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The page includes interviews with the Japanese development team of Danganronpa, including writer Kazutaka Kodaka and producer Yoshinori Terasawa. It also includes interviews with the NIS America localization and publishing team.

This article is purely for reference purposes, with the content of the articles being the sole property of the original publisher. Links to the original publisher are provided where possible.

NIS America

Source: Prankster101: Interview with Adam Johnson (September 1st, 2017)


Interview with Adam Johnson (Senior Director of Business Development, NIS America).


Prankster101: Danganronpa V3 was developed with PS4 Pro specs in mind. Given that those are high-end specs, how do they impact the Vita version?

Adam Johnson: Right. I think the Vita version is kind of made with... You still get the full game. It's not like there's any content cut there. I think in Japan, they had to have the voice quality, a little bit lesser quality. But now it's fixed with the DLC patch for free. So if you have downloaded that, then it kind of matches the quality on the sound side. But otherwise, it's the same content as the PS4 game. There might be some differences in the load time. And of course the visual quality is going to be a lot different because it's going to be made for PS4 and 4K in particular, which the Vita does not support. So that's kind of the biggest difference between the two. But other than that, the actual contents of the games are the same. There's not a marked difference there.

Prankster 101: Visual novels tend to lend themselves more towards handheld gaming, but Danganronpa V3 is targeting home consoles. In terms of audience expectations, is there a disconnect between what you're offering and what the audience necessarily wants? And if that's the case, will that not impact the commercial appeal of Danganronpa V3? Especially when you consider the fact that the PS4 Pro is an iterative console, and not many people own that in comparison to the base PS4. At the same time, Danganronpa V3, because of its adherence to the visual novel genre, caters more towards Japanese gaming audiences who love their handhelds. So with that in mind, how do you think Danganronpa V3 is going to be able to fare?

Adam Johnson: I think it's doing really well. We actually put Danganronpa 1.2 Reload and Ultra Despair Girls on PS4 earlier this year to help build the fan base for it. As we've seen so far, there's been a lot of hype for Danganronpa V3. We've been showing it off at conventions in the United States. And we're bringing it out here. Earlier this year, we were at Japan Expo with Danganronpa V3 and the creator, Mr. Kodaka, was there to help promote the title and to help bring awareness to the PS4 version in particular.

There are a lot of differences to maybe your standard visual novel with Danganronpa V3, because there a lot of additional elements that aren't just kind of reading what the game is. There are a lot of mini games. The interactions in the courtroom settings are... they a lot more fast-paced and fluid and there's a lot more going on to kind of keep you on your feet. So even though it's a visual novel, it's trying to kind of be a lot more active, and keep the player a lot more engaged than something that might be a little bit more simplified in its presentation.

I think we're really gearing for with this game. Even in the presentation elements, there's this picture-in-picture thing. It's a bit different from the normal, bust-up presentations that the game has than in the previous titles which were made for the PSP version originally. So they were really thinking about consoles this time...

Prankster101: What about Nintendo's Switch? Do you have any plans for the Switch, given the fact that in Japan it's doing quite well?

Adam Johnson: Yeah. As a company, NIS America is supporting the Switch. I can't speak for Danganronpa as a different company develops it in Japan. Of course, we'd love to support the Switch with many different titles. And we already have a couple we've announced earlier this year... Touhou Kobuto V is coming to Switch. And then for early next year, we have The Longest Five Minutes and Penny-Punching Princess. So those are titles that we are really excited to bring out for the system. As of this time, there are no plans for Danganronpa as far as I know. So that's all I can say...

Prankster101: You're obviously a representative of NISA. In terms of the Vita's commercial appeal, the system died maybe about two years ago, but you're still supporting it. I don't have a problem with that because I like the Vita. I like it as a handheld. I think it was one of those handhelds that were... It deserved better.

Adam Johnson: Yeah.

Prankser101: But now that the Switch is en vogue... You're still releasing games for the Vita in the West, whereas the Switch only has like the two or three games you've mentioned. When do you think the support for the Vita is going to die off and you're going to spend more resources in terms of supporting the Switch? And given the fact that a lot of the hardcore Vita fans are now moving over to the Switch, when will the transition for NISA be taking place?

Adam Johnson: It's a good question. I don't really know when the transition is going to happen. It's going to depend on Japan. We had a lot of success earlier this year with Disgaea 5 Complete on Switch, which came out in May of this year on Switch in Europe and in the United States. So that really gave us some insight into, "Oh, this is probably where the new handheld market is going to be. And this is going to be a new audience for us." So that's kind of what led to the conversations happening about. Let's talk about Touhou on Switch, and it's on Switch... And Penny-Punching Princess on Switch. We really like the platform, but there's only so much we can do as a U.S. publisher for a game company. But we'll talk as much as we can in a kind of a positive sense about the platform. We have nothing negative to say about it. But we don't know when Japan is going to make the transition, so all we can do is just kind of keep telling people like, "Oh, no, we're having some really good experiences over here." So maybe we'll see. Maybe around TGS time, we'll see what is going to happen in Japan. I think that might be the nearest time to start seeing the results. But it takes some time.

Prankster101: Microsoft during their XBox 360 era were quite gung-ho in terms of securing Japanese exclusives, mostly in terms of shoot 'em ups. And they also went out of their way to secure a few notable RPGs – like Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon. Given that Microsoft is a lot more prevalent in the West than Japan, and given that handheld consoles are less of a dominant factor in the West in comparison to Japan... You've mentioned that the target market for Danganronpa V3 is consoles, and the game is releasing in the West... What are the chances of Danganronpa V3 coming to Microsoft's console?

Adam Johnson: Again, regarding that, it's going to be all up to the developer. We can only offer our experience to the developer and say, "Well, this is what we see." But they would also have to ask us because we would have to kind of just talk and coordinate about it. But at this time, I don't know what they have as far as plans go for XBox One. Of course, nothing. So I'm sorry. I can't comment.

Prankster101: Are there more console oriented elements to Danganronpa V3? For example, the mainline Danganronpa spinoff, Ultra Despair Girls, had third-person action elements. What about V3? Do you think that will harness the potential power of the PS4 Pro by utilizing more, like say... first-person action elements?

Adam Johnson: V3 has a lot more detail. The detail within the environments is a lot more neater than the PS Vita versions. And even the character models are a lot more drawn to that kind of specification.

The other elements will be the non-main game section. There's kind of like a board game section of the game. Basically, half the game is actually the main game, and then the other half is actually additional mini games and additional bonus content. So that is kind of geared towards... after you're done playing the main game, you can actually still keep playing the game and kind of unlocking more things. So it might not come through so much in the main story, and whilst Danganronpa Ultra Despair Girls: Another Episode was built with this kind of shooter aesthetic in mind, this one does have a lot more kinds of elements that carry over to what console gamers expect.

Prankster 101:There's a general stereotype regarding gamers who, having been brought up on Call of Duty, Twitter and social media, are viewed as suffering from ADD. Visual novels obviously appeal more to the sort of person who can concentrate for longer durations of time. How long is Danganronpa V3 meant to last? And is the game designed to maintain the focus of a conventional player over its extended play-time?

Adam Johnson: I think this is probably geared towards an older fan base just because the content is so mature. And as far as the audience with ADD... I don't know if it was made with those people in mind. The idea is that because of Twitter, people have shorter attention spans in general, to just about anything. So I think this is made for maybe the older audience. The series did start about seven to eight years ago on PSP, so it was definitely kind of another era at that point. And now the fact that the series is still continuing to this day, it just amounts to like it came from a different period in time. Even before smartphone games became as big a deal as they are today, the series started on PSP that long ago. I think the initial audience kind of built into it, at least in Japan. And in the U.S., it's a bit different because it launched over here in 2014 when it first started getting big. But I think that was also kind of built off the visual novel fan base that started here from the Ace Attorney games and the Zero Escape series as well. So I'm not sure how it's going to be affected by that.

As far as the play time goes, it's pretty lengthy... It's about 30 to 40 hours. That's for the main game. So if you want to get through all six chapters, it's going to take you about that long. Pretty consistent with previous Danganronpa games, but then after that, additional content can push into like 50-60 hours. It depends on how long you want to stick with it and uncover more secrets.

Prankster101: You mentioned Ace Attorney and Zero Escape. Those games obviously started out on the 3DS. And you've mentioned as to how the original Danganronpa game started on PSP. How do you think Danganronpa has evolved from its PSP days to the PlayStation 4 Pro? What changes have taken place over this technological line, and in what way has the franchise been able to grasp and utilize the changes in technology?

Adam Johnson: I think the platform choice is always a big deal. PSP being a handheld from... I guess you would call it the seventh generation. It's going to be different from like a mid-gen upgrade in the eighth generation. So there's a lot more emphasis on probably the intimacy of the story like in the PSP version, versus something that is on PS4 Pro where the game can be grander and kind of bigger and more exciting in that sense.

So when you make something with a 4K screen in mind, you can do, "Okay, well, what can we do to take advantage of the space? Or what can we do to kind of keep people engaged with certain other elements that we didn't maybe have the budget for originally?" So I think that definitely plays into it a lot.

Prankster101: Bigger budgets imply bigger risks. Do you think visual novels and the Danganronpa franchise are big enough in terms of the commercial appeal to be able to offset such risks?

Adam Johnson: I think it's definitely something that happens per series. So maybe not the entire visual novel genre, but definitely, for a series that can kind of break out and do extra things. I think Zero Escape did it the same kind of way where it started off and it was kind of like bust up with the wrong kind of text, and then they remade it with like voice acting and extra features, then putting in some more features like updating the visuals and stuff like that. I think Danganronpa becoming like this is definitely a sign of it growing from humble beginnings into something much bigger.

Prankster101: Where do you see the franchise going from here? Also, are there any plans to support V3? Maybe with DLC?

Adam Johnson: Personally? You know, I think these stories are fairly self-contained. And there's so much content in V3. I don't know what they could do...

Prankster101: That's kind of what people also said about The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4...

Adam Johnson: True, true, true. And in this case though, I haven't heard any plans from Japan to be supporting it in that sense and at this point. It's been almost eight months since launch in Japan. And if we would've known something by now, we probably would've heard about it to support the Japanese release. So the fact that there hasn't been anything, I don't know. I think that they're much more willing to support it with another game than they would be to bring out DLC. That's my personal feeling. As far as where I can see the series going from now, I really don't know. I know a lot about where V3 kind of goes. And it's pretty exciting. But I don't know how they will be able to follow this one up. So it's pretty unique and interesting. And I think it's going to be hard to kind of come up with something different after this.

Prankster101: V3 is obviously a self-contained story in comparison to V1 and V2, as well as the third-person game, which also harked back to the first two games in terms of storyline where one needed to play the earlier two games in order to be able to understand it. But V3 is a complete break from the past. In a way, that enables you to get new fans on board who haven't played the first three games. But on the other hand, those people who have come to like V1 and V2 as well as the third-person spin-off, and have really enjoyed the universe and the characters you've created... You're obviously going for two different kinds of audiences. I know some people don't really care that much, but some people would.

Adam Johnson: Oh, yeah.

Prankster101: So from that perspective, are any of the characters from the first three games making any guest appearances in V3?

Adam Johnson: It kind of gets into the spoiler situation, but that's kind of why the demo is there.

Prankster101: Otherwise you might as well call it another game completely...

Adam Johnson: Right. And in this case, yeah, there are definitely some elements that carry over. You have Monokuma. You have the setting of being trapped with other people. And then the whole murder mystery kind of setup. So there's definitely that element to it. It doesn't really connect with the first two games though. It really is a self-contained story. The thing was the first two games, and Another Episode, they were all concluded with the anime. So that was kind of the end to the story for all those characters, and you got to find out what happened to those people. And then V3 starts out kind of like a clean slate, brand new. So if you like the kinds of characters that you see in 1 and 2 and if you like the kind of setting and the gameplay, then that's what V3 is there for.

Prankster101: Okay. But V1 obviously went on to V2, which was a sequel to V1.

Adam Johnson: Right.

Prankster101: And then the third-person game also was a "pseudo sequel" to the first two games.

Adam Johnson: Right.

Prankster101: Do you think V3 will have a sequel where you will have the same characters? I mean, does it lead up to that?

Adam Johnson: It's possible. I mean it's really hard to say because of the way that... I really don't want to spoil it too much for really anyone because I think it's really unique how the game concludes. But they can definitely take it some other ways. I was even talking about it with some people at work. "Maybe we could do..." I mean, we didn't make the game. "But maybe, one way to continue it would be like this," but we were really just spit-balling some ideas. And I think that's definitely possible. But I don't know if they're going to take it in that kind of direction or not, or they have any plans to continue in that direction or not, since the game does feel very self-contained. And this is kind of a new story and it kind of does its own thing.

Prankster101: Adam, you're the Senior Director of the Business Development Department for NISA. As a publisher, I know that your games are Japanese orientated. But what do you necessarily look for? What criteria do the games need to fulfil in order for NISA to consider publishing them? And at the same time, how does Danganronpa fit into all of this?

Adam Johnson: I would say that whenever we get a title and we evaluate it, we usually look at the market conditions to see if it will kind of fit in the U.S. because we don't want to bring over a game... Or in Europe, I'm sorry...

Prankster101: Does that mean that if you're targeting the PS4 Pro that a large enough market exists for something like that in Danganronpa V3 to even consider wanting to come out or something like that? Is the install-base for the Pro large enough?

Adam Johnson: Yeah, it's definitely a big reason why we would like to bring it to people's attention just because we know that there are enough people who have a PS4 Pro to actually say "Hey guys, this is going to look really good on your system."

Prankster101: Do you know if it could look better on the Pro or the XBox One X? Because the X is like 6 Teraflops of pure power...

Adam Johnson: Yeah, the system seems like it's much more powerful than the PS4 Pro. As for my position, I don't have the technical know-how to actually give it that kind of endorsement. But we actually had Danganronpa 1.2 Reload on the PS4 and we were like, "Wow! That was a lot better than we thought it was going to be than the PS Vita game." And we thought it looked really good on PS4. And then when we saw V3 running in 4K for the first time and we were like, "Oh my gosh! This is so much better than we thought that this could possibly be." So we evaluate stuff kind on our own and with what we have. We do have a lot of dev-kits and stuff to kind of go off of them, to review titles. But I don't have technical know-how on my own. I just know that so many people own this platform here, and this game looks good here. Then it's something that we can definitely let people know about.

If we think there's a cross-section that really works, like visual novels and handhelds is a great fit, then we would definitely look into some more visual novels for these handheld systems. Or if there's going to be...

Prankster101: Like the Switch...

Adam Johnson: Like the Switch. I would love to bring some more visual novels to the Switch personally. But again, it depends on what is being done in Japan. So we'll get titles from Japan. They'll give us something for review, and then based on what the marketing conditions look like for the genre and the platform, we'll see if it's a good fit. We'll kind of try to come up with our own marketing plan for it. And then we kind of offer that off and say like, "What do you think?" So based on that, we can decide to work together on certain things.

Prankster101: What about the PC? Point-and-click, first-person, detective, puzzley sort of games...

Adam Johnson: Yeah.

Prankster101: People sitting at their computer for like, how many hours a day... Danganronpa V3 in that context seems like a perfect fit for the PC. And it's 4K...

Adam Johnson: And I'll give the developers credit because whilst we're not publishing it on PC, Spike Chunsoft are. So it's coming out. Yeah, I agree. I think it's actually a really solid fit. But we are not actually doing it ourselves (laughs).

Prankster101: Thank you.

Development Team

Source: How Danganronpa V3’s Heroine And Trials Have Changed (Al Yang, September 6th, 2017)


Interview with Kazutaka Kodaka (Writer) and Shun Sasaki (Director).


Danganronpa V3 comes out later this month and Siliconera caught up with the creators of the class trial mystery game to talk about the game’s new trial system and Kaede, the heroine of the game.

Danganronpa V3 has a new protagonist, Kaede Akamatsu. How is she different from Makoto or Hajime?'

Kazutaka Kodaka: Makoto and Hajime are strong hero characters who can solve problems on their own. Kaede instead relies on her friends to help out and she is also a tragic heroine type of character.

How has the Class Trial system changed in Danganronpa V3?

Kazutaka Kodaka: Up to now, it was only one person who would do the debate and they would take turns. Scrum has two opposing sides that form teams to debate among themselves. Team A might have different ideas than team Team B and you can pull people to agree with your team.

There is also a new system with lies that can be used to push the debate in different directions. In order to do that you need to get other people to agree with you. Like the Scrum debate you will have people who will agree with you and your team. If the heroine feels she isn’t backed up by her team you can use lies to change the direction of the debate.

Do lies change the outcome of the story?

Shun Sasakiri: There isn’t a different outcome in the story, but by using lies you may see different reactions and interactions between characters.

Lies are a big theme in Danganronpa V3. What makes lies so interesting?

Kazutaka Kodaka: In Danganronpa 1 and 2 were centered around finding the truth, but even if you find the truth you have to sort through the lies to find the truth. In this game, I wanted to focus on the deeper meaning of lying and what lying is.

How far does a lie go? I wanted to get deeper into the psychological thinking of how deep a lie and the truth is. This story itself is a lie. By saying that what kind of truth do the watchers get out of it? Which one is the truth?

Who are your favorite characters in Danganronpa V3?

Kazutaka Kodaka: I like the Monokuma cubs

Shun Sasakiri: K1-B0 is my favorite character.

How did the Monokuma cubs come about?

Kazutaka Kodaka: It was my coworker Sasaki-san who wanted a character like Monomi who would fight Monokuma, but they used to them to create more chaos within the story. Even if you do take them out, you can still play the story, but they add comic relief to it.

Source: Masafumi Takada and Kazutaka Kodaka: Discussion (HEAT UP!) (Don Kotowski, November 15th, 2017)


Interview Credits
Interview Subject: Masafumi Takada, Kazutaka Kodaka
Interviewer: Don Kotowski
Editor: Don Kotowski
Coordination: Don Kotowski, David Kracker (Spike Chunsoft)
Translation: David Kracker (Spike Chunsoft)


Interview Content

Don: Hello Takada san and Kodaka san, thank you very much for speaking with us today. Kodaka san, as the writer for the Danganronpa series, how important is the music that accompanies the games in realizing your true vision for the story?

Kodaka: The music is super important, the entire vibe of the thing is just wrong if the story and music aren’t in sync. The music also represents the headspace of the characters; they’re two sides of the same coin.

Don: Takada san, you have worked on a plethora of games, in a multitude of genres, and musically, you have composed equally as many styles. Could you talk about some of your musical influences and musical background?

Takada: When I was a kid I learned on an electronic organ (the Electone) at the Yamaha Music School. I started expressing myself through music and the next thing I knew, I was able to pay my bills by composing tunes. Looking back, I was lucky to experiment with synthesizers while I was still impressionable. My style has kinda evolved with technology into what it is today.

Don: Takada-san, the music for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is an eclectic blend of musical styles and genres and nothing says this more than the main theme, “DANGANRONPA.” When crafting the main theme, what sort of directions did you get from Kodaka san in terms of how it should sound and what were your inspirations when crafting this theme?

Takada: Kodaka-san asked me for something with some punch! I guess I took the energy from his project pitch and translated it into music. All I remember about writing it is… I didn’t have any time because I was busy with another project so I just banged it out in 20 or 30 minutes. Afterwards as I was cleaning up the arrangement I had my Mac’s robot voice say “Danganronpa!” and I gave myself goosebumps. I can still feel ‘em to this day. (Laughs)

During my stint at Grasshopper Manufacture I worked on the music for a title called The Silver Case. Kodaka-san had liked the game so I wanted to include a bit of fan service in Danganronpa; this turned out to be a little The Silver Case-esque section on marimbas.

Don: Takada san, one major element of the game itself are the exploration of Hope’s Peak Academy both before and after a murder has taken place. The music also changes up depending on which situation you are currently in. What were some of your key feelings that you wanted to convey in each of the pieces “Beautiful Days” and “Beautiful Dead?”

Takada: For the exploration themes, I tried combining a variety of tones and phrases to convey to the player that things big things are afoot. To me, they perfectly express the game world itself, so just listening to them makes me feel like I’ve got the controller in my hands.

Don: The other major element of the game is the trial to determine the murderer. What types of emotions did you want to craft with the music for these sections and did you have any challenges in creating something that fit the overall tone of the story?

Takada: The class trial music is all about creating and establishing momentum. It serves the same purpose as the BGM in a racing game. The voice samples ratchet up the excitement so I try to make the music punchy with clear rhythms that layer well with the voice samples.

It’s easier than you’d think for me to write music that matches the game world. When I see a plot outline and designs I can hear the music in my head, so all I have to do is make it real.

Don: Kodaka san, another key element in the game is that of Monokuma. Did you have any specific instructions for Takada san regarding music that plays for when he is present in the game or his general theme (i.e. Mr. Monokuma’s Extracurricular Lesson or Mr. Monokuma’s Lesson and what are your overall thoughts about those pieces?

Kodaka: I asked for hijinks, and that’s exactly what Takada-san delivered! The playful tone actually makes Monokuma seem more threatening, which is a success in my book.

Don: Takada san, when crafting the music for Monokuma, what did you want to convey about the character with his theme?

Takada: Psychopop shenanigans and lurking death. Something like, “We’re all gonna die sooner or later, cha-cha-cha!” (Laughs)

Don: The second game sees a new cast of characters and a new setting. Kodaka san, was there anything in particular that you wanted Takada san to convey musically about the new setting in the music featured, particularly in regards to exploration?

Kodaka: I wanted a tropical island feel. Takada-san takes an annual vacation in Hawaii so I don’t think it was a difficult order for him.

Don: Takada san, what were some of the choices you made in regards to the music to differentiate the music for this game from that of the first game and the inspirations behind those?

Takada: I had Kodaka-san’s request for a “tropical feel” as my base. From there, I wanted to emphasize the freedom of being under the open sky as opposed to being trapped in a building like the first game. Danganronpa 1 uses rather abrupt melodies to create a claustrophobic atmosphere. With Danganronpa 2, on the other hand, I wanted the player to feel that abundance of space.

Don: Given that Monokuma has his own antagonist, albeit one that gets bullied quite a bit, in the form of Usami in the second game, how did you come up with her theme and what did you want to convey with her theme?

Takada: For Monomi’s theme, “Ms. Monomi’s Practice Lesson,” I wanted to play with the fact that she’s been converted into a partial cyborg. The character wasn’t set in stone when I wrote the song, so I like to think that Monomi developed to match her music. (Laughs). It’s hard to catch, but the computer voice as the beginning is saying “Monomi.” “M-O-N-O-M-I~” Listen for it! (Laughs)

Don: Kodaka san, did you have any particular elements that you wanted Takada san to include regarding this character?

Kodaka: In contrast to Monokuma’s playful sound, I wanted Monomi’s theme to make her sound like a mascot worthy of your pity.

Don: Takada san, could you talk about your inspirations for how the music for the various island themes were crafted and why you decided to go in the direction that you did for each one?

Takada: I wrote the island themes based on the visuals and feel of the states themselves.

Don: Lastly, Takada san, I would love to hear your thoughts on the tune “Kill Command.” The tune itself is quite different from a large majority of the soundtrack, yet at the same time familiar. I, personally, love how it incorporates the main theme of the series in the accompanying guitar riffs while the energetic guitar plays. However, what types of emotions regarding the game’s story/climax were you trying to convey with this approach?

Takada: Usually when I need a guitar I ask my buddy Jun Fukuda. I wrote the rough composition based on his playstyle and he came up with the exact riffs I was hoping for: something intense that builds up to the climax.

Don: Kodaka san, could you describe some of your favorite pieces from this soundtrack as well?

Kodaka: I gotta go with the class trial music. The track evolves as you move through the trial but I love each and every iteration.

Don: Takada san, seeing as this is a spinoff title, how did you approach the music to this game in making it more suitable for the difference in gameplay and having its own musical identity, yet still incorporating the feelings of the previous games in the series?

Takada: When it comes to spinoffs, it’s common to embellish on the base melodies, but if I did that, UDG would have sounded too plain so I promised myself not to use any of the main melody lines. “That melody is reserved for numbered sequels!” I was the only one making it hard for myself… The tone of each track really sets the mood, so I tried to maintain the Danganronpa series tone in the new songs.

Don: Could you reflect on some of your favorite pieces on the soundtrack and what makes them so special to you?

Takada: My favorite track is probably “Ghost Stories From the School District of Revolution,” it really encompasses the feel of the game. I wanted to use a synth sound in the bridge section but it wasn’t happening with my new setup so I had to pull out my old Mac to do the recording. I could have used a different sound, but I knew what I wanted so I stuck to my guns even though I really didn’t have time to be so picky.

Don: Kodaka san, what were your thoughts on the overall execution of the title’s music and what pieces do you think best represent the story/world in this spinoff title and why?

Kodaka: I remember asking for an 80’s electro sound. You can hear this best in “Monoc-Man.”

Don: Takada san, for the anime score, which is a much darker story, what elements from the previous two games did you incorporate in terms of the musical score, both in terms of style and re-used themes? Did you find it more challenging to compose for the anime given its stricter structure compared to that of the games?

Takada: Video game music loops, but anime BGM needs to have a proper ending, so it was a new experience for me. Again, I was most concerned with the tone.

Don: Kodaka san, given that the 3rd main game in the series takes place in a new location with completely new characters, what sort of instructions did you give to Takada san in order to make the soundtrack sound fresh, yet at the same time, familiar to those who have followed the series since inception?

Kodaka: I asked for something that sounded a bit grown-up, more adult. It came out sounding pretty jazzy. This time around I wanted something more stylish than pop.

Don: Takada san, from what I’ve heard, the soundtrack for this game seems arguably darker in tone compared to the previous game. Would you say the setting of this game is what inspired this approach? What sorts of new additions in terms of either styles or instruments did you incorporate into the soundtrack to match the setting of the game?

Takada: I had recently moved studios so I was working with all-new equipment! I didn’t plan for the tracks to come off as dark, but once I heard them in action I have to agree, the whole thing did sound darker, probably because I was aiming to make it sound more “adult.”

Don: Takada san, could you discuss your approaches to the exploration music, trial music, and character themes for this soundtrack? Do you have any particular pieces that you feel someone playing the game should feel particular drawn towards?

Takada: To give you a quick look at my thought process:

-Exploration music should burn itself into your brain.

-Trial music emphasizes rhythms, with voice samples to build the hype.

-Characters themes should each have some unique hook, sometimes I play around with voices samples.

For example, the Monocubs are kids, so I wanted the sound to have a sort of generation gap.

I’m fond of “Beautiful Lie.” I’m happiest when I’m making this sort of track.

Don: Takada san, your record label has been responsible for publishing the soundtracks for the Danganronpa series. With the latest soundtrack release, the music for Danganronpa V3 seems to be split into two album releases, NEW DANGANRONPA V3 O.S.T. BLACK and NEW DANGANRONPA V3 O.S.T. WHITE. Could you describe the differences between the music on both album releases and if someone were only able to purchase one, which would you recommend and why?

Takada: Simply put, there was too much music for one album! If you like the class trial music and other tracks like it, you’re safe with just the BLACK album. If that leaves you hungry for more, pick up the WHITE album! The digital version on iTunes and Google Play also includes “The END of DNG,” the ending theme for the localized version. I wrote it after beating the game, so it includes all of my conflicted emotions. (Laughs)

Don: Lastly, could both you and Kodaka san reflect on some of your favorite pieces from the latest game in the series?

Kodaka: Even with all the new tracks, the class trial music is still my favorite. It represents everything Danganronpa means to me.

Takada: The “Body Discovery” series are landmark inventions in the history of soundtrack music so… I vote for those. (Laughs)

Don: Once again, thank you Takada san and Kodaka san for speaking with us today about the music of the Danganronpa series. Is there any message you want to give fans of the series and/or music in closing?

Takada: I’ve spent the last ten years trying to establish “Danganronpa” as its own genre and I still have plenty of unused material.

Kodaka: The music makes the games. Hearing the soundtrack makes me think, “Yeah, this is Danganronpa.” So throw on the OST from time to time and revisit the world of Danganronpa, and maybe replay them if the music moves you.

A special thanks goes to David Kracker of Spike Chunsoft for translating the questions and responses for the interview.

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on November 14, 2017.

{{Scroll box/adjustable|450px| Source: Discover the Creators: Kodaka Kazutaka (Kodaka Kazutaka, December 12th, 2017)


Discover the Creators: Kodaka Kazutaka The creator of the Danganronpa series talks high school, memory loss, and his top PS4 picks.


Hello, I’m Kodaka Kazutaka.

I am the game creator and the person in charge of the scenarios for the Danganronpa series.

Lately, I wake up and play games, and play games before I go to bed. My days begin with games and end with games.

On that note, here are my favorite picks for PS4 games.

Life is Strange

The pure entertainment of walking around in an American school is fun in itself! I’ve seen plenty of American schools in movies and dramas, but those were purely backgrounds in a movie. By being able to walk around the school environment, it made me realize once more how different American schools are structured from Japan. Of course, the story and effects were wonderful. As these types of works that don’t exclusively involve intense action get more popular, I feel that the game genre as a whole has steadily gotten larger. On a tangent, Danganronpa is set inside a school too, but those sorts of schools do not exist in Japan so please don’t misunderstand.

Until Dawn

Back in the day, there was a genre called “Sound Novels” in Japan. Unlike visual novels, such as Danganronpa for example, these were much simpler. The most renowned entry in this genre is a title called “Banshee’s Last Cry” —a suspense game where the main character starts off stuck in a blizzard on top of a snow-covered mountain. When playing Until Dawn, I felt that this was an evolution of the Sound Novel genre. I would love to make a game like this!

Nier: Automata

I’ve been a big fan of the Nier series from its previous entries. In my opinion, it’s the most violent and bloody work available, and to think that a game like this has sold so much, it must be the end of this world. We live in such a nice time. The PS3 version, Nier Replicant, portrayed the relationship between siblings, and the Xbox 360 version, Nier Gestalt, described the relationship between father and daughter. The unraveling of these stories always fascinated me.

But since this is a Sony blog I shouldn’t dig much deeper into this topic.

A fun fact, I go out on drinks with the director Yoko Taro a lot, but we always end up losing our memory.

Gravity Rush 2

In Japan, the release date was very close to Danganronpa V3 and it’s actually a game that I was very conscious about. The directions of the two games are different, but I think that both Danganronpa and Gravity Rush have a very Japanese-like game system. It takes a while to get used to the game, but once you get the hang of it, it feels so good to play. It has a slightly high hurdle, but I believe that you need a little bit of a hurdle for entertainment, this gives a good impression. Another fun fact, I also go drinking with the director, Toyama, but we always end up losing our memories, too.

Everybody’s Golf

This title has been a long running series in the PlayStation lineups, but this was actually the first time I played it. I personally don’t play a lot of games that are heartwarming, but this one I catch myself playing again and again. The detailed character creation is one thing, but whenever I find some free time, I find myself with this game in my hands. What’s intended to be a little break from work ends up being something I find more absorbing than work… it’s such a scary game!

Inside

Although it’s mentioned everywhere, the artwork for this game is awesome. I think the game does a superb job in conveying the game in 2D and surpasses 3D in its sense of conveying the environment.

Also in regards to storytelling, while playing the game, it stirred my imagination. For example, it made me want to make a visual novel that has absolutely no words. I’m not sure how to make this, but if I can come up with this, I’ll have less work to do, and that will be awesome.

Persona 5

Everyone has been talking about how good this game is, and I, with my warped personality obviously would want to say it’s boring but, unfortunately I can’t find a single thing that’s boring in it. I’m hoping that people will get bored with this game and want something that‘s more exciting so they play Danganronpa, but they don’t seem to be getting bored of the game, which puts me in a fix.

But! I think Danganronpa still wins in the number of people dying in the game.

This game gets me so jealous and worked up that even though I’m supposed to be writing a recommendation on this game I keep writing about Danganronpa.

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Source: A Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Spoiler Interview That May Or May Not Be A Lie… Upupupu (Kodaka Kazutaka, December 28th, 2017)


A Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony Spoiler Interview That May Or May Not Be A Lie… Upupupu
Siliconera previously spoke with Danganronpa creator Kazutaka Kodaka and we promised not to post it until the end of the year to give players time to play through it before talking about its ending.

Now that Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has been out for over three months, here’s our little conversation with Kazutaka Kodaka. Again, it may contain spoilers to some, so those of you who’ve yet to finish the game might want to skip this for now. You can also check out our spoiler free interview here.

And here it is:


Kodaka-san what do you think of reality TV?

Kazutaka Kodaka, Creator, Director, and Scenario Writer: “That’s a hard question to answer. I have a lot of thoughts into it, but of course reality TV is showing people’s lives as how they unravel with a lot of drama. So there are parts that might tie into the game.”

The ending of Danganronpa V3 is interesting since it can have different interpretations. What do you think about the ending and how fans are reacting to it?

Kodaka: “We put what we felt would be fun and interesting into a game and this goes for Danganronpa V3 too. We don’t think about making a game that would fit what fans would expect. We are proud of the ending because lately there aren’t many games that have fans debate over the ending.

The Western culture really likes reality TV and it’s really popular there. Because of that, I feel the Western culture will have different views on the ending and I’m excited to see if the Western gamers would be able to accept the ending more compared to Japan who is focused on the characters and character popularity. If you are focused on the characters you might find the ending strange or very sad.”

Where do you want to take the Danganronpa series next?

Kodaka: I don’t have any plans after Danganronpa V3, but this game is centered around lies. And this interview may be a lie too.

Cyber Danganronpa VR was an interesting take on the series. Would you like to revisit VR for a future game?

Kodaka: Right now we haven’t decided if we will go that direction. Cyber Danganronpa VR completes itself as a demo. If we were to work further on it we would have to create it from scratch.

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