Japanese developer survey: Acquire returning to consoles, details coming on Kingdom Hearts III and Pokken, more
posted on 12.27.14 at 03:32 AM EST by (@iiotenki)
Lots of waxing poetic on the past and future, with a little food for thought here and there, too.

Atlus Holiday Card 2014

4Gamer has once again conducted a mass survey of Japanese developers’ closing thoughts on 2014 in the game industry, as well as what they’re looking forward to on a professional and personal level in the coming year. It’s a massive post, so we’ve abridged their remarks to focus less on retrospective stuff and more what’s to come. Similar to our coverage of an article Dengeki ran earlier this week that also gathered a bunch of developer quotes on the future, while it’s light on hard hitting news, as is the way of these things, there are still allusions a plenty to new games and new projects that are coming in 2015 from a lot of developers big and small, some of whom we haven’t heard from very much recently. Plus, if you look hard enough, there’s even some philosophizing on game development in the current age to be found. Catch our translations of their pertinent words below.

Norihisa Kochiwa (Idea Factory)
Known for: Hyperdimension Neptunia series, Genkai Tokki series (PS Vita), Omega Quintet (PS4), etc.

“The first half of 2015 will see us focusing on Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory II. After that, please look forward to more developments for the Makai Ichiban Kan brand, as we’re planning some interesting things. From hereon, we’ll keep working on Compile Heart-like titles, too, so please keep lending us your support!”

Mizuno Naoko (Idea Factory)
Known for: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory II (PS4)

“We’re working earnestly towards the April 23 release of the first PlayStation 4 title in the Neptunia series, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory II. We’ve packed the power of PlayStation 4 and ambitions of the staff into this title, so I think there’ll be a lot to look forward to. We’re working hard to make 2015 the ‘Nepunepu Year!'”

Kouta Takano (Acquire)
Known for: Divine Gate (Smartphones)

“We’ve turned our sights to consoles again, having begun work on a new game for them, so hopefully that’ll turn into something worth keeping an eye out for, as we’re dreaming up things that could never be done on smartphones. We just might be able to reveal it around the middle of the year, too!”

Katsura Hashino (Atlus)
Known for: Persona series

“Looking towards the coming year, we’re rallying around the idea of bringing change through our own individuality. Internally, this is summarized in our team motto as ‘Be personal for change.’ Now when people think of the idea of individuality, it’s often framed in terms of straying away from social norms and the everyday rules of day-to-do living. People often refer to Atlus’ philosophy as a developer in this sense, although it’s also not without some negative connotations; dangerous people, for instance, are often viewed as having a sense of individuality that makes them go too far. But to me personally, individuality is as much about the good as it is the bad and as we display it towards other people, it affords an opportunity for our words, our thinking processes, our conduct to change. Individuality, for me, is most strongly about that power of human potential.”

“In recent times especially, there’s a pervading sense of oppression for many people at an existential level, but so long as we as a species are able to form relationships one another in this world, we’ll always have the ability within ourselves to be able to break free from such restraints, both as individuals, but especially for groups that have a strong sense of self. In making a new proper numbered entry in the Persona series, we’re hoping to bring those issues to the forefront and are working tireless on it to make it happen, so be sure to keep an eye on more information about Persona 5 in the coming months.”

Tomonobu Itagaki (Valhalla Game Studios)
Known for: Devil’s Third (Wii U)

“We’re finally coming upon the release of Devil’s Third on the Wii U after six years, two of which were spent conceptualizing the game and four of which were spent on actual development. I know I’ve made my fans wait a long time for this game, but I figure that if I’m going to strike out on my own for this thing, I better do it with a bang, so the game just ended up taking a real life of its own as time went on. Although given that there aren’t necessarily a lot of independent developers that have that sort of luxury with time, maybe it’s a bit hard to relate to in the end. Regardless, the single player content for the game should rank favorably with what we’ve seen in action games until now. And then when it comes to online versus mode stuff, I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised at the breadth and scope of content we’ve manage to make for it. We still don’t have a release date to announce quite yet, but once it’s out, I look forward to playing it with everything. It’s going to be packed full of awesome content!”

Hajime Chikami (Experience)
Known for: Demon Gaze (PS Vita), The Stranger of Sword City series, Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy (PS Vita), and Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy (PS Vita)

“Next year, we’re targeting PS Vita users with our new games Stranger of Sword City and Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy. Beyond that, there’s also the development of Demon Gaze 2, as well as plans for the development of some new Xbox One titles. We’re building up for our tenth anniversary title, too.”

Yoshimi Yasuda (Kadokawa Games)
Known for: Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3, 360), Demon Gaze (PS Vita), Killer is Dead (PS3, 360, PC)

“A little while ago, we introduced our new dungeon RPG Project Code: Daten and strategy RPG Project Code: Tsukiyomi in a teaser video. In 2015, we look forward to bringing both of these games to our audience.”

Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Capcom)
Known for: Sengoku Basara series, Resident Evil series, Dragon’s Dogma series (PS3, 360)

“June 2015 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Sengoku Basara series and there are a lot of things we’re looking to do to commemorate that. We also plan to show off more of Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition, as well as some eagerly awaited new entries in some of our most cherished franchises over the course of 2015.”

Kazunori Sugiura (Capcom)
Known for: Monster Hunter Frontier G, Deep Down (PS4), etc.

“We’re deep in development for a wide variety of titles like Monster Hunter Explore, Deep Down, and Breath of Fire 6, and between next summer and fall, there should be some big things coming out of all of that, so stay tuned for that. And while I know we’re supposed to be focusing on 2015 here, I also have to say that we’ve also already got a lot in the works for 2016, too. Put into perspective, you could say that we’re planning our slate for 2015 to better enable us to succeed as a company when it comes time to roll out our 2016 releases. Regardless, we should have an as yet unannounced game to unveil that should prove to be major, which one of but many that we’re working on at Capcom as we speak.”

Kazuki Morishita (GungHo Online Entertainment)
Known for: Puzzle & Dragons series, Ragnarok Odyssey series, etc.

“2014 proved to be a pretty quiet year for us since we largely spent it on preparatory work when it came to consumer games, but sometime early next year, fingers crossed that we’ll have a lot of surprises to announce to people, so definitely don’t count us out for 2015!”

Tetsuya Watanaba (Game Freak)
Known for: Pokemon series

“We’re doing a lot of different things with respect to our next project, so right now we’re focusing on getting ready to announce it. We sincerely hope from the bottom of our hearts that it’ll be worth checking out once we get to that point.”

Kikuchi Keisuke (Koei Tecmo)
Known for: Deception series, Fatal Frame series

“We’re looking to announce a new game sometime early next year, one that’s markedly indulgent on our part, so keep an ear open for word on that.”

Kou Jibusawa (Koei Tecmo)
Known for: Nobunaga’s Ambition series, Romance of the Three Kingdoms series

“We’re deeply grateful for all the fans we’ve accumulated over the years and are working steadfastly on a new entry in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series. Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.”

Takanashi Morinata (Koei Tecmo)
Known for: Toukiden series

“2015 should be a year that sees new developments in the Toukiden series and we’re working really hard to make them happen! It’ll be just a little longer before we can announce anything, so sit tight. Plus, there’s still more to come for Toukiden Kiwami, too!”

Sho Oyamada (Square Enix)
Known for: Rise of Mana (Smartphones)

“2016 will be the 25th anniversary of the Seiken Densetsu series, so naturally we’ve got a lot planned for how we’re going to celebrate that and are working hard to bring the fans something that will be worthy of the occasion and their ongoing anticipation.”

Motomu Toriyama (Square Enix)
Known for: Final Fantasy XIII series (PS3, 360, PC)

“My next title is in well underway in development. We’ll be able to announce it in 2015, so please look forward to it!”

Tai Yasue (Square Enix)
Known for: Kingdom Hearts series

“Now that we’ve worked out Unreal Engine 4 as our development environment, as well as the general structure of the team and fresh new look for the game and its accompanying shader, development of Kingdom Hearts III is moving forward as we now focus on making things like new Attractions and Keyblade transformations. We’re hoping to be able to show our fans the fruits of these labors step by step during 2015, so stay on the lookout for more information!”

Kotaro Uchikoshi (Spike Chunsoft)
Known for: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (DS), Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS, PS Vita)

“It’s looking like 2015 will be the year where everything I’ve built up over the years will come together and be let out into the world in one fell swoop.”

Kazutaka Kodaka (Spike Chunsoft)
Known for: Danganronpa series

“When you end up working on a bunch of mystery games in succession, after a while, doing the writing becomes a pain and, honestly, I stop wanting to work on them! But after I wrote the storyline for Danganronpa: Another Episode, which skewed away from that genre, now I’m keen on working on mystery stuff again as much as ever! That’s basically the feeling I have going into my work next year.”

Yuichiro Saito (Spike Chunsoft)
Known for: Danganronpa series, Conception series

“We should be able to announce some new titles that’ll really get people pumped up, so look forward to seeing more on that front as time goes on. But don’t think we’re handling it like some ride. When this stuff hits you, it’s going to hit hard and it’s going to be great!”

Hayashi Seiji (Sega)
Known for: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series

“2014 marked the fifth year that the Hatsune Miku Project Diva series has been around and we’re really thankful for all the love and support it’s gotten over the years. There’s a lot more to come from it and we’re doing our best to grow it into something even bigger and better, so we hope you’ll stick around for the ride still.”

Keiichiro Toyama (SCE)
Known for: Gravity Rush, Siren series

“We’ve been working in secret for a long while now, so it’s feeling about time that we finally show up what we’ve been up to all this time. I’m really sorry that information on a new Gravity Rush game has been nonexistent for so long. While it won’t be without its share of hurdles along the way, you can rest assured that our team morale remains high as we go about our work. Once we’re able to reveal to the world what we’ve been working on, I think people will understand why it’s taken so long. Until then, keep those spirits up!”

Yujiro Usuda (D3 Publisher)
Known for: Bullet Girls (PS Vita)

“Our games this past year have helped renew people’s interest in D3, so we’re striving to keep that up as we move into 2015. I can’t talk much about specifics, save for the fact that we’re in the middle of whipping up a new title that’s almost literally back-breaking for us to make in some ways. Still, we’re close to when we can finally reveal what we have up our sleeves and I hope it’ll make people happy after it’s all said and done.”

Sohei Niikawa (NIS)
Known for: Disgaea 5

“Preparation for a number of titles is already underway, with our main focus in 2015 being the PlayStation 4 for console games and the PS Vita when it comes to portable games. With respect to sequels, so as to provide fresh new experiences to our fans, we’re making sure to take their opinions to heart so that we can bring better and better content to them. We sincerely hope that in 2015, we’ll continue to earn your passionate support for our games.”

Yozo Sakagami (Bandai Namco)
Known for: The Idolmaster series

“So January 22 will see the release of Tales of Zestiria and then February 19 is when we’ll be putting out God Eater 2: Rage Burst. Both of those games should prove to be worthy entries in their respective franchises and then from there, we’ll keep on putting out more and more stuff full throttle and we look forward to seeing how everyone takes to it! Plus, 2015 is the fifth anniversary of the God Eater series, the tenth anniversary for the Idolmaster games, and the twentieth anniversary for Tales, but it’s still a year that’ll mark a lot of new beginnings all around for us at Bandai Namco, too. It’s pretty well known at this point, but we have lots of plans to expand our field beyond just games that should be worth checking out as they come. Regardless, we’re buckling down with all of our projects so we can work towards ‘the next big evolution’ and we look forward to your continued support.”

Katsuhiro Harada (Bandai Namco)
Known for: Tekken series, Summer Lesson (PS4), Pokken Tournament (Arcade)

Pokken Tournament is slated for 2015, so just wait a little longer for more information on that! There’s still a lot we haven’t discussed yet on that. I’ve just been so busy with other things lately that I haven’t had the time to turn my attention back towards it yet.”

Akiko Kuroda (Platinum Games)
Known for: Bayonetta 2

“I’ve started work on my next project, but it’s going to be a little while before it’s ready for showtime. I’m hoping to have more new developments for Bayonetta during 2015, so keep an eye out for that!”

Yusuke Hashimoto (Platinum Games)
Known for: Bayonetta series

“I’ve actually got a new title in the works as we speak! We’re working really hard to make it something people will absolutely want to play for themselves, so we hope to keep having the support of our fans in 2015!”

Chiyomaru Shikura (5pb.)
Known for: Steins;Gate, Occult;Nine, Chaos;Child (XBO)

“We’ve got a lot of different projects underway across a wide array of different genres. The new game that I’ve personally been working one is brand new and we should be able to properly announce it during spring 2015. It’s not necessarily covering anything that’s particularly in vogue right now, so I honestly worry about how easily overlooked it might be if we’re not careful in how we show it off, but regardless, look forward to what we have in store for you! (Laughs.)”

Akihiro Hino (Level-5)
Known for: Yokai Watch series (3DS), Professor Layton series, etc.

“2015 will be a year that sees Level-5 continuing to embark on new challenges. Knowing that, we should be able to soon unveil our next new series after the great successes that have been Inazuma Eleven and Yokai Watch. You’re not going to want to miss what we have in store!”

Ken Motomura (Level-5)
Known for: Yokai Watch 2 (3DS)

“2014 was a really full year for our team, since we managed to put out Yokai Watch 2 Honke, Ganso, and Shinuchi all in one year. What’s more, some of our characters like Jibanyan and Komasan have made shown up in a lot of different places in the real world, which is something we take great pride in! We’re not quite yet ready to discuss yet what we have in store, but I, for one, look forward to when we can introduce new yokai friends for people to get to know. There’s more to come from Yokai Watch in 2015, so stay tuned!”

Keisuke Makino
Known for: Liberation Maiden SIN

“When it comes to game work, I’m on the scenario writing team for a PlayStation game that’s set to come out.”

Tarou Yoko
Known for: Nier (PS3, 360), Drakengard series

“I’m currently working on a game, but my lips have to be sealed for the time being.”

Atlus holiday card image via Game*Spark.

Thanks to Sal Romano for helping lighten the translation load where possible.

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