It has been quite a while since we last heard about Atlus's Project Re FANTASY, a new fantasy RPG project headed by Persona 5's director Katsura Hashino. However, Dengeki has a new interview with Hashino in a series of interviews with Japanese game producers and directors at the recent Dengeki PlayStation magazine, as 2017 will come to a close soon.
The interviews mainly asked about what they had been working on in 2017 and what to expect from their titles in 2018. Hashino's interview gave new insights on Project Re FANTASY. We have translated the interview, which you can read it right after the jump.
Dengeki: Please tell us how you’re looking back at your own works and activities in 2017.
Hashino: At the end of last year, I moved away from titles with the modern setting, and announced that I started developing a mainline fantasy RPG. Although we planned for the genre we’re working on to be ‘mainline’, we want Project Re FANTASY to be more than simply a nostalgic back-to-the-roots game - we're aiming for something even more than that.
We want to provide a new ‘mainline’ game to players around the world who have grown tired of the usual ‘mainline’. We’re steadily making progress on our work for that, but I’m having a fulfilled, fresh work with members who have the same spirit.
Dengeki: Please tell us a title announced/released in 2017 that interests you in regards to your occupation and along with the reason why.
Hashino: In regards to my occupation… in that case, that would be Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. I wanted to think about a lot of things so I played the PS4 version. It had a high degree of completeness even from a developer's perspective, as it actually rides your feelings towards various things.
Dengeki: When you are producing games; and in particular RPGs, what would be the thing you’re putting the highest importance of?
Hashino: There ought to be countless features required in a good RPG. But ultimately, if I have to think why they have to exist for a certain purpose, in the end, I would think on “whether they can bring forth a specific nature to the title that will be remembered in people’s memories.”
If I’m rephrasing it, the most important thing is on whether we can aim for “a game that can remain in memories.” Because we think a lot of game fans should be the most delighted if they can meet a title that makes them feel “this [game] will forever stay in my mind” rather than just simply experiencing a transient pleasure.
Dengeki: If we are to split game creation into phases like the Conception phase, Basic Development phase, to Final Tuning phase, how would you split that personally? And also, which phase would be the most difficult for you?
Hashino: Conception, Basic Development, Detailed Development, and Tuning phase. I had both the same amount of hardship and fun in each of them. I need to preserve the images made from the Conception phase all the way to the very end; it can be likened to carrying a cup of water while trying not to spill it. Although the nature of the hardship changes with each phase, I feel like the nervousness is still there all the time.
Dengeki: Right now Hashino-san is producing a fantasy RPG with Project Re FANTASY. But when we’re comparing it with titles that are based on modern society, could we hear what you’re thinking right now about which points are different, or which ones are interesting?
Hashino: Actually, there is nothing different basically. That’s exactly why I think it’s interesting. While the genre is high fantasy, we’re constructing a world setting where people living in the real world can actually relate to. That sense of distance is the opening slit; that’s why I hope this can be a fantasy that can only be created by us. Please look forward to it.
On a side note, a separate team at Atlus is also working on Shin Megami Tensei V right now, so it's very interesting to see that Atlus has two major RPG projects in the works at the same time. We hope to hear more about both projects once we've entered the year 2018.