The award-winning visual novel series Dies irae is due for an anime adaptation later this year, and on the brink of its debut, Crunchyroll got a chance to talk to producer Hattori Mischisato about the history of Dies irae, the series’ crowdfunding campaign, and plans for the future. Read on for the full interview!
- Hattori Mischisato
BIO: Representative of PC game maker “Light” and its sister brand “Campus.” His expertise is not limited only to galges, but he also has a vast knowledge of otaku content and markets as well as a wide network of connections within the industry. He also currently serves on the board of directors of computer software ethics.
— Dies irae is a game that is representative of PC games from the 2000s. What kind of game do you think Dies irae was looking back on it.
Well to start off, the 2000s was a good era for PC games in Japan, the tides were changing and computers were coming into trend. Windows 95 had come out recently, and this was when a lot of people were moving to Windows and the platform was gaining an unprecedented user base very quickly. With the new platform also came simpler tools, which lowered the barrier of entry for creators who were finally able to make their own creations with fewer limitations, leading to a PC game revolution in Japan. I would go as far as to say the industry wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Windows.
Our company began making games in 2000 during the PC game boom, and back then we were happy making whatever games we wanted and listening to what people thought about them. The game we made before Dies irae was a game Takeshi Masada (Dies irae series scenario writer) designed called Paradise Lost that was well received by players. We thought it had an interesting concept, but it was an experimental game for us. After that we wanted to focus on a serious battle themed game, which ended up being Dies irae. So to bring it back to your initial question, Dies irae is a game that we wanted to challenge ourselves as creators.
I believe that a good game is one where the game itself has a life of its own. Rather than saying we created the game, it is as if it already existed somewhere and we were just chosen to give shape to it. So it is our duty as the chosen to present this game to as many people in the best way possible. But like I was saying, a good game has a life of its own, and this one was more of a delinquent through and through, and it wouldn’t cooperate in our attempts to complete it.
Sadly, the first release of the game we sold was incomplete, requiring 2 additional releases to bring the project to a finish. There was much drama involving angry users and their expectations, but we are just happy to be able to bring the story to an end with Amantes amentes.
Dies irae ~Amantes amentes~ package art
"Dies irae" OP Movie -Amantes amentes ver.-
— Do you have comments in regard to the crowdfunded English localization and the reaction from the fans overseas?
I can’t understand English, so I’m doing my best trying to read these comments… haha. But I can feel that this is something that people have been wanting for a long time. We have seen quite a number of American players who have played the game in Japanese and have commented on how amazing Dies irae was.
Fan-translated games are nothing new, but nobody seemed up for the task of translating the long and complicated story of Dies irae. However, the desire to play the game in English is exactly why I believe this Kickstarter project exists. Call it a funny twist of fate, but the localized game just happens to come out the same year as the anime.
This has created an interesting turn of events that not only the users interested in the series can enjoy, but we, the creators, also get to be taken for a ride. The translations are being handled by a team helmed by an American named John Hooper, also known by the handle "GundamAce". He and the rest of the team are well-versed in Japanese games, with John having officially translated "Root Double" in the past, and he asked if he could tackle the localization. We have relied on them quite heavily, even asking for advice on what kind of merchandise the American fans would enjoy. We have also asked their team to handle the debugging of the English release.
A screenshot of Ren fighting Reinhard
As I mentioned a while ago, we released the first game in an incomplete form. However, we added a special 200 page fan book to each subsequent release in an attempt to show our gratitude to the users. We never released these books for sale at bookstores, so we thought it would be interesting if we also made a fan book for the English release. There’s only 20,000 USD more until the stretch goal for this fan book, so we hope it’ll get there soon.
*The game and merchandise from the Kickstarter
can be pre-ordered with the Backerkit until 5/31/2017!
- Backerkit Pre-Order Website
— What are your thoughts regarding the future development of Dies irae across various types of media?
For the anime version, we plan on doing one route from start to finish. I won’t spoil which route we chose so everyone can find out for themselves. While Dies irae is a long game that has 4MB worth of text, we made sure to cover all the important points so even someone new to the series would be able to enjoy and understand the anime without missing a beat.
Going back to how a game has a life of it’s own, I believe that Dies irae itself wanted to go overseas. The game focuses around the timeless theme of the reason to fight for and protect your loved ones, as well as featuring the stubborn pride of men, so I’m certain there is something that this game can convey to anyone in the world and hope everyone be at least willing to try the game out.
While we do use Nazi Germany in the game, it is only used for the setting and does not comment on any politics, so please rest assured and enjoy the game.
As for our future plans in Japan, we hope to develop on Android, iOS, as well as continue on PC as a basis for our business. There are also plans for English releases for these new projects, so please look forward to them. We are planning for a new Japanese Dies irae game for mobile phones this winter, which will hopefully get an English adaptation in the future, as well as more announcements for Kajiri Kamui Kagura in the very near future.
- Game Synopsis
Dies irae ~Acta est Fabula~ package art
Dies irae is a battle-adventure game revolving around a life or death struggle in Suwahara City after it is invaded by Nazi German officers and the demons they summoned with a ritual they conducted in decades past during World War II.
The scenario, art, and music were handled by Takeshi Masada, G-Yuusuke, and Keishi Yonao, respectively. Over 100,000 copies of the game have been sold across the entire series.
Finally, the Kickstarter for the anime adaptation, which began in May 2016, has been the most backed project to date, raising the most funding out of any crowdfunded anime adaptation in Japan.