Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    

Nostalgia Q&A

PixlBit talks Nostalgia with Red Entertainment's Naoki Morita and Tecmo's Keisuke Kikuchi.

PixlBit was fortunate enough to interview Naoki Morita of Red Entertainment, developers of the soon-to-launch DS role-playing game Nostalgia, and Keisuke Kikuchi of Tecmo, who published the game in Japan.

Nostalgia, an original DS RPG featuring expansive worlds and airship combat, is being published by Ignition Entertainment in North America on October 27.

What's the story of Nostalgia?

Mr. Naoki Morita: Nostalgia is a role-playing game for the Nintendo DS that takes place at the end of the 19th century on an alternate-reality Earth. The main hero is Eddie, a young Londoner who becomes an adventurer in order to find his missing father. He encounters various friends along the way who join his cause, and he eventually gets embroiled in a conflict with a dangerous secret society. In many ways, it’s a very traditional story like that you’d find in a classic adventure novel. Unlike most fantasy RPGs, Nostalgia lets you feel as if you were exploring the real world since it is based on Earth and you can visit existing cities and monuments. But the setting is only one aspect of the story: Nostalgia’s deepest narrative centers on understanding the bond between parents and children. We depict this concept from Eddie’s point of view, as he explores his father’s disappearance, but carries over to include each character’s bond with their family members.

I've heard the main character's father be compared to Indiana Jones. Was that intentional? Were there any other such influences in the worlds and characters?

Morita: The inspiration for Gilbert didn’t spring exclusively from the well-known Indiana Jones character--I think I’ve received a lot of inspiration from everything I have seen or experienced in my life. What I cared most was to make this game simple so that anyone can understand it easily. My basic standpoint of creating something is not to disappoint the users. For example, you can easily recognize that the hero and his father are adventurers from their appearance at first glance.

Where did the inspiration for Nostalgia come from?

Morita: I think the inspiration stems from my childhood experiences, such as reading adventure novels by Jules Verne and watching Hiroshi Saito’s anime based on “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. I wanted to depict such a feeling of excitement, exploration, and endless possibilities in a game.

How did the developer's previous work influence Nostalgia?

Mr. Keisuke Kikuchi: I’ve worked on many game series including “FATAL FRAME”, “Deception, and “Gallop Racer” and I produced each of them by choosing one specific element to focus on, and then polishing that aspect to a level that users cannot experience in other games. Since Nostalgia is a RPG, it consists of various intricate elements. Among them, I focused mainly on the sense of adventure one gets from exploring the real world and the highly customizable airships that you can use in combat.

Morita: I believe that I brought out my knowledge and experience from my past works (such as the Sakura Wars franchise) because they were not purely fantasy-based but rather based on the historical stories. Through the years, I have learned how to combine the historical and fictional aspects smoothly. Actually, I came up with the idea of Nostalgia more than ten years ago, but it would have been completely different if I planed it ten years ago since I’ve learned so much in this decade through working on various titles and meeting new people. In that sense, every work in my past has influenced Nostalgia.

What features sets Nostalgia apart from other handheld RPGs?

Morita: First off, Nostalgia is an entirely original game, whereas many of the best DS role-playing games are simply remakes of older titles. Another important feature of Nostalgia is that it is based on 19th century Earth, not on a fictional world like other RPGs. Also, while many games in the genre feature airships, Nostalgia places a much greater emphasis on your ship, as you use it to traverse the world and conquer airborne foes.

What aspects/parts of Nostalgia do you like the best?

Kikuchi: I like the feeling of travelling across the real world. You can really enjoy the level of detail that we’ve incorporated into the various locales, like the geographical landmarks, regional differences between townsfolk, and the particular weapons that each place specializes in.

Morita: I really enjoy watching the airships physically change when you customize them with new weapons and armor. I must be a stereotypical guy, but I really enjoy getting my hands dirty and tinkering with machinery! But sometimes I have to face tough battles because I customized the airship while focusing only on the design, not on the function. Also, I like the “Party conversation” which you can see when you push the Y button. In this conversation, you can know the purpose of each scenario and enjoy the casual conversation between the characters as well.

What makes Nostalgia's battle sequences unique?

Kikuchi: We have two kinds of battles (airship battles and character battles), and in each battle, you have “order table” as a consistent system that determines the order of attacks. The order of battle for both allies and enemies is displayed as a list on the bottom of DS screen, with the order depending on the quickness of their attacks. For each command and skill, the waiting time to the next attack is set. You can enjoy finding a best way to finish the battles earlier by using a skill to make the enemies slow or make your fellow party members quick and combining those skills based on the characteristics or action pattern of enemies.

What are the key differences between the regular battles and the airship battles?

Kikuchi: In regular battles, you only need to worry about attacking, using spells and skills, and keeping your warriors healthy. But in airship battles, more strategy is required for victory: You must customize your ship’s various weapons (blade, gun, laser, and cannon), and determine how to attack enemies, which weapon to use, and from what direction to attack. Plus, your party members each have special magical abilities that can only be used during airship combat.

Why did you go the steampunk route?

Morita: I think adventurous story and steampunk style fit together well. When developing a game about airship exploration, I think it’s better to set it in a real world than a fictional fantasy world. However, I needed to make it more real by mixing some fictional elements in order to travel the world on airships. I think steampunk was essential to realizing the world of Nostalgia.

Do you feel the Skies of Arcadia comparisons are warranted? How is Nostalgia similar/different from it?

Morita: There are many other games that are set in the skies like Skies of Arcadia, but I think Nostalgia is the first title to focus on the airship that much, which makes it different from other games.

The airship is not just an ornament but a reliable fellow to travel together and it plays an important role in battles and traversal.

The Japanese name roughly translated to Winds of Nostalgeo. Why did the North American release drop the "Winds of?"

Kikuchi: The origin of this title is as follows: I wanted to create one word combining “Nostalgic” to express the good old 19th century, “Geo” to express the earth. With those words, I created a combined “Nostalgeo” word. To express an adventure up in the big air, I put “Wind” after “Nostalgia”. For the title of the English version, I decided to focus on the word “Nostalgia” to express the game world after discussing it with Ignition Entertainment. To express the airship which is the key to this game, I decided to incorporate the airship directly into the logo design.

Thanks to Mr. Morita and Mr. Kikuchi for the interview, as well as FortySeven Communications for helping us set it up.



Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.