Nights of Azure brought an interesting spin to the world of JRPG, especially with how it portrayed the relationship between its two heroines.
Recently, Gust and Koei Tecmo announced the sequel, Nights of Azure 2, coming with three new brand heroines and a whole lot of charm.
DualShockers recently had a chat with Producer Keisuke Kikuchi, who talked extensively about what we can expect from the upcoming JRPG, which will be released for PS4 and PS Vita in Japan on December 22nd, with a western launch following next year.
Giuseppe Nelva: There are three heroines this time around, instead of two like in Nights of Azure. How does this change the dynamics of the game and of the story? This sound a lot like a recipe for a love triangle.
Keisuke Kikuchi: From the previous game, we received a lot of positive feedback about the theme of the bishojo (beautiful girls), so we wanted to carry that over to this title as well.
As you realized, there are three heroines that are the main characters in the story, and as you suggested, yes, there is a relationship triangle that will happen within the story. That said, aside from the main three heroines, we will have additional female characters that will appear, and will have their own different roles within the game and different personalities.
We refer to these characters outside of the main heroines as lilies. The players will meet each of these lilies, and they will be able to pair up with them and also change the combinations with them. Depending on who they pair up with, that can change attacks and actions in battle.
You will also be able to build relationships and bonds of trust with the various lilies in the game.
G: Will there be multiple endings? Maybe depending on how the love triangle goes?
KK: Typically Gust titles have multiple endings, and the first Night of Azure also had multiple endings, so we plan on following that route. Yet, it won’t be based on the relationship between the characters, but more on the overall story and on what actions the players performs within the game.
The relationships between the characters are more for in-game events, and to see how they build up during the game. They won’t affect the endings.
G: One of the press releases about the game says that Arshe is related by blood with the protagonist of the previous title, Arnice. What is their relationship exactly?
KK: The second game takes place well after the events of the first one. There are some relations between the two main characters, with Arnice being an agent of the Curia, while Arshe is an agent of a new organization. Their positions are kind of similar.
Arnice was covered with the blood of demons, which turned her into a half-demon, while Arshe actually dies in the beginning, and she gets revived by being infused with the blood of demons. Both characters end up being half-demons.
How they might actually be connected, that is something that we’ll leave to the people’s imagination and maybe future information releases, but those are sort of the common elements between the two characters.
G: Are you considering the use of PS4 Pro to maybe improve the frame rate, or to make the game better in any way?
KK: Since the game has been in development for a while, it hasn’t been designed with the PS4 Pro specs in mind. Since there are action elements in the game, we hope to maybe implement some kind of frame rate customization for it, we don’t yet know for certain. That said, we won’t be implementing actual new systems for the Pro at this point.
G: I don’t know just how far in time the two games are, but will there be any returning character from the first Nights of Azure?
KK: The main characters in the game are completely new, and we actually don’t get into the detail of how many years there are between the two games, so we’ll leave to the players to imagine how much time has passed.
We know that the characters from the previous title are very popular, but it remains to be seen whether we’ll see any of them in the new game or not. Right now we can’t really say anything about this, but hopefully we’ll be able to tell you in the the future.
G: A while ago, Gust was quite focused on Atelier games, while now your studio is expanding a lot, with multiple new IPs. What changed? Is this a paradigm shift or a change of philosophy for Gust?
KK: I myself joined Gust just in the last few years. While Gust did mostly Atelier games, at times they had a couple of new titles that didn’t make it to the west. But what that really had to do with is that there really weren’t enough people to take on new projects.
There were a lot of ideas that they wanted to do, but they really did not have a chance to realize them.
A couple of years ago, Gust joined the Koei Tecmo group, and I actually came in from the Koei Tecmo side myself. When that happened, we were able to expand the the staff and the resources available to the teams, and now we’re able to take on new challenges.
These are really ideas that they have thought of for a long time, and now they’re finally getting the chance to actually turn them into games.
G: So the will was always there, but there just weren’t enough resources.
G: Each of the heroines has a familiar with her. What’s the role of those creatures in the game and in battle?
KK: Those characters are called servants, and they were also included in the previous game.
In this game we have both servants and lilies. Lily partners will help the main characters in battle with combination attacks. Servants can assist with attacks as well, but this time they also take on different forms and assist the characters in various different ways.
G: This time around we have three heroines with very different personalities and looks. How does the development team handles that? Does everyone have a favorite, and maybe are there discussions on which one gets to have more screen time?
KK: In addition to the three main characters, there are also the Lilies, so there are many character types you can find in the game. There might be ones who are a little bit more Tsundere (stuck up), others that are more on the cool side, and others that are maybe cuter.
So yes, certainly within the team everyone has their favorites, and they maybe they would like one as a girlfriend, another as their younger sister, another as a wife and so forth. There are these sorts of discussions, but we won’t reveal who thinks what.
G: Koei Tecmo Games always get delayed in Japan. It’s pretty much every single one. Is there a specific reason for that?
KK: We really do apologize to our fans for this. Within the company we have quality check systems, so if the games don’t meet certain requirements, then we feel like it wouldn’t be right to deliver them to our users.
We always want to make sure that we release the best products for our fans, so we end up delaying some titles, which we do apologize for, but it’s for a good reason.
G: Personally, I feel it’s a good thing, because it means that the company cares enough to actually give the developers more time.
KK: Yet, I’d really like to apologize to the fans waiting for the games to come out.
G: Is there going to be any relevant male character in the game, or it’s going to be all ladies?
KK: I think that this title doesn’t really need male characters. The main focus is on the bishojo. There will be a couple of male characters, but they won’t really have a key role.