Koei Tecmo and its studio Gust are about to launch their Fairy Tail JRPG for PS4, Switch, and PC.
Gust is very well known for the Atelier series, but this is quite different, as it’s based on a manga and anime IP.
To learn more about the project, Twinfinite interviewed producer Keisuke Kikuchi, who also confirmed that Fairy Tail has gone gold.
Giuseppe: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot in game development, and I hope everyone is ok there. Has the team adapted to working at home, and is the game going to be delivered on time?
Keisuke Kikuchi: We know that the fans have waited patiently for Fairy Tail, so I am happy to announce that the development phase has already ended and thanks to the help of all the companies working with us, the physical edition is now being manufactured. Fairy Tail will be available on July 30 for players around the world to enjoy.
Thank you for your concerns regarding the development team. In April, when we first started working from home, it initially took some time to get used to a new way of working, and some miscommunications and issues did arise during this period. However, the dev team was able to get the hang of it, and we were able to proceed with work as usual.
Giuseppe: While I imagine you haven’t had the chance to spend much time in the new offices, what will the move to Yokohama mean for GUST?
Keisuke Kikuchi: The Gust team moved from Nagano to Yokohama in March, but we started working from home quickly after, which meant that we were not able to enjoy the new office much at all.
Up until now, the CG and sound production team, marketing team, and library development team worked apart from each other in different locations. Now that we are much closer, it will be a lot easier to express subtle nuances and receive quick responses from the teams, which I think will allow many aspects of the development process to become even more efficient.
Giuseppe: What were the challenges that prompted you to delay the game, and how did you use the additional time?
Keisuke Kikuchi: Due to the sudden unexpected work environment changes of all of the companies involved in producing Fairy Tail, we needed more time than we initially expected in order to fix any bugs, make balancing and gameplay tweaks, and co-ordinate the manufacturing process.
We worked hard to ensure that there were no further delays by concentrating on carefully communicating with all the teams and providing support where needed.
Giuseppe: What is your preference between working on Gust’s own proprietary IP or on a third-party IP like Fairy Tail?
Keisuke Kikuchi: This is the first anime IP title I’ve worked on in 25 years, the previous title was for the Japanese anime “Captain Tsubasa.” Since there are so many fans of Fairy Tail, you have to use a different way of thinking when creating a title for an existing IP.
Due to this, it’s been a really refreshing and exhilarating experience developing this game. If we are able to work with existing influential IPs and create titles for original IPs simultaneously, I feel that both myself and the dev team can develop our skills further and increase the level of satisfaction from players.
Giuseppe: Fairy Tail is going to be the first Gust Games released worldwide at the same time. Does this create any challenge on your side?
Keisuke Kikuchi: When the Japanese version releases first, we can still work on adjusting all of the text up until the last minute, but in the case of a simultaneous worldwide release, the deadline for the text is much earlier which makes that aspect more difficult.
Giuseppe: Do you think we can expect simultaneous releases as the norm going forward?
Keisuke Kikuchi: That’s definitely the ideal scenario, but considering the development schedule for each title and the different marketing plans for each region, each project will need to be considered on a case by case basis.
Giuseppe: Atelier Ryza appears to be one of the most successful Gust games of all time. Since the delay of Fairy Tail likely gave you more time to consider the reaction of the audience to Ryza, are there any takeaways from it that you’re applying to Fairy Tail?
In particular, the photo mode seems to be very popular among fans of Atelier Ryza. Is it something you’re considering to include in Fairy Tail? I imagine many would like to reproduce their favorite scenes from the anime.
Keisuke Kikuchi: Fairy Tail and Atelier Ryza have very different game designs, so we did not utilize anything as-is from the series during development, but we did reference different animation methods and character expressions when making the game.
In regards to the photo mode, Mashima-sensei also requested that this be put into the game. I also think that being able to change into different costumes to recreate various scenes from the manga and anime would be really fun. I can’t reveal anything regarding additional content, but I hope that everyone can look forward to hearing more details in the future.
Giuseppe: With the next generation of consoles really close, are you interested in porting Fairy Tail to the PS5? Do you think Gust will stick to releasing cross-generation games for both PS4 and PS5 for a while before moving fully to the next generation and leaving PS4 behind?
Keisuke Kikuchi: Personally, I am very interested in next-generation consoles, so if we receive a lot of requests, I’d definitely like to make that happen.
While we are still considering which titles will be playable on next-generation consoles, I think we will have to change our development plans moving forward so that they include the PS5 as well.
Giuseppe: If you could choose freely, are there other anime or manga IP you’d like to make a game for?
Keisuke Kikuchi: Yes, there are, but unfortunately I can’t answer which specifically.
I really love anime and manga, so I often think about how certain series could be made into games.
If you want to see more of Fairy Tail, you can enjoy the latest trailer, the previous one, a recent batch of screenshots, the latest gameplay from a recent event, another trailer and screenshots, more gameplay from a Japanese livestream, another promotional video, the previous trailer, another recent railer, screenshots showing plenty of playable characters, and a TV commercial.
You can then enjoy the original announcement trailer, gameplay footage from Tokyo Game Show, another gallery of screenshots, the previous batch introducing Juvia and Gajeel, and one focusing on Mirajane, Laxus, and Jellal.
Fairy Tail is slated to release for PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC, and it’s coming on July 30 for Europe and July 31 for North America.