Interview: NIS America on Disgaea D2

Nippon Ichi's strategy RPG sequel due out next Tuesday.

NIS America is known for a lot of quirky and interesting titles, but none stand out quite as much as their beloved flagship franchise Disgaea. With the next entry launched yesterday in Europe and due out next Tuesday, October 8 in North America, we sat down with Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness script editor Steve Carlton for to discuss the game just prior to its release. 

For those who aren’t already familiar with this game, could you briefly explain the story, characters, and gameplay of Disgaea D2 for us?

Carlton: The story takes place in the Netherworld, where Laharl, the main character, is trying to make the denizens of the Netherworld recognize that he is the new Overlord (which he became during the course of Disgaea: Hour/Afternoon of Darkness). To help him, he enlists the help of his vassals, Etna and Flonne. And along the way, they come across many interesting and mysterious people. The gameplay consists of battles fought on a gridded map in a strategy RPG style. But unlike most strategy RPGs, your stats can go up into the millions and beyond, and you can deal damage into the billions.

Every entry in the Disgaea series has made a number of changes to the “formula” of the previous games. What do you think sticks out the most for the changes in D2?

The most notable change is probably the new Mounted System, which replaces the Magichange System and allows your humanoid characters to ride your monster characters. Unlike Magichange, you can stay mounted as long as you want, and it helps increase the likability between the humanoid and monster, which is part of another new system.

While we’re on the subject of gameplay, I hear that a lot of the game has been adjusted to make things more player-friendly. What smaller changes can experienced players expect to see?

The Extra Gain mechanic has been brought back and updated. You can now change who a character’s master is, instead of it being restricted to whoever called the Dark Assembly to create the character. The master now teaches the apprentice their skills, and they no longer need to be next to the character for them to use the skill until they learn it.

Disgaea’s always promoted abuse of the system mechanics… and in true Netherworld style, there’s even a “Cheat Shop” within the game that players can take advantage of. What would you suggest that new players do with this mechanic to help them on their journey to being recognized as the Overlord?

Well, the beauty of the Cheat Shop is that you can change how you cheat whenever you want. I tend to prefer to lower the HL (money) earned in order to boost the EXP and Mana earned. That way, I can level up faster, and have more Mana to use at the Dark Assembly to create new characters or pass a few bills. But if you find yourself running low on cash, you can lower something else to boost your income.

Let’s talk about the characters for a little while. How has it felt to get back to working with characters that have been such a big part of NISA’s history?

It’s always fun to get to work with Laharl, Etna, and Flonne, because their personalities are so diverse and they all have interesting motivations. They have also gotten to the point where they all know each other very well, so the interactions between them are fun to characterize.

Etna or Flonne?

The correct answer is you take Flonne to be your wife, and you take Etna to be your mistress. And then you end up as a bloody corpse, but it was probably worth it…until you come back as a Prinny…and then you cry. Yes, all other answers are incorrect.

Many players seemed to enjoy the funny quotes you added to trophies in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. Disgaea’s always had a strong comedy element, so are you doing the same thing for D2?

We usually try to have some fun with the trophies of our comedic and/or lighthearted games, but I suppose it’s up to the players to decide if we have succeeded or not.

On to more localization details! We already know that D2 is getting a dub, but can you tell us how much of the content is being voiced?

I believe that the only content that we cut the voices for were the tutorials and the stuff that the characters say when you talk to them around the Overlord’s Castle. Everything else should be voiced, including all of the event scenes.

About how long do you think it will take players to get through the main story of the game if they don’t go too deeply into side content?

I think it should take about 35 to 40 hours to clear the main story.

Finally, do you have anything else you’d like to say to the fans of Disgaea before D2 comes out?

Thank you all very much for your support! If not for all of you, we wouldn’t be able to continue to bring wonderful games and anime to western audiences. I hope you enjoy the new adventures of some of our most popular characters, and that you come to love the new characters that are making their debuts.

Thanks, Steve. Good luck on the launch!

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