Talking About Time And Eternity, Blue Dragons, And Marriage

By Spencer . March 8, 2013 . 6:02pm

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Namco Bandai worked with Imageepoch to develop Time and Eternity which went through three prototypes before the animation RPG came to market. Kei Hirono, producer of Time and Eternity, talks about what made the game a title Namco Bandai wanted to publish and why they picked a female protagonist. NIS America will publish Time and Eternity in North America and Europe which will have English voiceovers plus an option to play through the game with Japanese voiceovers and English subtitles.

 

How did Namco Bandai get involved with Time and Eternity and what about this project caught your eye as a publisher?

 

Kei Hirono, Producer at Namco Bandai: About three years ago, the company Imageepoch came to us, and they said, “We’d like to develop this game.” The concept is that it is an animation RPG. I thought about it and said yeah. I thought about it and it was interesting. It’s not being done right now in the market. I talked to my superiors and they wanted to see some samples. Imageepoch made a working sample for about three times. I took it to my bosses and talked it over, and they finally came to an agreement what they want it to be.

 

Was Time and Eternity developed for guys Is this a game for girls? Parts of it feel like it’s a guys game, but in other parts there is a girl talk like when Towa talks about planning her wedding.

 

Actually it’s made for guys. When we created this game and when you look at the art, it’s the kind of female design that is pleasing to men, especially in Japan. This anime style is kind of geared toward guys in Japan. Within the game itself there is a healthy amount of "eros", you know, things that aren’t exactly for girls. We have never intended it to be for girls from the beginning.

 

This is just a kind of coincidence, but currently in Japan, it’s a lot more difficult for men than women to get married, so we thought it would be kind of an interesting theme to deal with. Also, I just got married recently too so this came together along with this plot.

 

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Is that why Towa/Toki has Drake accompany her and sometimes Drake would peep on her when she’s taking shower?

 

Yup. That kind of thing.

 

Why did you make Princess Towa/Toki the main character in Time and Eternity instead of the Prince?

 

We wanted to break the mold and step away from the current trend of male hero. We thought that it would be very interesting to have a heroine instead of a typical male hero, to have a female hero playable character who is strong. It’s a different take on a stale genre, the Japanese RPG genre.

 

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And how does Drake fit in?

 

Generally speaking, don’t women drag men along anyway? Well, especially in Japan.

 

Do you see Drake as one of those single guys in Japan who wants company from a girlfriend? Or do you add him because you just want to have a cute character in the game?

 

To talk a little bit more about Drake, he’s actually the hero of the game. Due to the events of the game, his soul is being transmigrated into this little dragon. Rather than making it being here’s the chance for all you lonely guys out there to have a cute girlfriend, the theme of the story is on top of the typical love story where a man and a woman have to overcome the general difficulties that exist between a man and a women, now you have one of the characters in a different kind of body.

 

It’s a new obstacle for you to overcome. It’s also a new way for them to create a bond with each other, in spite of being in different existences. I feel like this is also one area the title really succeeded. We did a really good job in portraying this, overcoming obstacles and overcoming things that working against a couple.

 

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What’s your favorite scene in the game?

 

There are two things that I like. One would be the wedding scene, because throughout the course of the game due to the story and it’s been repeated many times. It’s cool to see how that changes.

 

The scene that really stood out for me is actually at the end of the game. After everything you beat the game, you have either Toki and Towa there fighting. In order to win, she has to sacrifice her memories. So once it’s all over, she has to talk to Drake all over again. Drake knows what happened. He remembers everything, but she doesn’t. So it’s like they are meeting for the first time all over again. It’s a poignant and very touching scene that I think it’s neat and special.

(We covered the text because it is a major spoiler. You might want to come back to this after completing Time and Eternity.)

 

Can you tell us more about the relationship between the Prince/Drake and Toki/Towa?

 

The greater the difficulty, the bigger is the reward at the end. Since the overall goal is to get married, it’s a really awesome to transition to love and how far will they work to overcome these obstacles to make their love come through the challenge. Getting married is a difficult thing!

 

Why did you have only one playable character for the battle system? Usually JRPGs give players a party to control.

 

There are two reasons. One is JRPG are very unique, taking it to the core into the beginning days of the genre, you usually play as one character. The way that it works is, every time you level up, you switch between Toki and Towa. If you have a party-based system, you wouldn’t be able to do that [switching between Toki and Towa] as well. In order to show how neat switching characters was, I wanted to do have one character. That’s one reason.

 

The secret behind the scenes reason is because the way the game is made, it’s an animation RPG. Creating that hand animation is an incredibly difficult work. Having so many characters would have been incredibly difficult.

 

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You wanted to put the spotlight on Toki and Towa.

 

Yes. The way that the game designed is, we really want players to get interested to know these two girls. And at the end of the game, like I mentioned earlier, the player is forced to make a choice. If these two characters are not evolved, not developed enough, then nobody is going to feel anything. I really want to tug at a player’s heart strings when they have to make this kind of final decision. It’s important to give [Toki and Towa] maximum screen time, to give them maximum development to really give the emotional impact to the player that I wanted.

 

Are there any difference between the Japanese version and the US version?

 

Aside from the language, it’s going to be the same as the Japanese version.

 

NIS America: I will say one thing, the game will feature voice acting in the original Japanese voiceovers with with English subtitle. There will also be English dubbing as an option.

 

What are your thoughts on the PS4?

 

[Laughs] I can’t say anything specifically, unfortunately. But personally, as a producer, I’d like to make games for PS4.


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  • superdry

    That was actually a pretty good interview – it was nice to learn some more about the development of the game. I’m glad it was mentioned that doing the animation for the game was really difficult.

    I still think the game was a good first try on Imageepoch’s part – it definitely gave the game a different feel from other games in this generation. I do hope they give it another shot or many another company with a nice high-end budget.

    I have to wonder if the lip-sync issue (which is rather fun to watch while playing the JP version of the game) will show up in the English dub or not.

    • LynxAmali

      I can’t remember. Fill me on the on that issue. It’s been a while since I touched mine. It doesn’t synch well, right?

      • superdry

        Yea, the lip-sync is off during voiced parts of the game. It’s was a little jarring at first, but you get used to it afterwards.

  • DesmaX

    The spoilers aren’t really covered on my android.

    But, yeah, nice interview

  • VietKnight

    Waiting for NIS to open preorders for this and D2

  • HarryHodd

    Glad to see the Japanese version and US version are the same. Day one!

  • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

    Blue dragon. <3 I love dragons so that makes this game 10000000 times better.

  • Zarx

    The more I read about this game the more it reminds me of Thousand Arms without the blacksmithing. The graphic style as well, with 2D characters moving in a 3D plane. Really interested in seeing more on this one.

  • http://www.ihasnowebsitez.com Satonaka CP-Four

    “NIS America: I will say one thing, the game will feature voice acting in the original Japanese voiceovers with with English subtitle. There will also be English dubbing as an option.”

    Sold

    • Kai M

      $_$ Sold for me too.

    • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

      Some people like to ask for this so NISA beat them to it. Go NISA.

    • FetusZero

      It shows that unlike a certain other company, NISA knows and does what its fans want.

      • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

        Which company? There are a few who don’t.

        • FetusZero

          D K got it right, but as per M’iau’s post I’ll refrain from adding too much to my post :]

          • http://www.cubiz.tk/ Auragar

            M’iau is a softy. lolz But yah I understand.

          • FetusZero

            Haven’t been here long enough to know the mods lol.

      • raymk

        Which other company? I’m serious there’s like 3 companies that don’t do dual audio that do rpg’s.

        • Kevadu

          Well, given the timing he’s almost certainly referencing Tecmo Koei’s handling of Atelier Ayesha.

          • FetusZero

            Indeed. It’s not just dual-audio though, but how they handle it in general. At least with NISA we know that a game is coming out. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Atelier fans don’t know that Ayesha was released this week.

          • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.mitchell.9022 Daniel Mitchell

            Sadly, your right. Ayesha completely flew under my radar ><

      • M’iau M’iaut

        In the future, let’s please not decide unilaterally what fans want. http://www.siliconera.com/open-thread/ Our rules for future reference.

        • FetusZero

          Noted.

    • Setsu Oh

      the most important info in the whole thing

  • http://epiclyamazing.wordpress.com/ AzureNova

    Can’t wait to try it out =^_^=

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    “Is this game for girls?”
    What kinda dumb question is that…

    • Letiumtide

      What’s worse is that the answer states that it is for men, it certainly doesn’t look geared toward any gender, nor really should any game. But I guess that’s hopeful thinking.

      • Hraesvelgr

        I dunno, there are too many scenes in this game that really scream “guy game” for me to agree that it’s not targeting men.

    • Setsu Oh

      it is pretty obvious it isn t but i think it was one of those set up question; the answer he was looking might have been: it is for boys but we tried to put some content for girls too. hence the wedding comment. the thing is we wouldn t have known the whle wedding element if it wasn t for that question.
      so nope not a dumb question.
      also i would like a trend like this, like you can buy a bar in a Tales of game and enter a mini game similar to those ipad ones where you go around serving people etc.. they could do it with restaurants and tourist resorts too, a nice breather in any rpg.

  • Juan Andrés Valencia

    For the ones that imported the game and know japanese… how’s the game? The visual design seems to be great on cutscenes even though in-game it looks like a 2D cut out pasted on a 3D world but that’s about everything I’ve noticed.

    • Raze
      • Juan Andrés Valencia

        Wow… it looks underwhelmingly bad.

        • Hraesvelgr

          Going by general opinion, it is pretty bad…

      • Nitraion

        Hmmmmmmm that’s thousand arms vibe for sure..
        shame you can only control a girl in combat…

        • Juan Andrés Valencia

          To be fair Thousand Arms looks amazing and the visual style just sort of… clicks. This looks like they grabbed some great looking sprites and pasted them on an RPG Maker 3 level.

          • Nitraion

            Not sure thousand arms looks amazing at first because..
            first time i play it i decide didn’t to play it like a month until i discover the main reason of the game because that time there is FF9 or FF8 game…. i think maybe we have to discard some high expectation like atelier arland series to play this…
            then again taste can be main reason… but for me the same for these game is we can only control the girl maybe if we can control multiple playble chara or male leas it could be diffrent…
            also what’s up with mean looking enemies and cute adorable main heroines?… XD yup that i don’t like at least main lead of thousand arms is trying to protect the girls and i see the blue dragon or male lead not do that…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dylan-Ng/100000854638739 Dylan Ng

        Say wht you want on the gameplay, but I like the game aesthetics/style.

        • MediaMindControl

          Yeah I can see why people would like it or not like it. I would love if pokemon was to adapt this but that would never happen seeing that there are just too many things to hand draw.

          • http://wiredjungle.wordpress.com/ DrakosAmatras

            I believe Pokémon has already adopted a similar style for the entirety of Generation 5; with more intricate sprite-work, in fact.

      • HarryHodd

        Looks really good. The hand drawn animation really pulls it’s weight.

    • Luna Kazemaru

      hmmm my twitter post explain how i feel about the game :P

      • Juan Andrés Valencia

        Where can I find the tweet? I hate to admit it but my Twitter account haves more dust than the FF Versus XIII development offices.

  • Warboss Aohd

    “Within the game itself there is a healthy amount of “eros”, you know, things that aren’t exactly for girls.” Mork Dammit.

  • Flandre Scarlet

    It’s always nice to see any developer take chances and risks, like this. The amount of JRPGs that are straying away from the typical pretty boy protagonists is nice to see and I hope it continues. We’ve been saturated with them for years.

    • puchinri

      I would say he’s still a bit bishounen-ish as a human though? And by turning him into a dragon, they’re really just letting themselves focus more on the moe/cute/sex appeal of the female leads, and I’m not sure that that’s very unique? I do like the overall risk they took in trying something new format-wise though.

      • Flandre Scarlet

        It’s really still better than yet another pretty boy protagonist with the power of friendship or something. Doing it for the sake of sex appeal though, yeah, been done.

  • Learii

    NISA always know what they doing

  • puchinri

    I was about to say, they picked a female lead because this would be a BL game otherwise. x’D;

    I think their view is a bit off the mark that. It’s not that ero isn’t for females or wouldn’t entice them, but it is clear in how they wanted to deal with perverted themes (and no intention of gearing it toward women). (Also sad that for females was basically “girl talk, which equals wedding”.)

    Even though I think obvious layers of (more erotic) sexuality are prevalent in visual novels and such titles, it’s a shame that more devs aren’t more open about appealing sexually to female audiences.

    I wonder what it’s like leading up to the ending though? The concept itself is new, but it’s curious that it got used here.

    • Xerain

      Part of the problem with that is it’s really hard to get the pure and innocent female heroine all the Japanese males fawn over into an erotic situation willingly.

      While I can’t say for certain, I imagine in order to make a game with heterosexual erotic elements that appealed to both genders, the female would have to be brought down from her pedistal and be a character the female audience members could relate to on some level….

      …But doing that would turn off the male fans. If they wanted realistic women they’d be going after the real thing.

      • puchinri

        That’s true. For some reason, they want her to be pure, but still very sexual (madonna whore complex to the extreme).

        Heh, good point.

  • Go2hell66

    once a game reaches a certain level of fan service its pretty easy to tell if the game is geared towards girls or guys

    • Setsu Oh

      i wonder, if it was geared towards girls, if we would have had an even better char design…. they seem to take seriously art style as a mean to seduce female customers

  • zazza345

    Keep in mind one thing, having played the game: the story doesn’t take itself seriously, despite what the producer says, save a few key moments. It often jokes with several fantasy common themes (such as contracts between people and demons/entities) with some interesting results.

  • Kai2591

    I highly anticipate the JRPGs that will be available for the PS4! Only a Final Fantasy has been announced. Sort of.

  • Randgriz

    A little sad that with all their great PSP imageepoch games, we end up getting this one which doesnt look all tht great to me… i still want Last Ranker and Sol Trigger to be localised.

    • Setsu Oh

      i ll buy this game just because, like heavy rain, it tries to go up one level in gamedesign. we are getting closer and closer to real time interactive anime and i never believed naruto ultimate or any dbz was . THIS there looks like a step in the good direction. a real step.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dylan-Ng/100000854638739 Dylan Ng

      PSP is almost dead out of Jap bro. There a Last Ranker manga which is translated btw.

      • Randgriz

        Hey tell that to growlanser wayfarer of time and generations of chaos pandoras whatever

  • Guest

    “Time and Eternity in North America and Europe which will have English voiceovers…”
    Me: NOOOO!! D:

    “…plus an option to play through the game with Japanese voiceovers and English subtitles.”
    Me: Oh…….. Okay. (*w*)d

    Not that I hate english dub but the original japanese voiceovers
    features Kana Hanazawa, Eri Kitamura and Tsubasa Yonaga as main characters. I’m one of those many people who loves listening to their idolized seiyuus even though we can’t really understand what they’re saying.

    • Elvick

      Duh, it’s NIS America bringing it to us.

  • biskmater

    From what I have seen, this game may have benefitted from the 7th dragon approach, that is, a first person view of the enemies and then show the character animations whenever they perform and attack or a skill, it worked wonders for that game, so i don’t see why that could not have been done here. Plus it would have probably allowed for flashier animation.

  • Repede91

    The spoiler text wasn’t hidden on the mobile site *sob*….

    Not mad or anything, still gonna crap out of this come summer.

  • almostautumn

    Shame reviews have shown this game to bomb in a lot of aspects. I’ve put up with the fragmented console RPGs this gen too much, with games like Enchanted Arms, Last Rebellion, White Knight, etc:. Seriously, unless the game is enhanced and this can be noted by reviews, I’ll probably do the whole Gamestop rental as this is also a very short title also (so say the reviewers), and that’s with both endings.

  • phangtom

    Day one buy for me. :)

  • Elvick

    Hope it does well enough to get an improvement over the idea. Only thing that bugs me about the game so far is the running animation. Needs more frames.

  • Alphabet Soup

    Though we’ve known about it for awhile from screenshots, I give the guy props for being honest about the gender target. There are still aspects that look interesting to me so I may still check this game out, but I’ll keep holding on to my dream of JRPGs that contain solid combat and may seek to entice female players. The Atelier series does look interesting so I may check out Ayesha…

  • http://twitter.com/Nates4Christ Nate

    I sure hope I can skip these “Shower” scenes this is talking about. I’m hoping this game is pretty clean. I’m really excited about it. Have been for a long time.

  • TheBlackgirl123

    hey i got what they say form theverything you beat the game
    , you have either Toki and Towa there fighting. In order to win, she has to sacrifice her memories. So once it’s all over, she has to talk to Drake all over again. Drake knows what happened. He remembers everything, but she doesn’t. So it’s like they are meeting for the first time all over again. It’s a poignant and very touching scene that I think it’s neat and special.

  • TheBlackgirl123

    here’s the second one

    like I mentioned earlier, the player is forced to make a choice. If these two characters are not evolved, not developed enough, then nobody is going to feel anything. I really want to tug at a player’s heart strings when they have to make this kind of final decision.

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