Digimon Con: Digimon Games Ultimate Information and Q&A session
I'm Krista at Bandai Namco Entertainment America, here to present the DIGIMON GAMES program. How are you enjoying the Digimon Con today?
Today, we've collected questions for Digimon Games before and we'd like to answer as many as we can. Let's get right to it!
Please welcome, Mr. Habu the Producer of Digimon Games!
Hi, I'm Habu from Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. and I am in charge of producing Digimon games.
Originally, I was hoping to answer questions while picking up comments from you in the chat section. However, due to the recent situation with Corona, we have had to limit the number of people involved in the studio, so we will be doing this pre-recording.
However, we will try to answer as many questions as we can in the time available.
Thank you for attending today Habu-san!
We received over 2000 questions from so many people. Thank you very much!
We read through all the questions and organized them into similar sections and genres.
I have read through all the questions and organized them into similar categories and genres.
Today, we're going to discuss questions about the new game "Digimon Survive", questions about past games, sequels, and ports, requests about the game, and questions about the game production.
Let's get started!
About Digimon Survive
It looks like it's going to be very different from the Digimon games we've seen so far. So we're going to ask a few questions right away.
I'd like to know the status of Digimon Survive's development. What is the reason for the delay in development?
Please let me know if there is any reason why the information update has been stopped.
In response to our call for inquiries, we have received a number of questions regarding the development status of Digimon Survive. We are very sorry for keeping you waiting, even though you are looking forward to it.
We also apologize again for not being able to provide any new information and for keeping you waiting. We sincerely apologize for the delay.
As we have already informed you once we have postponed the release due to a change in the development team and that we are now developing the game with a new development team. Changing teams has led to a lot of rework on the game, leading to delays.
This caused a lot of uncertainty that prevented us from giving regular updates.
However, thanks to the efforts of the new development team, we are now able to be back on track getting closer and closer to the completion of the game.
As for the release date information, it is expected to take a little longer as we are still adjusting it internally.
We apologize again for the delay, but we would appreciate it if you could wait a little longer.
What kind of story will be developed in Digimon Survive?
Could you tell us about the worldview and concept?
Also, did you have any influences or references in creating Digimon Survive?
This title has a worldview that is a bit different from what Digimon fans are used to and it is leaning towards core fans.
The previous game, Cyber Sleuth has depicted the incidents that occur when Digimon appear in human society with a unique worldview.
In the process of creating the world of Cyber Sleuth, what is "Digimon"? What is the "digital world"? I felt that there was a discrepancy between the concept of "digital" as we perceive it and the nature of the "Digimon" depicted in the story.
As an answer to this question, I decided to depict Digimon as a life form from another world that can be recognized and contacted through the "digital gadgets" of the human world.
As an image that takes this interpretation a little further, the director of the TV series Digimon Adventure, Kakudou, told me that "Digimon are ethereal beings that have been with us since ancient times, but their perception has changed over time, and they are fragments of souls that have been transformed into "digital monsters" by being recognized through digital gadgets in modern society.
This is the first time that monsters, who used to have an ethereal existence, are interacting with people in the modern world.
For this reason, we refer to Digimon as "Monsters", "Beasts", "Monstrous creatures", etc. in this work and in promotional messages.
Since the target audience for this game are Digimon fans who are adults, the story is a little darker, with the deaths of friends.
Since Digimon are described as half of one's inner self, there are dark expressions that are not common in conventional Digimon works, such as denying Digimon by refusing to face oneself, or hurting Digimon as a manifestation of self-harm. If you are a fan of TV anime or other cheerful works, you may find some of the descriptions unpleasant, so please be aware of this in advance.
Please tell us what happens in Digimon Survive.
The game consists of visual novel elements and tactical battles, and the story is divided into chapters.
As for the ratio of the game, the volume of visual novel and tactical battles is about 7:3, so the game is mainly a visual novel.
Talking about the text adventure part, can you give us more details on how that system works?
In the text adventure part, the game progresses through conversations with the characters and by investigating objects that can be found in various places in the background.
In each chapter, there are two situations that occur during this progression: "Free expedition" and "Exploration".
About "Free expedition"
The number of times you can act in "Free Expedition" is limited, and time passes by selecting a destination from the overall map and moving to it, or by executing conversation events that occur in the destination.
On each map, you can talk with your friends, engage in free battles, and examine various locations in the area.
By talking with your friends, you can increase your intimacy and receive items.
Events to degivolve your Digimon may occur depending on your story progress and affinity with your friends.
Additionally, by increasing their affinity, your friends might come to your aid in battle, which can be vital during Free Mode.
In free battles, you can level up and make friends with wild Digimon. You can obtain hidden items by examining various locations in the area.
In "Exploration", incidents occur according to the scenario, and the story progresses.
The story progresses by moving around the map, investigating areas, and talking with friends.
When investigating areas, you can switch between the naked eye and the camera while exploring. By observing through your phone's camera, you can see things that are invisible to the naked eye as noise and make new discoveries. Sometimes you will be attacked by an enemy and a battle will occur, and you will have to fight off the attacking monsters as your adventure unfolds.
The flow of the adventure part consists of adjusting your equipment in order to win battles, as well as training and preparing your Digimon for battle while leveling them up in free battles.
Regarding tactics battles, can you give us some details on how the system works?
Battles progress in a traditional tactics battle style.
At the start of a battle, you can select up to 10 units to join the battle (the maximum number will vary depending on the battle).
Battles are turn-based, with the order of action determined by the speed of the units.
When it's time for your unit to take action, use the commands to choose your action.
You can use "Move" to move your units according to the squares on the field.
The distance traveled and the ability to climb the height difference are different for each monster. If an enemy is within your attack range, you can "attack" them. The range of the attack depends on the technique.
The amount of damage varies depending on directional elements such as side and back attacks, height differences, compatibility of monster species, and compatibility of attack attributes.
Monsters can consume SP to unleash their techniques and Digivolve their units. Digivolving to a previously unlocked one will greatly enhance the performance of the unit, but it will continuously consume SP while Digivolving.
SP is gradually recovered each turn when the Digivolution is unlocked and the unit enters the growth phase. You can also recover SP by using items, talking with some partners, and getting support from your friends.
SP is an important energy that can be used to your advantage in battle, so SP management is very important.
How many routes are there going to be in the story? And under what conditions do the branches occur?
There are 12 chapters in the scenario, and from chapter 8 onwards, the story branches into three routes: "Morality," "Harmony," and "Rage".
When you reach to any one of the three ending of "Morality", "Harmony", or "Rage", the secret route will be released.
Please tell us about the volume of game play time.
Assume about 40 hours per route.
It will vary depending on the level of difficulty and the use of the fast-forward function of the text. It will take about 80 to 100 hours to complete all routes including challenging elements and end contents.
Please tell us the total number of monsters that appear in the game as well as the total number that can be trained as friends. Also, how did you decide which ones would appear in the game?
The total number of monsters that can be trained is 113.
The selection of Digimon was based on the priority of matching the world view.
The concept of this game is based on the encounter with life forms from other worlds, and it is set before monsters spread to the world as Digimon.
For this reason, I prioritized the selection of monsters with designs that give a sense of wildlife from the early LCD game Digital Monsters to the monsters that have appeared since Pendulum.
Therefore, the core players may feel that all the Digimon are familiar to them, but we'd appreciate your understanding.
Can I have a non-partner monster as a partner? And how can I make them my partners?
By playing Free Battle, you can make wild monsters your partners.
One of the battle commands is "Conversation," which allows you to have a "conversation" with a wild monster.
You can use this command to have a "conversation" with wild monsters by answering their questions with choices. If you succeed, you can recruit the monster as a partner or receive items from it.
What conditions must be met in the game in order to evolve a monster?
The main character's partner will Digivolve as the story progresses.
The destination of the Digivolution depends on the "Karma" of the choices you have made up to that point. You will not be able to unlock all them in one round of play.
In addition, the Digivolution events of fellow Digimon will be unlocked as the story progresses and the level of intimacy with the main character increases. You will need to clear these events to Digivolve.
In the meantime, you can Digivolve wild monsters by using items obtained through exploration and elsewhere.
After finishing the game, can I carry over data to the next version of it? If so, what kind of data can I take over?
There will be a New game + function.
The data that can be carried over are "Digimon level", "Unlocked Digivolutions", "Items and equipment obtained", and "Wild monsters you have acquired".
Are there any challenging or hidden elements after completing the game?
The content that occurs when you play for a second time, there are dungeons with high difficulty battles where enhanced enemies appear. In these dungeons, you can get a lot of reinforcement items, and for each level you reach, you can get powerful skill equipment that is not available in the main story.
Are there any features such as a gallery mode for viewing scenes?
There is a backlog function in this game, but the animation scene is only in the opening movie, so there is no recollection of the scene.
Is it possible to select the difficulty level?
The difficulty level can be selected in battle.
There are four difficulty levels to choose from: Difficult, Normal, Easy, and Very Easy.
Will the characters in Survive be fully voiced?
It will not be fully voiced. Only the main part of the scenario will be partly voiced.
Are there any multiplayer or communication elements in Digimon Survive?
There is no multiplayer or communication battle in this game.
Only single-player mode is available.
That's all the questions we have about Digimon Survive for now. We'll try to give you new information including the release date soon. We do appreciate your support and patience in the meantime. Now, let's move onto the next part.
Sequels and Port products
We also received many questions about sequels and ports for past games. The first question I'm going to ask is about the Digimon game from the "WonderSwan" platform.
Are there any plans to port Ryo Akiyama's series (Anode Tamer/Cathode Tamer, etc.) , that was released for WonderSwan, to current hardware?
"I am also interested in porting from WonderSwan titles, and it was once proposed internally. However, we failed to convince them due to low sales forecast and in the aspects of resources, so we haven't started it yet.
However, Ryo Akiyama's series such as "Anode Tamer/Cathode Tamer" are connected to anime and novels of the time. To allow users to learn the history of Digimon, we would like to develop these port products so that you can play in the current environment.
In addition, we believe that providing an environment where people can play past titles will help us attract new fans, so we will continue to find the ways to make this happen.
The Digimon game market is expanding overseas, so it's important to know how much demand there is overseas for ports of past titles.
Krista: We're always so grateful for the enthusiasm in both old and new Digimon titles. At this time, Digimon games is going to be focusing on putting resources towards new stories and experiences. We can't make any promises at this time, but we will continue to gauge interest globally. So, next we did receive a few questions regarding Digimon World.
Who created world view of the first Digimon World?
Since this game project started before the anime project was underway at the time, I heard that the development team for the LCD game "Digital Monster" and for "Digimon World" worked together to create it.
I heard that the visual image of the Digital World, which has a strong originality, reflects the game director's creativity. I would be happy to have an opportunity to talk about it someday.
Are there any plans to port or remake the original "Digimon World"?
"We have received many requests for a port or remake of the original Digimon World.
I'm positively considering it, but I'm also thinking which choice ("port/remaster" or "remake") is better.
If I choose "port/remaster," I think it will be highly feasible.
If you want a "remake", we need to think about how much additional elements you need.
Digimon World has a very good balance between File Island, the stage, and the Digimon that appear.
If we'll add a new field like the Folder Continent or Digimon, I think we should treat it as a "new product" rather than a "remake".
I would be grateful if you could continue to share your opinions with me.
Please give us your opinions in the comments section or elsewhere."
Could you please tell us about the ages of the main characters in "Digimon World Re:Digitize Decode"?
"I think... Taiga, Nico, Akiho, and Rina are in the second year of junior high school, and I think they were 14.
As for Mirei... her actual age before her body disappeared in the accident was around 24~26.
Due to the accident, her mental data is missing and her appearance is fixed at 14 years old."
"We have received porting requests for Decode from many people in the North American and European regions. We understand that a lot of people want it, as this game has not been localized in North America and Europe yet.
However, it is difficult to port 3DS to other platform. Especially in the case of Decode, this game requirs using split screens, so instead of porting the game as is, we have to recreate the controls and UI.
Since that would raise the cost, there are considerable hurdles for a port under these circumstances, so we haven’t been able to consider it.
As Habu-san mentioned before, production costs are difficult, especially when it comes to localization and adjusting for new platforms and displays. As mentioned before, budget, resources, and global performance are all factors that need to be considered. We will continue to determine interest with upcoming titles, like Digimon Survive.
Do you have any plans for a new Digimon world game?
We are considering plan for new Digimon World titles. We have a difficulty of how to design the game system. Given the fact that the system is highly unique, with life-span training and AI battles, we think it will be difficult to attract new fans.
I think it's very important to replicate such uniqueness for the existing Digimon World series fans. However, but if we don’t get new players into the series, it will become a greater hurdle when we want to make a new game, so it’s important to somehow make it easier for new players to enter into the series.
We want to continue the Digimon World series in a way that the fans who have supported it for a long time can enjoy it, so we'd love to hear your opinions in the comments section.
Okay, here's a question about the Digimon Story series.
I had the impression that previous "Digimon Story series" was aiming for younger children. But "Cyber Sleuth" and "Hacker's Memory" were for adults. What is the reason for this?
The users who purchased the Digimon Story series were around 20 years old at the time of Super Cross Wars, so we felt it was necessary to update the content so that users in that age group would not feel "it was childish", so we changed the direction.
Do you have any plans to create a sequel to "Cyber Sleuth" or "Hacker's Memory"?
There are no plans at this time to produce a sequel to Cyber Sleuth or Hacker's Memory.
We would like to consider it depending on the requests.
Is the new Digimon Story game under development?
Yes, we are developing a new Digimon Story game.
We can't say when it will be released, but we hope you will look forward to it.
Will the next Digimon Story's theme be (as you previously talked about) based on 'Twelve Olympians'?
Yes, the "Twelve Olympians" will appear as the central characters of the story.
Will the next game be set in the Digital World?
The next Digimon Story game will also be set in the Digital World.
That's it for questions about sequels and ports of past titles and series.
There are more questions to come, but since we've received a lot of questions from the Asian region this time, I'd like to pass the baton to Ken from BNE Taiwan!
Please welcome Mr.Ken from BNE Taiwan!
BNE Taiwan: Yes, this is Ken from BNE Taiwan!
From now on, I would like to ask Habu-san about the questions that I received from you.
Digimon is very popular in Asia, and we have received a lot of questions and requests.
Let's start with "Requests to the Digimon games."
Do you have any plans to develop action RPGs or other games that directly control Digimon?
It's interesting to see how you'd like to directly control Digimon.
If we try to directly control Digimon, we will need about five times as many Digimon's motions as we currently have.
Motion production cost consist of most part of the whole development cost for Digimon, so if you think we need to add it, we might have to reduce the number of Digimon that appear.
Currently, we are focusing on increasing the number of Digimon, so we are not considering an action RPG where the Digimon are directly controlled.
However, if we think "we should focus on directly controlling Digimon, I would like to consider it.
We'd love to hear your opinions."
I want to play a Digimon training on mobile app.
Yes. I'd like to consider it too.
However, based on past result of implementation, we think it's difficult to develop "focusing on trainning Digimon game in terms of business feasibility.
Therefore, although it may be a long way, I think it would be a good idea to consider linking it with console video games, and to expand gameplay by allowing users to train Digimon in the app and then transfer the training data to console hardware or PCs.
We're not sure its possibility in the point of technical limit, but we would appreciate your patience.
Do you have any plans to develop an open world game?
An open world game requires the accumulation of many years of development knowledge as well as a huge amount of development costs. First of all, we need to clarify what we want to have people enjoy with as a Digimon game and find the way to develop this kind of game while thinking of both feasibilty and cost.
If we come up the option of open world, we will consider it.
I don't want to evolve my favorite Digimon, but I want to train them to be stronger as is.
Yes, we understand that there are a lot of fans who think like this. So we would like to make it possible to train Digimon so that they can beat ultimate form even in the growth stage, assuming that it takes more time than normal training.
Do you have any plans to develop a multiplayer game?
We would like to consider multiplayer games in our future development.
Will you continue to create Digimon game for adults for future games?
The world of Survive is dark, and we developed this game targeted towards people who have played a Digimon game.
We'd like to consider future projects that are easier and aiming for a wide range of people to get into."
Is it possible for you to consider of DigiBeetle's reappearance that appeared in Digimon World 2?
I'd like to have the DigiBeetle appear somewhere.
Is there any possibility of developing game which is focusing on the X Antibody Digimon?
It may be difficult to make a stand-alone title, but we would like to deal with the X antibodies in some way. So please look forward to it!
BNE Taiwan: That's all for "Requests about the game".
Thank you very much for all your opinions!
As Habu-san answered, we will try our best to make your requests come true so that we can deliver contents that fans can enjoy.
BNE Taiwan: Now, I'd like to move forward with next part, question about the game production.
About Game Production
How long does it take to make a game?
It depends on what kind of game we decide to develop. If we decide to develop game that is optimized for latest hardware specifications, it will take 3~5 years, which is quite a long time.
How do you try to balance the two Digimon game elements of "training" and "battle"?
It is true that Digimon LCD games are based on "training" and "battles. In addition to this, the home video games include the elements of adventure or story, and I believe that these three elements form the basis of the game elements.
Of these, I believe that "training" is the most important element that characterizes a game.
Basically, there are two types of game. One is "Digimon World type", where you take your time to raise a single Digimon with a long life span. The other is "Digimon Story type", where you collect multiple Digimon and repeatedly Digivolve and degenerate them without a long life span. Since what users need is different, we hope to develop a series with different contents.
When you create a new Digimon game, how do you decide setting, worldview, and story?
When I'm producing, the setting of Digimon is based on that of the LCD game "Digital Monsters" setting of which is put together by Plex formerly Wiz.. On top of that, as for the "game world", I produce the original setting. That's why we have to worry about the theme, the story, and the main Digimon for each game.
How should we express the relationship between Digimon and humans in the world?
I decide on the "theme," and think about how to express the "main Digimon" within that theme, and then link them together to create the "story" and "world view".
What points do you pay attention to when choosing Digimon to appear in your games?
The type and number of Digimon that appear in the game is key point that users pay the most attention to, so we take care of this decision.
We make our choices from two main perspectives:
- To have the Digimon that users want.
- To select according to the storyline and worldview.
Since games is are the most popular of all Digimon merchandise, games covers a range of players, from light and core fans.
There will be a difference between the Digimon that light people want and the that core people want.
Hardcore players often want Digimon that aren't well-known, so if we only prioritize their requests, the Digimon lineup would be full of ones that a large majority of players wouldn't recognize or be interested in.
The Digimon that casual players want are the ones that core players think are typical to have, ,so I make it a rule to think of what types of Digimon casual players would like us to add first. On top of that, we will select Digimon core users are impresive. In terms of the ratio, it'll be 70% for light and 30% for core players."
What points do you keep in mind when creating a new Digimon?
Rather than creating new Digimon, I put more emphasis on giving Digimon that have appeared in the past a place to play an important role. When I create a new Digimon, I try to create one that is well-balanced within the Digivolution line. Therefore, I don't think creating ultimate Digimon.
I would like to play Digimon game that features Digimon that have not appeared in the game.
It may take some time, but I'd like to have Digimon appear in order, so please look forward to it!
Will you cover more languages for European region in the future?
Yes, we're planning to support more languages in the near future.
Regarding this topic, I would like to ask Krista and Ken for their thoughts.
We believe this is because the CyberSleuth games were only localized in English and German in EMEA. We can confirm that Digimon Survive will be localized in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish to make the game more accessible.
Russian and Arabic could be added to our games depending on the success of our upcoming titles.
How can I get involved in the production of the Digimon game series?
I think the best way is to join Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
If you want to get involved in this game series as a developer, it is difficult because development companies often change depending on the work, but I think it is better to work for a developer that is skillful in the field of RPGs and propose your plan to Bandai Namco Entertainment.
Besides that, you could work on your portfolio as an illustrator or scenario writer, or maybe you can show how much of a Digimon fan you are. You can use those achievements in your resume. I think there's certainly a chance there, so give it a shot!
I’d love for Digimon fans to get involved in its development.
What is the hardest part of creating a game?
Developing a game is a multi-person process. The minimum size is 20 people. In recent years, 50~100 or more has become the norm. The development style has changed to one where each staff member divides the work and combines them to create the game. With that many people working on a single project, it is very difficult to share a finished product image. If the image is not properly shared, incoherent content will be developed. Therefore, communication skills are required, and I am having a very hard time of communicating with them.
Also, as a hardship unique to Digimon games, I struggle with scenario creation every time.
Creators are all unique with their own vision of what they want to make, so while making adjustments, we try to sculpt that into the best form for what the fans want. That’s why I think the most difficult part is how to communicate between each other.
Additionally, this story is unique to Digimon games, so since the Digimon setting is so complicated and has a long history, it’s rather difficult to create the scenario.
What points do you enjoy and motivate you most about developing games?
In the development phase, what I enjoy the most is when I can feel the image taking shape.
After release, it's when I see the comments from fans who enjoyed the game.
In what direction do you see the Digimon games going in the future?
While continuing to refine and produce the existing series, we would like to take on new challenges such as online multiplayer titles.
BNE Taiwan: This is all the questions we received from the users. Thank you very much for all your questions and requests!
(If there is any comment from BNE Taiwan, please state it here)
Now, I would like to turn it over to Krista from BNEA.
Yes, thank you very much!
We're going to look over the questions and requests that we were not able to address this time, and use them in our future work.
So that's the end of the games section. So, how did you feel after all Habu-san?
Thank you for all your questions and requests.
I'd like to thank you for giving me this opportunity.
I'm very happy that so many people are interested in Digimon games. We believe that we are able to produce games thanks to the fans who enjoy this game series.
Once this difficult situation caused by COVID19 is over, we hope to have the opportunity to hear from you through real-time streaming.
We'll refer to the feedback we've received to develop a game that everyone can enjoy, so please continue to support Digimon games in the future.
Thank you very much, Habu-san! That's all for today then.