We had a few burning questions for the producer of Fairy Tail, Keisuke Kikuchi. The developer Gust is well-known for it’s Atelier series, which shares some common ground with upcoming Fairy Tail being an turn-based RPG. We wanted to know how much the series has influenced developing Fairy Tail as well as to find more about the guilds, characters and post-launch content.
Fairy Tail Interview – Producer Discusses Guilds, Post-Launch Content, Characters and More
After getting to play the demo at Koei Tecmo in California this week, we had a few questions about the game including future plans for Fairy Tail. In a sit down with producer Keisuke Kikuchi we got to explore what went into developing the turn-based title and what is planned in terms of future content.
FL: While Fairy Tail is a turn-based game, how much can you explore in the open-world?
KK: We made a lot of the Atelier series games, so the map system is quite similar to those. There are different fields which are all inter-connected on the world map, not seamlessly and not in the open-world format. But given that each field or each area in the world is very distinct with features, I think it works quite well.
Because the underlying game cycle is similar to Atelier where you have the workshop as your base camp in a way, then you venture off to collect materials, then come to synthesis and craft things. In Fairy Tail you have the guild and then you go to various places, completing missions and coming back with wealth and fame, to expand your guild. While travelling once you’re done with something, you come back to your base camp, in that sense instead of an open-world you have a map system like this, which is more fitting.
FL: Speaking of Atelier, how much is the game comparable to Fairy Tail in terms of combat in terms of turn-based?
KK: Because they are both RPG games, there are bound to be some similarities and there will be things in common but, by in large Fairy Tail’s combat system isn’t derived from Atelier’s. In terms of Fairy Tail the basic battle flow would be, first off you need to think strategically when you create your party because everybody has have their own attributes, their forte and I guess in a way weaknesses. You need to think about who you’re fighting and how to create a team. During the battle it’s all about filling up the Fairy Tail gauge to launch the powerful chain attacks.
Speaking of the chain attack, there are actually three different layers to it. If you expand your build, upgrade it, the maximum available attacks increase, so that it one layer. Then the second layer, if you develop your character, for now you have probably gone through one of them (in the demo), for now you only have 3 attacks, but as you develop them you will be able to cast different attacks or stronger attacks. And two, lastly with the affinity system when your characters develop stronger bonds with each other, the probability of the chain lasting also goes up. That is very unique to Fairy.
On top of those you will be able to find a unison raid as seen in Fairy Tail, where it is cast by two people. When certain conditions are met, legendary magic such as Urano Metria by Lucy, that is done cast by the two girls. Those legendary magics will become available during the battle. The battle system of Fairy Tail really holds its own.
FL: How do you establish relationships between these characters to perform this cooperative type moves/attacks together?
KK: There are certain number of things intertwined, if certain party members stay in the party repeatedly, also if you follow the character episode and complete those tasks that’s another side of it. On the macro level you can upgrade the guild, and you can also focus on the character development. But having said all that, it’s really more intuitive than that, so if a player tries to achieve something they can still do the right thing without knowing all the mechanics.
FL: Onto the characters, so we know there is going to be, I think it was over 10. For some of the characters when can you actually unlock them? And will there be any additional characters after the game releases?
KK: To unlock new characters, before the ending that is, when you progress to a certain point in the story when those characters make their appearance, they will become available to recruit. But before you can do that, you will have to follow certain episodes, whether it be quests you need to complete, you have to meet certain conditions before they can actually be recruited and listed to be part of your party.
About the additional characters, via downloadable content, we have received requests from Mashima Sensei (Hiro Mashima – Fairy Tail’s original creator) himself directly, passionately, so yes there will be additional characters available via DLC. Because this is the first Fairy Tail game that we are creating there is only so much we can do before the launch, but as creators we would like to bring as many characters as possible to enrich the world of Fairy Tail for fans, so that is definitely happening.
FL: Also with character customisation, can you change attire or outfits in the game?
KK: There are certain situations where you obtain new outfits, once that happens you can change into a different outfit whenever you like.
FL: Will there be the possibility of being able to create your own character in the future?
KK: Creating characters is like adding an original character to Fairy Tail, but my current thoughts are that instead of having original characters, at this phase it’s best to bring as many familiar characters as possible from the story. So that is not my top priority at this moment.
FL: What type of things will you be able to do in the game once the game is completed?
KK: We’re not going to go into that much, but it’s suffice to say there will be scenarios and additional stories after the ending, that’s it for now.
FL: So it appears it’s not being released on Xbox One, what was the decision behind that? Will we see a port for the Xbox in the future?
KK: It wasn’t a decision about leaving out Xbox per se, it’s not a deduction, it’s more to do with the Gust team is more experienced with PS4, Switch and Steam. [They] haven’t had much experience with Xbox. Ever since the game was announced we received a lot of feedback from the West, from the US asking for the Xbox port, so we acknowledge that demand. But with the dev team and it’s limited size for now, we have to concentrate on the three platforms. Your question was “if there was a chance?” that is something I would consider [in future].
FL: Going back to the topic of guilds, you’re in the Fairy Tail guild, is it possible to join a different guilds or something along the lines in the future? And also what about an online component, have you guys discussed that? What are the potential plans for that?
KK: You cannot really serve other guilds, and become one of them, but the opposite is possible. You can recruit other members from other guilds and have them join your party. As for online features, no we don’t have any plans for that.
FL: We talked about the DLC, how long are you planning to support Fairy Tail after the game is released?
KK: So we don’t have a concrete plan or roadmap at this point, but in terms of the duration of support, I am thinking of perhaps 3 to 4 months post-launch. Content wise, while nothing is concrete, I am thinking of new maps, higher difficulty missions, new features and new costumes.
FL: Once the game releases and you guys receive much success, further down the road, what is the possibility it will be turned into an fighting game, an MMO or even an ARPG?
KK: I am not really fond of the particular notion of a fighting game personally, but I would want to retain the elements of an RPG just given the world of Fairy Tail character development. So an action-RPG might something we can look at, but I wouldn’t want to create a pure action game.
While it looks like there are no plans set in stone for the future of Fairy Tail, it’s great to know that Gust is thinking about things further down the line in terms of future content and listening to the fans of the series. If you want to know more about the gameplay you should check out our Fairy Tail Hands-On Preview.
Fairy Tail will release on PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC in Spring 2020.
If you enjoyed this interview be sure to check out our review for Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout.