on Amazon here.
FAIRY TAIL Story Trailer
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