Shunsuke Minowa Interview - A talk with the Director of Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless

With Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless upcoming, RPG Site had the chance to field a few questions about the game to the title's Director - Shunsuke Minowa, of Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. He was eager to share how the team tackled criticisms from Disgaea 6 in order to improve the next entry, and some of the inspirations that went into Disgaea 7's new features.

RPG Site: Jumbification – where players can boost their units to preposterous sizes – is one of the headlining new features of Disgaea 7. Is there anything specific that inspired the team to include it?

Shunsuke Minowa: We wanted to create a gameplay mechanic that would reduce the challenges of character movement during combat, as well as have an effect on the entire map. With the 3D artwork, the characters would still look good even if they were huge, so we decided to give it a try. We also realized that if [the Jumbified] character was placed directly on the map, this would interfere with the gameplay, so we solved this by placing [the Jumbified] character outside of the map!

As I understand it, this is the 3rd tactical RPG that NIS have developed on the new engine that the company adopted with Disgaea 6. Have there been any unforeseen/surprising benefits to development that the shift has afforded the Disgaea team?

Minowa: Beyond simply the visuals having a facelift, the benefits of going with 3D include having the various elements not become pixelated when increased in size and the increased freedom of camera movement, which allows us to show things from different angles are both very important. As previously mentioned, Jumbification is a system that could not have been implemented without the game being in 3D. Also, our ability to show off the special moves in various ways from various angles has been built up over the past couple of 3D games and this has been a big benefit as well.

In the early marketing for Disgaea 7, special notice has been given to the auto-battle system, which has been improved from Disgaea 6. What is the biggest change to auto-battle in Disgaea 7 that you would like to highlight?

Minowa: Unlike Disgaea 6, in which auto-battle could be used freely at any time, Disgaea 7 treats it as a feature that players must consciously choose. The auto-battle feature now has an associated cost, and the player has to manually choose to skip playing in battles. This way, the player’s experience wouldn't be lessened by just setting the game to automatically play, and they can still build their ideal battle party if they so choose.

Disgaea 7 seems to be going for a Samurai/Bushido theme, unique from the rest of the series. What inspired the team to go with this approach for the game?

Minowa: The word “Bushido” actually came up as we were looking over the different generic character classes. Our goal was to take a “back-to-basics” approach with Disgaea 7, and we thought that it would be interesting to use “Bushido” as the base for our world setting.

Unlike Disgaea 5 and 6, which focused on gathering residents from different worlds to fight together, we wanted the story of Disgaea 7 to mainly focus on one Netherworld from the beginning of development. In keeping with our goal of going back to basics, we developed a storyline of “reclaiming Bushido” that turned into the setting of a “historical Japanese-inspired Netherworld without Bushido.”

Thanks again for your time! Finally, is there anything else you’d like fans to know, heading into Disgaea 7?

Minowa: This title represents the 20th anniversary of the series and we went into it with the motto “back to basics” in order to keep the sense of what makes the Disgaea series what it is.

We made this game for fans of the series and for newcomers alike so that each could experience Disgaea. We hope that everyone will give this game a try!