Creator Toshimichi Mori wants to port BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma to the PS4, explores the (im)possibility of making Celica, Nine and Jubei playable
The date on this story may say April 23. But in Japan, it’s already April 24 — the day that BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma for the PS Vita hits store shelves over there.
In commemoration of the PS Vita version’s release, Famitsu.com has published an interview with Toshimichi Mori, the creative mind behind Arc System Works’s BlazBlue series.
Since it isn’t ridiculously long, EventHubs’s own KarbyP decided to simply translate the entire interview in full.
Although a lot of the interview is about why you might want to pick up the PlayStation Vita port of the game, towards the end Mori talks about the possibility of porting BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma over to the PS4.
Other topics covered in the Famitsu interview include: whether Celica, Nine and Jubei might end up being playable characters (take a guess which ones might before reading what Mori has to say); the next installment of the BlazBlue series being the final chapter; and… is Mori seriously considering letting someone do a live-action BlazBlue movie?
Hit the jump to read the interview in full.
—- The PS Vita version of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma has finally been released. How are you feeling right now?
Toshimichi Mori: I’m just relieved to see PS Vita version finally out. Really, that’s all. Compared to the PlayStation 3 version, the game’s file size on the Vita was a bit of an issue, and so we had to resort to data compression. But because the staff members worked really hard on optimising this, we were able to preserve the game’s quality in spite of that.
—- Were there a lot of fans who wanted a portable version of the game?
Mori: I believe so. In BlazBlue’s case, apart from fighting game fans, there were also a lot of gamers who simply wanted to play and enjoy the story mode. Being able to play it comfortably on a portable console was a request we got from many fans.
—- Right, because of the story element, compared to other fighting games, BlazBlue is actually quite well suited for portable consoles.
Mori: You’d feel that the play experience was lacking if you tried to get serious with a fighting game on a portable console. And that’s why, as a counter-measure, since the very beginning we insisted on creating a proper Story mode.
—- As part of that counter-measure, this time for the PS Vita version you’ve added brand new scenarios.
Mori: One of the new scenarios added for the PS Vita version is… what we’d call a gag scenario. I think it’s excellent. As I was playing it I had a good laugh with it, so I think the fans will find it to be quite interesting. We hope that those who already have the PlayStation 3 version would check it out too.
—- And the other scenario added, is a concise summary of the events in the first two games.
Mori: It has Ragna and Rachel going over the events in the first two games, so we highly recommend it to gamers who are picking up BlazBlue for the very first time. And of course, for existing fans who had been wondering about, “how did the events in Calamity Trigger go again?” or “did things really happen that way?”, it’s a great mode for reliving past memories of playing the earlier installments.
—- Are the new scenarios fully voiced?
Mori: Of course. That’s the case for both of the new scenarios. So as a result, between the Story mode and the new scenarios, there’s quite a bit of volume here. We hope that this will allow gamers with a PS Vita to gradually immerse themselves into the world of BlazBlue, on free time while away from their home consoles.
—- Are there any other features you’d like to point out for the PS Vita version?
Mori: For the fighting game portion of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, the PS Vita port has got the latest patch of the game implemented — just like with the arcade version. This is slightly ahead of the PS3 version. For those who’d like to play the latest patched version of the game on a big screen right now… I suppose there’s always the PS Vita TV.
—- BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is one of the games that will be played at the world’s biggest fighting games tournament, the “EVO” championship series. So the PS3 version will get patched before EVO too, right?
Mori: Of course, we’re aware it’s an EVO game. We’re trying to put the patch out as early as we can. Currently our staff is working hard to put it out by sometime in the middle of May. Once we have a clearer date than that, we’ll make an announcement.
—- How is the new balance patch being received at the moment?
Mori: After the patch was released, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people who play the arcade version. Even in the previous version, I thought that the balance was pretty well-maintained, so as for how the new balance patch will be received… that will depend on what players figure out in the lab. With regards to that, since it hasn’t been very long from when we patched the arcade version, it’s hard to tell if the patch is well-received or not.
Personally, I think maybe I should have been a little more demanding with this update. But the staff already has a really hard time, since they can’t go against my orders, but at the same time they they need to ensure that the game is properly balanced (laughs).
—- BlazBlue has been adapted to a multitude of other content formats, such as an anime series and even a stage production. So there should be a good number of people who have gotten interested in the games through those adaptations.
Mori: Catering for those types of users in mind, we’ve created a “Stylish” control mode that makes it easy to play for them. So for people who think that with fighting games, you must use a fight stick, or that fighting games in general are just really difficult, I hope that these gamers will realise that it really isn’t the case. And that even beginning players could clear BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, and pull off combos simply be hitting buttons in Stylish mode.
So what’s important here, is to have those players first be able to enjoy the game and get into the spirit of fighting games. To get them to realise that “this is fun”. If we can somehow manage to do that for them, that’s good enough.
—- If they can’t derive any fun out of it, then they won’t continue playing.
Mori: Precisely. So what we’d recommend is for beginning players to start by playing Story mode with the Stylish control scheme. After that, if beginning players are interested in getting into the fighting game component, they can start learning the basics bit by bit. To enable that, we’ve included a Tutorial mode and a Challenge mode for them to clear.
—- By the way, now that you’ve gotten BlazBlue adapted into a manga series, novels, anime, and a stage production… is there anything else you’d personally like to do with the BlazBlue series?
Mori: Actually, the stage production wasn’t an idea we came up with. We got an offer from the stage production company asking if they could do it.
—- Huh, is that so?
Mori: The actors for the stage production really worked very hard on the project. Just about everything was handled by them.
—- The acting, and even the character voices for the stage production were pretty accurate.
Mori: They really studied the games thoroughly. What we found incredibly interesting was that, on the first day that the stage production was presented, only half of the audience’s seats were filled. But by the very last day, they had a full house. So we think what happened was that, the fans who watched the earlier shows gave the stage production good reviews and helped to spread the word.
—- I remember seeing a lot of such praise on Twitter at the time.
Mori: Exactly. Just like with the stage production, as long as there are people passionate about the series, we’d love to work with them. If the opportunity presents itself… perhaps we could do a movie next?
—- In the past there’s been quite a number of fighting games that has gotten adapted into movies. So this could really happen.
Mori: Nah, I think making a movie is the hardest type of adaptation for the series. But if there is anyone in the movie-making world who’d love to do a BlazBlue movie, I’d like to entrust it to them… If there’s anyone from the film industry who has gotten interested in BlazBlue after reading this interview, please reach out to us (laughs).
—- Would absolutely be great to see someone from the movie industry reaching out to make this movie a reality (laughs).
Mori: [Not every adaptation was done that way though.] By the way, for the novel that was something that I personally wanted to do, and that which I asked to dabble into.
—- I see. Why novels?
Mori: With novels, it’s much easier to branch out into additional plot developments separate from the main storyline. For instance, an “another story” that’s different from the comics/manga series, but connected.
That’s why when I was conceptualising and writing the BlazBlue novels, I made it a point not to dabble into “if” (parallel universe) scenarios, but rather focused on ensuring that the stories told in the novels were connected to the main BlazBlue storyline somehow. As a result, I think the BlazBlue universe has gotten a lot more interesting. And Celica, who was originally a character from the novels, has even made an appearance in the game.
—- Celica is an incredibly popular character. Aren’t there a lot of requests to make her into a playable character?
Mori: Well… in Celica’s case, is there even any way we could make her playable? Celica can’t fight, you know that, right?
—- While it’s true that she can’t fight… Well, okay. What about the remainder of the Six Heroes? Nine and Jubei?
Mori: I’d love to make Nine a playable character, but… As for Jubei, it’d be pretty difficult to implement him into the game… but due to his small size, we won’t be able to make him playable unless we manage to clear that hurdle.
—- I see. Because of Jubei’s size, his hurtboxes would make a lot of attacks whiff.
Mori: And because you won’t be able to hit him as often, Jubei would be a character who’s quite stressful to play against. So if we were to make him playable, we’d have to do something like what we did with Carl’s hat, or Rachel’s manservants — use gimmicks to increase the size of his hurtboxes.
—- Ah, that makes sense. Rachel has surprisingly wide hitboxes. What if Jubei were to don on his armour from when he fought the Black Beast? (Laughs)
Mori: But up until now he’s always been depicted wearing a hood. If we were to suddenly make him appear in armour, that might be a little much…
—- That may be true. Okay, moving on, will the next BlazBlue game really be the final chapter of the series?
Mori: Yes, like I’ve said before, the next game is the final chapter. Personally, it’d be a pain for me too if we were to drag it further. So as promised, the next game will be the last. But with that said, it’s not like the BlazBlue franchise will completely come to a halt, never to appear in another form ever again, after that. This simply means that with the next game, Ragna The Bloodedge’s story will finally come to an end.
—- Even in Chrono Phantasma, it would appear that things are pretty wrapped up…
Mori: Exactly, right? But… (takes a deep breath) Nope. There’s still a little more of the story that we’d like to tell.
—- Have you already come up with plot ideas for the next game?
Mori: Of course I’ve got some ideas on what we could do. But with that said, it’s not quite fully baked yet, and not something I should talk about yet. So please look forward to hearing about it in the future. At the momemt I’d like to spend some time to recharge my batteries and solidify those ideas more. Only after that will I take the time to start working on it.
—- What do you usually do on your down periods to recharge your batteries?
Mori: I’d like to watch all the movies I have yet to watch in the past year. Also, play all the interesting games that came out, complete them from start to end. Oh, and I’d like to watch the Kill la Kill anime as soon as I can, too. And Arpeggio of Blue Steel (which is also an anime).
For movies, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Amazing Spiderman 2, and Godzilla seem pretty appealing to me… As for new anime series and movies in 2014, there are so many of them I can’t even mention them all (laughs).
—- That’s quite a bit of battery recharging you’ve got to do (laughs). Well, in the meantime, what about porting Chrono Phantasma to a new platform? Like, for instance, the PlayStation 4?
Mori: This is just my personal opinion, but I’d absolutely love to port the game over to the PS4. If we do end up doing it, we’d have to come up with some exclusive features for the PS4 version.
—- I see! That’s something worth looking forward to. Finally, a message for BlazBlue fans, please!
Mori: Most gamers who have portable gaming devices tend to play games on the portable console by themselves. With that premise in mind, we’ve created a deep story mode, and a versatile character customisation system in the game’s Abyss mode of play, so there’s plenty you can do in the single-player modes. The PS Vita version of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is great for your commute to work or to school, and we hope more players will explore the game’s universe as a form of entertainment.
And because with the next and final chapter of the BlazBlue series, we’d be looking to the fans for feedback on how we should proceed with it, we hope that more gamers will get into the series with the PS Vita version.