It seems that, whether you’re a fan of visual novels or not, every gamer know what Danganronpa is. The series’ star is a bi-colored black and white bear with an evil agenda of forcing students to get away with murder or face death.
Since the series’ western debut it has only seen releases on the PlayStation Vita and PC. However, this year both of the first two game and the spin-off third person shooter, Ultra Despair Girls, will make their way onto PS4. The ports will be followed by the release of Danganronpa V3 in the west on
DualShockers had the chance to sit down with director Kazutaka Kodaka and discus the future of the series. NIS America assisted with the translation.
DualShockers: Now that the Danganronpa series has come to consoles and PC, do you feel that the PlayStation Vita versions wont be able to keep up?
Kazutaka Kodaka: Even though we are releasing the game on the PlayStation 4, we aren’t ignoring the Vita players. However, since there’s new hardware, we wanted to use it and push our systems.
DS: There was a demo of Danganronpa V3 in Japan where fans gave feedback on the sound quality of the Vita version. You addressed these concerns by revealing that a patch can be downloaded to fix this issue. Do you think you’d be interested in releasing the demo in the west and taking feedback?
KK: Before the demo came out, we new that the Vita version has sound issues so we were already working on the patch. So we didn’t actually listen to fans and then implement the user feedback, we knew about it before hand and planned on fixing it.
We aren’t very nice to players because we make this game for ourselves and make the game interesting in our minds.
DS: With so many fans, is it difficult to not listen to their suggestions?
KK: Scenario-wise I have no problem not listening to fans because I’m the master of Danganronpa, but if I hear that the gameplay is too difficult or poorly designed then we might tweak it a little bit.
DS: Ultra Despair Girls took some chances in the series by changing genres; is it possible you’d be interested in taking other chances with the series in the future by experimenting with another genre?
KK: I don’t know if Spike Chunsoft would allow Dangaronpa to be put into other genres, but if I ever get the chance I would like to. There’s been talks about maybe seeing Danganropa in an RPG or a fighter. [SPOILERS] After you complete Danganronpa V3, you will see a taste of a Danganronpa RPG.
DS: Do you think you’d use the PlayStation 4 Pro hardware to boost the quality of your upcoming games?
KK: My job is to create the scenarios, but gameplay is very important key to immerse players. I would like to use these new systems to help players be more immersed in the game.
DS: I have a serious question: is it possible that Chiaki is based off of a real life character and, if she is, may I meet her?
KK: When I created Chiaki, I created it off of what I wanted from a women. A girl who’s shy, plays retro games, sweet, and has big boobs. So if you know someone like that I’d like to meet them as well.
DS: We’re coming up on seven years of Danganronpa. Do you still personally enjoy the series and what motivates you to stick with it?
KK: Like any other person, doing the same thing over and over might get boring. But between [Danganronpa] 1, 2, and [V]3, I tried to mix up the gameplay so that they aren’t exactly similar. Being a creator, I wouldn’t want to stick with Danganronpa forever, I’d like to challenge myself.
What inspires me to keep going is the drive to surpass the last game I made. I want to always do something better and improve.
DS: Have you been looking forward to the release of Dangaronpa 1 and 2 Reload on PS4 in west?
KK: As many would know, this is just for Danganronpa V3 marketing purposes. I strongly feel that everyone should play [Danganronpa] 1 and 2 before playing 3. If I had my way, I’d just give it out for free so people could understand the story.
DS: Once V3 is released in the west, what are your plans?
KK: In Japan we recently had the Danganronpa play, anime, and video game. I’d really like to just rest for a bit and enjoy life.
DS: Did you think that Monokuma would be such a hit to gamers?
KK: I told character designer Rui Komatsuzaki to create a bear who was half white and half dark with the dark half resembling venom [Spider-man series]. Komatsuzaki-san created Monokuma’s design in 15 minutes and once I saw the character I knew that had to be it.
The second time I presented Danganronpa I had already developed the game up until [SPOILERS] Leon gets punished. I thought to myself, “This is so fun, it’s gotta pass.” But the people in the room told me that it was too harsh of a punishment. So they told me, “no” and the game failed.
I tried one last time and went to the president at Spike Chunsoft and told him that I really wanted to create this game. He looked at me and said “Sure, okay.”