Fairy Tail Interview – Producer Discusses Game Balance and Difficulty, Optional Content and Game Systems

Fairy Tail RPG Producer Keisuke Kikuchi explained various new tidbits about the upcoming adaptation of Hiro Mashima's most popular manga.

Fairy Tail‘s RPG adaptation was surprisingly announced by Koei Tecmo worldwide in early September. Fairy Tail initially started in 2006, and yet, Hiro Mashima’s manga didn’t get many game adaptations in the past, and none of them ever left Japan. The most surprising aspect was how despite Fairy Tail being a shonen manga, Koei Tecmo didn’t announce a fighting game, nor a Musou game, but a turn-based JRPG.

Fairy Tail‘s development is handled by Gust, the studio behind many JRPGs, and most notably the 22-years old Atelier series. Intrigued and wishing to learn pinpoint details about certain aspects of the game, DualShockers spoke with Fairy Tail Producer and Gust Associate Head Keisuke Kikuchi.

Iyane Agossah: Are there plans to include characters, locations, or other elements from arcs that may not be directly part of the game’s story?

Keisuke Kikuchi: Character-wise, there won’t be any original characters just because there are so many characters already in the world of Fairy Tail, but the team is trying to add as many characters as we can into the game. As for locations, obviously this is a fantasy RPG, so there are some places where we took some liberties, but the important locations are extremely faithful to the original canon. For example, the town of Magnolia where the guild is located. In the manga and anime, you only see bits and pieces, but in our game, we actually went in and created the entire town in 3D. That has never been attempted before.

In the end, we’re trying to bring fans a real, holistic experience of this incredible Fairy Tail world. In terms of new features, there are certain episodes and magic that are original to the game, basically to enrich the experience. The core system in this game is the guild expansion. You start with this rundown place, but throughout the game, you’ll be upgrading the request board, the shops, and the research department, and in turn, this will bring you a better variety of missions and items and magic. This evolution of the guild and the party members is something that is really original to this game.

Above are new screenshots comparing the level 1 upgraded and the level 5 upgraded versions of the guild’s shop, bar, and request board.

IA: Will the game have duo attacks between characters with high affinity? What other bonuses will the affinity system yield?

KK: We have Unison Raid in the game. Unison Raid is basically fantasy magic that you cast with two characters, and it looks spectacular. Also, during battles, there is a Fairy gauge, and once it’s full, party members will be able to launch coordinated attacks, but that all depends on the status of the guild. The more advanced you are, the more attacks you will be able to chain together which leads to huge damage. In terms of the affinity system, the more certain characters go on adventures together, the stronger the bond is, and this feeds back to their battle performance as well.

IA: Will there be different difficulty levels or other tools put in place to assist new or casual players?

KK: Whether there will be more than one difficulty level is still in debate but the current difficulty level we have is not too high. At the same time, this is an RPG game and the more battles you fight, the more experience you accumulate, so you’re bound to become stronger. If you play it like an RPG game, you should be able to defeat bosses. For the more hardcore gamers, there will also be some tougher parts to complete that are optional. They are there to give you that challenge if that’s what you’re looking for.

IA: Will Fairy Tail feature missable/botched quests or events you won’t be able to do anymore if you finish the current main story chapter?

KK: In terms of the story progression, the main story is in line with the original canon, but for side quests and character episodes, there are certain parts where you can go back at a later time if you weren’t able to beat it earlier.

IA: Will the Nintendo Switch version of the game include any unique features to take advantage of the console’s specific capabilities (Gyro controls, HD Rumble, etc)?

KK: There are not any Switch-specific features in the game.

IA: How customizable will characters be in Fairy Tail? Are there unlockable costumes and fashion accessories to customize their appearance?

KK: There are costumes you can obtain and change into. So we don’t have accessories, but we have costume sets. In terms of character attributes and stats, you’ll be able to create magical crystals in the research center. These magical crystals are created by using materials you collect on the battlefields, and these serve as equipment. So by changing your attributes with these magical crystals, you’ll be able to help yourself in battle.

IA: Back in 2016, Gust organized a “Gust future game title” poll asking fans which franchise they want a game of. Fairy Tail won that poll. Did this play a big part in deciding to make a Fairy Tail game? Would Gust be interested in creating games based on any other franchises that were in that poll, like Hunter x Hunter?

KK: Aside from this poll, we were aware of the fact that Fairy Tail is a globally popular IP and that there are opportunities to make this into a great game. The decisive factor was really the talks between the dev team, who wanted to create a Fairy Tail game for a long time, and Kodansha. Both parties were interested in creating a Fairy Tail game, so we came together and made a deal. So while the poll didn’t factor into making the decision, the fact that everybody likes Fairy Tail is still very important in influencing the final result.

Personally, I’m a fan of Hunter x Hunter, but our top priority right now is to make Fairy Tail a big success and potentially create a franchise in doing so. In the long run, we continuously look into anime franchises that are really good matches with Gust game systems, but for now, we are preoccupied with Fairy Tail.

IA: With the release of Google Stadia on the horizon, what are your thoughts on that platform, the future of cloud-based gaming, and how it may impact the Japanese game development scene?

Keisuke Kikuchi: I’m very interested in Stadia, but I can’t really make any speculations without actually working on it. From Koei Tecmo, Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle will be one of the launch titles, so if it performs well and if we observe that anime titles are indeed popular on Stadia, I might make some plans for Fairy Tail as well.

IA:  Is there anything else you would like DualShockers’ audience to know about Fairy Tail?

KK: We’re designing this game in a way where players can shape up their own Fairy Tail in terms of magic battles and guilds, so in that sense, we’re hoping that all Fairy Tail fans will give the game a try. But for those of you who are not too familiar with Fairy Tail, we still recommend it as a great fantasy RPG. We hope everyone is really looking forward to playing our game.

Fairy Tail will be out in 2020 on PC, PS4, and Switch. We’ll be sure to tell you as soon as possible when we hear more about its release schedule.

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07

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