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Posted June 27, 2017 by Daniel Kizana in Feature
 
 

E3 2017: Interview with Lost Sphear Director, Atsushi Hashimoto


Since the cult success of Tokyo RPG Factory’s I Am Setsuna in 2016, enraptured fans have waited with bated breath for another taste of JRPG mastery from the Square Enix owned studio. Headed up by Director Atsushi Hashimoto, Lost Sphear will be the second entry in the Setsuna Series, and while not a direct sequel, will share the same rejuvenated combat mechanics and existential plot themes as its predecessor. I met with Atsushi-san at Square Enix’s booth to discuss Lost Sphear and his plans for the ongoing Setsuna series.

Atsushi-san opted to begin with a brief presentation.

Atsushi Hashimoto: I’d like to begin with an explanation of the main concepts behind the game. This is the second game in Project Setsuna, but it isn’t a direct sequel to I Am Setsuna; it’s a new game being developed in its own right.

The whole idea behind Project Setsuna is to take the base of 90s JRPGs, which many say was the Golden Age for JRPGs, and apply modern gaming technology and know-how to advance it and take it in a new direction.

In Lost Sphear, a key word behind the lore of the world is Memory. Everything in this universe is created with memory and has memory within it. If the memory within a person or an object is removed, they sort of fade from existence. It’s a phenomenon referred to as getting ‘Lost’. The story of the game shows the protagonists fighting against this phenomenon.

Rocket Chainsaw: Where does the name Lost Sphear come from?

AH: The word Lost refers to the phenomenon of becoming Lost in this world, and Sphear is a metaphor for the moon. The concept art and logo of the game use the Moon as iconography, and the Moon itself plays a big role in the story of the game.

RC: How long is the main adventure, and will there be side quests and content?

AH: To complete the Main Story should take around 30 hours or so, but you might play for 40 or 50 hours if you do all the side content.

RC: Aside from the concept of Memory, is there a central storytelling theme from in game? Something you’d like players to come away thinking about?

AH: We don’t want to be too prescriptive about that. The games that I remember from my childhood all ended in sadness and melancholy. That’s a mood we really went for with I Am Setsuna as well. We’re aiming for something like that with Lost Sphear.

RC: How many playable characters will there be?

AH: If you look at the trailer really carefully, you’ll get an idea of just how many there are. I’ll leave it up to your imagination for now.

RC: What did you learn from the public and critical reception to I Am Setsuna?
AH: Funnily enough, one of the big things that people asked for is why there were no Inns in I Am Setsuna. So that was an easy one to fix; There are many inns now, and if you talk to the proprietor, you can rent a room.

Another thing was in the battle system, fans said they didn’t like being restricted in movement during combat. So we’ve now allowed characters to move more freely and change their angles of attack. There’s a lot more freedom of movement.

The biggest innovation, however, is something we can’t quite reveal yet. There’ll be more info down the line for sure.

RC: With regards to the combat movement changes, does that mean there will be directional bonuses for attacking enemies from the sides or back?
AH: The direction you attack from doesn’t really change much. We’ve focused more on changing position to include as many enemies as possible in a ranged or area attack. It’s more positional than directional.

RC: Combat in this game looks a lot like Chrono Trigger. Will we see team tactics and combos in Lost Sphear?
AH: I think we’ll have to leave that one for future information. I can’t go into that right now.

RC: What’s your favourite 90’s JRPG?
AH: *laughs* Everyone asks me that. It’s not from the 90s, but my favourite RPG from the past was Dragon Quest 3. It was the first RPG I ever played and I was so influenced by it. It’s a really fantastic game.

RC: How many titles should we expect as part of Project Setsuna moving forward?
AH: We want to keep going. All we can say is that we’ll try to make as many as we can.

 

Lost Sphear will ship on PC/PS4/Switch in Early 2018.

 


Daniel Kizana

 


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