Saint Seiya Soldiers’ Soul Interview: Ryo Mito on Western Anime Fans, 1080p 60fps, PC Gaming in Japan

Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul was announced on the weekend along with the first episode of Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold airing, which we covered briefly before. Saint Seiya has never been something I’ve been an expert on, and I’m only really aware of the early series on a surface level (though I really want to check out the new series). It’s a very influential series that a lot of modern anime owes a debt to.


The manga has been ongoing since the 80s, but is still gaining traction in the west, which is why it’s really cool to see it’s coming out over here too. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to the producer of the game, Ryo Mito-san about this and more…


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It’s fair to say that Saint Seiya is one of the longest running manga series in Japan, but it’s only recently with games like Brave Soldiers (2013) and Pegasus’ inclusion in J-Stars Victory VS+ (2015 [the original came out in 2014 in Japan]) that we’ve really started to see much Saint Seiya in the west. How do you think the reception of Saint Seiya in the west has changed over the past few years?


RM: As you mention, the Saint Seiya series is really heating up recently. Like you mention there were 2 PS3 Seiya games [including J-Stars in Japan], and a 3D movie if you’ve seen that, and then there’s [Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold] starting this week. It was popular before, but recently there are more voices from fans abroad saying they want more of Seiya which is why we think it’s heating up.


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The new anime starts on Saturday [April 11th, 2015] and I know myself and other anime fans will be tuning in to watch it not that long after it originally airs in Japan. Do you think the way that people from the west can easily consume anime almost immediately helped things like Saint Seiya gain traction recently?


It’s maybe not the only thing that’s pushing Seiya up, but liked you mentioned there are more people watching anime on the internet, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but there still are a lot of people watching, not only Seiya, but a lot of anime online. That will obviously lead to the voices of fans saying they want a new game, they want more new content. So yes, I think that is one of the reasons why.


Is Soldiers’ Soul linked directly to Brave Soldiers or is it completely new?


It is based off of Brave Soldiers, the past title, but like we mentioned it’s going to be released on the PS4 and Steam and since the battle is now going to be in 1080p and 60fps it’s going to be a whole lot different. Players who play the game aren’t just going think it’s another Brave Soldiers, and there’s going to be several new modes as well, so it’s going to be something new.


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Is there going to be a new story that adapts the already existing Saint Seiya arcs, or will it be something original?


We are currently preparing 2 modes. One of them is the story mode where the player can re-experience the original story, the classic Saint Seiya stories. The other one will be a mode where the player can play as the characters that appear in [Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold].


You mentioned 1080p 60fps — are there any other elements you’ve managed to push with the new hardware of the PS4?


Using the power of the next-gen consoles we’ve really enhanced the game, in terms of battle and also visual effects. For the characters and modes we don’t plan on making a difference between the PS3 version and the PS4 version. I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer yesterday, you can tell that there’s a lot of glowing and shining going on. That’s the kind of thing we can only express in 1080p. Of course we have done on PS3, but it’s going to look even better on PS4. In terms of battle the next-gen consoles are going to be in 60fps, so all the moves and all the characters are going to move more smoothly.


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It looked great visually in the trailer. How hard is it to get the game to resemble the style of the source material so closely?


As you know Seiya is really — I wouldn’t say old — but it’s been going on for a long, long time. And so for Soul of Gold they have all the new effects, which is actually probably easier to express on the PS4, but the most difficult part of creating a game of a manga series that has been running for 30 years, is how to reproduce the manga into the game without losing the good old Saint Seiya-ness.


The game is coming to Steam on PC as well as PlayStation consoles. It’s only recently that a lot of Japanese anime games have started coming to the PC. Where do you see the PC fitting into the landscape of Japanese gaming in the future?


Currently in Japan Steam and PC isn’t that major. There’s not too many people playing on Steam. But recently online matching and online rankings — that kind of stuff is getting more and more important by the day. We’re sure that there will come a day when Japanese people will start needing Steam.


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So currently then does it seem that PC gaming is more of a Western thing?


The biggest reason why we’re releasing the game on Steam is that it’s for the Western audiences — it’s not for the Japanese audience.


One final question then before I let you go: which is your favourite of the Saints?


[laughs] This is maybe the third time today. It’s Virgo Shaka.


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