PS4 Exclusive LoveR Gets Details on Dating, Tons of Comments by Ichirou Sugiyama and Quin q9

LoveR Director Ichirou Sugiyama, art director Quin q9 discuss game development, motion capture, Virtual YouTubers, appealing to female players and more.

By Iyane Agossah

November 28, 2018

Kadokawa Games published new information for LoveR, the successor of Photo Kano, Reco Love, and all the romance simulation games by Ichirou Sugiyama. The game’s romance and dating systems were detailed, among other things.

As you progress through the game, you will end up being able to confess to one of the girls. In most of the previous games by Ichirou Sugiyama, the story would end once you enter a relationship with one of the girls. In LoveR, however, the game will continue and enter “Lover Days”, which follows the main story titled “Summer Days”.

In “Lover Days”, you will be able to talk and spend more time with your girlfriend, in her room, your own room, at school, when coming back home from school, at the pool, the gymnasium and many other places featured in the game.

Moreover, once you’ve started dating a girl, you will be able to select her in Free Photo Session mode, which lets you do photo sessions with your girlfriend in any environments found in the game, regardless of the usual conditions in Story Mode like time restrictions. Each time you end up dating a girl in one of your saves, it’ll unlock her in Free Photo Session mode.

Many new events and discussions can only be seen in “Lover Days”. You will also be able to chat with your girlfriend about the other girls, and the discussions will be very detailed, so much that you might get lost if you didn’t pay attention during the game. Moreover, the discussions also change depending on the time of the day and your girlfriend’s mood, which is displayed at the top-right of the screen.

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There are so many conversation topics, they are separated by initials. For example, if you want to talk about rhythm gymnastics, which is “Shintaisou” in Japanese, you need to select the category of subjects that start by “shi”. As lovers, you will be able to chat about anything, but you’ll need to be careful about what you ask, so your girlfriend doesn’t think you don’t know her well enough. If she’s in a good mood, she will also suggest topics herself.

Once you’re dating one of the girls, you’ll also be able to ask for sexier poses during photo sessions, like asking her to lie down in various ways.

Furthermore, Japanese news site 4Gamer published a new interview with LoveR‘s director Ichirou Sugiyama, and art director Quin q9. The interview is quite long. Here are the main tidbits.

Quin q9 spoke about how LoveR being a 3D game, working on it takes considerably more time than their usual artwork, as they need to think in 3D and consider the different angles and environments the characters will be seen in. The characters’ movements as well. As such, when working on a game like LoveR, the programmers and the art team work very closely together. Quin q9’s desk is very close to the programmers’ so that they can talk anytime.

The previous romance+photography game, Reco Love, released for PS Vita, so going from developing for Vita to developing for PS4 was quite hard for Sugiyama-san and his team. Furthermore, LoveR is a game based on photography, and some of the players will play it with the maximum specs possible on a PS4 Pro and a 4K TV, so every single detail needed to be handled meticulously.

Moreover, Taro Minoboshi (Minotaro) character designs are quite hard to faithfully recreate in 3D. Quin q9 had much more trouble recreating them in 3D than when working on School Star Dream (Sutadori), a mobile rhythm game by Kadokawa Games, which had designs by Peco. Peco’s style has a “deformed” look to it, which makes it easier to adapt in 3D.

Sugiyama-san and Quin q9 are aware LoveR will have a majority of male players, but they actually put a lot of thought in how to please female players as well. Most of the pre-order and DLC bonus costumes were designed by Quin q9, and most lean on the sexy side, but they also tried to make their designs as cute as possible. Costumes which female players would like are included as well. Moreover, since these bonus costumes already include many sexy costumes, Quin q9 designed the other costumes in the game by taking into account what women would actually wear in real life. They don’t want you to think “wow, a dude’s definitely behind this design” when seeing the costumes.

While LoveR is obviously a fantasy, set in a school where teens from elementary to high school are together, director Sugiyama wanted to make it as realistic, as immersive as possible. Which is why they went with these choices. Along with wanting to make the game “pure”, this is probably also why in a past interview by Dengeki Online, which we covered, Sugiyama-san said he avoided putting in LoveR a girl with a noticeably large chest, unlike with Reco Love.

Quin q9 describes the costume they designed as “clothes nowadays schoolgirls would wear, but with a bit of a retro touch”. Most of the players accustomed to Sugiyama-san’s games, who played them since True Love Story for PS1, reached a certain age by now, so LoveR‘s atmosphere is a constant mix of modern and retro. For example, the school in the game has a retro feel to it, but all the cooking plates in the Home Economics classroom are modern induction plates. The pool is quite modern too.

Sugiyama-san and Quin q9 also revealed they used Motion Capture for Lilia’s rhythmic gymnastic and Rinze’s gymnastics. They hired real gymnasts for the job and captured their movements while using actual gym equipment. They didn’t get an actress specialized in motion capture, as their movements would be too different from real sportswomen. Rinze is in 5th grade of elementary school, meaning she’s either 10 or 11, so they asked a gymnast around her age to do the Motion Capture. As for Lilia, she’s in her third year of high school, meaning she’s 17 or 18, so they got a rhythm gymnast in her twenties. Her movements were so perfect, they had to ask her to purposely screw up, as it wouldn’t be realistic for a normal teenager girl like Lilia to be this good. It’s not like you can use Motion Capture directly after capture though, and it needs various adjustments before being implemented.

As a related note, they revealed girls in the game can become jealous depending on your actions. For example, if you become close to a girl but then decide to spend more time with another. However, none of the girls will get jealous if the player spends time with Rinze, because they don’t think you’d actually go for her. The previous game, Reco Love, had Rinze Himeragi, a girl with the same character design as LoveR‘s Rinze Himenogi. While they already confirmed LoveR‘s Rinze has a different story, Reco Love‘s Rinze story ended with her promising to marry the player when she gets older, so they’ll probably do something similar in LoveR.

The game’s official Virtual YouTuber, Magical Yumina, is made using Motion Capture as well. Her Motion Capture actress is also her voice actress, Yumiri Hanamori.

Magical Yumina will appear in the game as well. They initially only planned to use her as promotion, and maybe make her have an in-game cameo, but her videos turned out to be very popular, so they added her fully. The number of polygons in Magical Yumina’s model for the videos was higher than those for the 3D models in the game, so they had to adjust her model a lot. They also added more polygons to the other characters’ 3D model, so in the end, adding Magical Yumina turned out to be extremely time-consuming.

You’ll be able to do photo sessions with Magical Yumina in Free Photo Session mode only. As she’s not a character in the story, she’s available from the start without needing to unlock her.

The first time they thought about making Magical Yumina as a VTuber was in December 2017, long before LoveR‘s public announcement. At the time, they didn’t realize how hard it would be. Making a VTuber is very time-consuming, even for people like Sugiyama-san’s team, who’ve been working on 3D models for more than eight years. You shouldn’t underestimate the amount of effort required to create a Vtuber and regularly make new videos.

Sugiyama-san jokingly said he’s currently losing sleep and not taking any days off, not to crunch on LoveR, but to work on Magical Yumina’s videos. It’s possible her videos will continue after LoveR‘s release. Once he can’t take it anymore, he’ll start making recap episodes, like in an anime.

That’s all about the interview.

LoveR is currently having a campaign regarding the number of total pre-orders in all shops in Japan. Each time the pre-orders numbers reach a certain percentage of a goal, players who pre-ordered the game will be able to use a new variation of a bloomer special costume for the girls. There are 6 types in total:

  • “Fully Covered Bloomer” costume, which is already included in pre-orders version of the game.
  • “Delta Bloomer” costume, where you see a bit of the bloomer. This will be included in pre-ordered copies of the game if pre-orders reach 20% of the goal.
  • “Half Bloomer” costume, where you see half of the bloomer. Will be included if pre-orders reach 50% of the goal.
  • “Normal Bloomer” costume, where you see all the bloomer normally. Will be included if pre-orders reach 80% of the goal.
  • “All In Bloomer” costume, where the hem of the gym shirt is tucked in the bloomer. For 100% of the goal.
  • “???Bloomer” costume. This will be revealed if pre-orders reach 120% of the goal.

Lastly, Entaba in Akihabara, Tokyo, will organize a LoveR expo from December 15 to January 14. Exclusive goods will be obtainable too. A visual for the exposition is at the end of the gallery.

The screenshots below illustrate some scenes with Lilia becoming the player’s girlfriend and the lying down poses. It also includes a comparison between the Full Cover Bloomer costume and the Delta Bloomer costume, worn by Fumina.

Along with the interview, 4Gamer published a video of Rinze doing gymnastics to give us an idea of how the Motion Capture turned out in-game. You can find the video below.

LoveR‘s photo session system and pre-order bonuses were detailed in a previous article.

LoveR releases exclusively for PlayStation 4 in Japan on February 14. The game wasn’t announced in the west. Localizing the game might be nearly impossible, seeing the insane amount of voiced dialogue and the voice recognition system.

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been watching anime for over 25 years, and plays Genshin Impact mainly for its story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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