Crunchyroll News interviews a lead producer for Fairy Tail and finds out more about the future RPG!
Note: Justin Lasola contributed to this report.
Even though the Fairy Tail anime may be over, developer Gust is getting ready for a big release with the upcoming Fairy Tail RPG for the PS4, Switch, and PC in 2020. The expansive RPG from the developers of the Atelier franchise is looking to entice fans of the series with a turn-based battle system that utilizes the large cast of Fairy Tail characters. Crunchyroll News had a chance to ask Fairy Tail producer and Gust Associate Head Keisuke Kikuchi some questions to find out a little bit more about the game. Kikuchi told Crunchyroll News about the game's original episodes, how they're balancing the wide range of characters, and future plans for DLC.
When in the timeline does this Fairy Tail game take place? Why did you choose particular arcs?
Kikuchi: The Fairy Tail franchise is really, really long, so we looked through the various arcs and storylines and determined the best place for our video game to cover would be the Grand Magic Games and the Tartaros arcs. The game’s story will mostly be focused on those two arcs, but just to be more precise, the tutorial of the game actually takes place on Tenrou Island where everyone faces off against Hades. From there, everyone disappears, only to reappear seven years later, and that’s the point where you start the main game.
In this game, we’re trying to recreate the development and the evolution, not just of the guild, but of the mages. In this game, you’ll be able to recruit people to join your party, not just from the Fairy Tail guild, but from other guilds. So instead of starting the game at the beginning of the franchise, we realized if you start midway through the story, you will have most of the major characters available, and these are characters that I think fans of the franchise would prefer to play as. That’s why we thought this would be a good starting point for the game.
How accessible will the game be to people who have not watched or read Fairy Tail?
Kikuchi: First and foremost, our main target is the Fairy Tail community. This game is primarily for them. But for those who are not familiar with Fairy Tail, they can play this through as simply a fantasy-based RPG, and in the process, they can discover the personalities of each character and decide who they like. If you’ve never watched or read Fairy Tail, we hope you grow to love the franchise through the game, discover the Fairy Tail world through the game, then go and watch and read more about this world after you complete your adventure.
For gamers who become enthralled with Fairy Tail, there is a place fans will know as Lucy’s room, and here you can discover older stories and character episodes of the past. It serves as almost a Fairy Tail encyclopedia for fans who would like to discover more. It’s a great resource to offer inside the game.
Fairy Tail will have original episodes. How closely was Mashima-san involved in the creation of these episodes?
Kikuchi: Yes, there are original episodes that are not part of the main story, including certain character episodes and other side quests. Mashima-san does review all original stories and episodes and provides valuable feedback throughout the process.
Fairy Tail has a robust cast for a turn-based RPG with 10 characters revealed so far and more on the way. How did you select which characters will be playable?
Kikuchi: The first and biggest challenge for the dev team was to determine which part of the story we wanted to cover. With that decision, the next question was who we wanted to pick as playable characters. As far as the process goes, we looked at each character based on their characteristics as well as their personalities and magic. We decided the core members to begin with, then once that was determined, we moved on to see who else we could add. And the thing is, I’m trying to turn this game into a franchise. I don’t want this to be a standalone game, so we also started looking at characters who were not in the Fairy Tail guild as well. We’re looking at how important each character’s role is in the franchise and how much fans want them to be playable. Eventually, we then bring the characters we’re thinking of having as playable to Mashima-san and ask for his advice. That’s how the process worked throughout development.
What was it like to translate the fast-paced action of Fairy Tail into a turn-based RPG?
Kikuchi: We didn’t set out to make it a turn-based game per se, but the most important thing we wanted to do was to make the game accessible to all Fairy Tail fans, even those fans who might not be too skilled at action games with high-level commands. To be able to wield spectacular magic and make the controls as simple as possible, we decided the best way to do this was to make the attacks command based. But that’s not everything, there is also a chain attack feature in the game where you have to press the button at the right time, and that’s a very exhilarating experience, so we’re trying to also add some more high-paced, spicy controls in there as well.
Gust games are known for their crafting systems. Can hardcore Gust fans expect to see Natsu and friends try their hand in alchemy?
Kikuchi: The short answer is no, Lucy and Natsu won’t be attempting any alchemy, but in terms of creation or development, you’ll be able to expand the guild as a whole. You’ll be able to upgrade the request board, set up the research center and expand it, upgrade shops in the guild, and in the research center, you’ll be able to create magical crystals. These magical crystals are created by using materials you collect on the battlefields, so those aspects will be the equivalent of the alchemy in this title.
Is there any post-release DLC planned for the game?
Kikuchi: The world of Fairy Tail is rich and deep and there are just so many things that we couldn’t incorporate into the game, so yes, there will be DLC after the launch. I’m hoping we can release new characters and episodes through DLC to add to the experience.
Do you have any messages for longtime Fairy Tail fans?
Kikuchi: This game is the first Fairy Tail game outside of Japan, and it’s the first home console game anywhere in the world, including Japan. Throughout this project, we basically used all of our technical know-how and all of our experience to recreate Mashima-san’s fantastic world in full 3D where Natsu and other illustrious characters can fight and have spectacular magical battles. I’m hoping to create a game where each fan can create their own dream team party to explore the world of Fairy Tail and enjoy the experience to the fullest. I hope everyone enjoys what we’ve created.