4Gamer interviews Japanese creators on 2018 ambitions

What are Japanese creators teasing for the coming year?

4Gamer interviews Japanese creators on 2018 ambitions

4Gamer.net has gone up with its end-of-year creator interviews. The website interviewed 182 creators, many of which shared teases for their ambitions in 2018.

Get the roundup of newsworthy bits below.

■ Arc System Works

Toshimichi Mori, General Director
Known for: BlazBlue series

“When all is said and done, I am working on various things. We added Jubei to BlazBlue: Central Fiction, and are working on the collaborative fighting game BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle with other companies. And for the first time in a while, I have been involved with scenario and game systems for the smartphone game BlazBlue: Alternative Dark War. In 2018, the BlazBlue series and… oh? What’s this…??”

■ Idea Factory

Makoto Kitano, Director and Producer
Known for: Genkai Tokki series, Trillion: God of Destruction, Tokyo Clanpool

“This year, we released a dungeon RPG called Tokyo Clanpool, where the heroine girl is the prime minister. Now, as we head towards 2018, I am working on a title of significantly different taste compared anything I have made so far. I will continue to work hard to give everyone a new surprise, so please look forward to it.”

Naoko Mizuno, Producer
Known for: Neptunia series

“This year, we released Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online and Megadimension Neptunia VIIR, which were both new challenges. Both titles were realized by the enthusiasm and efforts of our staff. So thank you to everyone involved, as well as to all of the fans who have been supporting us for so long!

“In 2018, we are preparing to share new information about the Neptunia series, so I would appreciate it if you could look forward to that with anticipation. Thank you very much!”

■ Atlus

Shigeo Komori, First Production Director
Known for: Etrian Odyssey series

“We’re currently working on the latest entry in the Etrian Odyssey series, which will be the last title on 3DS, but there are plans to [officially] announce it in spring 2018. Development is progressing in order to create a game that fans of the Etrian Odyssey series will enjoy, so I would appreciate it if you could please look forward to it.”

Katsura Hashino, Creative Producer and Chief Director
Known for: Persona 3, Persona 4, Persona 5, Catherine

“For us, 2017 was led by Persona 5, which received high praise even overseas, so to think that perhaps a large number of people learned of our work makes me very happy.

“And in 2018, because last year was such a good year with a lot of support and high praise, I do not want to simply continue doing the same thing, but rather further challenge myself to make games that will continue to stimulate your curiosity. Also, the other day we announced Catherine: Full Body, but alongside the fantasy RPG we announced in 2016 as a stepping stone for creating titles that are not trapped within existing series, we are going at it with the same ambition in the sense that it is a diverse proposal where we said, ‘Even if such a game exists, will it be fun?’ Of course, we hope to be able to earn your support on this as well. Particularly, I think there are a lot of people who felt Catherine was a difficult game. However, since we are not only adding scenarios and arrangements, but also challenging the entire team to construct various easier gameplay, please look forward to the next report on our new title, Catherine: Full Body!”

Shoji Meguro, Sound Team Composer
Known for: Persona series, etc.

“In 2017, I had a lot of jobs like live events and concerts where I performed and spoke in public, and there was not a lot I was able to announce as being in development, but in 2018, I hope to be able to announce a few. While the news is already out there and it is not a game, I will be in charge of the music for the TV anime of Persona 5, which will begin in April 2018. In addition to the Persona dancing games we announced, Atlus Sound Members are also working hard on various developments, so please give us your support!”

Kazuyuki Yamai, Shin Megami Tensei Series Producer
Known for: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha series, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Shin Megami Tensei IV: The Apocalypse

“At the end of October 2017, we announced Shin Megami Tensei V. As a Shin Megami Tensei numbered title, it will be the first title for console in a long time. Because of this, I want to create a complete game without any compromise. We are currently in the scrap-and-build process of working out the details, creating images, and repeatedly testing gameplay on the actual hardware. I would like to make an official announcement as soon as possible, but I would appreciate it if you could please wait a little while longer.”

Kazuhisa Wada, Producer and Director
Known for: Persona series, Persona 5: Dancing Star Night, Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night

“In 2018, the Persona 5 TV anime will begin in April, and the series will become even more exciting. In addition to the games, I think we will be able to share various other developments, so please keep an eye out. But before that, please do not forget Persona 5: Dancing Star Night and Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night, which are due out on May 24! The P-Sound action that makes you love the characters ‘even more’ has been finished, so please look forward to it.”

■ Inti Creates

Takuya Aizu, President and Producer
Known for: Mega Man Zero series, Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10, Mega Man ZX series, Azure Striker Gunvolt series, Gal Gun series, Mighty Gunvolt series, Blaster Master Zero

“We are preparing for a 2018 packed with titles. On March 15, we will release Gal Gun 2 for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It is Gal Gun reborn in Unreal Engine 4, and is loaded with new gameplay, so I would certainly be happy if you could pick up and play it.

“Also, we will release Dragon: Marked for Death [for Nintendo Switch] at some point in 2018. In May, we also have one title, and there is yet another title due out at the end of the year. We are preparing four titles, so please be on the lookout for news from our company.”

■ Experience

Hajime Chiaki, President and Producer
Known for: Demon Gaze, Demon Gaze 2, The Stranger of Sword City, Death Mark, Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy, Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy, etc.

“Next year, we will release the PlayStation 4 version of Death Mark on January 18, and the Switch version in the spring. Since the upgrade campaign reached its target amount, we decided to release the PlayStation 4 limited edition with a voice drama in addition to the art book.

“We are still working on the dungeon RPG Yomi wo Saku Hana [for Xbox One], but in addition to that, we wre also planning to release a new horror adventure game that shares its world view with Death Mark. But unlike Death Mark, which revolved around spirit spots, this title challenges spirit horror based in places familiar to everyday life, so I hope that you can look forward to it. Everyone, please have a happy new year. And have a wonderful next year as well.”


Yasuyuki Oda, Game Department Vice Manager and 1st Studio Producer
Known for: The King of Fighters XIV

“Thanks to everyone, in 2018 we will celebrate the 40th anniveresary of the SNK brand.

“On the game side, we have new title releases and announcements for both consoles and apps (I cannot say anything yet!), and we are also planning to update The King of Fighters XIV, which is available now.

“First, the King of Fighters manga will start on New Year’s Day! We are also preparing 40th anniversary commemoration goods, which will be gradually released mainly through the SNK Online Shop. Please look forward to SNK in 2018!”

■ Enhance Games

Tetsuya Mizuguchi, CEO
Known for: Rez, Rez Infinite, Lumines, Space Channel 5

“As we head towards 2018, we are making various preparations, so we will be in touch. The times are changing faster and faster, and I am excitedly nervous. We will again take on various challenges in 2018, so please treat us well again.”

■ Kadokawa Games

Yoshimi Yasuda, President
Known for: God Wars: Future Past, Root Letter, Starly Girls, Lollipop Chainsaw

“In 2018, we will continue to work hard to deliver quality games to everyone.

“With regard to the major God Wars: Future Past downloadable content, ‘Labyrinth of Yomi,’ not only are we implementing new downloadable content, we are also planning to update the game with drastic improvements to the main story in response to user requests and feedback. Because of this, we are a bit behind schedule, but please be patient as we will officially announce details when we have a clearer idea of when.

“Please give Kadokawa Games your support in 2018 as well.”

■ Capcom

Motohide Eshiro, Producer
Known for: Ace Attorney series, DmC Devil May Cry, etc.

“In 2018, I would like to think about mechanisms that will please fans of the long-running Ace Attorney series. Also, I think that it will be a year of personal challenge as I am considering a new title as well.”

Masachika Kawata, Producer
Known for: Resident Evil 7: biohazard

“There are various things, but I would like to create a game that is even a little interesting.”

Ryota Niitsuma, Producer
Known for: Resident Evil: Revelations series, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 series

“Last year, I was able to announce the Switch versions of the Resident Evil: Revelations series, but I would like to further create something with Resident Evil content that everyone can be happy with.

“I’m doing various other things, but it is not yet my time to bring them up…. By the way, if I were told, ‘You an make whatever you want!’ then I would want to make a fighting game. (Laughs.)”

■ GungHo Online Entertainment

Kazuki Morishita, President, CEO, and Executive Producer
Known for: Puzzle & Dragons, Puzzle & Dragons Radar, Let It Die

“In 2018, new developments of Puzzle & Dragons will begin. I will do my best to further expand how you can enjoy it.

“Also, new titles are also in development. We are making games that can be enjoyed by users all over the world. When the time comes, we will make the announcements.

“Please look forward to GungHo in 2018!!”

■ Grasshopper Manufacture

Hideyuki Shin, Director
Known for: Let It Die, Killer is Dead

“Since 2017 was a year for Let It Die, I want to do something different in 2018. I will start by taking a trip with just me and my bike.”

■ Granzella

Kazuma Kujo, Producer, Director, and Game Designer
Known for: Disaster Report series, City Shrouded in Shadow, Manga Kakeru

“In 2017, a game I was involved with finally released to the world. So far, I was unable to fulfill the promise that I would “release various things” each year, but riding the momentum from releasing a game in 2017, I would like to soundly release games like the currently in-development manga production game Manga Kakeru and the earthquake-themed action adventure Disaster Report 4 Plus: Summer Memories to the world, one at a time. Thank you for your support!”

(Editor’s Note: Speaking of Manga Kakeru, there will be news about the game in January 2018.)

■ Koei Tecmo Games

Keisuke Kikuchi, Producer
Known for: Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, Nights of Azure series, Deception series

“With Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, we folded back the 20th anniversary of the Atelier series, but we are also preparing a new title in 2018. I will work hard so I can debut it as quickly as possible.”

Hisashi Koinuma, President
Known for: Warriors series, Nioh, Attack on Titan series, Yo-kai Sangokushi, etc.

“Thank you to everyone who played titles from Koei Tecmo this year. We are planning to release a lot of titles next year, and I want to announce new titles as well, so please look forward to it!”

Akihiro Suzuki, Producer
Known for: Dynasty Warriors series, Dynasty Warriors Empires series, Bladestorm series, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII

“In addition [to the release of Dynasty Warriors 9], we are also preparing various other news about the series, and are moving towards the next project, so please continue to support the Dynasty Warriors series.”

Masaki Furusawa, Producer and Director
Known for: Warriors All-Stars, Hyrule Warriors

“In 2017, we delivered the all-stars of Koei Tecmo with Warriors All-Stars from Omega Force. For 2018, I am again preparing a title that can live up to the demands of all the fans in a different form, so please look forward to it.”

Junzo Hosoi, Producer
Known for: Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, Blue Reflection

“We are planning new developments of various titles, including the Atelier series, so please give the Gust brand your support in 2018.”

■ CyberConnect2

Hiroshi Matsuyama, President and CEO
Known for: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series, .hack//G.U. Last Recode, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series

“I will announce the ‘CyberConnect2 Vision for the Future’ in February 2018. Please look forward to it!”

■ genDesign

Fumito Ueda, Game Designer
Known for: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian

“I may or may not be able to notify you about some kind of progress, but please look forward to it at your leisure.”

■ Square Enix

Takeshi Uchikawa, Director
Known for: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

“This year was a memorable year for me as Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age was released, which is the first time in my life I worked as a director. The warm comments from fans both before and after release have saved me each day, and I am truly grateful. Thank you so much.

“Next year, too, I would like that the staff work hard to make games in order to be able to share surprising information with everyone, so please continue to give us your support!”

Yoshinori Kitase, Producer
Known for: Final Fantasy series, Mobius Final Fantasy

“We are working closely on the development of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Mobius Final Fatnasy is also headed towards its third year and we will start up a new chapter in 2018, so please look forward to it.”

Takeo Kujiraoka, Director
Known for: Dissidia Final Fantasy, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

“After the release of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, we are planning to implement updates for the arcade version and PlayStation 4 version at the same time. We will also be able to announce surprising characters, so please look forward to it!”

Yosuke Saito, Producer
Known for: Dragon Quest X Online, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, NieR: Automata

“While thinking that it would be nice to not be busy with work to keep balance with my private life, free time is unpleasant, so I hope to have a chance to announce a new title in 2018. Please do not look too forward to it too much!”

■ Spike Chunsoft

Koutarou Uchikoshi, Director and Scenario Writer
Known for: 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma

“In 2018, I think I will be able to make a detailed announcement about my currently in-development project Psync (title tentative). It is the most interesting adventure game in the universe! Please look forward to it by all means!”

Tatsuya Marutani, Director
Known for: Danganronpa series

“In 2018, we will release the nonstop remaining lives survival RPG Zanki Zero for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.”

Tomoyuki Matsumoto, Game Designer and Director
Known for: Fire Pro Wrestling World, Kenka Bancho, GachiTora!, Shinjuku no Ookami

“In 2018, as we head towards the release of the PlayStation 4 version, we plan to evolve [Fire Pro Wrestling World] much more, and keep Fire Pro running. Additionally, we are preparing new elements and projects that will take surprise fans, so do not take your eyes off of Fire Pro Wrestling World in the future!”

■ Sega Games

Hiroyuki Sakamoto, Yakuza: Kiwami 2 Director
Known for: Yakuza: Ishin!, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, Yakuza: Kiwami 2

“We are moving forward on preparations for the New Yakuza project. The announcement time is still not set, but please look forward to it.”

Toshihiro Nagoshi, Company Director and CPO
Known for: Yakuza series

“There are still things that we have yet to announce. There are still surprises to come, so please look forward to them!!”

■ Sony Interactive Entertainment

Tsutomu Kouno, Creative Director
Known for: LocoRoco series

“I have not been able to announce a new title in a long time, but in 2018, I would like to announce what I am preparing and to heal the world even more. I will do my best!!”

Keiichiro Toyama, Creative Director
Known for: Siren series, Gravity Rush series

“It is now the time to lay the groundwork and perform repeated trial and error for our new title, so it is unlikely that there will be an opportunity to publicly share information for quite a while…”

Teruyuki Toriyama, Japan Studio Producer
Known for: No Heroes Allowed! VR, Bloodborne: The Old Hunters, Bloodborne, Soul Sacrifice Delta, Soul Sacrifice

“In 2018, I intend to take on new challenges, such as ambitious title announcements and fully starting a new project currently in planning, so please continue to support Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio in the future.”

Kentaro Motomura, Senior Producer
Known for: Soul Sacrifice, Bloodborne, Everybody’s Golf

“I hope to be able to put out a follow-up report on the mobile version of Wild Arms already announced by ForwardWorks, as well as debut unannounced title(s) and so on. Please give us your support next year.”

Masaaki Yamagiwa, Producer
Known for: Bloodborne, Bloodborne: The Old Hunters, Tokyo Jungle

“Like last year, we have been active behind the scenes since Bloodborne, so I’d like to make 2018 the year all we have done so far bears fruit. Please look forward to it.”

■ Nippon Ichi Software

Sohei Niikawa, President and CEO
Known for: Disgaea, Hayarigami, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure, etc.

“Nippon Ichi Software will celebrate its 25th anniversary in July 2018. Thank you to all of the fans who have supported us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We are preparing multiple projects in order to offer the “fun” and “surprise” suitable for a 25th anniversary. And several may even surprise people beyond their imaginations (and naturally raise the bar).”

■ Bandai Namco Entertainment

Youzou Sakagami, The Idolmaster Series General Producer
Known for: The Idolmaster series

“2017 became a year to develop all the brands of The Idolmaster. And this year, all of the staff are working hard to deliver a new Idolmaster with a completely new title. In 2018, I will continue to keep my eyes on the next step forward, so please give me your support in the future.”

Katushiro Harada, Worldwide Planning and Development Chief / Chief Producer / Game Director
Known for: Tekken series, Soulcalibur series, Pokken Tournament, Summer Lesson, etc.

“Also, I would like to do non-fighting games, but other interesting things. Things we announce out of nowhere, like Summer Lesson. I wonder what. Will we release information in 2018?”

■ Brownies

Shinichi Kameoka, Usually President, But Currently Producer, As Well As Director, And Also Character Designer…
Known for: Seiken Densetsu series, Magical Vacation series, Mother 3, Fantasy Life, Egglia: Legend of the Redcap, etc.

“In 2017, Brownies released two smartphone titles one after the other with Seventh Rebirth and Egglia, but in 2018, I will return to working on a console title for the first time after a long time. We may be able to share some sort of information by the end of the year, but I think that it will be a title of unexpected taste, where you say ‘This seems like Brownies’ and ‘Brownies is doing this!?,’ so please look forward to the announcement.”

■ Mistwalker

Hironobu Sakaguchi, CEO
Known for: Terra Battle 2

“In 2018, we will release Terra Wars in the spring, and development on Terra Battle 3 is waiting to begin. Of course, we will also continue to pour our efforts into updates for Terra Battle and Terra Battle 2.”

■ Level-5

Akihiro Hino, President and CEO
Known for: Yo-kai Watch series, The Snack World, Inazuma Eleven series, Ni no Kuni series, Layton series, etc.

“In 2018, we will release various titles such as Inazuma Eleven Ares and Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. Since we pour our hearts and souls into each title, I certainly hope that you will pick them up. Also, we are planning to put our strength into the new game console Nintendo Switch.

“And finally, 2018 will be the 20th anniversary of Level-5’s establishment. More than ever, we intend to put our strength towards creating and developing new IP and strive to become the best entertainment brand in the world. And although everyone may be wondering, we are actually preparing to start on our 20th anniversary commemoration title. While I cannot say any details yet, we plan to pour in everything Level-5 possibly can and make it a masterpiece.

“Please look forward to our future announcements!”

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