Interview: CyberConnect2 CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama on Narutimate Storm 3, .hack, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
posted on 10.14.12 at 02:53 PM EST by (@salromano)
Gematsu speaks to Hiroshi Matsuyama at Comic-Con.

We spoke to CyberConnect2 president and CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama during Comic-Con in New York yesterday, where we discussed the developer’s upcoming Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, the studio in general, and more.

Find our full transcript below.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3

— Hello, Matsuyama-san. I’d like to start off with Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. What sort of changes are being made to online battles?

Matsuyama: Unfortunately, we are not able to release details about the online mode at this time. But we are making upgrades to every mode in the game, and we hope that the online mode will be a mode will allow players to continue playing even completing the story mode.

— Would you say that these are substantial upgrades?

Matsuyama: Hmm. The foundation of the online mode is very similar to what you’ve seen before, but there will be upgrades both systematically and on the technical side.

— Will older characters, those who’ve appeared in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 1 and so forth, gain any new content in terms of moves or costumes?

Matsuyama: There won’t be any new moves, per say, but because of the new system that we have for battles in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, we hope that players will be able to see that there’s are new impressions and ways to use these old characters.

— “What if” scenarios have been a fun thing to experience in recent anime games, such as Dragon Ball Z. Is CyberConnect2 considering these types of alternate storylines for Ultimate Ninja Storm 3?

Matsuyama: Yes. In addition to the main scenario for Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, there will be sub-scenarios, which do have a little bit of this “what if” mode that you’re familiar with, and something that we are certainly putting into Storm 3.

— Is there a certain scenario that you’d like to see happen in Naruto, which you’re trying to put into the game?

Matsuyama: Yes. But unfortunately, I cannot describe it at this time.

— First, let me apologize, as I’m not very knowledgeable on the Naruto series, myself. So, please tell me, why should Naruto fans look forward to Ultimate Ninja Storm 3?

Matsuyama: The first point is: this is the first installment of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series, and so everything that you’ve seen up to this point has been polished even more and improved. And we hope fans continue to look forward to this game because it will provide the largest amount of gameplay in terms of number of playable characters and covering up to the latest episodes in the story mode.

— Just to be clear, up to what episode does the story cover? Surely, new episodes are being released as the game is developed, no?

Matsuyama: The story mode covers up until the Great Ninja War. It starts right after Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 ends, but technically speaking, it starts 16 years before the whole story even begins, when the Nine Tails attacks the village of Konoha.

— Will the game include any digest movies? How would someone like me, who doesn’t know much about the story, pick up the game and understand what’s going on?

Matsuyama: This game is created to allow people who have no prior knowledge of Naruto to pick up the game and be able to play with full knowledge of what’s going on.

— What types of gameplay modes can we expect?

The story mode will be new, and will have a lot of different kinds of modes that will provide a variety of gameplay. For example, there will be an adventure mode, a battle mode, and there will be boss battles against very, very massive, large bosses, as well as a one-versus-many type of battle mode.

— In these massive boss battles, are you utilizing a lot of on-screen prompts? Or is the player always in control?

Matsuyama: Long answer short, there will be both the quick-time events that you are talking about, as well as the player physically fighting against these massive bosses.

— What new battle elements have been added to Ultimate Ninja Storm 3?

Matsuyama: There have been many upgrades made in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 since its previous installments, Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 and Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations. For example, for one, a selected amount of characters are able to Awaken at any moment, which was not a feature included in previous installments.

.hack

— How does the future look for a new .hack RPG?

Matsuyama: Actually, this week in Japan, there will be a new .hack title for the smartphone called Guilty Dragon. It’s an RPG.

— Are there plans to bring Guilty Dragon stateside?

Matsuyama: Yes, there are plans, but the release date or the release period has not been determined.

— Sounds exciting! Speaking of localization, are there any plans to bring any of the recent .hack stuff overseas? I believe .hack//Versus just came out in Japan…

Matsuyama: Unfortunately for .hack//Versus, there are no plans, at the moment, to release it in American territories.

— A movie was released alongside .hack//Versus…

Matsuyama: Unfortunately, because the movie is packed with the game as a hybrid disc, there are also no plans for it.

— A lot of fans have been asking for a high-definition collection of G.U. or the original .hack. Has there been any consideration for that?

Matsuyama: (Laughs.) There are no plans for an sort of high-definition remaking right now, unfortunately. But if we receive a lot of fan feedback to either CyberConnect 2 or Namco Bandai Games, then we can make it happen.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

— How many characters are you planning to include in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?

Matsuyama: We can’t say how many characters are being created right now, but there are eight characters who’ve been revealed up to this point, but we will continue to reveal more characters, so please stay tuned!

— I know the Naruto games have a rather large roster. In comparison, are you aiming for a large, medium, or small selection?

Matsuyama: I would love to have as many characters as Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. But I’ve been working on the Naruto games for over ten years, as opposed to JoJo, which is the first title. So it’s not really feasible to put that many characters in. But as the first JoJo title, I think it’s a lot.

— Recently, a trademark for “All Star Battle” appeared in the U.S. trademark database, which, as you know, is the subtitle for your upcoming JoJo game. Given that, does Namco Bandai have plans to localize the game?

Matsuyama: Right now, we are looking into a North American and European release. But we’re still investigating.

(in excitement) Do you know JoJo?

Honestly, not very much. (sad face)

Matsuyama: Ah. Did you see the trailer released in Japan?

Yes, it looks pretty nutty!

Matsuyama: But you don’t know much about the JoJo series?

Right! But it would be nice to play the game and learn about it…

Matsuyama: (Laughs.) Thank you very much!

— You’ve worked on Naruto and you’ve worked on JoJo. What anime would you like to work on that you haven’t already?

Matsuyama: I’m not really thinking about any other series right now. I’m fully concentrated on Naruto and JoJo.

CyberConnect 2

— Where would CyberConnect2 like to see itself as a company in five years?

Matsuyama: My hopes aren’t very different from what CyberConnect2 is aiming to do right now. And that’s to provide games that only CyberConnect2 can make. Games that have a CyberConnect2 kinda flavor to it. And games that players will still want to play. The number of studios might increase, though.

— CyberConnect2 has established itself as the ‘Naruto and .hack, and a little bit on the side’ studio. Is this an image you’re happy with? Or would you rather the studio widen in terms of what you develop?

Matsuyama: Of course, we’re always trying to challenge ourselves and make new titles. For example, Asura’s Wrath with Capcom. And we are continuously trying to make new titles.

— On the subject of Asura’s Wrath, many a fan has been asking for Asura’s Wrath 2. Is that something you’re considering?

Matsuyama: We have received a lot of fan feedback like that, and from the studios, as well. We are aware of this and are thinking very positively, and are investigating if this is possible.

— Do you have any closing statements for the fans?

Matsuyama: Yes. With Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, the Ultimate Ninja Storm series will have sold 100 million copies worldwide. So we’re very excited to keep the fans involved in the series.

  • DesmaX

    “But if we receive a lot of fan feedback to either CyberConnect 2 or Namco Bandai Games, then we can make it happen.”

    Like Dark Souls for the PC then?
    Well, time to make a petition

    • http://twitter.com/NicoHarvey1 Nico JoJo

      WHERE IS IT.

      Let me sign it :(

  • Kazziyan

    Great interview!

    I wonder since it covers the war arc- will it end at THAT reveal? would be epic if it did.

    • xMCXx

      I’m sure it will either end at the reveal or go even further.

  • PrinceHeir

    love the interview but alot of disappointment from the answers :(

    Matsuyama: Unfortunately for .hack//Versus, there are no plans, at the moment, to release it in American territories.

    — A movie was released alongside .hack//Versus…

    why though?? what’s stopping you to put the Versus game along with the movie??

    Matsuyama: (Laughs.) There are no plans for an sort of high-definition remaking right now, unfortunately. But if we receive a lot of fan feedback to either CyberConnect 2 or Namco Bandai Games, then we can make it happen.

    okay at least we got their attention.

    so we definitely need to spread word :D

    Matsuyama: There is actually a [.hack] title that has yet to be revealed, in which we will implement new ideas. Stay tuned for details, as we’re not allowed to release them right now. But there will be a new title.

    — Can you say whether or not it will launch for consoles or for handheld?

    Matsuyama: Both.

    okay at least some good news about the series :D

    Matsuyama: I would love to have as many characters as Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 inJoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. But I’ve been working on the Naruto games for over ten years, as opposed to JoJo, which is the first title. So it’s not really feasible to put that many characters in. But as the first JoJo title, I think it’s a lot.

    i think the roster will be at least 20-30 max, and will go up to 60 or more if more people buy the games.

    — CyberConnect2 has established itself as the ‘Naruto and .hack, and a little bit on the side’ studio. Is this an image you’re happy with? Or would you rather the studio widen in terms of what you develop?

    Matsuyama: Of course, we’re always trying to challenge ourselves and make new titles. For example, Asura’s Wrath with Capcom. And we are continuously trying to make new titles.

    &mash; On the subject of Asura’s Wrath, many a fan has been asking for Asura’s Wrath 2. Is that something you’re considering?

    Matsuyama: We have received a lot of fan feedback like that, and from the studios, as well. We are aware of this and are thinking very positively, and are investigating if this is possible.

    good to see he answere about Asura’s Wrath 2 :D

    and wow Naruto games are at $100 million O_O

    shame about no plans for GU or Original Saga HD Collection

    i really REALLY want to play those games without having to fork over $200

    come on Namco and Cyberconnect2!!!!

  • http://moefx.wordpress.com/ barklight

    No plan on .hack HD? Well that a shame, bet it would sell like hotcakes. But maybe they just want to focus on making a new .hack title which is a good thing.

  • KurisuMakise

    Zomg, love you Sal (First 2 questions [excluding follow-up] were my suggestions)! I’m wondering if that means the changes to online are background things the player might not be able to see? Sad about the HD Remaster thing, time to spread the word and spam NB’s twitter; go,go,go! I’m so happy they’ve sold 100 million with Ultimate Ninja Storm series. I’m very proud of CC2, they’re probably one of my favourite developers. What I’d like to see going forward is more new stuff from them, like Asura’s Wrath and even how they picked up Jojo. As cool as it would be to see them do more anime stuff, I would prefer original IP of their own. So much creative talent in CC2, I love the way they think. Plus what could they do with a new Mixed Media IP?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003727727959 Greg Optional Griffin

    Any updates on the Baba interview for the Tales games from NYCC?

    • http://gematsu.com/ Sal Romano

      I’ll be publishing that either tomorrow or early Tuesday. Transcribing these are just a pain. >__<

      • InsaneChronos

        Thank you very much for your hard work :3

        • http://gematsu.com/ Zero

          Agreed.

           (To Sal) -Thanks a bunch for the interview. I enjoyed reading it very much.

  • XypherCode

    I only read the .hack part :P

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MNZ5YL3CTDVCL6RQ5O3FOIEPE4 Nicolò

      Hum… JoJo ‘s Bizarre Adventure is a awesome manga series.

  • zakou

    Thanks Sal! and i can’t wait for your interview of the Tales games ^^

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MNZ5YL3CTDVCL6RQ5O3FOIEPE4 Nicolò

    Wow, you guys don’t know shit about famous anime/manga (JoJo is absolutely a manga, not an anime, since its story continues since 1987).

  • margherita mastropaolo

    cyberconnect2 has put forth great games so far,i can’t wait for naruto storm 3 and jojo

  • zakou

    We should really spread the word and spam Namco’s FB or twitter about this regarding .Hack HD remakes:

    “There are no plans for an sort of high-definition remaking right now,
    unfortunately. But if we receive a lot of fan feedback to either
    CyberConnect 2 or Namco Bandai Games, then we can make it happen.”

    I know its alot to ask Sal but if you could please make a thread about the fanbase of .Hack games having chance to make Namco release the HD Remakes? with like links to Namco and CC2 twitter/FB

    This will help us fans get more hope of finally being able to play .hack games (europeans never got as many hack games as US or Japan)

    Edit: If you consider making one it will really help since even if some fans not knowing about this will just google type .Hack HD remake and there is a chance your thread will pop up from there they will see the article with links to FB/twitter on how they can help this happen :D thanks.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MNZ5YL3CTDVCL6RQ5O3FOIEPE4 Nicolò

      Do the same for JoJo, please? It’s an underrated manga full of awesome musical references that is on-going since 1987. The “”””JoJo”””” singer should know it.

      If hack. and JoJo fans help each other for the confirm of western release it will be awesome .

  • http://twitter.com/NicoHarvey1 Nico JoJo

    Dear Sal Romano: I’m quit disappointed by the fact you go interview videogame directors which their work are obviously based on anime/manga….without ever read/see any of them “but only via the game”.

    Seriously?

    Then why you never played the old Naruto games or JoJo games (ok, in the lattest case only 3/4 games?)