Yoko Taro Comments on Vanillaware’s 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
Yoko Taro shared his thoughts on 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim and how it isn't an action RPG, on George Kamitani, and on Vanillaware.
Atlus and Vanillaware have been publishing various video interviews with famous personalities sharing their thoughts on 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. The latest video interview Atlus published features Yoko Taro.
I’m sure some will click on this article solely for Yoko Taro, and might not know what the hell is 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, so let me explain first. 13 Sentinels is a PS4 exclusive, and an “adventure game” in the Japanese sense of the term, meaning it’s a visual novel. It features 13 protagonists. They pilot mecha called Sentinels and they’re trying to save the world from an alien invasion. There’s also a battle system where you control said mecha in battles mixing tower defense and tactical RPG elements.
The story is themed around mecha, time travel, and memory manipulation. Moreover, each protagonist has their own unique story you can play, and each one of these stories even has its own different routes. It seems pretty complicated, and hopefully, it won’t turn out to be one of those visual novels with a story too complicated for nothing.
Anyway, here’s the video with Yoko Taro, along with a translation:
Yoko Taro was interviewed by Tomomi Isano, who MCs nearly every single Atlus related stream. She’s also a seiyuu and voiced Hifumi in Persona 5 among other roles.
Yoko Taro was first asked to share his impressions on the 3 hours long demo of 13 Sentinels. This demo released on October 30 on the Japanese PlayStation Store. You can play for 6 hours instead if you have a save from the Prologue Demo released in March.
Yoko Taro mentioned how chaotic 13 Sentinels‘ story is when experienced in such a short time frame. He believes most people will probably give up on the game. He personally finds it interesting though, with how you have so much information thrown at you.
As a writer himself, Yoko Taro also made some predictions on what could happen in 13 Sentinels‘ story, most notably, who could end up dying. He noted how, in the title screen, Juuro Kurabe is the sole member of the 13 protagonists looking at the camera. Yoko Taro said either Kurabe will die, or all the other 12 protagonists will.
For now, the scene which marked Yoko Taro the most is in Megumi Yakushiji’s story. Yakushiji is the protagonist with the long black hair, who’s in love with Kurabe. She’s voiced by Maaya Uchida. She basically makes a contract with a very suspicious talking cat believing she needs to save Kurabe. Early in her story, you’re cooking for Kurabe, and you can pick to either make Hamburger Steak or Shio Saba. Yoko Taro pondered a lot about this, wondering if it’ll actually be a meaningful choice or not.
Yoko Taro also noted how the food looks great, as expected of a Vanillware game.
Next, Yoko Taro also shared his thoughts on Vanillaware. He believes it’s a miraculous company who’re still making gorgeous looking 2D games in this age. Most notably, they make action games, but they also made 13 Sentinels, which is an adventure game, a much less popular genre.
Continuing on, Yoko Taro mentioned how Vanillaware games mostly feature sexy or cute female characters, but 13 Sentinels has a lot of hot mysterious guys too. So he believes 13 Sentinels will be particularly popular with female players too.
Yoko Taro has no idea which guy will be the most popular though, so they asked someone from the staff. That staff person mentioned Tsukasa Okino, voiced by Mutsumi Tamura. Okino isn’t part of the 13 protagonists, but is still a key character. He’ss a genius high school boy, and he pretty much invented the Sentinels and time travel. Okino also cross-dresses because of story reasons and is extremely cute. This prompted Yoko Taro and Tomomi Isano to say that boys in their growth period who are thinking about romance will definitely start to consider going that route if they didn’t yet.
Next, Yoko Taro also shared his thoughts on Vanillaware’s director George Kamitani. He mentioned how he went drinking with him in the past. He surprisingly looks like a “cheerful old man from Kansai”. Seeing him, you wouldn’t imagine he drew Vanillaware’s detailed artworks.
We also got to hear Yoko Taro’s thoughts about 13 Sentinels being a visual novel and not an action RPG. One thing he likes about that is how you can take your time to observe the beautiful backgrounds and artworks. Yoko Taro most notably praised 13 Sentinels‘ sunlight and lens flare effects.
Yoko Taro also admitted he doesn’t play many Adventure games or any games in general. Nowadays, he’d rather spend time making games instead, as that’s way more fun. The last Adventure game he played is Detroit: Become Human, which left a big impression on him. But 13 Sentinels is refreshing in how Adventure games usually aren’t in 2D scrolling anymore.
Yoko Taro hopes that Vanillaware will keep making games forever. He also joked about how 13 Sentinels should get delayed for a whole year so it can be even better. And he hopes for a sequel. He ended with this message:
Yoko Taro: Vanillaware is like a treasure we must all protect, so you should definitely buy 13 Sentinels. Even just one more copy sold can make a difference. I usually don’t care about whether a game will sell or not. I don’t even care if Atlus ends up closing down one day. But I definitly don’t want Vanillaware to disappear. Japan needs Vanillware.
Shortly after the video was published, Yoko Taro also tweeted this: “Oh yeah, the video interview about 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is out. I still don’t even know why Atlus invited me of all people.”
If you wish to learn more about 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, you should check our previous coverage. We covered most of the official gameplay videos and trailers, translated the biggest story details and explained the battle system. Preordering 13 Sentinels will also net you a PS4 port of the PSP version of Princess Crown. I might make some translated gameplay videos for the 13 Sentinels demo too, so stay tuned.
13 Sentinels Aegis Rim launches on November 28 in Japan, exclusively on PS4. The game was announced in the west but with no release date yet.